hiking tips
Image: Courtesy of Alyssa Kluge

Beginner Hiking Tips: Here’s What You Need to Know

And don't forget your hiking shoes!

With the arrival of autumn around the corner and summer still in full swing, it’s the perfect season for hiking. The fresh air, bonus booty burn and the endorphin kick is a great way to get outdoors. If you want to lace up your boots (read on for our favorites!) and how to get started, we chatted with Hy Rosario, HOKA Director of Product, Outdoor, to share beginner hiking tips.

First-Time Hikers Tips to Know

Rosario reports that when you’re heading out onto the trail, there’s a few things you should always consider, including:

  • Know something about the terrain you are going into and check the weather before you embark.
  • Tell someone your plans, including a return time, so they know if they should go looking for you.
  • Hiking is a great social activity, so try to always have others join you. It’s both safer and more fun!
hiking tips
Image: Courtesy of Hoka One One

Packing with Purpose

  • Bring a small daypack for plenty of water, snacks, toilet paper (never know when nature calls), sunscreen, sunglasses, a small first-aid kit, a hat, and some rain or weather gear in case things turn, as they can quickly in the mountains.
  • Our favorites from mission-backed online grocer Thrive Market include their Organic Dried Apple Rings and Grass-Fed Beef Sticks!
  • Hydrate!
  • With your daypack, you can de-layer your clothing as the weather heats up or layer up when it cools down. Don’t be afraid to bring more than you think you need – you may well need it, and it’s better to be prepared than sorry.
  • Endeavor to leave no trace. Pack out every bit of trash you bring in and pick up litter left by others. Familiarize yourself with the proper process for bathroom stops and leaving toilet paper.
Image: Courtesy of Alyssa Kluge

Picking Out Your Pair

With new shoes, there is always the concern of bleeding blisters and uncomfortable footwear makes nobody happy. When picking out a pair of hikers for the road, our favorites are HOKA ONE ONE Anacapa Mid Gore-Tex or HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat. When you pick your pair, Rosario suggests that you look for premium components from brands like Vibram + GORE-TEX to ensure a good experience from the first step and deliver a long-standing level of durability.

As you pick out your hikers, Rosario also suggests you evaluate what type of boots you need. He suggests that a mid-cut or mid-level boot (a boot that hits just above the ankle) is perfect for most hiking needs, as it is designed to offer more ankle protection and affords you the added protection of a mid-cut against rocks, shrubbery, and grit, and is a nice way to give yourself confidence on the trail without overdoing it with stiffness and weight.

With any boot, you’ll want to try it out, walk around in it. He suggests that many hikers also enjoy a low-cut boot for the majority of their hiking needs, because hikers have often expressed that they’re more breathable, lighter, and flexible. He also added that a higher cut or “high top” adds extra weight. The extra modicum of support it offers is likely unnecessary unless you are doing some serious mountaineering.

How to Prepare

Outside of picking your shoe’s height, Rosario suggests that you always try on your hiking boots with the socks you intend to use on your hike and to take your time to lace up and adjust your boots to your liking. A fit that is too tight or too loose can be a hindrance, especially when you are miles away from your return location! Additionally, you’ll start to notice that over time, your hiking shoes will start to wear and tell-tale signs include that the waterproof elements are no longer effective from long-term wear, that the midsole is completely packed in and offers little-to-no cushion, and the outsole doesn’t grip as well because the rubber has been worn down.

As you pick out your pair, Rosario reminds soon-to-be adventurers to have fun. Enjoy the outdoors! Encourage yourself to explore as you’ll be amazed at how many secret spots you can find, even if you’re exploring your backyard or a place you’ve been to many times before. Happy hiking ahead!

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