GEAR GUIDE: Leisure Shoes
Leisure shoes actually covers quite a gamut, from sandals to footwear for light hiking. But, we’ve stuck to a core theme – the type of camping-orientated footwear you can wear on a daily basis for comfort, but also offers a degree of performance for outdoor activities.
Now, of course your choice of leisure footwear is going to be determined by what you actually call your leisure, so rather than try and out-guess your various wind-surfing to worm racing activities, we’ve gone for a more generic type of footwear here. There is, indeed, life beyond flip-flops and Crocs.
We’re still looking for a bit of durability, too. And, of course, it helps if they look good.
TRY ‘EM ON
If they fit comfortably in the shop, there’s a good chance that will extend to their actual use, post-purchase. Try on both shoes, standing up, with the type of socks you’re likely to wear with them. Check two comfort points: the base of the heel and the front part of the foot. Don't hesitate to walk around the store.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Most products these days are mainly man-made materials and can be cleaned using a mild soap and cold water solution. You might need to resort to a stiff brush and/or soft cloth to remove excess muck, or for spot-cleaning. Just let them air as naturally as possible, too, in a well-ventilated area away from heat.
HIT THE SHOPS
Again, get out there before you get out there. You’ll always get best advice face-to-face from a specialist retailer – as well as a choice of footwear to try before you buy.
EYE A BARGAIN
As ever with camping gear, prices are a movable feast (or famine). Keep an eye out for offers, but it's still more important to get exactly what's right for you.
When was the last time you had your feet measured? Use this as your opportunity...
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 500
These are designed for gentle lowland hiking, in dry weather, along easy trails but are just as suitable for wearing around the campsite or for a wander down to the pub. Comfortable and light, they are also smart looking, and will go as well with jeans as walking waterproofs. The shoes have a cross-contact sole, to improve traction and grip.
Key Features: Leather and synthetic upper; 100% recycled synthetic lining and rubber sole; 30% recycled. Weighs 347g
COLUMBIA RIDGE VENTURE SANDAL
A great alternative to flip-flops in hot weather, these men’s sandals provide excellent support and ventilated comfort and can be worn on the trail as well as for relaxing. They also feature a textured sock that is non-slip, even when wet.
Key Features: Synthetic upper and rubber sole; Omni-grip all terrain sole; Techlite impact absortion; stability and protection. Weighs 311g
QUECHUA FORCLAZ 500 FRESH
With a perforated sole and highly-breathable mesh upper, these men’s shoes are designed to help you keep your feet dry and fresh. The perforations in the sole to draw moisture (i.e. sweat!) away from your feet. These are sturdy enough for walks in the hills but lightweight enough for a casual wear too.
Key Features: Synthetic upper and lining, synthetic and rubber sole. Cross-contact sole. Full-foot EVA midsole. Fresh technology higher breathable upper and sole. Weighs 297g
MERRELL JACARDIA SANDAL
Perfect summer footwear for around the campsite and beyond. The air cushioned heel on these sandals make them comfortable enough for longer hikes on easy paths and the breathable mesh inner is designed to improve breathability and aid wicking.
Key Features: Synthetic upper and rubber sole. Breathable mesh inner. Microfiber footbed improving comfort. Air cushion heel. Weighs 300g.
Rugged sandals that stands up to anything ... even kids! Youngsters will love slipping these on whever they pop out of the tent to play or visit the shower block but they are just as useful for gentle walks in the countryside.
Key Features: Synthetic upper and lining. Rubber outsole. Full-foot EVA midsole improving cushioning. Reinforced upper. Weighs 245g
This is a rather more technical shoe for those who want to spend their days tackling tougher trails but it is still smart enough to wear around town. The Omnigrip outsole improves traction on the hills and it features a waterproof and breathable membrane for when the weather is wet.
Key Features: Synthetic upper and rubber sole. Techlite midsole improving comfort and cushioning. Fully waterproof. Weighs 280g
SALOMON X ULTRA 2 GTX
Another shoe that is aimed at the more active wearer, these are designed for longer walks in tough terrain and in all weather. Technical shoes, with a stable frame, reinforced protection and Gore-Tex waterproof coating.
Key Features: Synthetic upper, injected EVA midsole and rubber contragrip sole. Fully waterproof Gore-tex liner. Sensifit fitting system to maximise comfort. Weighs 432g.
QUECHUA ARPENAZ 100 FRESH
These are perfect shoes for summer rambling and campsite relaxing. Very lightweight but will keep your feet well-protected, and let them breathe. The cross-contact sole provides extra grip and the Fresh technology means a highly breathable upper and sole, great for humid conditions.
Key Features: Synthetic lining and rubber and synthetic outer sole. Cross-contact sole. and Breathable upper and sole. Weighs 229g.