Jan 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm #1254477
I currently have fairly heavy (57 oz) Montrail Blue Ridge GTX hiking boots. I've read how lots of people prefer trail runners instead of boots for their lower weight and comparable ankle support. I'm very interested in moving to trail runners.
That said, is there a pack weight those who use trail runners would instead wear boots?
My concern is that I carry ~10 lbs of photography gear (tripod, camera body, 2-3 lenses, filters, batteries, etc.), so even if I do reduce my standard backpacking gear significantly, boots would still be a better option unless I can get under X lbs total. What is X? Assume fairly rocky terrain in the Sierras.
MikeJan 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm #1565939
Pack weight if irrelevant for me. I also don't haul 80 lbs loads though.
I carried 43 lbs in the Sierra in trail runners just fine. I've worn boots with a 20 lbs load because the terrain dictated that I do so.Jan 24, 2010 at 6:42 pm #1565944
It will depend more on the terrain than the weight for me as I am rarely over 25lbs now. Any sort of scrambling and I use a leather boot to protect the feet. Groomed trails I use trail runners based on the above weight proximity. I would use a higher cut, stiffer shoe if I was into the mid 30's or higher I suspect. That may or may not mean a more traditional boot.Jan 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm #1565948
> is there a pack weight those who use trail runners would instead wear boots?
CheersJan 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm #1565964
When I first started backpacking I had to wear boots(Montrail torre) because I would roll my ankle several times on a trip with lighter footwear. It didn't hurt at first but after a while I would start feeling it.
When I started lightening my pack weight I went to mid height trail runners and didn't have much of the same problem. I contributed it to the the lighter pack.
A few weekend ago I did a overnight with a pack full of winter gear probably weighed 35 lbs. or more. Which was my traditional 3 season pack weight before going UL. I also wore low height trail runners on that trip and never rolled my ankle. I guess I built some muscle in my legs and that took care of the problem.
A good pair of boots allthough not the most durable are Montrail Cirrus GTX. That was the last footwear I would consider boots that I have worn. They provided just as much support as the Torres but at a much lighter weight. They are no longer made but I see them from time to time on closeouts and sales. I did a seach and found them on Mammothgear.com for $75.
JosephJan 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm #1565991
On the trail, I wouldn't wear boots unless I got into pack weights that I frankly just wouldn't carry – like over 60 lbs. Off the trail, I can see going to boots (light boots, though, nothing over 3 lbs/pr) if it was going to be a lot of talus and scree and I'd be carrying 40 lbs or so. And for me, it's not about the ankle support – I don't give much credence to ankle support anyway in any boot you can comfortably walk in. It's about sole stiffness under the arch and the ability of the sole to to keep sharp points from making my feet sore. I've done a lot of off-trail in the Sierra in trail runners, and with a pack up to 30 lbs it's okay, especailly the nice slabby stuff – but talus and big loads would push me into light boots.Jan 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm #1566229
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
None. I made the switch to trail runners when I was still carrying 45+ pounds (taking our young daughter with us.) Worked fine.Jan 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm #1566231
Roger +1.Jan 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm #1566233
No amount of weight would make me wear boots.
But I have pretty strong ankles.
Trail Runners for on trail.
Approach shoes like La Sportiva Exum Ridge for off trail.
I even do summer snow in these plus a pair of Katoolas.
Only serious cold weather snow and ice would make me use boots.Jan 25, 2010 at 6:59 pm #1566235
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I wear mine a lot. Inov8 390 GTX…Jan 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm #1566236
@mtnjimLocale: Shenandoah Valley VA
What's a boot?Jan 25, 2010 at 8:15 pm #1566248
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
On trail I wear trail runners.
For kicking steps in hard snow, extensive scree skiing,
or lots of boulder fields, boots. Trail runners don't
hold up and don't protect toes from turning boulders
or step kicking.Jan 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm #1566260
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
+1 dave olsen's answer
Shoes -> boots when I want to kick things :-)… weight I carry not a factor.
The one thing weight would do is encourage me to switch from my normal ultra flexible sole shoes (inov-8, vibram five fingers) to something with more arch support. A few years ago I had to carry a heavyweight backpacker's pack while he helped his daughter out. A couple miles with 80lb made my feet really tired.
–MarkJan 25, 2010 at 9:28 pm #1566273
I like Dave Olsen's answer, too. I would probably switch to boots in the Sierras around 45 lbs, though, just based on the odds that I'd be scrambling on some rocks at some point and would want the stiffer sole to protect the bottom of my feet.Jan 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm #1566281
> I'd be scrambling on some rocks at some point and would want the stiffer sole
> to protect the bottom of my feet.
But do you need boots to get the stiffer soles? I have found quite a few low-cut joggers (generic term) with quite soft soles, and quite a few with stiff soles.
That doesn't answer the Q of whetehr feet need protecting from rocks etc. Many walkers wear Vibram five-fingers; many walkers here in Oz wear Dunlop Volleys. Both have extremely soft soles, but their wearers seem quite happy with them.
(Bonus point: Dunlop Volleys (<$20) really drive devotees of big heavy boots up the wall! They also irritate the major leather boot companies.)
CheersJan 26, 2010 at 1:40 am #1566296
@derekoakLocale: North of England
Imagine I am already carrying more weight on my back than I want to. Why would I, at this point, want to add more weight to each foot?Jan 26, 2010 at 8:20 am #1566341
drowning in spamMember
I've been trying out various footwear (hiking sandals, running shoes, trail runners, walking shoes, lightweight boots) that I already own, and find that my midweight leather boots are more comfortable and allow me to go further without blisters. I have a set of new lightweight trail runners that I'll try later this week or early next week, but so far the midweight leather boots are still my choice of footwear for any load. I was hoping it would be different, and maybe further testing will prove otherwise, but so far my feet are saying they prefer boots.Jan 26, 2010 at 9:09 am #1566355
@red_foxLocale: South Florida
RemovedJan 26, 2010 at 9:21 am #1566359
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I have found that the lighter the shoe, the more agile I am. With boots I occassionaly "trip." I don't fall, but it causes a stutter step. Doesn't happen with light shoes.
When hiking on fields of volcanic rock (common in some desert areas), the sharp rocks tear up the soles of light shoes. This doesn't hurt my feet, but does shorten the life of the shoe.
I will never hike in boots again, other than snow. And this year I hope to do some experimenting with Gore-Tex runners and several types of sock systems/gaiters in snow. We shall see if that works out.Jan 26, 2010 at 10:34 am #1566393
@idahomtmanLocale: Northern Idaho
I've been backpacking in trail runners for many years. Though I can no longer imagine carrying a 40+ pound pack, even at that weight, I would continue to wear trail runners.
Some may tell you that boots provide better ankle support, but I haven't found that to be the case. I suppose if you are climbing hard packed snow, you might be able to kick better steps with boots, but I'd rather carry my lightweight Camp ice axe and chop steps and keep the weight off my feet.
Agility and keeping the weight off of your feet are huge benefits of wearing trail runners. In 2005 on my JMT thru-hike I met several people coming over Forester Pass (on snow) with sandals and they were doing just fine.Jan 26, 2010 at 11:07 am #1566402
I think a lot depends on how strong your ankles are and how careful you hike. If you have weaker ankles, then stiffer boots makes sense. A lot of lightweight boots are stiff, though, so there isn't an exact, one to one correspondence. With lighter shoes, you often have less protection against rocks. This requires more care when hiking. I personally only use boots in the snow. I've tried various lightweight boots (or shoes) but nothing provided the slush protection and ability to kick steps like my current pair of midsize, all leather boots. To be fair, I've had lighter boots, but they didn't fit me well.Jan 26, 2010 at 2:18 pm #1566467
I wouldn’t say a pack weight on its own is my indicating factor, it would be purpose and season. If I’m carrying Rock&Ice gear I’m probably wearing automatic crampon compatible boots hence the necessity of boots. Winter climbing necessitates boots for warmth, kicking steps, etc. Summer time can be the same gear weight but not require boots. My ropes alone weigh 12.9 lbs so that plus biners, pro, etc is stout but boots wouldn’t help with the weight. STRONG ANKLES AND FEET DO!Jan 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm #1566478
> my midweight leather boots are more comfortable and allow me to go further without blisters.
That is probably a function of how wide your footwear is, rather than what it weighs. Narrow shoes => blisters.
CheersJan 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm #1566513
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
I used to do a lot of climbing in Washington and British Columbia. For a lot of these trips I was carrying 70 to 80 pounds of gear, food and climbing equipment. From about 1975 on, I almost invariable used running shoes (remember the Nike Waffle Trainers?) for trail approaches and also on mild off trail hiking. Never felt the need for boots until we got to the rock, snow and ice level.Jan 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm #1566581
@mwalkerLocale: Everywhere. All of the time.
Ahh, the mighty Dunlop Volley. Love those things.
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