Birder's Guide

NOV 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 28 of 51

November 2017 | Birder's Guide to Gear 27 builds and fantastic tread, these shoes can promise your feet less soreness com- pared to a day hiking in a normal pair of boots. For those looking for that extra something to make their long hike to Boot Spring for their ABA Area Colima Warbler a bit less intimidating, a trail running shoe just might be the perfect investment. I can recommend taking a look at Salomon, La Sportiva, Brooks, Saucony, and Altra. Strap Yourself In There are situations which may result in the desire for a shoe that offers superior ventilation at the cost of some protec- tion: a sandal! Sandals truly are a great shoe for birding. Quick-drying and comfortable, sandals can be worn nearly anywhere one does not have to contend with biting insects, cold, or walking tend to be far cheaper than the leather alternative, although they generally do not last as long. Second, the mate- rial's breathability is superior to leather, though it offers less protection against cactus spines, cheat grass, burrs, and the fangs of venomous snakes. In general, I would argue that synthetic hiking boots are the superior option over leather for the vast majority of birding exploits, though in the end this decision comes down to personal preference and taste. Hitting the Trail An alternative to the standard hiking boot is the trail running shoe. Relatively new to the market, trail running shoes have achieved much wider recognition and use in recent years. What this shoe lacks in robustness and ankle support, it more than makes up for in general comfort. With their light, ergonomic n The author laces up his trusty leather boots, which have kept his feet safe and comfortable for many years of rough, backcountry birding and exploration. Photo © Marcel Such

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