- Mar 8, 2006 at 6:46 pm #1352132Frank RamosMember
I have to retract my recommendation of sandals based on further consideration of Ryan’s determination to walk 40+ miles/day. I have never walked that much for more than 1 day in sucession, neither in sandals nor in any type of shoes, neither with nor without a backpack. I have no desire to push my limits.
The reason sandals work for me is that I walk on the front of my foot, which makes the muscles of the foot work extremely hard, which in turn keeps them warm in fairly cold temperatures. These strong muscles also protect me from injury, which is why the lack of any support in the sandals in no problem for me, even in the mountains, even on scree slopes. (I most certainly do not “ski” down scree slopes, or if I do, I go very slowly so as not to break a leg, and sandals work fine when going slowly.) However, I need considerably rest time each night to allow any tissue injuries to those hard-working foot muscles to be repaired. I don’t see this as a problem, since I get bored after hiking more than 6 hours and so there is always plenty of rest time available. But for someone who is determined to walk 40+ miles/day, there won’t be much rest time, and thus it is essential to avoid any sort of tissue damage. And so yes, all this hocus-pocus with orthotics and whatnot is probably necessary.
Personally, I think a far smarter approach would be to take the advice someone gave about catching fish to supplement the food supply. This would reduce the need to walk so many miles/day. Also, as we discussed ad nauseum in the food discussion, the only way to access the body’s fat reserves is to go slow. With 40+ miles/day, the body will probably be burning lots of glucose and all this will have to be carried. Regardless of this issue, I think 40+ miles/day, carrying a heavy pack, off-trail, for weeks in succession, may lead to some sort of injury, no matter what sort of orthotics or footwear is used. Then again, some people can indeed walk high mileage day after day without stress injuries.Mar 9, 2006 at 2:07 pm #1352210aarn tateBPL Member
I have used 1 pair of Icebugs for 2 years in NZ, nearly all off trail. A considerable amount of scree and sharp moraine, innumerable river crossings, and for climbing on snow in summer with crampons. I use them with gaiters, and on the snow I used vapour barrier liners to keep my socks dry. I have not yet used them mid winter, but I am planning to try this with neoprene socks.
Most of the carbide tips have come out, so the initial superb grip has been compromised, but the shoes still function well. Also I have had to reglue the rubber where it curves up at the toe a number of times, but I have been surprised how little wear is showing after about 500 miles of very rugged use.
The light weight, quick drainage and rapid drying is
a boon compared to boots. My foot agility on rocks and boulder hopping is a delight compared to my booted companions. The weight saving on the feet notably reduces the energy drain on long days in rough country.Mar 11, 2006 at 7:50 am #1352294cushing hamlenMember
I realize this is “slightly” off topic for this thread (and likely an old discussion) – but this group is the best group for me to ask – so I am going to do so :-) Growing up hiking in the White Mountains (40 odd years ago) the common wisdom was that one “must” wear boots for the ankle protection in rocky terrain….and it remains very difficult for me to give up the fear of a turned ankle (especially after having to assist people with turned ankles and busted knees out of the mountains). Understanding the great weight and anti-blister advantages of trail-runners over boots, I would like to hear the wisdom and experience of this group regarding the risk of turned ankles in rocky terrain when using trail-runners (for reference, my pack weight usually comes in at 25 pounds, with food for a 3-5 day outing).Mar 11, 2006 at 10:27 am #1352311Richard MatthewsMember
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
Just a few(?) comments on the sneakers v. boots.
In 1997 I suffered a high ankle sprain. Physical therapy was prescribed to increase my range of motion. I thought that I could just do my PT while hiking, but my boots were too stiff to allow me to break up the scar tissue. I converted to a low cut Lowa and then to the New Balance 80X series. I think hiking in low cut shoes strengthens your ankles and promotes a greater range of motion.
Frankly, I think that I would not have gotten the high ankle sprain if I had been wearing low cut shoes. Were the injured people that you have helped wearing boots or low cut shoes?
Trail running shoes have some advantages:
1. They dry much quicker than heavy boots. I can walk a pair of NB’s dry in about two hours and they almost always dry over night.
2. Better all purpose traction. Climbing shoes look like ballet slippers.
3. Increased range of motion allows a better friction grip while bouldering and rock scrambling.
4. No break in period.
5. More nimble hiking. I have crossed log bridges in groups where I was the only one wearing trail running shoes and the are much better.
6. Cheaper, but maybe not in the long run..
7. Oh yea – LIGHTER.
Boots do have some advantages:
1. When you walk in an area with occasional puddles less than ankle deep they will keep your feet dry.
2. The aggressive lug sole is the best traction on slick mud and ice.
3. A stiff boot is needed for full crampons – but not the instep crampons.
4. They keep your ankle from getting whacked by rocks in talus and stream crossings – but gaiters and a piece cut from your sleeping pad is more effective.
5. Less rocks get in your shoes – but gaiters over NB’s are better.
6. More durable than trail runners.
7. Under a heavy pack a heavy sole with a substantial shank will prevent bruising the bottoms of your feet. But if you are carrying that much weight you should confine you hike to smooth and wide trails because the heavy load makes you very unstable. Bushwhacking or rock scrambling with a heavy load is dangerous.Mar 11, 2006 at 12:13 pm #1352318Erik WhitfieldBPL Member
@doctaeLocale: Gulf South
I have experience hiking in the Brooks Range. We call the terrain “the arctic stairmaster,” because the tundra surface is just a bunch of hummocks a few feet above permafrost. So all the ground is just a huge soggy, spongy bog. With every step you sink in and then have to extract yourself. You will try to step on top of the grassy hummocks, rather then the puddles between them, and they will collapse under your feet and you will stumble with each step. You will get wet and need gaiters. We went in 1997, before trekking poles were fashionable. Trekking poles are essential and will help you keep your balance. As far as shoes are concerned, think about this:
1/ if you travel over tundra, a five mile hike is equivalent to a grueling 10 mile hike off-trail in a mountainous environment. Your feet will be soaked, unless you have a waterproof lining and wear gaiters. You needs boots with ankle support. Seriously, if you wear trail runners they are going to get sucked right off your feet into the bog.
I say bring sandles, but wear them in around camp with some wool socks in the evenings as you relax. And for crossing icy rivers.
2/ if you have a river to follow, follow it. Rivers are the highways of the arctic. Walk on gravel/rock beds and now you can do some fast walking. But your feet will get beet up on those rocks. And you’ll be kicking your way through tough scrub willows and thorny bushes. It can easily tear your gear, or put a hole in a thermarest pad carried outside a pack. You will need to do some stream crossings in freezing water in rivers at high velocity. Sandals help here. And you will get rained on. A lot. I would ask you what kind of shelter you are bringing, because you will be tent-bound (or tarp-bound). You will be a lot happier if you can sit-upright in your shelter with a few buddies and play some card and slug some whiskey.
Get the book: “Alaska Wilderness, Exploring the Central Brooks Range” by Robert Marshall. It’s the closest thing you will find to a guide, even though it describes Bob’s expeditions in the 1930’s.
To summarize: If I were going again I would bring quality, lightweight but tought boots (such as Kayland makes) with Goretex or Event liners. I would wear event gaiters. I would bring a really good camera and take a lot of photographs, the light in the arctic is incredible. Try to find a superlight but strong shelter that 4 people could hang out in and enjoy company as you wait out long-hard rains. Have good-quality raingear. Enjoy the fear and anticipation of being food for Grizzlies.
Have fun, sounds like a great trip.Mar 11, 2006 at 10:09 pm #1352356Michael MartinBPL Member
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
Have you considered custom shoes like those made by Hersey?
They might be able to build you the perfect shoe to your specifications.
-MikeMar 12, 2006 at 6:29 am #1352367John ZBPL Member
Consider dabbing some seam sealer over the exposed seams of your shoes, not for waterproofness, but rather for reinforcement and protection of the seams.
Have a great trip!Mar 12, 2006 at 11:33 am #1352383Vick HinesMember
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
Seam sealer is a great idea – if you use a rubbery sealer such as McNetts or Shoe-Goo or Goop. Don’t use Kenyon; it hardens, won’t protect the seams long and can fray stitching.Mar 13, 2006 at 7:03 pm #1352493cushing hamlenMember
Richard – thank you for your comments. The people I have had to help out were wearing boots…and I guess the assumption was that shoes without ankle protection would be worse…but your comments about boots with ankle reinforcement allowing the ankles to weaken was never a thought – but makes sense. Certainly, given the number of people that have walked the AT or similar treks with trail runners is a testament that maybe doing so is not TOO bad an idea! These days I do not get to hike often enough that I can do a really good job of breaking in my boots – and blisters are a problem. Trail runners would be a very welcome alternative in that respect (in addition to the drying and weight issues you mentioned.)Mar 13, 2006 at 8:58 pm #1352501Douglas FrickBPL Member
>These days I do not get to hike often enough that I can do a really good job of breaking in my boots…
If you’re not completely comfortable going straight to an adventure racing trail runner shoe, try something in-between. Montrail has “Fusion” shoes which are much lighter than boots but are a bit stiffer than most trail running shoes. I have used Montrail Kalahari (discontinued, but available now on Overstock.com for $32; size 12: 38.6 oz/pair) with loads up to 60 pounds without a problem, and without missing my heavier (Montrail) boots. I’ve never had a blister with any of my Montrail boots or shoes.Mar 16, 2006 at 8:20 pm #1352729Bernard ShawMember
@be_here_nowearthlink-netLocale: Upstate New York
I think you are moving in the right direction.
1. A shell that is very tough, very ventilated but that does not let in fine slurry and or dust.
2. Very tough sole that is decently sticky
3. Replacement insides to provide custom support and shock absorbtion. Also, a second footbed liner is less heavy than a second pair of shoes.
EvanMar 19, 2006 at 12:22 pm #1352878Ryan FaulknerBPL Member
after re-reading Doug Johnsons “SuperUltraLight in the Cascades with a Sub-4-pound Pack”
I checked out the La Sportiva shoes he used. The Exum ridges. They look good but what in terested me was the Zodiac Trail sport shoes
they look almost like a low cut boot. and weigh only 30oz.
They are not quite trail runners, but they are a Boot/shoe hybrid, and could be the answerMar 19, 2006 at 12:46 pm #1352881AnonymousGuest
Just a few thoughts:
* Fit trumps all. There are shoes and boots with comparable features from several manufacturers, so find the manufacturer and model whose lasts match your feet.
* I’d suggest taking two pairs, one slightly light and the other slightly beefier. Alternate them to let the other pair dry and air out. Maybe Tevas for the light pair, stream crossings, trails, camp?
* I’d avoid trail running shoes and look instead to approach shoes (LaSportiva, Vasque, Kayland, maybe Salomon, etc) that have a pronounced heel. Flat soled shoes are slippery on scree, snow, and mud. Approach shoes at least talk about having sticky rubber.
* I don’t get the concept of Gore-Tex shoes/boots. They keep water in (sweat and water sloshed in), keep your feet hot, slow drying time, inhibit cleaning, and don’t protect the bulk of the shoe material from water. Immersion foot under your conditions could be a real worry. eVENT works much better, certainly in clothing, but AFAIK Kayland is the only maker of eVENT shoes/boots (great boots, too). I’d favor ventilation and drying over membranes; that suggests synthetic uppers.
* Nothing is likely to work completely (given the constant wetness, immersion, and mud), but the best waterproofing treatment I know of is “Leather Gel Water Repellent” from McNett/ReviveX. It’s not as widely available as their conventional treatment product because it darkens colors. They made it for climbers who don’t care.
I’d be interested to learn the components of your first aid kit specific to foot health and treatment.Mar 19, 2006 at 7:14 pm #1352904Hamilton MooreMember
Hurricane ridge XCR
I have a pair of these with about 400 miles on them and they look like they will do 6.
I hike mostly in the desert but have had them in the snow and water on more than one occasion.
Incredibly enough I was in a snowstorm on the trail into Supai, AZ where we were walking through about 4 inches of snow and a creek of about 6 inches of water.
The shoes kept my feet reasonably warm and dry though my thick wool socks did start getting a little cold by the end of the day.
Coming back I put on some Stephanson vapor barrier socks over my wool socks and kept my feet completely dry.
I have found in the sierras the answer is to take off your socks before crossing the stream then put them back on. As long as the shoes are light weight trail runners and not leather, they will dry out quickly. This shoe dries out very quickly since it doesn’t absorb any water except in the foot bed.
They have a 3/4 inch plactic shank which keeps the pointy rocks from pushing pain. They do not have sticky rubber but they have gripped on every steep surface I have ever tried them on.
I have no idea if this setup is any good for you in the “Artic” since I’ve only been As far north as Fairbanks but, having been there is the summer, I am confident it would have worked well there. I don’t think it would work well on Denali.Apr 4, 2006 at 4:14 pm #1354104Stefan OttersonSpectator
Keep in mind that in the arctic, you’ll most often be walking on tundra, so cushion durability won’t be as critical. Wear also may be less because you’re stepping on vegetation so much (with the exception of mountain passes/ridges and the days when you spend all day walking in a stream bed.) Water clearing is critical. You may go days without stepping on anything dry–beneath those tussocks is often 12″ deep water–you can’t afford to take your shoes off when you cross streams. However, almost any shoe without a high rand will drain fine through the fabric parts. Walking produces great pumping action. Just avoid shoes with a bunch of foam padding (sponge). I don’t even try to keep my feet dry–the cool fresh water keeps my skin from blistering.
Shoe beefiness would depend on pack weight, and I have no idea how much food weight you’d have to carry to go 600 miles. Are you sure you don’t want to pay a pilot to do a food drop-off? Every flight is life and death for those guys so you can depend on them. It does mean you absolutely have to reach a certain spot at a certain time though.Apr 4, 2006 at 5:09 pm #1354111Bernard ShawMember
@be_here_nowearthlink-netLocale: Upstate New YorkJul 18, 2007 at 8:09 pm #1395857daniel taborMember
Salomon Tech Amphibian Water Shoes
Adjustable, collapsible backs let you wear these with neoprene booties/socks if you choose
Kevlar quick-lace system provides secure, non-slip fit
Drainage ports ensure easy escape for water inside shoes
2 rubber outsoles deliver optimal performance on mixed terrain
Lightweight, quick-drying synthetic/mesh uppers offer support and durability
SealSkinz Waterproof MVT Socks
this is the best combo i have found!
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