One of your most important pieces of gear during a trek, through hike or just a wander on a mountain is your footwear. There are so many choices, options, prices and technical descriptions. Here's how I chose my shoes - Salomon gore text lightweight hiking boots, that carried me during the Everest Base Camp Trek, the John Muir Trail and the Overland Track.
What kind of activity
Some people swear by trail runners, others want the toughest shoe out there. Important is the sort of activities this pair of shoes have to endure. For me it was simple: hiking in bushy areas with a lot of up and a lot of down. I wanted a shoe that was made for walking, with a lot of grip on different textures.
What kind of shoe
Do you want boots, or more sneaker like shoes? Keep in mind different weather situations (snow, rain, mud) and the use of gaitors. Do you want the shoes to be super light weight, somewhere in between or heavy? I wanted to be able to protect some part of my ankles (hello knife sharp twigs!) and like the sense of security that a boot gives me.
What's important for you? I wanted a shoe that's water resistent. I've had to hike in a lot of wet (mud, snow, rivers) situations. My shoes are made out of gore tex material and keep dry for a long, long, long time. Yes, they failed after hours and hours ploughing through the snow, but hey... what do you expect? A simpel misstep in a river crossing or balancing on a muddy stick that doesn't go so well is all forgiven.
It's better to buy your shoes too large than too small. You want to lose your toenails and walk on bloody blisters? If that's the case, ignore my advice. If you want to be able to rock your shoes without having to walk them in for months? Bring your hiking socks when you go shoe shopping. I'm normally a size euro 38, but my hiking boots are a size euro 40. Do they feel big? Nope. They feel comfy wearing one pair of normal hiking socks (Merino wool baby!), but still fit as a glove when I wear liners, normal hiking socks and my super fluffy winter socks. In my opinion it's not the length of the shoe that matters, but the fitting around the rest of your foot. Hence why I like my boots being higher than a sneaker -> more grip.
Your shoes won't look fashionable. Just go with it.
What's important for you when you go hiking shoe shopping? Are you looking around for boots, but still in doubt? Let me know!