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Choosing the right walking boots for a trekking like the GR20

Choosing the right walking boots for a trekking like the GR20



The hiking shoes are the most important gear in hiking, especially on the GR20 where the terrain is challenging.

"He who wears shoes ignores the suffering of he who walk barefoot." says a Chinese proverb. Fine, but he who goes on the GR20 with inadequate shoes risks injuries and the failure of his venture.

 

Which GR20?

There are several ways to tackle the 180 km of the GR20, ranging from the François D'Haene's 31h06 record to the classic 14 days journey. There are 3 main ways to travel through Corsica:

  • The trail method: most of the people going for trail running will travel light, sleep and eat in huts to complete the GR20 by doubling or even tripling some stages, completing the trail in 5 to 7 days.
  • The light hiking method: just like the people opting for trail running, hikers will eat and sleep in huts in order to have a backpack that does not exceed 8 kg. Most of the hikers complete the GR20 in 14 days.
  • In complete autonomy: you can also expect to cross Corsica in about 2 weeks with this method, but the bag quickly becomes quite heavy with all the camping equipment and the food. It is therefore important to pack your backpack properly to avoid unnecessary weight.

Needless to say that, depending on the type of GR20, you will not use the same shoes.

 


The criteria used to choose the right shoes

Comfort: this is the first criterion to be taken into account. It is imperative to feel comfortable in the shoes and for them to be frictionless.
 

Foot support: lateral foot support is important on rough terrain such as the GR20. This helps to prevent your ankle from twisting.
 

Sole: it must be rigid, firmly grip the ground, have a good cushioning and guide the foot with ease to grant you an energetic stride.
 

Protection : the GR20 is a rocky track. Having a stone guard and good side protection is a plus.
 

Waterproofing / Breathability: having a waterproof/breathable membrane such as Gore-Tex® Surround™ is an asset when exploring Corsica's warm climate.
 

Weight: often forgotten in the criteria for choosing a shoe, it is nevertheless an important criterion when considering the number of tons lifted each day on a hike.




 How to choose the right shoes for the GR20?

Trail method

We recommend shoes with a low upper designed for mountains or shoes with a mid upper for those who want a hybrid model that protects the malleoli. They must guide the foot with ease while offering very good stability and be sturdy to handle rough terrain.

Some examples of models:  Salomon Speedcross 5Adidas Terrex Speed LD,  Dynafit Speed MTN,  Hoka One One Speedgoat 3, On Running CloudventureLa Sportiva Bushido II La Sportiva Akasha.

Take a look at all trail running shoes.
 

Hiking method

High upper shoes are essential for autonomous hikers. Mid upper shoes may be suitable for hikers traveling with a light bag or even approach shoes for those with mountain trained feet. Here's some examples of models that might be interesting for you :  Lowa Arco GTX Mid, Meindl Himalaya MFS GTXSalomon Outline Mid Gtx, Millet Super Trident GTX Hoka One One Sky Arkali Dragonfly.
 

For GR20 hikers, finding the right backpack to accompany them throughout their trip is essential. It is important to find a backpack that fits both your body shape as well as your needs, so that becomes a friend rather than an enemy, since it wil significantly determine wether or not your GR20 hike is successful. 


Some examples of lightweight bag models:  Deuter Ac Lite 22, Millet Ubic 30, Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45, Osprey Skimmer 28Salomon Out Day 20 & Osprey Talon 18.

Some examples of heavy bags for trekking:  Deuter Aircontact 50Fjällräven Kajka 100Ferrino Rambler 75, Osprey Xenith 75Millet Prolighter 60 & Lowe Alpine Kulu 65.


Take a look at all our hiking boots.