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Boots/shoes: Hiking boots vs trail runners. Either one can be a good choice. I personally prefer a mesh trail runner which dries quickly. I have tried both trail runners and hikers in both waterproof and non-waterproof. Chances are that a “waterproof” boot/shoe will still get wet and at that point, they are exceedingly difficult to dry. The mesh helps your foot breathe and dries quickly if they get wet. Some people prefer mid or high-top hikers for ankle support. Some would also argue that a hiker provides better foot support, but I’ve found that a good quality trail runner can provide just as much support (and I’m pushing 300lbs with all my gear) along with improved dexterity. Angela also wears a water-resistant trail runner as she prefers the grip and cushion that hers provide, as well as being lighter weight. 


Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you get something that is comfortable and fits you well. Remember that there is a high likelihood that your feet will swell (especially on longer hikes) so make sure that they can be laced up snug, but also allow some room for swelling. You also don’t want your toe to be hitting the toe of the shoe because on long downhill sections this can cause a lot of discomforts and could even cause you to lose a toenail. I would also highly recommend breaking them in before going on any long-distance or overnight hikes. You can wear them around the house or while running errands to get them broken in and make sure they are going to work for you. Even with a high-quality shoe or boot, you may find that you need an aftermarket orthotic, especially if you need arch support like I do.


One final word regarding footwear. This is not the place to cut costs. You don’t have to spend a ton of money, but you don’t want a $20 pair of sneakers from Walmart either. (Angela was able to find her trail runners on sale at Dunham's for around $60, so watch for sales!) Get good quality footwear that works well for you, or else you will literally regret it every step of your journey. If you need to try shoes on like I do, you may be limited by what your local shops have to offer. If you don’t mind the hassle of mailing them back there are many online stores that will allow you to return them if they do not fit correctly.

Socks: You do not want cotton socks. I recommend that you stay away from cotton clothing altogether on the trail, but you especially do not want it in contact with your skin. Cotton doesn’t breathe or dry very well, which can lead to all kinds of issues such as blisters, rashes, fungal infections, cold clammy feet, or even hypothermia. Hence the infamous saying “Cotton Kills”.


I recommend a synthetic blend, or a wool/synthetic blend and you want them to be snug fitting to avoid having them slide around on your foot causing blisters. Again, you get what you pay for and you’ll find yourself spending a little more, but it is worth it for warm, dry, unblistered feet. I really like my Sealskinz Solo QuickDry socks. Angela likes her Injinji sock liners (they're like a thin toe sock that helps pull moisture away from the foot and prevent blistering) and then usually some kind of wool/synthetic blend over top. There are brands like Darn Tough that make great socks but might seem a little pricey for a pair of socks at first glance, but they are durable great quality and they offer a lifetime guarantee…yes, a lifetime guarantee on your socks!


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