Walking shoes are an essential part of everyday use for hikers and ramblers and simply anyone that gets out there walking! Walking shoes are a lightweight and varied alternative to traditional walking boots. Technically speaking there is not much difference between walking shoes and walking boots; the main difference is pretty much the height of the heel. Because of this, walking shoes don't give as much ankle support so if you're planning on going on long walks and hikes then a hiking boot would be advisible. However, on short walks, due to their lightweight composition walking shoes help to improve flexibility and movement. Comfortable walking shoes The soles of walking shoes vary widely. A Phylon midsole aids cushioning, comfort and flexibility when walking or running. A rubber midsole is very strong and sturdy and will provide you with an incredibly durable piece of footwear, however it may not be the most comfortable when out walking and hiking for hours! A walking shoe with a rubber midsole is perfect for everyday use including walking the dog across commons and parks or even going about your day to day tasks. A moulded foot bed is also popular as this will curve with the natural line of your foot providing cushioning and comfort. Great walking shoes have a varied range of advantages to them including waterproofing, breathability, being lightweight and comfortable whilst being fashionable too! Walking shoes should also offer great grip and shock absorbers making them perfect for varied terrain both in the countryside and about town in the city! Walking shoes technicality A Frame flex midsole provides 3 dimensional support, rigidity and flex throughout the natural cycle of movement whilst walking or running. This is an great feature for walking shoes and offers additional support and comfort. A Vibram upper sole provides strength and durability as well as additional support. Lacing is often an important factor with walking shoes; metal eyel ets offer a way of speed lacing and tightening the walking shoes. Whether you are walking and hiking in the mountains or strolling through the park, a toe rand is an important element with the aim of protecting the material at the front of the shoe from debris such as mud and stones. Zip Off Trousers I'm a great fan of the zip off trousers and if you're a enthusiastic walker, hiker or trekker and aren't in the know with these fantastic garments then you need to get involved! Zip off trousers pretty much are what they claim to be - they're a pair of trousers that you can literally zip off; typically around the knee area, to make a pair of shorts. Zip off trousers are fantastic for walking and hiking in the summer months and during milder weather as you can start your hike in trousers when it's cooler and then easily zip off to shorts to remain comfortable and warm. Due to the fact that zip off trousers are for walking, hiking and the like it makes sense that they are made fro m lightweight fabrics, many of which make them quick drying. There are some good rip stop fabrics out there which are perfect for walking through thorn ridden areas and forests where your zip off trousers may be liable to nicks and tears from plants. Rip stop fabric will catch the tear and prevent it from spreading - something you don't always consider when you're hiking through densely forested areas. Many zip off trousers are designed for either trek, terrain and travel - simply varying on the style and fit that you require and prefer. The difference between trek trousers, terrain trousers and travel trousers is defined through the different lightweight fabrics and quick drying materials used to make the zip off trousers. Well designed zip off trousers usually offer lots of pockets for hiking and walking accessories. Pockets on zip off trousers usually include large cargo pockets - ideal for maps, small water bottles and other larger items. These cargo pockets tend to be a bove the knee so continue to provide the added storage that these pockets provide if you choose to zip off and wear in the shorts style. Other pockets can often include back security zipped pockets and the standard hip pockets that most trousers offer.