Alabama Sales Tax Holiday: July 21-23

Alabama schools are announcing plans for the new school year, which means it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school gear. Alabama’s 18th annual back-to-school sales tax holiday is just around the corner! 

Every year on the third full weekend of July, the state of Alabama allows certain items that are typically purchased for the school year to be sold state tax-exempt for one weekend only.

The Legislature created the three-day sales and use tax holiday in 2006 to help trim costs for parents. Popular items include:

See below for all of the details for this year’s sales tax holiday.

Man and women on college campus with backpacksBack-to-school sales tax holiday details

Friday, July 21, 2023, at 12:01 am through Sunday, July 23, 2023, at midnight.

Throughout the state, businesses are required to participate in the state tax holiday if the county or municipality they are located in participate. Check out this comprehensive list of counties and municipalities that are participating this year. 

What supplies and products qualify: 

  • Clothing $100 or less per article of clothing, footwear included
  • Computers and computer supplies, a single purchase of $750 or less
  • School and art supplies, $50 or less per item (i.e. backpacks, lunch boxes, paper and pencils, etc.)
  • Books $30 or less per book

Check out this list for a more detailed description of each category.

What you need to know

  • Make sure that the county or municipality you are shopping in is participating before you go.
  • Check out (or bring with you) this overview of items that are tax-exempt. While it says “clothing,” items like glasses, watches, and breathable masks are not included. 


We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or in-store pickup! #BeOutdoors

On Running Cloud Shoes Footwear Sizing Guide

Looking for a new pair of On Shoes and not sure which size to get? Check out our guide to find the perfect size On Shoe for you, and shop with confidence! And check out our On Shoe Size Chart to figure out the exact size.


Once you figure out the perfect size, shop On Shoe Styles here!

On Cloud Shoes come in a lot of different styles, supports, and sizes.

It’s not always easy to find your exact size in a new shoe. So, find the right fit using these tips and tricks.

  1. Figure out the activities and environments you’re going to use your On Clouds in.
    If you’re running, exercising, or hiking, that’ll make a difference in the fit you need. If you’re wearing them out and about, with casual or work wear, you’ll have different needs from the fit.
  2. Take your shoe measurements.
    The easiest way to get your foot measured is heading out to one of our stores, but you can do it at home too. Measuring your foot is super easy. Check out this guide from WikiHow to get your foot measurements. Now, you can compare that measurement to the shoe’s size in Centimeters. Use our On-Running Size Chart to find the perfect fit!
  3. Do you need additional support for pronation or injuries?
    Pronation is simply the natural roll of your foot to the left or right. Sometimes you need more support to counteract the long-term effects of it. You can find more info here.

Now that you know your activity, support needs, and foot measurements, let’s check out some On-Clouds! A general rule of thumb with On-Cloud’s is that they fit like most running shoes, with a few exceptions.

For runners who need a cushioned, lightning-fast shoe:

If we just described you, look for a solid heel lock and forefoot strike for controlled and explosive takeoffs. On’s running options include daily trainers like the Cloudswift and the Cloudflow. There are other more technical options too, like the Cloudflyer and Cloud X. These running styles feature a classic fit and match your normal size, most of the time. Although, you should go a half-size smaller from your size in Nike Flyknit or Asics shoes.

If you’re used to running in more cushioned shoes like Brooks, Saucony, or Hoka, you want a shoe with space. Go for a more supportive shoe like the Cloudmonster for road-running, and the Cloudvista for trail-running. These shoes feature a roomy fit with enhanced midsole support. So, they’re perfect for flat-footed runners who need extra toebox space.

For everyday wear, so you can stay comfortable and stylish:

Comfortable and stylish, in other words, the iconic and updated Cloud 5 is a great choice. This updated style is easy to fit as the updated style is true to size. This makes them great for everyday wear and travel. Usually, your best bet is to go with your regular size. If you jump between half-sizes often though, it’s better to go with the half-size up.

Wider feet struggle to find the perfect fit since the Cloud features a narrow toebox and a roomier heel. If your size in Nike or Asics feels slightly tight or takes some breaking in, try a half-size down in the Clouds. *Insider tip: some women with a wider foot find success in the men’s style as it is naturally a wider profile.

Overall, it’s simple to find your size in On-Cloud running shoes. Look at your normal shoe sizes and know the basic shape and needs of your foot. Knowing this, as well as the ideal fit and performance for your activities, is crucial. That way, you can get your next pair of Clouds with confidence! And remember, if you need help, feel free to reach out to us in-store or online via webchat or phone, we’re happy to help! Enjoy life in the Clouds.


Interested in shopping On by your activity? Click here to find the pair that is best for you. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

New Arrival: Hoka Bondi 8 Running Shoe

The all-new Hoka Bondi 8 Running Shoe is a revolutionary shoe, redesigned.

With high-tech features like a new foam sole compound, a reconfigured upper, and a better fit for superior performance. Take a deep dive with us as we break down what’s new and why you’re going to love it.



From top to bottom, the Hoka Bondi 8 is all-new.

Building on the foundation of previous models, this update redesigned the sole. The low-profile foam and sturdier midsole make them perfect for long runs, walks, or shifts on your feet. The changes include an updated midsole composition with an extended heel for extra support. The billowed grooves on the side provide added impact protection. This midsole design gives this model a bouncy, responsive feel that keeps you on the move. While previous styles were often pillow soft, they didn’t provide the necessary firmness to support your feet. This style solves those issues with flexible cushions and superior support. And the outsole is more durable than ever thanks to targeted rubber abrasion pads. Shop Men’s. Shop Women’s. Shop all Bondi 8.



 The redesign also features an all-new upper .

With an integrated memory foam collar, a more plush mesh, and a more tapered fit, it’s ready to go for summer runs. The integrated memory foam collar provides key structural support. That support keeps your ankles comfy without compromising on performance. The plush mesh upper provides room to stretch and lets your feet breathe. Thanks to the technical mesh construction, it doesn’t add extra weight, and still cradles your foot. The updated taper fit is a better option for narrow feet, and the style comes in a 2E width as well for wider feet. The upper comes together to create a structured, breathable design that’s light enough for easy runs.

This update transforms the Bondi from a squishy, pillow-soft trainer into a competent and supportive recovery shoe with the cloud-like feel you love. If you’re staying on your feet and need soft support over long distances, this shoe is for you. From long runs to long shifts, comfort doesn’t stop with the Hoka Bondi 8 Running Shoe. Shop Men’s. Shop Women’s. Shop all Hoka.


Love Hoka but looking for a different style for your activity? Shop all Hoka styles here!


Find your favorite back-to-school apparel and gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or in-store pickup! #BeOutdoors

How to pick outdoor shoes; a two part guide.

How to pick outdoor shoes.

Part Two

Trail shoes versus hiking shoes. Light hiking boots versus trail-running shoes. Outdoor shoes are confusing sometimes. Use the guide below to learn more about each style and figure out what’s best for you.

Once you’ve determined all your feet’s needs using our guide, you can start looking at what kind of shoe you’d like. We’ve broken these different styles down below with some recommendations at the end. 

6 different styles of outdoor shoes

  • Hiking sandals:
    The hiking sandal is a lightweight sandal upper with a hiking-style sole. These are best for quick adventures where you want a versatile pair of day-hike shoes that can get wet.
  • Hiking shoes:
    The trail shoes are best for day-hikes and weekend adventures. The best hiking shoes have a technical upper and midsole without the ankle support of boots. These are a good option if you have ankle pain or don’t want something too warm. If you have problems with rolling ankles or stability issues though, a full boot may be better.
  • Hiking Boots:
    The boot is an above-the-ankle style hiking shoe with full control. These are a staple of hiking for a reason. The best hiking boots give you full control and ankle support and keep you comfortable mile after mile. While some dislike the extra weight and stifling warmth, boots are your best bet for support.
  • Trail-running shoes:
    The trail-running shoe is an upgraded version of the running shoe. Trail-runners take the core of a running shoe and add a grippier outsole, sturdier midsole, and a water-resistant upper. As a result, they’re durable shoes that take on anything. The advantage to trail runners is their breathability and comfort. They can, however, wear down easier and don’t offer the exact support you need for walking.
  • Light-hikers:
    Light-hiker is a term for hiking boots/shoes made with lightweight, synthetic materials. They’re breathable, lightweight alternatives to old-school boots. If you prefer a breathable shoe with less support and comfort than traditional boots, consider a light-hiker. They are best for shorter trips and hotter environments.
  • Approach shoe:
    An approach shoe is a combination of climbing and hiking shoes. Approach shoes are designed for hiking, “scrambling”, and light climbing. Approach shoes handle day-hiking well but are specifically made for climbing.

Now that you’re familiar with these styles, check out some of our suggestions. There are plenty of shoes and boots that fit each need, but we’ve shared our favorites to help you pick. If you’re still on the fence, stop by one of our stores or reach out online via email or on the phone!


For injury prevention: 

The full-height boot is best to accommodate ankle and foot problems. While you sacrifice some breathability, extra support and control are essential to keep you safe. You can also look at dedicated hiking shoes if you prefer. A shoe is a better option than a boot if you struggle with ankle/calf swelling or hot spots. 

  • Our favorite:

    Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots – These are mid hiking boots with a mesh and nubuck leather upper. The removable metatomical dual-density EVA footbed is perfect for flat feet.

For warmer weather: 

Try a light-hiking option or a non-waterproof trail running shoe. Oftentimes, these stripped-down shoes are the most breathable and still provide support. For day hikes on maintained paths, you don’t always need the extra weather resistance. High-quality wool hiking socks are often all you need.

  • Our favorite:

    Altra Men’s Lone Peak 6 Trail-Running Shoes – These low-top running shoes are great for wider feet with unrivaled trail support. Thanks to the aggressive tread and the breathable mesh upper, they’re a great choice for hot hikes.

For mixed-use: 

If you don’t want a dedicated pair of trail shoes and only need a supportive option for short hikes, try a more dedicated running shoe. Running shoes provide all the support of a trail shoe in a lighter package. And while they aren’t made for serious terrain, they’re still great on maintained trails. Plus, you can go from the gym straight to the trailhead!

  • Our favorite:

    Hoka Men’s Clifton 8 Running Shoes – These versatile running shoes feature a plush midsole with a breathable upper. For short trips on well-maintained trails, they’re supportive and comfortable enough.

For your first real pair of hikers: 

When you’re ready to upgrade from your starter boots, check out a mesh option. These padded yet breathable uppers are perfect for long thru-hikes. They’re versatile enough for three-season use.

  • Our favorite:

    Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Shoes – These trail-running inspired boots are perfect for hiking. The rugged Missiongrip outsole and tech lacing upper have unlimited grip. The breathable upper makes a world of difference in sweltering heat.

For versatile trail-use:

If you want trail-running performance that can still tackle day hikes, check out trail-running shoes from On, The North Face, and Salomon. These are great for maintained trails.

  • Our favorite:

    On Men’s Cloudvista Trail-Running Shoes – These trail-running shoes combine a light mesh upper with a Missiongrip outsole. Their breathable design is perfect for hot trails while the DWR coating keeps out moisture. Go as fast or as slow as you want with superior control and light, breathable design.

For a spare pair of trail shoes:

Check out some hiking sandals. They’re great as camp shoes. Since they strap onto the side of your pack, won’t hold water, and can make runs to the camp store, they’re all you need. If you’re car camping and don’t want heavy-duty boots, a pair of hiking sandals are a great alternative. And if you’re around water, having a pair of sandals with a toecap is great for exploring waterways safely.

  • Our favorite:

    Chaco Sandals – Try a pair of Chacos for versatile trail needs. From camp shoes to beach sandals, they do anything and everything comfortably.


So whether you’re heading out for a day-hike or hitting the trails for a while, step in confidence.


Wanting to get out and explore? Find what you need for your next adventure and explore the fresh. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

What makes an outdoor shoe?

A two-part guide on how to pick outdoor shoes.

Part One

When looking for new shoes, there are a lot of factors to consider. Outdoor shoes are easy to pick with this guide. And there’s a simple process to finding the best pair of hiking shoes. So follow along and use this guide to ensure you get the right pair of hiking shoes to enjoy your time outdoors.

To figure out what shoes are best for you, start by understanding your feet’s needs. This process is simple. First, you need to figure out your shoe size. It varies based on the manufacturer and the style. Check out some size guides from our top brands like On, Hoka, and Altra. The easiest way to get your shoe size is to stop by one of our store locations. There, you can get your size taken using a Brannock Device. This measures the length and width of your foot and identifies flat feet or arch problems. You can also measure your foot size at home following these simple steps.

The next piece is understanding your foot’s needs. Feet are a complex body part and shoes can make or break your time outdoors. We’ve broken down some basic considerations below and what factors to consider with each shoe component when shopping for your next pair of shoes. 

Pronation vs supination

  • Pronation is the natural motion as your foot rolls from heel to toe while running or walking. While it is often seen as a bad thing, it’s normal for your foot to pronate a little bit. Overpronation is the real problem. Overpronation occurs when your foot overcorrects for this rolling motion and flattens your arch. This puts too much pressure on your arch, heel, and toes leading to issues with your foot and ankle. Overpronation is best solved with supportive and cushioned shoes. Some of the best options for overpronators are Hoka, Keen, and Altra.
  • Supination is the opposite of pronation. Supination occurs when your foot rolls too far outward. This causes extra pressure on your heel, toes, and ankles. It’s especially dangerous as your body distributes too much weight over the thinnest part of your foot. Supination is best treated with supportive shoes, like Overpronation. Check out support options from Keen, Salomon, and On.


Stability vs neutral

Shoes are often classified as either stable or neutral.

  • Stability shoes include extra support on the inside of the shoe to accommodate overpronation.
  • A neutral shoe is more balanced and features an even amount of support spread over the entire sole. Thanks to the more firm foam, neutral shoes are often better for those who want a fast and light option.


Always try on to find your perfect fit by following these steps:

  • First, shop for shoes when it’s warmer out and at the end of the day. That way you can account for foot-swelling and get the best size. This also lets you test how breathable the shoe is.
  • Next, when you put them on but before you lace them up, knock the heel against a surface to set your foot as far back in the shoe as possible. 
  • Then, lace them up. When lacing boots, be sure to avoid over-tightening them on hot spots. If your toes are in pain after a hike, try a looser lacing around the toebox. If you often feel numbness in your feet, try a lacing pattern that doesn’t cross over the top of your foot. 
  • Finally, walk in them a lot. Walk on inclines and loose surfaces if possible, and up and down a hill. 


If you aren’t able to shop for shoes in person, try getting something from a brand you’ve worn before. Shoe manufacturers use the same “last”, the wooden foot model that the shoe is constructed on. That lets you order with more confidence since you’re used to the fit.


When you start shopping for shoes you may find a lot of confusing information. Shoes are simple. The average pair of outdoor or trail running shoes feature these key parts:


The upper of a shoe is key to preventing pain and maximizing comfort. With a padded mesh construction, most outdoor shoes lock onto your foot from the heel. This keeps the midsole in place while ensuring your feet can wick moisture.

Key terms:

  • One-piece liner:
    A liner is a part of the shoe that lines the inside so the shoe fits your foot as one piece.
  • Collar:
    A shoe collar is a rigid piece at the top of the heel and around the top of the laces. The collar ensures the shoe holds its shape after you tie the laces. It also makes the shoe easy to put on. Some collars are a flexible knit material, while others are rigid foam blends.
  • Toe box:
    The toe box is the upper section where your toes sit. Often, the toe box is the first part of your shoe to wear out due to constant friction from your pinky and big toes. Shoes with a wider toe box, such as Altra’s, will help if you have this issue.
  • Upper:
    An upper features a combination of polyester mesh and other materials to create a padded, breathable structure. Mesh is preferable for day hiking and running thanks to its breathability and comparable support. 
  • Heel cup:
    The heel cup is the back part of the midsole. It’s a critical part of the shoe. The heel cup keeps your shoe from slipping down at the back and maintains the structure of the shoe as you walk. Heel cups use a firm plastic that curves around the back of your foot to provide rigidity. The most important factor with heel cups is to ensure your shoes fit and feel good on long hikes.


Waterproof hiking boots come in three main options. These include waterproof membranes, a chemical treatment, or a water-resistant shell. These range from how water-resistant they are and how breathable they are. The more breathable a waterproof treatment is, the less waterproof it usually is. We’ve summarized these options below. Check out the descriptions below to ensure you pick the best waterproofing option for you!

  • DWR:
    Durable water-resistant chemical treatment is the standard waterproofing option. DWR is a moisture-wicking chemical layer that coats porous fibers. This prevents them from absorbing water but is small enough to not block airflow. Oftentimes a DWR isn’t considered a “fully waterproof” option since you can’t submerge the boots. The DWR option is great for day hiking shoes that might only handle a bit of ambient moisture from mud and rain.
  • Waterproof membrane:
    A membrane is overlapping layers of mesh and polyester. The top layer is often a waterproof layer with tiny holes, smaller than a water molecule, that let the shoe breathe. The inner layers provide a cushion and space for moisture to flow off your skin. The membrane is best for thru-hiking and camping on the trail, as the waterproofing keeps your feet dry. This option isn’t as breathable, so get moisture-wicking hiking socks like Smartwool or Swiftwick. Most use either Gore-Tex or their own
  • Water-proof shell:
    A shell is the most water-proof option. A shell is a fully waterproof outer without a “membrane”. Shell options are made for technical needs like mountaineering or similar terrains. A shell option is best for navigating snow. There are some hybrid shell options, like Sorel Duck Boot. These have a breathable leather upper with a full rubber toe cap and outer. 



The midsole of your shoe creates stability and support. Modern shoes utilize a blend of plush EVA foam with a sturdy TPU foam inside for support and structure. 

Key terms:

  • EVA Midsole
    EVA is a type of foam found in shoes. These midsoles are popular thanks to their responsive and comfortable foot feel. It’s also very durable and maintains its support for a long time. It’s rare to find outdoors shoes made without EVA foam, but pay attention to a “TPU” foam as well. TPU is a denser foam that provides more support for more technical options. TPU is often found in approach shoes, mountaineering boots, and trail runners.
  • Stack Height
    The stack height is the height of the actual sole, from the bottom to the insole where your foot sits in the shoe. This measurement lets you know how bulky the outsole is.
  • Shank:
    A shank is a rigid piece of plastic that runs the length of the outsole. It provides structure and keeps the shoe rigid through the stepping motion. Then, the shank flexes and provides the “bounce” as you roll your foot forward.



The outsole provides the necessary grip and structure to move you forward. Some shoes use a proprietary outsole called Missiongrip™. Missiongrip™ features a special diamond shape and rubber compound. When looking for trail shoes, the sole only makes a difference if you’re running versus hiking. Trail-running shoes need an aggressive tread, with deep, grippy channels and lugs. Hiking shoes need a wider, stable forefoot with grippy heels.

Key terms:

  • Drop:
    A shoe’s drop is the distance from the highest part of the outsole down to the lowest part. It measures how much curve there is in the shoe’s sole. This helps you figure out if the shoe is a good fit for your foot. While the average shoe has a 6mm drop, like Hoka or On, some have an 8-10mm drop like The North Face. Other brands like Altra are famous for having a 0mm drop and can be a good option for flat-footed hikers.
  • Missiongrip™/rubberized outsole:
    Some shoes use a proprietary rubber blend for their outsoles. The Missiongrip™ outsole technology from On Running specifically use a diamond-shaped tread with a super-sticky rubber for long-lasting performance. Other outsoles use specially formulated rubber to maintain grip.


Now that you’re familiar with the components of outdoors shoes, you can shop with confidence. Check out part two of our outdoor footwear guide, launching Thursday April 21, 2022, for an explanation of different outdoor shoe styles and which one is best for you!


Wanting to get out and explore? Find what you need for your next adventure and explore the fresh. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Introducing the all-new On Cloud 5


Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the On Running craze, the new On Cloud 5 Shoes are a great choice! Simple, stylish, and supportive, they’re fully-cushioned running shoes. The perfect sneakers for business casual outfits and brewery outings, they go with anything and everything. As if new colors weren’t enough to love, the brand-new On Cloud 5 is the ultimate do-it-all shoe. So let’s break down what’s new and why you will love it! If you’re looking for our On Shoe Size Chart click here!



New, breathable antimicrobial mesh for odor-free style made from 98% recycled materials. Great for you, better for the planet.

The whole shoe is constructed of 44% recycled materials so you can feel as good as you look, while doing good. Plus, the no-sew taped reinforcements secure the sockliner without any abrasion. The closed-channel forefoot ensures a friction-free fit with a clean finish. What does that mean exactly? That means these shoes fit perfectly, breathe effortlessly, and eliminate rough elements that cause chafing. We’re sold already.


Updated Speedlace configuration ensures the perfect fit for easy-breezy comfort every time you wear them. Say it with us, “ahhhh”.

The bungee cord Speedlaces feature an updated configuration for a more customizable lacing. With a perfect slip-on style and adjustable fit, they’re as versatile as ever. The new upper keeps the clean lacing loops through the forefoot for a supportive structure. And if you need extra support, they still come with athletic laces in the box, so you can step to your own beat.


A redesigned midsole ensures your shoe stays in place and locks in at the heel. So you can step with confidence.

On Running redesigned the shoe’s interior to maximize your control. The updated heel hold locks the shoe into place directly under your center of gravity. Basically, that lets you control the shoe like a natural extension of your foot, without slipping or sliding. As a result, your forefoot strike hits exactly where it should, every time. It’s really all in the details.

Zero-Gravity Foam

The new outsole with specialized Zero-Gravity foam delivers top-notch shock absorption and energy return. So you get a light, powerful bounce that keeps you moving forward. So like…moon shoes?

Close, cloud shoes. The newly designed outsole provides max cushioning without extra weight, so you can step light. And they’re not kidding when they say light. Weighing in at only 250 grams (203 grams in the women’s style), these are one of the lightest fully-cushioned running shoes on the market. Hence…cloud shoes. 🙂


The iconic CloudTec cells on the outsole feature an updated Abrasion pad for next-level traction.

Don’t go away just yet, the fun doesn’t stop there! The iconic CloudTec cells on the outsole feature an updated Abrasion pad for next-level traction. The titular CloudTec cells incorporate a fluid and flexible structure directly underfoot that disperses impact while retaining your natural gait. This design keeps you propelling forward while supporting your feet without slowing you down.


The On Cloud 5 Shoes feature an updated Speedboard custom-designed for the Cloud with a full-coverage CloudTec sole.

Unlike previous styles that had dual-soles with a full-length channel and Speedboard, the Cloud 5 wraps under the forefoot and heel to capture the Speedboard energy return while minimizing space for hazards to get stuck. That may not make a ton of sense or it may sound too good to be true, but trust us, this update is stellar.

Other helpful links to help you find your new favorite pair:


Now that you know all about the new Cloud 5, pick your color and shop online now or come visit one of our locations and be one of the first to try them on! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. #BeOutdoors

Mother’s Day Top Gift: On Cloud shoes

A mom-on-the-go deserves shoes that keep her comfortable, day in and day out. Her new pair of On-Cloud shoes will do all that and more! Fun colors, comfy soles, and stylish looks, the Cloud shoes fit in anywhere, be it jogging on Jemison Trail or hanging out in Railroad Park. 

For the all-around Mom who is always on the go

Comfort + Style + Everyday

Walking on clouds has never been easier. Check out the On Cloud for a cute and easy-going sneaker that stays comfortable all day. Anything from errands to workouts, work to play is better when you’re in a pair of On Clouds.


For the Mom who is always running somewhere

Comfort + Running + Style

For the most intense activity, check out the On-Running Cloudswift. Perfect for day trips, workouts, and anything else, these supportive running shoes are as comfy as they are stylish. With a sock-liner upper and a structured sole, they keep your foot feeling good.


For the active Mom who likes to also like to mix in a workout

Comfort + Mixed Training + Style

For sportier needs, the On Cloud X is good-to-go, from errands to the gym. Super-supportive and ultra-comfortable, these will keep you light on your feet all day long. Don’t just take our word for it, check out some reviews!



Ready to be outdoors this Spring? We have the Spring outdoor gear you need to get you back on the trails! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

Making the Most of Your Running Gear

By Cameron Sullivan

(Cameron Sullivan, a member of Alabama Outdoors’ eCommerce team, has been an avid trail runner since high school.)

When you’re starting out running, you’re faced with a lot of “essentials”. Though, they aren’t always essential. Some runners swear by 2 pairs of the same shoes, or only running in the same style of sock, and they’ll fight to the death over running shorts inseam lengths and brands. But it doesn’t really matter.

The basic gear is simple; a good pair of shoes, a few pairs of socks, and some mix and match outfits.

When you are ready to change up your runs with different surfaces and locations, keep in mind how your shoes will perform and protect you on each surface. Like most things, trail shoes, hiking shoes, and road-running shoes are not created equal. So we broke it down for you, here are some of the best do-it-all gear pieces.


Running shoes aren’t complicated. The basics are simple; a breathable mesh upper, a supportive insole, and a grippy outsole. The biggest difference between “road” shoes and “trail” shoes is the outsole. Road shoes use a smoother rubber, that supports your foot’s natural motion. Trail shoes have a sturdier rubber that’s durable and grips well. Fortunately, though, most road shoes can tackle basic trails with ease. Well-groomed, hard-pack dirt or crushed gravel is easy on your shoes and doesn’t require extra protection. For mixed-use shoes, a steady sole is the most important piece. 

Hoka Men’s Elevon 2 Running Shoe, Blue Fog

Hoka Elevon 2 

The Hoka Elevon 2 reimagines the essential running shoe. The oversized outsole features asymmetrical support wings for an individualized fit. The asymmetry continues in the tongue, wrapping the upper around your foot for excellent control. For a supportive daily runner that can tackle long runs with ease, this is your best bet. Shop Men’s. Shop Women’s.




On Running Women’s Cloudflyer, Glacier/RosebrownOn-Running Cloudflyer

On Running Cloudflyer

The On-Running Cloudflyer is an under-rated gem in the On collection. With less flash and more features than their other options, the Cloudflyer is a proven road-runner that ups the support. With Helion superfoam, their bespoke Speedboard, 3D-molded heel, and a wider outsole, it’s all about comfort and support. Take on long runs and daily miles without missing a beat. Shop Men’s. Shop Women’s.





Like running shoes, shorts are not complicated either. All you want is a moisture-wicking shell with a mesh liner. Breathability and comfort are essential. Good running shorts reduce chafing and keep valuables like keys and phones on-hand. There’s no need for trail-specific shorts, but these two options provide some great features that help on any run.

The North Face Men’s Movmynt Short



The North Face Men’s Movmynt Short 

These simple and versatile shorts are great. At home in the gym, on the trail, and everywhere in between, they work overtime. A liner brief and drawcord waistband maintain the fit, while a back pocket secures valuables. Shop here.




On Running Women’s Running Shorts



On-Running Women’s Running Shorts

An advanced blend of polyester and elastic, these performance shorts exceed expectations. The oversized waistband provides a functional and comfortable fit. Shop here.






A simple purchase that makes a world of difference, the right socks will make running easier. You just need the right combination of compression, moisture-wicking, and support. The best socks isolate support and provide lightweight, comfortable stretch, with comfy padding just where you need it. Check out these options for running socks that’ll keep your feet comfortable and help you recover quicker than ever.


Swiftwick Vision Six Impression Crew Sock, Great Smoky Mountains


Swiftwick Vision Six Impression National Parks Crew Socks

Compression and moisture-wicking are critical, and these socks do both with ease. The crew height provides superior protection and the compression and moisture-wicking aid recovery so you can get back out quickly. These come with a sweet design and a crew height, perfect for covering more of your leg on overgrown trails. Don’t these socks just make you want to travel and explore? It might be a hidden feature. Shop here





Swiftwick Maxus Zero Tab Socks


Swiftwick Maxus Zero Tab Socks

The gold-standard of running socks, the Swiftwick Maxus Zero Tab Socks do everything and more. These have been runners favorites for a long time, and for good reason. The isolated support covers high-friction parts of your foot, for superior protection. The collar has pull-tabs that keep them from slipping without extra bulk, and the lightweight top wicks moisture for max breathability. Shop here.




Ready to be outdoors this Spring? We have the Spring outdoor gear and fresh footwear styles you need to get you back outdoors! We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors

7 Tips for Buying Hiking Shoes & Boots


On Alabama trails, you’ll likely tackle uneven terrain so having sturdy boots or shoes is important.

Please note: due to local and state guidelines surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, some information below may not be accurate. Before you travel and plan your next adventure, make sure to check each business/park/campsite for any closures or guidelines and for the most up to date information. Enjoy your next Alabama adventure!


If you’re gearing up for a fall hike, the most important piece of gear you can buy is a good pair of shoes or boots. If you suffer blisters or a twisted ankle, it can ruin a day hike or wreck a backcountry trip. And when tackling uneven terrain strewn with rocks and roots, you’ll need sturdy footwear to protect your feet and provide plenty of support and traction.

When shopping for any type of outdoor gear, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many choices available and the myriad technologies that manufacturers tout. With shoes and boots, it’s no different. To steer you put you on the right path, we’ve highlighted seven key points to consider as you shop for your next pair of hiking footwear.

Treat your feet to quality footwear

Gear can be expensive, but it’s critical to invest in high-quality shoes or boots. If you go with something cheap, it’s more likely that seams or fabrics will leak, rip, or tear, and the outsole might wear down quickly or delaminate. Also, bargain boots sometimes don’t live up to their claims of being waterproof. You’re best bet is to buy the type of top-notch footwear found at specialty outdoor stores and footwear stores. If you buy shoes or boots online, be sure that you know how different brands fit your feet. Also, shop online well in advance of a trip so you’ll have time to swap out footwear that doesn’t fit.

Waterproof or non-waterproof?

Make the decision for waterproof or not waterproof. Daniel Oines


If you plan to trek in the rain or cross lots of streams in cool or cold conditions, consider buying waterproof shoes. But, remember that waterproof shoes can feel miserable when it’s warm and humid. A waterproof membrane will trap warm air and moisture around your feet, which can cause blisters and break down the skin. Also, in warm, dry areas, a waterproof shoe will make your feet hotter. So, think about the conditions you’ll face for the majority of your hiking.

Boots or low-cut shoes?

If you carry a daypack or a load of 30 pounds or less, you can usually wear a low-cut shoe for hiking. If you prefer more ankle support, you can also try a mid-cut shoe that rises a bit above the ankle. But, most backpackers carrying more than 30 pounds need a full boot, because it will offer the rigidity and midsole structure needed to bear a heavy load. Keep in mind that some low-cut shoes provide more support and traction than others. Talk with a salesperson or do research online to determine whether shoes offer a decent support system for your feet.

Test shoes in the store

Try shoes and boots out in the store before taking them on the trail. Amy Riddle


If you try on shoes in a store, take time to stroll around for several minutes to get a feel for any potential trouble areas. Also, some stores will have a small ramp you can walk on to see whether your foot slides forward while descending or your heel rises while ascending. If the store has a ramp, stand on it with your toes pointed downhill and stomp your feet as you walk down. If your toes don’t hit the end of the boots, you’re most likely good to go.

Consider using different insoles

Many companies outfit shoes with flimsy insoles that provide little support, so consider purchasing high-quality insoles. These will not only provide superior support, but they can also improve the fit of a shoe that has slightly more volume than you need. Be aware that insole brands carry different models of varying volumes to fit specific types of footwear.

Don’t forget about socks

Remember that you can fine-tune the fit of a shoe by using socks to occupy space. Preston Rhea


Want happy feet? You need the right socks as well as the right shoes. Avoid cotton socks, because they retain moisture and cause blisters. Instead, choose a merino wool sock or synthetic sock that will wick moisture from your feet. Also, remember that you can fine-tune the fit of a shoe by using socks to occupy space. Because socks are available in many different thicknesses, it’s important to try on shoes with the socks you’ll actually use while hiking.

Allow time to break in leather boots

Many hiking boots these days require very little break-in time, but companies still offer burly styles with relatively stiff leather for backpackers who will carry heavy loads. If you need heavy-duty boots, buy them weeks in advance of your trek so you’ll have time to break them in. This will help prevent blisters on the trail. To break in the boots, begin with brief hikes and work up to wearing them for long periods of time.


Find your favorite Fall gear at Alabama Outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors


Written by Marcus Woolf for RootsRated in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of AL and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Paul Gandy

Gear Gifts For ‘The Cool Climber’

Need a gift for the rock climber in your life but do not know where to start? We are here to help! We have picked the gifts for the elite climbers and climbers ready to expand their gear collection and climbing skills. When they open their gift, they will love it and be impressed with your pick, go ahead and take the credit.


Sterling Marathon Pro 10.1mm Single Dynamic Climbing Rope

Customer review, “superb series of ropes!” The thinnest Marathon rope, the Pro is no less a workhorse than its larger brethren. Drawing its design from the demands of professional guides, the Pro’s burly, long-lasting exterior is specifically designed to stand up to wear and tear of rigorous climbing. Well built but not overbuilt, it will put you at ease when working your demanding problem. The Pro exemplifies what a modern-day climbing rope should be: a work rope and redpoint rope.


Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Climbing Shoes

The Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Climbing Shoes is designed for all-day comfort so you can handle cragging and long gym sessions. The Momentum has two-strap Velcro closures with a flat last design that creates an entry-level shoe with high performance. The Momentum Rock Climbing Shoe also features a micro-fiber liner in the front of the shoe to minimize stretch and maximize comfort. They also come in Women’s and Kids!


Black Diamond Super Chute Rope Bag

Do not let the outside of the bag fool you. A rope bag is not your ordinary duffel or tote. Taking a traditional rope bag design and adding an innovative funnel-shaped rope tarp for super-easy loading, the Black Diamond Super Chute combines simplicity with practicality. Barrel compression straps and a courier-style shoulder strap allow for compact, comfortable carrying to and from the crag with up to an 80 m rope, and two internal tie-in points expedite rope management. So gift a bag sturdy enough to hold the toughest gear.


Black Diamond Half-Finger Glove

Safety first, and to keep them climbing longer! The Black Diamond Half-Finger Glove protects your hands without having to compromise dexterity. Lightweight, breathable, and durable glove for belaying and aid climbing. The combo of the breathable stretch-mesh and tough synthetic leather provides a firm grip and comfortable fit.



Metolius Micro Holds Various 5 Pack

For when the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor climbing, build your own wall at home. The Micro is Metolius’s smallest bolt-on hold. These holds make great footholds on almost any angle wall and many Micro shapes make excellent handholds, especially on low-angle walls. Attach easily with low-profile, 3/8″ flat-head bolts. Includes mounting hardware.



Metolius Upshot Belay Glasses

These look like they are from outer space and they perform like it, too. The Metolius Upshot Belay Glasses help reduce neck strain and fatigue at the gym or crag. The glasses are built with a field of vision that aims higher on the wall and has sport-style temples with low profile nose pads that fit better than your typical glasses. With increased peripheral vision and a better view of what’s ahead, your climb will be more comfortable.


Friction Labs Secret Stuff Alcohol-Free Liquid Chalk – 75ml

How do you keep your hands well-chalked and dry for the whole climb? Well, it’s this Secret Stuff. But really, it is! For the climbers who hate chalking up all the time, try the new Secret Stuff before a climb to minimize chalking, climb more using less. Secret Stuff is FrictionLabs’ answer to liquid chalk. Rub a small amount on your hands, let dry, and a perfect layer of the highest purity Magnesium Carbonate magically appears. Some experienced climbers also recommend using it as a base under your chalk for even better performance.


Metolius FS Mini II Jet Set 6 Pack

These carabiners are a great size for all-around use! The ultimate small, light, full-strength carabiner has been redesigned with a larger gate-opening and a lower weight. The flared nose profile helps reduce the risk of accidental gate openings.



ClimbOn Mini Lotion Bar 0.5 oz

It’s a superhero of skincare. ClimbOn Mini Lotion Bar 0.5 oz is lotion that will keep you on the crags or the wall hour after hour of pain-free (or at least blister-free) climbing. Designed for rock climbers skin, the ClimbOn Mini Lotion Bar 0.5 oz is used to help the body repair from extreme use and environmental conditions. It also comes in a 1 oz lotion bar and .5 oz mini lotion tube.




‘Tis The Season Of Giving! Check out our other gift guides to help you find the perfect gifts for the ones on your list. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, and we work to build loyalty one connection at a time. Visit one of our stores or take advantage of our shipping or curbside pickup! #BeOutdoors