Footwear

Hiking | Trail Running | Road Running | Boating | Casual

Our footwear department is one of the largest that you'll find; we have everything from expedition boots to flip flops. Hiking, trail running, and road running shoes are all lined up and ready for you to try on. We also have a comprehensive selection of casual shoes from your favorite outdoor and surf brands. Come have a chat with us, we'd love to fill you in on what's new with shoes!

 

Top Hiking Boots

01/13/2016

Ready for Hiking season? Finding the right boots is essential to enjoying your hike. Trekking through mud, steep cliffs and slippery ground ensures you will be working up a sweat, but you can ease the pressure off your feet by finding the right boot. Every journey requires different footwear, whether you are on a long distance backpacking trip or a short walk in the woods, and we're here to break down the difference in footwear for you. 

Thru-Hiking The A.T.

Normally backpacking boots are made to be very stiff since you don't want too much flexibility when you're carrying a heavy load on your back. However, LOWA has come out with a couple of backpacking boots that offer just enough flexibility to make the boots easier to break in. These boots are made with a stiff shank in the rear boot, and in the front the shank tapers to allow flex, which will allow for a shorter break-in period. For men, we have the LOWA Camino Flex, and for women, the Mauria Flex.

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Exploring Devil's Den

For day hiking, you have the option of boots or shoes, and it really just depends on which is more comfortable for you. A boot that encases your ankle is generally better when you will be doing more climbing on your hike, as it will give you added support and protection. For men's boots, our experts recommend the LaSportiva Core High. This is not only a brand new boot, but it utilizes a whole new type of construction called GORETEX Surround. The GORETEX bootie is incorporated into the boot in a new way that makes it much more breathable, perfect for hiking in the summer. For women, we love the Vasque Inhaler, another new boot that gives your feet added breathability. It is also made with GORETEX, but it incorporates a generous amount of mesh into its design to allow for maximum airflow through the walls of the boot.

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Walking your dog in Cranbury Park

A hiking shoe with a low ankle can feel cooler in summertime than a high hiking boot, and we have a wide selection of hiking shoes to choose from. Our favorites are the Oboz Tamarac for men and the Phoenix for women. Oboz boots offer excellent quality for the price, and unlike most hiking boots, they come with very high-quality insoles. In addition, Oboz makes their own outsoles, which are very well crafted and helps them keep their prices low. BDry waterproofing keeps your feet nice and dry.

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It is essential to your hiking experience to have a boot that fits well. With the right fit, the right insoles and the most comfortable socks, your feet will be blister-free and much less likely to be injured on the trail. Our experts can help you find the perfect fitting boot, and also the perfect insole to add comfort and customize your fit. We recommend using insoles in your hiking boots no matter what to give you added support, and since they come in a variety of thicknesses, you can also use the thicker ones to shrink any extra spaces inside the boot. Superfeet and Sole Footbeds make fantastic insoles that will keep your feet happy on the trail.

socks

We have a huge assortment of socks that are perfect for day hikes or long trekking adventures. A common misconception is that wool socks are meant for cold weather, but this natural material can be used to construct thin, lightweight socks as well as thick winter socks. We carry socks from Smartwool and Fit that come in a variety of thicknesses and are excellent at wicking away moisture. Bacteria don't take to wool since it is a natural fiber, so even after hours of hiking you won't have that unpleasant sweaty foot smell. Never wear cotton socks while hiking, since cotton holds in moisture, sucks in bacteria, and is very slow to dry.

Trail Running

03/19/2015

Warm weather means it's time to say goodbye to the treadmill and hello to running outside! We recommend trail running this season to breathe in the fresh air and stretch your legs. Trail running has tons of advantages over running on the road, such as lower impact on your joints and a more serene environment. Here at Outdoor Sports Center we have all the gear you need, including a fantastic assortment of new trail running shoes! For those of you who are new to trail running, we've compiled a few tips to get you started safely and to help you get the most out of your run.

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Be Aware
When running on a trail, you'll be surprised how quickly you start to de-stress and enjoy the beauty around you. Whether on a dirt path or a gravel road, you will stumble upon streams, bridges, and hills that will vary in difficulty and keep you alert. Wilton alone has so many great parks for all levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced runners can enjoy a variety of distance and intensity at each park. Be careful to start at an easier level if you are a beginner. The east loop of the Norwalk River Valley Trail is a wide gravel path that's 2 miles long, easy to navigate, and just opened up this year. The entrance is across from the commuter lot on Wolf Pit Road, and it is a great starting point for beginners. It's important to remember that trails are for a wide variety of use; mountain bikers, dog walkers, and sometimes horses all share the same path, so stay alert just like you would on the road. Another challenge is following the trail markers in order to not get lost. This is much more of an issue on harder trails, like the Wilton Town Forest for experienced runners, so keep your phone or GPS on you at all times as a safety precaution.

Start Slow
If you're more accustomed to running on the road, you will find that the trail is completely different. Different muscles are being used; for example, trail running involves more focus on balance, which means engaging your core. There are often much steeper hills than you would encounter on the road and all sorts of obstacles. Be careful to ensure you have proper footing in order to protect yourself from twisted ankles and falls. Don't start out trying to achieve the same mileage that you run on the road. In fact, because of all the added challenges, it is wise when running on the trail to focus more on the time you spend running than the actual miles you run. Your time will reflect the intensity of your workout better than your miles will.

Accessorize!
There are several pieces of gear other than running shoes that are crucial for trail running.
We carry the Ultra Trail Gaiter by Outdoor Research which will protect your feet from anything that could potentially fly up and get in your boot. This time of year, with all the snow melting and creating muddy trails, this is a must-have item!
Certain socks are much better on the trail than others, such as Smartwool's PhD Run, which are more technical socks that have been completely revamped with more durability and a higher thread count. The ankle comes up higher on these socks, which will protect your ankles in rougher areas.
Wearing sunglasses while trail running can protect your eyes from low-hanging branches that might not be so easy to see. Of course, you do not want to wear dark lenses when running in the woods, but brands like Smith and Native have many models that include a second lighter lens. Smith Parallels even come with an additional clear lens.
Most importantly, make sure you pick up a hydration pack or water bottle to keep you hydrated on the trail! We have hydration bottles and packs from Nathan, Fuel Belt, and Amphipod.

 

Here are the trail running shoes that our experts recommend above all others!

BrooksBrooks Cascadia 10 - This shoe has been redesigned with a more technical outsole, implementing the design of Brooks' PureGrit outsole. New smaller lugs give you significantly better traction on the trail. We carry this shoe in men's and women's.

Hoka

Hoka Mafate Speed - This shoe is designed specifically for long distance running on the trail. Hoka is known for designing shoes with the most cushioning to keep you comfortable when running long distances. We carry this shoe in men's and women's.

LaSportiva

LaSportiva Bushido - (Is this the most advanced tread?) This is the shoe you want if you will be running on a lot of technical terrains. The soles have extra grip and even give you the option to add spikes. They are excellent for varied terrain and drastic elevation changes. We carry this shoe in men's and women's.

Salomon

Salomon Speedcross 3 - Known for its spectacular traction, this shoe performs in all weather conditions. If you like to run Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, or any other event that involves racing in the mud, this is the shoe for you. The Speedcross 3 is perfect for wet conditions. We carry this shoe in men's and women's.

Asics

Asics Gel-Fujitrabuco 3 - If you are new to trail running, this is the shoe you want to start with. Although it is great for any experience level, the wide base makes it incredibly stable, which is an important feature for a beginner trail runner. We carry this shoe in men's.