We are planning our first trip to Colorado primarily to go day hiking.  I expect we will hike on intermediate level trails.  Can you recommend a shoe for the type of terrain we will be encountering? We will be in the area of Fraser, Colorado.  Thanks in advance for your professional guidance.  Terri5 


Hi @TERRI5 , you didn't mention time of year...summer or winter - HUGE diff for Colorado.

Assuming - not - winter, most trails in Colorado are very well maintained, and where needed, switchbacks! (mostly)

Intermediate level is usually applied in relationship to altitude, e.g. the trails become 'harder' the higher you go because of difficulty breathing, and consequently, weakening your whole body.

Although day hiking footwear is important, many will offer that allowing time to acclimatize, especially any hikes over 10,000', is equally important.

You didn't mention where you're coming from, so there's the possibility you will have an easier time of it (acclimatization) than those traveling from sea level.

Many folks visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, can day hike from any popular trail head up to about 11,000' and find themselves with high altitude sickness symptoms on the way down.

Anyway....back to the question, IMO almost any lightweight shoe/trail runner which fits well and is comfortable, will do fine, for day hiking.

Please take and post some pix!

good luck!

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes

@TERRI5 thanks for the question! Although the terrain matters when recommending a shoe, what's actually most important is your feet! Wide, narrow, medium width? High or low volume? Any trouble spots, like bunions? Once we know more about your feet, we're better able to recommend shoes/boots for hiking in Colorado! You are welcome to respond here with more information, or you might consider booking a free virtual outfitting appointment at a time that's convenient for you!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Both replies so far have been spot on. I can't help based upon your personalized needs, but I was in a similar situation for an August trip. I brought along my Altra Timp 1.5's and Oboz Sawtooth (non-insulated) boot. I wore the boot for our long hike days since I was carrying a pack and my feet really like sturdy structure, but I think the Altra's (or any good trail running shoe) would work well. 

Depending on where you are coming from (Mid West here), Intermediate trails out there are nowhere near Intermediate where I am. Intermediate trails are almost boring in the MW for me, but Int out there was quite a challenge. Not just because of altitude, but slope, rockiness, and climbing. So I would pick a shoe that you feel comfortable in with the perspective of being able to handle a lot of rock and hard surfaces with inclines and declines. For me, that was my more sturdy boot. 

@TERRI5 Thanks for getting back to us!

We're going to post your email question, and our response, here in the community so that other users can also benefit from the information or weigh in with their own suggestions.

'I have hiked in New Hampshire on Mt. Cardigan and Moosilauke Mtn which required rugged hiking shoes or boots. I'd like to get around that if I could with a more comfortable tennis shoe type hiking shoe. Any thoughts on that?'

There are lots of options of trail running shoes or low hiking shoes that could get the job done. Your best bet would be to set up a virtual outfitting appointment with one of our product experts to talk through what will work best for you and any fit considerations you may have. In the meantime, here are a couple of options for you to check out:

Any of these options will work really well for day hikes in Colorado. We hope you have a great trip!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hi @TERRI5 ,

I have limited experience in Colorado specifically, but have lots of hiking miles under my boots.  Personally, I prefer a boot that extends above the ankle.  It provides additional support, protects against abrasion, as well as water and dirt intrusion.  My current favorite for heavy/winter usage is a boot from Under Armour, but which is sadly discontinued now.  Those UA boots have over 500 miles logged, and are starting to show their wear, so I will be looking for replacements soon.  In the summer I have a pair of Merrell Capra Bolts, which are also about to be replaced.

Now, that having been said, everyone has their own personal preferences regarding factors such as weight, waterproof or not, low or high ankle coverage, tread pattern/traction, etc. 

The most important thing that I can recommend is fit.  Find something that fits well under the conditions you will experience, like steep ascents and descents.  A shoe or boot that seems fine on level ground may allow your foot to slide too much, leading to hot spots and blisters; or may not allow enough freedom of movement which could result in damage to your toes and nails.

I also recommend wool socks with good cushioning.  I also like using liner socks as well.  They help to minimize sweat and keeps your feet comfortable.  Make sure to match your shoe/boot size to the thickness of socks you'll be wearing.  Gaiters may also be a good accessory for you to consider.

Good luck, and have a great time on your trip!

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