“However, there’s a balance between lightweight and durability. So while some products may be ‘ultra’ light, they may also be sacrificial in terms of long-term usage – something that took a few years for customers to learn.” Chris Shaffer covers the outdoors for the Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The outdoor industry is constantly striving to design hiking shoes that offer the most comfortable, lightweight and sturdy boot available to outdoor adventurers. For the past several years, that trend is racing toward lightweight shoes. Although there’s still a need for heavy, durable boots, many hikers and manufactures are jumping on the bandwagon of creating light and fast hiking boots. Some question the durability, comfort and stability of these boots in adverse conditions, but they are guaranteed to treat you well anywhere in the mountains, hills and valleys of Southern California and on day hikes in the Sierra. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “After comfort and fit, consumers want support and protection and then durability in their products,” Sachs says. “These things add weight to a boot. When you add a more sturdy sole unit or upper material, it is thicker and therefore weighs more. But it can also protect the foot and ankle better and add to a better experience. If someone is day hiking, without a pack – on easy terrain like SoCal beaches – you do not need that.” Light and fast hiking boots are here to stay. “The heavy, built-up hiking boots and bulky multisport shoes are a thing of the past,” says Keith Anderson, director of marketing for Wolverine World Wide’s Outdoor Group, maker of the popular Merrell hiking shoes. “Consumers clearly want lighter, faster, high-performance footwear in this era of the fastpack and speed-hike. Merrell recognized this trend several years ago and has addressed the demand for lighter weight with durability in every shoe we make, whether for the trail or the street.” Lightweight hiking boots are becoming standard in Southern California. Nearly all day hikes in the region require only a lightweight shoe. It’s those who plan to head off the trail that might want to purchase a shoe with more stability. “The lightweight buzzword that permeated the outdoor world several years ago created a new and, arguably, refreshing spirit for outdoor products,” says Jason Stadler of Asolo. “Somewhat coinciding with the workforce’s inability to get out and play as much as previous generations, people wanted products that they were able to take on a variety of adventures while not compromising performance or support. This buzz quickly became the defining mentality behind product design. “The question is not one of advantage and disadvantage. It comes down to what the boots are going to be used for,” says Peter Sachs, general manager of LOWA. “What kind of terrain, how heavy a pack, etc. A lightweight hiking boot will not work with a 40-pound pack. At the same time, a lightweight hiking boot is not needed for walking on the beaches of Southern California.” Nonetheless, critics argue that a lightweight boot sacrifices many of the important facets of a hiking boot.