Trail runners, lightweight shoes, barefoot shoes, sandals, hiking boots, waterproof socks and even literal barefoot hiking are all topics of hot debate in the backpacking world. Questions of durability, safety and physiological benefits and risks accompany the question of: what kind of footwear should one wear backpacking?
For this article, I decided to go to an expert on biomechanics and ask burning questions. I interviewed a physiotherapist. The expert opinions, in combination with my over a decade of passionate backpacking and personal experience dealing with foot injuries, I want to provide a high-level review of backpacking footwear to help hikers find the shoe that's right for them.
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