Ein Pfad schlängelt sich durch eine Berglandschaft. Eine Spitze ragt am Horizont empor. Davor liegt das Kärlinger Haus.
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Author: Karen Hanne
Pictures: Thomas Hanne

Which mountain fits my shoes?

From spectacular views to athletic challenges, there are many good reasons to go for a hike. But if there’s one thing that can easily turn an invigorating day out into irksome drudgery, it’s the wrong footwear. A heavy mountain boot is just as unsuitable for a leisurely meander as a lightweight, low hiking shoe is for a demanding trek.

Vom Arber aus bietet sich bei guten Wetter ein toller Ausblick auf den umliegenden Bayerischen Wald.

Leisure route: Großer Arber

The Große Arber in the Bavarian Forest is a beautiful, easily accessible destination. It is criss-crossed by a plethora of trails ranging from logging roads to rocky paths. Those who wish to get to the summit as quickly as possible are advised to head out from the valley station of the Arber-Bergbahn cable car, following wide gravel paths past Berghaus Sonnenfels to the top. With a few mountain inns on the way and – in fair weather – excellent views of the surrounding Bavarian Forest and its peaks, the climb is well worth it. A further network of hiking trails around the Arber allows you to extend your route as you please. The small Arbersee lake is easily accessible on foot and makes a great motif for landscape photography.

The HAIX BLACK EAGLE Adventure 2.2 GTX Low trekking and trail shoe provides plenty of stability for hikes like these. Its multi-layered sole has a studded profile, and a PU double core ensures lasting shock absorption. It also protects you from sharp stones. The flexible laces of our Smart Lace system offer reliable support to get you to the top, even when the last few rocky stretches feel tough. Maintenance is very important if you want to keep your shoes in good working order for a long time. This applies to textile and leather shoes equally. To protect the waterproof properties of the outer material, we recommend that you apply a waterproofing spray.

Blick über das Steinerne Meer, Felsen ziehen sich durch die Ebene, zwei Wanderer gehen zu einer Hütte, die noch weit weg ist.

An ambitious hike: Steinernes Meer

Making your way from cabin to cabin, you head deeper into the mountains until roads and cable cars are but a distant memory. If a whole week of hiking seems a little too daunting, you can spend three days hiking the Steinernes Meer plateau between Berchtesgaden and Austria. A good level of fitness and sure-footedness are required for this hike, which takes you to the Riemannhaus. Once you reach the high plateau, spend your first night at the Ingolstädter Haus. In the morning, visit the Kärlingerhaus and the picturesque Funtensee lake, a traditional harvesting area of the gentian flower. Spend the night at the Riemannhaus, then head back on day three, using the same route you took for your ascent. As well as treating you to stunning views, this challenging circular hike enables you to enjoy beautiful sunrises in the mountains. Ambitious mountaineers can also climb the Großer Hundstod and, in fair weather, catch a glimpse of the southern slopes of the Watzmann.

The taller shaft of the HAIX BLACK EAGLE Nature GTX Mid is ideal for longer distances and steeper ascents. This mid-cut design offers a compromise between weight and support. It helps you hike even the roughest and rockiest terrain, as the shaft protects you from sharp edges. Nubuck leather is sturdier than textile materials and adapts to the shape of your foot over time. It is important to wear the right socks with a functional hiking shoe to ensure breathability and comfort. Cotton gets damp quickly and is slow to dry, which makes it less than ideal. Socks made from quick-drying, synthetic fibers combined with wool are preferable, as are natural materials, such as Merino wool.

Im Vordergrund steht das Gipfelkreuz des Bernadeienkopfs. Im Hintergrund ragt imposant die Alpspitze vor strahlend blauem Himmel empor.

Ready to rock: Schöngänge

A vertical ascent is not for everyone. The Schöngänge in the Wetterstein mountains are an excellent introduction to the world of via ferratas. Start at the valley station of the Kreuzeckbahn, either on foot along the road or by cable car. From the mountain station, a wide path leads past the Hochalm to the northern slope of Bernadeinkopf. Take a right to get to the towering Alpspitze. A via ferrata leads to the top, but it tends to get very busy on sunny weekends. Once you reach the foot of Bernadeinkopf, put on your helmet, harness, and via ferrata set. Heading right, follow the Schöngänge across rocky ridges, well secured with steel ropes. Take care: There is another via ferrata to the left, which leads to Bernadeinkopf. It is called the Mauerläufersteig and considered one of the toughest via ferratas in the German Alps. It is not suitable for beginners. The Schöngänge are a much easier route to the summit. From there, you can use the Nordwandsteig to get back down or continue southwards, hiking across relatively little-used terrain past the Bernadeinhütte back to the Kreuzeckbahn.

Long hikes across rough, rocky terrain are perfect conditions for the HAIX XVenture GTX. Its rubber sole protects you from slipping—even on wet rocks. The two-zone lacing system provides additional support. Built on a broader last, the Xventure is a great alternative for people with wider feet. Its soles can be replaced and many components can be repaired, which means this hiking shoe will stand the test of time and protect the environment as well as your bank account.

Zwei Wanderer sind in den Bergen unterwegs. Um sie herum wächst noch niedriges Gebüsch. Sie gehen auf einen Geröllhang in der Ferne zu. Der zieht sich zu felsigen Wänden hinauf. Dort entlang geht der Weg auf den Schinder.

For seasoned climbers: Schinder

If you’re sure-footed, comfortable with heights and have a bit of experience under your belt, there’s nothing to keep you from attempting the Schinder in the Tegernsee Mountains. It’s an opportunity to master two peaks at once: The Bavarian and the Austrian Schinder. The first stretch of the route is a lengthy walk from the hikers’ car park in Valepp. As you approach from the north, the thicket finally thins, and an increasingly rocky path leads you straight towards the two summits. Continue your ascent through the steep couloir, and you will come to understand where this mountain got its name: “Schinder” roughly translates to “tormentor.” Walking across steep slopes covered in loose gravel, head towards the Schindertor. A good profile sole is indispensable here. A via ferrata secured with steel ropes leads through the Schindertor, offering great views as well as a considerable physical challenge.

Albeit heavier than other models, a special mountaineering boot such as the HAIX Nature One is recommended for this type of hike. It has a high-quality Vibram rubber sole with the characteristic HAIX profile. A rubber edge strip runs around the entire hiking shoe, protecting the leather from mechanical damage, sharp edges, and damp. This reinforcement further provides additional stability on inclines, when one side of the sole bears a greater load than the other. If the Nature One is too tall for you, the HAIX Scout 2.0 is a good alternative. Its sole structure resembles that of the heavier model, but the back of the shaft is a little lower. Textile inserts ensure excellent breathability, so that the hiking shoe is pleasant to wear even in summery temperatures.

Preparation is key

As well as the right footwear and clothing, every hike requires thorough preparation. There are many providers of route descriptions and GPS tracks. Never forget to check the weather forecast before you head out, and always be realistic about your own fitness and experience in the mountains. If you can tick off all of the above, go ahead and enjoy your hike!

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