Sep 3, 2005 at 12:13 pm #1216731
Strange how little footwear is being discussed here, probably being the single most important item for a hiker.
For daytrips and shorter, multi-day hikes, I have been wearing a pair of low cut walking shoes (Meindl Magic’s or Montrail Stratos). But past few weeks, I have been walking in the Alps with a 40 lbs pack (actually the weight is just a guess but should be about right)carrying all the food for 10 days. Since large parts of the trip went over rugged trails or off trail above tree line, I was a bit reluctant to wear these low cut shoes, aspecially considering the heavy pack, and took my old but heavy leather walking boots. Definitely not as comfortable as a lightweight pair.
I’m going to retire these boots after years of abuse so this means I need a new pair and this is where the problem starts. I would prefer a light (2,5 lbs max)and flexible pair, but I still don’t know how suitable such a pair is for that kind of trip. At times, the rather stiff sole of my leather boots seemed an advantage.
What’s the experience of others with this issue ? Do you use trailrunners for just about everything or do you have the feeling that under certain circumstances (terrain, high packweight, …) you need something heavier/stiffer ?Sep 3, 2005 at 3:04 pm #1341209
Tom, I wear trail runners on every hike and haven’t had an issue. In the winter I carry roughly 18 lbs. and have even been exposed to temperatures well below zero. In the summer, even over rough terrain, I wear the same runners. I only carry about 10 lbs. in the summer so I can’t vouch for the support you will have with 40 lbs. in your pack. I can tell you this…once you decide to go with trail runners over boots, you will never go back. Enjoy! KDSep 3, 2005 at 4:19 pm #1341210
I would take a look at the Dunham Waffle Stomper Premier. It’s a fairly light fully supportive boot that is very well cushined for heavier packs. I use them all year round in very challenging terrain. I never have liked backpacking in trail running shoes, they just seemed to get torn up too fast. Anyways,check them out for a light weight boot.Sep 3, 2005 at 5:09 pm #1341212
It’s not that I’m not convinced that trailrunners or lightweight hiking shoes are more comfortable to wear. I use them for most of my hikes. It’s just that I don’t know how suitable they are for lenghtly trips, carrying heavier loads over alpine terrain. So what I particularly like to know is what the experience is of others with trailrunners or equal under similar conditions carrying loads of 30 lbs or more. And if there are conditions under which a stiffer boot has an advantage over trail runners.Sep 3, 2005 at 5:17 pm #1341213
It’s not that I’m not convinced that trailrunners or lightweight hiking shoes are more comfortable to wear. I use them for most of my hikes. It’s just that I don’t know how suitable they are for lenghtly trips, carrying heavier loads over alpine terrain. So what I particularly like to know is what the experience is of others with trailrunners or equal under similar conditions carrying loads of 30 lbs or more. And if there are conditions under which a stiffer boot has an advantage over trail runners.Sep 3, 2005 at 11:09 pm #1341219
I have two pairs that I use on different occasions, depending on terrain. For ‘sketchy’ trail, for lack of a better term…i.e. that with skree, etc, I wear Montrail Stratos XCR (gortex). These are very comfortable, very light (I believe just under 2 lbs), provide nice stability around the ankle, and are quick lace. No break-in required, at least for me. Note that they seem to fit about a half size small so for example, if you are a 10, go for a 10.5.
The second pair I have a Dunham Wafflestomper Terrastryders (who comes up with these names?). They are low cut but exceptionally stiff with excellent vibram soles (stomp like a waffle?). Extremely comfortable. They honestly feel like Tennis shoes. These are also waterproof (proprietary) and I have used them with a 25 pound load before on relatively groomed trails.
Hope this helps…Sep 4, 2005 at 2:23 am #1341220
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
if you haven’t done so already, you might want to read Ray J’s comments on use of lightweight footwear in his classic tome “Beyond Backpacking”. he specifically mentions the alpine conditions in which he does NOT wear trailrunners (viz. when kicking steps). as i recall, he does advocate their used in other alpine conditions. not sure of his pack wt under those conditions – perhaps he mentioned it; if so, i’ve forgotten. he’s certainly experienced enough to know what works and what doesn’t work and under what conditions (at least for him and his style; it might work for you too). perhaps a good starting point?Sep 4, 2005 at 6:38 am #1341221
A nit, perhaps, but …
I should probably re-read that part of Beyond Backpacking to be sure but while he certainly did suggest boots for some conditions I’m pretty sure he suggests “the lowest cost running shoes you can find” rather than trail runners for the “ordinary” conditions.Sep 4, 2005 at 11:36 am #1341232
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
thanks for the “nit”. you’re right. it might be a “nit”, but i do appreciate you calling it to my attention. didn’t bother to check after reading your post. however, i’m sure that you’re right. i can clearly recall some pics of running shoes (not trailrunners) on Ray J’s feet – some in very torn up condition. i use trailrunners, viz. NB805 & undoubtedly projected my own mind on this issue. did they even make trailrunners at the time the pics in the book were taken? don’t know. thanks again. pjSep 5, 2005 at 6:16 am #1341240
I hike some pretty scrambly stuff so trail runners or just running shoes are “too squiggly” for me.
I now hike exclusively with Kayland Vertigo K approach shoes. I find they are the best compromise between weight, support, and feel. I really like that they are designed around a climbing shoe approach with a full rubber rand and thin soles with friction rubber.
More importantly is for every long distance hiker to learn the proper technique for trimming toe-nails. Ingrown nails are a really bad thing.Sep 5, 2005 at 8:03 am #1341241
@davidlewisLocale: Nova Scotia, Canada
I live on the east coast of Canada and hike terrain that is much like the AT. For a summer 3 day trip, I carry between 7-14 pounds… depending on food and water (i.e. 13-14 would be will my starting weight will all of my food for 3 days and about a liter of water). The main trail I do around here is Cape Chignecto… which is very rugged and steep in parts… but I’m sure it probably doesn’t compare to alpine trekking. Again… it’s very similar to much if the AT I would say. I wear a pair of Salomon adventure racing shoes call the AX Pro 3D. Very light, with a full length carbon fiber post and heal cup. I love them. They work great for me, my pack weight and my trail conditions. I know that doesn’t really answer your question… but that’s what I wear anyway. I can’t say for sure… but I think I would wear these shoes up to 25 pounds or so. I would hope I would never carry more than that anyway… unless I was on an extended dry camping trip… say in Grand Canyon. In which case I might go for lightweight fabric hiking boots.Sep 5, 2005 at 10:35 am #1341244
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
I’m no expert with trail runners /low cut shoes / whatever as I did the transition from boots just like one year ago but I’d say you can perfectly go with them on rough terrain with a pack as heavy as 40 lb. Then, if the terrain is consistently that rough maybe it’s not that worth as you won’t be hiking that long a distance anyway so the advantages of light shoes quite vanish but it’s still doable. Not that I’d wear heavy boots again but there are light boots (2.5 – 3 lb.) that could be a good compromise. It all depends on the situation.
I find difficult to compare (say, between two different types of shoes/boots) because there are many variables between different outings, even if you go on the same or similar route but I’m very confortable in light shoes, that’s for sure. Just this last month I was on a long distance hike where I was going lightweight and wearing light shoes. For a few days (4), I had to carry a much heavier load, around those 40 lb. (a partner joining me), I even changed my pack but I kept the light shoes (Vasque Velocity) and I felt just as confortable and just as safe on terrain that was pretty rough (rocky, steep, scree…) at times, I didn’t miss any stiffer shoes. That may be a good test.Sep 5, 2005 at 11:48 am #1341245
I currently alternate between Salomon Tech Amphibians and some Adidas running shoes. The amphibians are great for getting wet, but can get uncomfortable for more than eight miles or so. The running shoes were chosen for the best fit of my foot and thus can be comfortable for much, much longer- which is more important to me most of the time. I would love to try Inov8 shoes, but they only make men’s shoes, which means that they either don’t care about having women as customers or they don’t understand that a women’s shoe is not just a smaller men’s shoe (though they don’t make the smaller sizes, anyway).Sep 16, 2005 at 10:13 pm #1341720
on your age, biomechanics, terrain, time on the trail and load carried, among a host of variables.
For east coasters doing the white mtns, the green mtns, the adk’s, the catskills, you should wear a scarpa sl-m3 type boot. if you don’t you run the high probablity of a broken, badly sprained ankle, bruised soles of your feet. that is the reality. when i am on the west coast, e.g., jmt, tuolomne, pct, it’s easy going for the most part. so if you aren’t out for days, solid trail runners can do it. but, if you blow your feet out for 12 ounces don’t forget who made the decision. without feet i don’t care if your golite pack is filled with helium and weighs in at -2.56 grams, you ain’t going anywhere. that’s 45 years of trekking experience in a lot of countrys speaking. not advice, just an observation. Master Blaster/xxxSep 17, 2005 at 11:42 pm #1341744
@markrLocale: Santa Cruz
I hike in the Sierra and like to go off trail. Talus and scree figure pretty big in my trips. My experience is that very few boots that aren’t all leather out hold up long to this. Even poorly designed full leather boots have their seams ripped open pretty quickly. The main problem is with seams that run vertically that can catch on edges of rocks. I’ve even had brush cause failures.
So I am always looking for light weight full leather boots with just the right design. So far Technicas seem to have the most design for the least weight. Mine are almost worn out so I would love to hear of any experiences with the newer models, in particular the Cyclones..Sep 19, 2005 at 9:53 am #1341785
Detlef Koerner “Hamburger”Participant
I just finished the AT section from Harpers Ferry well in Vermont (app 550 miles) hiking with my Teva Trail-Wraptor II sandals. Previously I used various types of hiking shoes (Meindl, Bass, New Balance. Bus switching to sandals was the best decision I took. This section includes the ‘in’famous Pennsilvania rocks and I had upsolute no problems with my feet and felt very comfortable at any time. I am hiking with a GoLite Breeze with max 12 pounds basic weight.Oct 30, 2005 at 9:40 am #1343988
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The pack weight seems to be the problem. All the UL gear forms a system and it falls apart when you add high pack weight. You jump back into the old “heavy duty” mindset and add heavier boots to offset the higher pack load, heavier pack to haul the additional load, hike slower and require more food to cover the same distance, etc, etc.
The question that came to mind is whether you could resupply at some point in your trek rather than haul ten days food.
I personally use Vasque trail runners and with 20-25 pound total loads. I have a pair of Nike Air Wallowah for my “heavy” boots, more for winter hiking where I am exposed to a lot more mud and water.
It was interesting to read through the other posts in this thread where some have little problem with destroying their shoes and others tear up heavier boots. Certainly terrain makes a difference, but I suspect that hiking style is a major factor. I’m a fairly slow hiker, I use trekking poles, and I pick my way through the rocks and roots. If you hike heavy and fast, and take a straight-line-crash-through-kick-the-rocks-out-of-your-way approach, your feet and the boots are going to take more of a beating– more turned ankles too.
IMHO, running shoes have always been designed to be sacrifical, to be used heavily for shorter periods and replaced often. The cushioning collapses, seams give way and it is time for a new pair. Trail runners have some stronger footbeds and more defenses like toe caps, thicker, more aggressive tread, etc, but they still aren’t designed to last years the way a the older style leather hiking boots were.Oct 30, 2005 at 5:31 pm #1344026
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
I use Salomon trail runners. I think they’re called XA Pros or something like that. I usually go through a pair a year due to talus, rough trails, etc. For winter I snowsoe in boots.
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