Footwear for the Family

As mentioned in my About Me, I didn’t own snowboots for the first 4-5 years I lived in Utah. I lived in denial and rainboots, and was always too cold. The right footwear can be a deciding factor for enjoying hiking.

My first pair of snowboots were from WalMart. While I avoid that store, the boots worked very well for years. Costco (again!) had affordable Khombu snowboots a couple of years ago that I invested in. They’re comfortable and flexible and good for day-to-day wear, hiking, and snowshoeing. In the summer, I feel like there are many more options. I’ve hiked in old tennis shoes which work just fine on 3-4 mile hikes. Our go tos in the warm months are our Keens. I like being able to get our feet wet and know they’ll dry shortly. I’ve found some secondhand, and been lucky to get hand me downs from friends as well. My oldest has even hiked in flip flops with the back strap, but that’s not for me! I talk about the kids’ snowboots in the Kids’ Winter Gear post. Basically, I’ve been lucky in finding good options at Kid to Kid, and Zula and Northside are the brands they have now. We also have a Columbia outlet near us that has consistent amazing deals. A month or two ago we found waterproof tennis shoes for the kids for around $15 each. They’re slip ons which is a plus (less work for me!), and they seem to be quite comfortable. 

Another great option, especially with more demanding hikes, is dedicated hiking boots. I have fairly weak ankles that roll often, so mid height boots have helped a lot. My feet are also really big. If yours are too, don’t be afraid to try out men’s boots. My hiking boots are men’s and they’re great. My husband wears regular tennis shoes for hiking. 

When you’re looking for hiking specific shoes, you’ll want to size up at least a half size to a full size. This is because going downhill causes your toes to slide forward, and if you don’t have enough room you’ll end up with sore and potentially bleeding toes. I sized up one full size (pushing me into men’s) and even still my toes graze the front of my boots while going downhill.

One thing I haven’t quite figured out is which shoes will keep my feet comfortable for longer hikes. Generally, by mile 4 or 5, my feet are hurting.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m carrying an extra 35+ lb on my back, or if my shoes are not good quality, or if it’s due to lack of conditioning. It doesn’t stop me but is definitely an inconvenience.

What are your favorite hiking shoes? Any tips for hurting feet?

Adult Winter Gear


It’s cold! Winter can be a deterring time to get outside, but good layers make a huge difference. I’ve got your basics here, with lots of jacket options because I love them.




-Baselayers (wool or silk or synthetic)

-Insulating layers (I use fleece)

-Windproof/waterproof shell

-Wool socks




-Baby carrier

-Water bottle or hydration pack

-Fanny pack


Start with good base layers! I have loved the Paradox base layer tights, which are a wool blend. I found mine at Costco a couple of years ago, and then bought more on eBay. 32degrees is a great brand as well, with synthetic base layers and awesome and affordable packable down jackets. With these tights, I layer two together as one alone is see through (found out the hard way!).


As above, on top of my baselayer shirt, I use fleece pullovers or jackets. Both my Columbia fleece and my The North Face fleece work great. The North Face one seems to hold on to stink more easily, but both keep me very warm. If you feel like treating yourself, try this Patagonia pullover-I wish all of my clothes were made of this material!


Rain/wind jacket on top

When it’s a windy day but not too cold, I’ll put a shell on top-I like this, and it works for rain too. If it’s pretty cold and windy, I’ll put an insulated jacket on. Usually, since we don’t ski or snowboard and I have a kid strapped to me, I don’t need a true snow shell to keep warm. But I have this in case I do, like when we sled together. 

In this picture above, it was 45-50 degrees and windy. I had doubled up Paradox baselayer wool blend tights, 32 Degrees baselayer long sleeved shirt, Columbia fleece, hiking boots, and Kinderpack. All day I was toasty, and a little too warm at points with the baby on my back. I love my wool socks from Costco (no longer available), and use snowboots from there too by Khombu. I can’t find the exact ones, but these look similar.

KP for life

My favorite baby carrier is the Kinderpack. While pricier than some options, they are worth every penny if you can swing it. I’ve tried other carriers (Tula, Ergo, stretchy wraps, woven wraps) and for hiking, the KP is bomb. It’s extremely comfortable, has well padded straps, and a great knee to knee seat. I’ve had mine for almost 2 years and it is still in great condition, after hundreds of miles of hiking and day to day use.

^ Me, all geared up.

What are your favorite things for winter?