Different Terrain Types
Types Of Terrain
Did you know that there are officially 14 different types of terrain on this planet? Granted, not all of them are suitable for walking on but many of them are. If you do step up to the challenge, you’d best be sure that you are wearing the appropriate footwear!
The Earth’s Terrains
The word terrain comes from “terra” which means Earth and is referred to as the study of both the Earth’s vertical as well as horizontal surfaces so includes everything from deserts and swamps to mountains and glaciers.
While we don’t advocate hanging around in swamps and you can’t exactly walk on the Earth’s oceans and rivers, for all dry land walking pursuits, appropriate shoes are a must-have purchase. Correctly fitting shoes made from the right materials with proper grip and outsoles really can make the difference between life and death faced with a challenging precipice.
Whether you’re walking through forests and fields, trekking through a valley, or assailing a canyon rock face, it’s best to ensure that you are sure-footed in your pursuits. Leave nothing to chance and always ensure that you thoroughly research what footwear, as well as other tactical accessories it is useful to own before crossing new territories and tundras.
Different Terrain Types And Suitable Footwear
Today we’re going to be looking at the most popular terrains for walking, climbing, and running with some recommendations of the most appropriate style of footwear to tackle that pursuit.
We’re focusing on dry land activities, although mud, sand, ice, and the occasional boggy peat might also be the tundra that you regularly encounter on your outdoor pursuits.
Canyons And Mountains
Canyons are found throughout the world, including in North and South America, as well as throughout Asia and Europe. A canyon is essentially a gorge in the ground, located between two cliffs with rivers commonly running through. Canyons are found between mountain peaks and are particularly popular with rock climbing enthusiasts. If this is your idea of a good time, you’re going to need the best rock climbing shoes or approach shoes. You can go for what’s known as Aggressive, Moderate, or Neutral climbing shoes depending upon your level of expertise and how challenging the conditions are that you are climbing. Comfort, protection, support as well as closure are features to look out for in mountaineering boots. Also consider the actual surface as this will determine whether you need stickier soles to grip to smooth, flat surfaces.
Deserts And Beaches
A desert is a vast expanse of land with limited vegetation and believe it or not, deserts can be found in cold areas like Poland and the Arctic. There are two main types of deserts. Dunes which consist mostly of loose sand and salt flats that are covered with salt. If you love beach walking, as opposed to voyaging through uninhabited and isolated deserts, then you need a pair of sandals that have a comfortable and flexible sole and which are easy to empty the sand out of. You could go for a regular closed gym shoe but a more popular choice is an open walking sandal. Look for options made from canvas or leather.
For desert walking, opt for the fashionable and stylish looking desert boot. These shoes were actually first developed for the British troops fighting in North Africa in World War II. What was once military attire has now transferred across into mainstream fashion.
Forests And Trails
A forest is typified by being densely populated by trees and other vegetation. Many of the world’s most popular National Parks and trails, as well as areas for hunting, are located in forests. They tend to be sparsely settled and are broken down into our jungles and rainforests, as well as temperate forests that experience four distinct seasons. Forests are particularly popular with trail runners all season round.
To conquer technical and unstable terrain, your best bet is to invest in a pair of dedicated trail running shoes. These will bite into the dirt and adequately cushion and protect your feet from unstable and frequently rocky conditions underfoot. Off-road terrain running is an excellent way to blow of steam and get at one with nature. A good pair of trail shoes should feature deep rigid lugs if you’re tackling unforgiving terrain and shorter lugs for a softer on-road feel. Comfort is, of course, key, as is stability. Still, it also pays to go for waterproof materials too, as you’re likely to encounter the occasional muddy forest trail along the way.
Hills And Fells
Hill and fell walking is especially popular. Similar to mountains, hills rise to a peak but they are typically much lower and less steep and are often found covered in vegetation and grass. If you are hiking as opposed to running, then your best bet is to go for a specialist hiking boot or shoe.
The best hillwalking boots should be lightweight to allow you to be more nimble on your feet. Less bulky than a traditional hiking boot, they’re more comfortable and will provide you with the flexibility to traverse trails while carrying a backpack. Remember that the heavier the shoe or boot, the more it will slow you down. The significant advantage of hiking shoes being that they provide plenty of ankle support and stability. As an alternative, you could also go for a rugged trail running shoe that will probably do the job and allow you to move faster and more energy-efficient.
Roads And Urban Settings
For those among you who prefer to stay closer to home and do your running and walking on flat and smooth, stable ground, then you should take to the pavement with a pair of the best shoes for walking on concrete. Whether you’re doing a quick 5k, training for a marathon, or just commuting from A to B, the emphasis should be on comfort and a feeling of freedom.
Not to be confused with indoor workout shoes or trail running shoes, the best runners need to have plenty of cushioning, delivering excellent energy return and excellent dynamics. It’s also vital that you have your gait professionally analyzed to ensure that as your foot strikes the ground, the shoe you have chosen adequately supports your biomechanics. Running shoes for urban settings should be selected based on the terrain, your foot shape, as well as any pronation. Look for features including flexibility, durability, comfort, and support.