Jan 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm #1254035
Very suprising, here is a link:
Obviously we can't backpack barefoot but does this ring true for trail runners as well.
JosephJan 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm #1561765
"Obviously we can't backpack barefoot but does this ring true for trail runners as well." -Joseph Morrison
I've been backpacking barefoot for almost two years now. Obviously I'm only able to so because I live in Florida where temperatures don't get that low and I don't have any snow to deal with. However, you can always go with Vibram FiveFingers for lower temperatures. Another option is racing flats. Racing flats won't give you the same effect as going barefoot but you would be able to feel the ground much more than with trail runners. On the plus side, racing flats actually weigh less than Vibram FiveFingers. However, Vibram FiveFingers is still closer to going barefoot than racing flats because of the design. I have the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 racing flats and I love them.
-SidJan 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm #1561773
This topic has been discussed quite extensively here over the last couple months. The book Born to Run has stirred the pot with the author Christopher McDougal making many bold statements against the running shoe industry. He himself is a user of minimalist footwear. Runners World just made a knee jerk reaction in an article to the whole barefoot running vs. running shoe debate in this months' issue. The consensus it seems is that there isn't enough outstanding and clear data based evidence to prove that running shoes are causing injuries in runners, although there is clearly evidence that many runners are getting injured. But why? As far as backpacking barefoot you are totally right, it's probably not going to ever happen for most of us. Lightening your pack load and maintaining body weight and overall fitness will definitely make using lightweight trail runners, not barefoot, an ideal option for most recreational lightweight backpackers barring any major foot issues. Trail running is much more gentle on the body than pounding miles out repetitively on the concrete jungle, trail running shoes are increasingly becoming minimalist in their design, mostly neutral shoe offerings that balance trail feel underfoot and protection. Many of the new competitive models coming out in 2010 are indicative of this. Whether it is a response to the whole barefoot phenomenon sweeping the running community or just an evolution of the activity is a tough question.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm #1561787
drowning in spamMember
I've thought about trying KSO Trek's. The only problem is that kangaroo leather products are supposed to be banned in this state, so I'd have to order online and have it shipped thru someone in another state. This means getting the right size could be an issue.
Actually, I'm really posting because I'm another Eugene. Now I believe there are 3 Eugene's on this forum. That's pretty exceptional.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm #1561789
I'm going with Sid on this. Except for barefoot. I have a couple pairs of racing flats and they weigh 1/2 my Salamon Trail Runners and less than my Five Fingers.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm #1561800
Hey, three Eugenes is a crowd.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm #1561801
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I think I could hike and backpack barefoot if I could just get my feet tough like they were when I was a kid. When I was a kid I ran around and played on hot asphalt in the summer sun. The asphalt was covered in little pieces of gravel. I could run and play on that all day, taking breaks to cool my burning feet on the white concrete. If my feet were toughened up like that again, my pack is so light that it wouldn't be a factor in whether I could walk on dirt and rocks or not.Jan 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm #1561806
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
By trail runners do you mean the shoes or the people running on the trails?
Below is part of the article from the link you provided.
"Most troubling is the finding that running with running shoes leads to a 38% increase in pressure to a part of the knee — the medial tibiofemoral compartment — particularly prone to joint degeneration."
"It was surprising that the percent increase was so high with running shoes," says Kerrigan, an expert in biomechanics, human movement and gait who has a medical degree from Harvard University. "We really didn't see those dramatic increases in walking."
Notice what it says about walking.
It is my understanding that normal walking speed is considered to be @4mph. This is a fairly brisk pace and just below a jog. Personally, when I hike, 30 minutes per mile is quite enough of a pace.
As always the choice of shoes is important to comfort and injury prevention. Of more concern to me is the uneven terrain that we hikers encounter. I believe that hikers are more exposed to strains, sprains and joint problems simply because of the ups, downs, slanted and slippery terrain.
I recently made the move to low quarter trail shoes. My priorities were weight, cushioning, control and traction. Cost was also a factor but not the highest on the list. These shoes look like running shoes in more earthy colors. I didn't miss the "ankle support" of my old hiking boots. In fact my ankles were "free-er" to move as needed. My major concern with trail shoes is traction. An unexpected slip or slide can result in sprains or worse that can ruin an otherwise great hike.
Train, prepare and lighten the load.
Party On ! 2010
NewtonJan 12, 2010 at 2:55 am #1561921
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
I'm with Diane on this. As kids we took our shoes off when school ended and never put them back on until school started in the fall. Hot asphalt, forest, dirt, biking, skateboarding, you name it, we played barefooted. There are two sisters who wrote a book about their barefoot hike on the AT a few years ago. They said the snow was the hardest to hike without shoes so they had to stop and wear something.Jan 12, 2010 at 10:13 am #1561999
Okay, in concept I agree with the barefoot hiking and even have tried it some. But the problem is that you need to go barefoot all the time. That is difficult for most people who have a job.
I work in my home office a lot, so for a while it worked. Then I had to spend several weeks traveling for business and lost the toughness on the feet. So if you are retired or unemployeed, it might work out for you.
However the problem I find with barefoot or even using Five Fingers is that you have to hike on maintained trails. Off trail the rocks become a problem for me, as I will occassionally hit my little toe on a rock or other object.
As mentioned earlier, I have found cross country racing flats to be light and provide ample protection for the feet, but little or no support. However by walking barfoot a lot and using the Five Fingers for some running around home, support is not an issue at all. I feel you do not need support with UL weights on the back, especially if you have built up your feet by training them.
Here is a picture of a pair of Asics Prianha SP 2 flats and the pair weigh 10.6 oz. A 6 mile traverse of a lava field tore up the soles, and they were retired from the gear closet. The it was rather extreme hiking whatever shoe you wear. My son who runs cross country a Cal Poly SLO, reports that they did not get much life out of them either for racing.
I am now using a pair of Saucony Shay XC Flats (14.2 oz/pr) or a pair of Saucouny Kinney XC Racing Flats (13.0 oz/pr). I prefer the Shay's because they much more comfortable.
Here is a picture of the Shay's
Keep in mind that racing flats are not going to last as long as trail runners. So I don't wear them all the time. I wear them where weight becomes paramount, such as hikes with 5,000 foot or more elevation gain in one day. My go to shoes are Salamon XA Pro 3D at 26.8 oz for the pair. Size for Salamon is 11.5 (US) and 12.0 (US) for Saucony. All shoes fit absolutely perfect.Jan 12, 2010 at 11:17 am #1562028
since we're talking Racing Flats …
Has anyone tried the New Balance 100's
(designed by Kyle Skaggs and Anton Krupicka)
for long trail runs or UL fastpacking.
I currently use the Salomon Wings S Lab for both activities and was looking to go even lighter.Jan 12, 2010 at 11:39 am #1562036
"I currently use the Salomon Wings S Lab for both activities and was looking to go even lighter."
The racing flats I mentioned earlier, the Mizuno Wave Universe 3, are currently the lightest on the market.
-SidJan 12, 2010 at 11:46 am #1562040
What about moccasins? Not the cheap minnetonka ones but custom handmade ones like Carl Dyers Original Moccasins. Hers a link: http://carldyers.com/.
I like the 5 eye lace boots.
JosephJan 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm #1562043
Hey Art I can speak on behalf of the MT 100's having logged over 500 miles in one pair now and I've put about 150 miles on the second pair. Both pairs of shoes are in great condition still and I alternate between them. I've used them for almost all my trail runs the last 2.5 months in rocky desert terrain, I live in southern New Mexico and we don't have groomed trails whatsoever. I've run 25 miles in them comfortably, they are light and nimble. They are essentially a trail racing flat. I own a pair of Adidas Adizero Pros for road runs and they are very comparable to the NB MT 100's minus the small trail nubs on the outsole. I'm running an ultra this Sunday and originally planned to run in the 100's but I'm apprehensive about the terrain though so I'm going with the La Sportiva Crosslites.
I wouldn't transition to the MT 100's so fast though, especially if you're coming off the Salomon S-Labs, those are way overbuilt with a large cushioned heel and the last is more typical of a traditional beefy running shoe, as are most of Salomons current offerings. The New Balance MT100 is a mesh slipper, with foam stripping for some shape and rigidity and a very thin sole demanding more from your legs and feet. My pair in men's 12 weighs around 8 oz. I'm going to maybe try them on a couple hikes with a pack this spring and see how they fair, but I've found that I actually prefer a more substantial shoe for hiking than trail running.Jan 12, 2010 at 12:26 pm #1562048
thanks for the great MT 100 feedback.
I have have also run in the Fireblades which seem to be sort of a heavier verion of the MT100.
was kinda hoping you'd run your ultra in them and provide some feedback :-)
but do what's best for you.Jan 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm #1562078
As always, thanks for your thoughtful input.
Yes they are the lightest at 3.8 oz for size 9!!
However these are more of a road racing/track shoe. I talked to a couple of runners who road race in them and they love them. But they said that on cross country courses they don't have ideal traction.
So if anyone is interested in them at over $100 per pair, do your research!!
However, if they go on sale somewhere at a deep discount, I will test the waters.Jan 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm #1562132
3.8oz. per shoe! Wow, that is light. I 'm almost certain the sweaty sock in the shoe would weigh more than the shoe itself. Buying quality racing flats is like buying lingerie, the less fabric, the higher the cost. Or so I've heard…Jan 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm #1562147
>> 3.8oz. per shoe! Wow, that is light. I 'm almost certain the sweaty sock in the shoe would weigh more than the shoe itself. Buying quality racing flats is like buying lingerie, the less fabric, the higher the cost. Or so I've heard…
Cost yes, but keep in mind they are marketed to high school and college runners. That is a huge market. And the shoe manufacturers need to constantly come out with new models to keep their line-up "fresh." So when you find a model you are interested in, wait for 6 months and they are often available at steep discounts, if you don't have the most popular shoe sizes. This is especially true for Nike, New Balance, and Asics which have a good piece of the market pie. I have found the best deals at Kelly's Running Warehouse. http://www.kellysrunningwarehouse.com.Jan 14, 2010 at 8:14 am #1562653
@rustybLocale: Rocky Mountains
Which models have you used and how did they hold up and on what kind of terrain? I'm intrigued by these things but the nearest dealer is 90 miles away.
Also, in regards to the "flats". From what I'm gathering thus far, I assume they're called as such as they're made for racing on flat surfaces. I also assume they're as light as they are due to no need for heavy side-to-side reinforcing and deep treads as seen on the trail runners. Are these assumptions correct? Also, what makes them different than just "running shoes".Jan 14, 2010 at 10:20 am #1562702
@dubendorfLocale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
I agree with Nick's comments earlier in the thread: Five Fingers, though impractical for off trail hiking for most people, are a great way to prepare feet, ankles, and legs for extended trips in lightweight footwear. Unfortunately, these debates can turn to either/or propositions that are often more about ideology than science. You are either a mindless capitalist drone led into bipedal slavery by a syphilization bent on destroying your animal nature, or you are a barefoot revolutionary whose toe nails glow with truth, justice, and divine enlightenment. If only the course of human history could be so easily altered by footwear choices.
I've had good results incorporating Five Fingers into running and exercise, but not all the time or in all conditions. As Nick suggested, the lifestyle commitment necessary for them to be practical off trail, on long trips, is one that few can or will make. Nevertheless, they can help your hiking even if you don't wear them hiking.
JamesJan 14, 2010 at 10:21 am #1562703
Vibram Five Fingers – I have the KSO model (Keep Stuff Out). You have to try them on in person, and they are hard to put on at first, that is getting your toes where they need to be. Wearing the KSOs you feel eveything on the ground, just as if you were barefoot, only it doesn't hurt in most instances. You will sweat in them and they will stink after a week of hard hiking or running. And your feet will get very dirty, more than with trail runners. Vibram does recommend the Iniji Toe socks, but to me it just added more weight, and the Five Fingers are not the lightest option as it is… although lighter than most.
Also if you run in them, you are going to get sore muscles from muscles you have never been aware existed. That is because your body will start running on the balls of your feet, as it should. It is bone jarring to run on your heels, as most running shoes tend to make people do. That is why these are attractive options to many runners.
Regarding flats, you are correct. They generally are minimalist shoes. As light as possible to run your fastest in a race. Although most manufacturer's recommend against using them for practice. Maybe it is because they want you to buy a pair of training shoes too :). Keep in mind that most running shoes, used by serious runners only last 400-500 miles. Flats considerably less.
Road racing flats tend to have a little softer sole, so they can grip asphalt and cement. Cross country flats have harder surfaces and some mechanism to grip wet and slippery surfaces… very little mechanism. But better than road shoes. Track flats, are meant to be used on tracks.
Keep in mind that for cross country and track flats, some versions are designed to be used with spikes. You don't want these. You want the spikeless version… which is not the same as removing spikes from the spiked version.
Hope this helps. Remember you are not going to get a lot of mileage from a racing flat. The Five Fingers seem to last a long time. As I have stated before, there are lighter versions to the Five Fingers, and their minimal support is better than the Five Fingers. Plus weigh a lot less. My Five Fingers KSO weigh 6.7 oz each. But I would rather wear the Saucony Shays at 7.1 oz. Five Fingers are designed for those who want to emulate barefoot running, hiking or walking, IMO. Plus you do not want to run with them on asphalt or cement.
If you are a social person and like to strike up conversations, wear the Five Fingers. Complete strangers will stop you and ask you questions. The rest of the population will avoid you like the plague, as they look like monkey feet :)Jan 14, 2010 at 11:46 am #1562749
Conditioning your feet to be able hike barefoot does not require you to go barefoot 24/7. I don't walk around town barefoot, simply because I don't like the attention I get from it. However, I do all my daily runs barefoot (4 to 6 miles). I also walk my dog barefoot once a day (2 to 4 miles). The rest of the time, I have minimalist footwear on to avoid people giving me weird looks and asking me why I'm barefoot everywhere I go. Running and walking barefoot for about 10 miles a day keeps my feet tough enough to be able to hike barefoot. I don't see this as a huge lifestyle commitment as some may view it. I simply do my daily excercise barefoot.
-SidJan 14, 2010 at 11:51 am #1562751
I agree with you. But most people here probably do not have the inclination or the time to do 10 miles per day. So, they probably would need to go barefoot more often.Jan 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm #1562771
@dubendorfLocale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Sorry if I connveyed a negative tone! I did not mean to judge barefoot activity in any way, or discourage people from trying it out. I once spent about six months almost continuously barefoot while residing on an island in Polynesia. I was amazed at how quickly my feet toughened up, but also at how quickly that adaptation disappeared when I switched back primarily to shoes. From that experience, I would say that maintaining trail-ready feet requires a routine.
Speaking of footwear choices that draw odd stares in public, Auckland is one of the most barefoot-friendly cities I've visited. On the other hand, during a visit to Chicago's Lincoln Park in late November (before the snow) doing sprints on grass with my Five Fingers, I was asked by a guy with his dog whether I was going swimming.
JamesJan 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm #1562775
"I agree with you. But most people here probably do not have the inclination or the time to do 10 miles per day. So, they probably would need to go barefoot more often." -Nick Gatel
This is true, especially if you have a full time job. I go to school full time and work part time. I'll admit it takes a good amount of dedication on my part to find the time and the motivation to do my runs everyday. It's just a habit for me now because I did a lot running back when I used to wrestle.
"Sorry if I connveyed a negative tone! I did not mean to judge barefoot activity in any way, or discourage people from trying it out. I once spent about six months almost continuously barefoot while residing on an island in Polynesia. I was amazed at how quickly my feet toughened up, but also at how quickly that adaptation disappeared when I switched back primarily to shoes. From that experience, I would say that maintaining trail-ready feet requires a routine." -James Dubendorf
No worries. You are right, feet will get soft just as quickly as they became tough. My feet will also get soft if I stop running for a week or more.
I suppose barefoot hiking would only work for those who already do a good amount of running every day. In this case, the only change you would have to make is to do those runs barefoot. Otherwise, I suppose it would require one to go barefoot more often, which isn't very convenient.
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