As someone who never hiked in her life until she was in her twenties, how could I have known the importance of hiking shoes? I did not know until one of MY BIG TOENAILS FELL OUT. Ok, too much information, but it’s better to read this happened to someone else than to look down and wonder how long it will take for your big toenail to grow back (approximately three long months). If you’re wondering what gear you need to start hiking, I created this Gear Guide for Beginner Hikers to help you prepare. We all start somewhere, and unless you grew up hiking (which I didn’t), some of us have to learn through trial and error.