Shoes / Boots
Vibram Five Fingers
We bought a pair of these about a year before we left on our first trip. They are easily some of the goofiest looking shoes out there, but they’re super comfortable! The theory is that they allow you to keep your natural, barefoot walking position, while adding just enough of a sole to protect against rocks or whatever else you might be walking across. We’ve used them for some running (we’re not big runners) and some pack-less trail walking (they’re not designed to provide extra support and cushion like hiking boots, so they’re not great for lugging extra weight). The soles are thin enough that when you walk on gravel you can feel the gravel, and when you walk on grass, you can feel the softness of the grass.
Aside from getting some strange looks, it’s interesting to walk around a downtown with them. As you cross the street your feet notice the warmth of the pavement, the texture of the crosswalk warning bumps; all kinds of things that you don’t normally feel in shoes.
At the end of a day of trekking, they can be great since they’re lighter and cooler than the boots you’ve been walking around in, and they provide more grip and stability for running campsite errands than flip flops (like walking down to the stream or into the woods for the bathroom). We’ve used them as shower shoes in communal hostel bathrooms and they dry well though they’re not designed to be especially quick-dry.
Vasque Men’s Breeze XCR
I have worn these boots like mad. Almost every day on the trip for wandering around cities, not to mention 400+ miles of trekking. The first pair I had finally wore out halfway through our trip (I’d had them for a while before we left) and rather than risk being disappointed with a different brand or model, I bought another pair of the exact same shoes, they are the bootbomb – the best hiking boots for men compared to all my previous pairs. Sold.
I have a narrow foot, so of the boots I tried, the cut of the Vasques just fit well. Also, the bottoms of my feet tend to get very sore and tender easily and the stiff soles have been amazing at providing support. They’re Waterproof Gore-Tex and pretty lightweight considering their size and support (my size 9.5s tip the scale at 2 lbs 13 oz). The Vibram sole has been great with traction and feels like a very stable and secure platform while hiking through rough stuff.
If they’re a good fit for your feet, I can’t recommend them enough.