Fast and Light Shoulder Season Footwear Tips
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Feb 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm #1285997Addie BedfordBPL Member
Companion forum thread to:Feb 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm #1843167Maxine WeyantBPL Member
Regarding Flat feet–it's important to strengthen the feet as much as possible. One exercise is to put a towel on the floor and use your toes to scrunch and draw the towel towards you (put a weight on the far end of the towel.) Also, walking barefoot uphill in sand. Wearing arch supports can really help prevent foot fatigue, and they improve stride efficiency by providing a more functional lever to push off with, and to edge with on sidehills. Flat feet tend to be pretty hypermobile and apropulsive.
I recently started doing Yamuna Foot Fitness (the "foot waking" program) which strengthens all the foot muscles and lower leg muscles while adding flexibility to the calves/Achilles. It would also help strengthen weak ankles. You use knobby half-balls, about the size of a grapefruit half, and roll your feet over it in multiple positions articulating each toe and working every muscle in the foot and lower leg. You start sitting and work up to standing. The knobs really hurt at first, so start with thick socks. You can get the Foot Waking program and DVD online (Amazon, etc)
Skin–A book called "Fixing Your Feet" is also great for tons of advice about toughening up the skin, etc. A lot of it is more anecdotal than evidence-based, but it's nice to learn what some ultra-runners do to toughen up their skin and prevent blisters– with tea, alcohol; some use drying agents and some swear by lubricants. My favorite is the ultra-runner from S. America who marches in a washtub filled with rice. That would strengthen the feet as well, I'd imagine. Cheers.Feb 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm #1843178wander lustSpectator
I do not wear knee high socks, but just knee high gaiters do the job for me when it is not too cold. They even keep my feet reasonable warm in cold river crossings and double as lower rain protection.
I need such gaiters for bushwhacking and sharp vegetation in NZ anyway.
As mentioned earlier, goretex socks and shoes would only make sense if water never gets inside them.Feb 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm #1843185Kurt LammersBPL Member
@smackpackerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Thanks Mike I appreciate your insight – fording is unlikely as long as I traverse the logs and snow bridges appropriately :) so I think I'll give the trail runners a shot. CheersFeb 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm #1843187Ryan TirBPL Member
So I suppose there's not too many good/fast methods to dry shoes/socks out once they are wet..?Feb 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1843201Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Yeah, it's called a fire. Be careful though, you can really harm or destroy clothing if you put it too close to the fire. Obviously for some this might not be a reasonable option, for whatever reason. But it's definitley the best way.Feb 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #1843204Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Has anyone tried thinning down some silicone and brushing it on their shoes? I haven't tried it but was thinking it might strengthen the mesh a little and have the added benefit of reducing water absorption in the mesh. If it was really nice and thin it seems like it would add minimal weight.Feb 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #1843205Bob GrossBPL Member
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
A fire might work good, but you don't always have a lot of control over the temperature that hits the shoes. Lots of shoes and boots are glued together, and some of the glues will fail after they've been heated just a little too much.
–B.G.–Feb 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm #1843247
Silicone won't adhere well to nylon. Aquaseal or Shoe Goo works well as a reinforcement. I use the former full strength, but put the tube in hot water for a minute to facilitate easy and thin application. If you put too much on excessively porous mesh, you risk creating a bumpy texture inside which can cause abrasion.
There are lots of ways to dry shoes, most revolve around fire. Be careful, melting the sole off is not cool. Hot (but not too hot) rocks placed in the shoes are safer and work well. Sheets of newspaper wadded up inside are surprisingly effective, and can be burned after use. Mostly I just don't worry about it.Feb 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm #1843249Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Good point Bob. You would have to be careful with shoes, and extremely so with leather boots. I was thinking more about socks and clothing though. During long winter nights hanging around the fire I usually end up wearing my sweaty layers dry.Feb 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm #1843275Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> So I suppose there's not too many good/fast methods to dry shoes/socks out once they are wet..?
The best way is usually wearing them while walking.
Btw – you don't need to dry your socks & shoes overnight. Just don't let them freeze. A large plastic bag placed under the end of your quilt works quite well for that.
PS: Dave C: +1Feb 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm #1843279Jim SweeneyBPL Member
@swimjayLocale: Northern California
To abrogate the prolegomena, or cut to the chase, this is an excellent article.Feb 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm #1843351Kier SelinskyMember
@kieranLocale: Seattle, WA
I have no experience with neoprene – how breathable is it? Accordingly, is there an upper bound to the comfort? At what temp should I expect to switch to wool? I know everyone's different, just looking for anecdotal experience.Feb 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm #1843355folecr rSpectator
So what you're saying is that those canvas shoes I had when I was a kid… The ones with rubber soles… Those are the best shoes ever!Feb 23, 2012 at 12:45 am #1843382wander lustSpectator
I don't bother with drying footwear, they will get after less than 1 hour on the next day anyway.
You can walk socks dry amazingly fast.
In regards to breathability of neoprene:
It breathes fine, I don't wear it when it is warmer than 55 F and I don't have to cross really cold and big rivers.
It is either just one pair of socks for me or the nsr hydroskins. Note though, that everyone has different feet and I get warm fast when I am walking.Feb 23, 2012 at 8:58 am #1843479Jane FreemanMember
Hi Brian. A website I've found helpful and comprehensive is naturalrunning.com tag words for a good strengthening video on YouTube are stability and mobility for healthy natural running There are also several feet strenthening videos on YouTube
I'd like to emphasize how important it is to go slow with transitioning from a thicker to a lower heel. One wouldn't walk into a gym for the first time and do 5,000 curls and that's what it's like for calve muscles to go out and say run or hike even five miles with a change in heel height. Calves do get sore at first. This is pointed out in a good podcast 'Dr. Mark Hits One Outta the Park' art and science of running form.
A personal benefit that I've experienced with a zero drop heel is a life long menescus problem in my knee has dissapeared.
Edited for being all thumbs on my phoneFeb 23, 2012 at 9:14 am #1843488Chris SBPL Member
@bigseaLocale: Truckee, CA
Nice article. I'm a big fan of principle #4. This past summer I got into the routine of taking off my shoes and socks and letting my feet air out every time I took a break. Definitely a nice little recharge each time.Feb 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm #1843682Barry PBPL Member
@barrypLocale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Sorry, slight deviating comment to follow:
“April in Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho.”
What? I didn’t see you there? Of course it was kind of empty. I was with my cousin there at the same time.
You get the nice foot workout there:
This is one of the few times I will not be spotted with sandals because of continuous 20F cold. I used boots!! Sometimes, in the winter I wear North Face Nuptse boots. Yes, my winter weight footwear is LIGHTER than my 3-season wear:
10oz for North Face Nuptse
12oz for Teva TerraFi3.
I like your point of fitting to thin and thick socks w/o blood strangualtion. One of the joys of my footwear is I can go from a thin nylon sock to a thick wool sock with a down bootie pulled over that! And then I can quickly cinch firm for backpacking; and totally loosen up at rest for a comfy slipper feel.
May everyone find their footwear zen,
-BarryFeb 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm #1843683
Awesome Barry, glad someone else is backpacking there in spring. My wife and I are looking forward to doing another trip this year. A bit out of the way, but very much worth the effort.Feb 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm #1843695David UreMember
Nothing truly new in the article that hasn't been hashed out before.
I simply wear these with non-gortex shoes and tall gaiters in those conditions and it works well in the Northern Rockies. I use a 0.4oz liner sock under the gortex socks:Feb 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm #1843882Warren GreerSpectator
But it would have been nice for a few photos of shoes-N-socks and such. OK, back to the thread. Or NM.Feb 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm #1844746David UreMember
I agree Warren, but based on a few posts this was apparently a re-hash of an old article. Maybe that is why there were no relevant photos.Feb 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm #1844767Kurt LammersBPL Member
@smackpackerLocale: Pacific Northwest
"rehash" or not this is the kind of article I appreciate and had previously come to expect from BPL; I've been unable to solicit any feedback previously regarding the recent article quality, but it's been my impression that the subject matter of too many of the articles in the past year have been peripheral to the core audience. Thanks for the article Dave, here's hoping for more for the core.Feb 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm #1844815
The core of this article was first publicly presented in the aforementioned blog post (in the fall of 2010). Since then my experience has only confirmed most of the core tenants, ergo I saw no need to change them. Nor rewrite them, as I was quite pleased with my original efforts. I have more recently been experimenting with ever more minimalist shoes, as well as discussing how other hikers have found this sock system. Just about the only reason anyone who actually tried it didn't like it was if their preferred hiking pace and/or circulatory issues demanded more warmth.
As for pictures of socks and beat up shoes, I trust in Google to guide readers. It's harder to evoke things like a mountain snowpack in full melt to folks who have never seen it. That and my ongoing goal to be at least as inspirational in gear articles as I am informative and descriptive.
Perhaps I should have embedded this video to make the point more emphatic: https://vimeo.com/11957531Feb 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm #1844852Ike JutkowitzBPL Member
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
Minimalist highly breathable shoes paired with a liner sock, thicker wool sock, and gortex sock
This was a strategy I first learned from Dave's blog. For what it's worth, the X-country is way too narrow a shoe for my foot, but I really like oversized MT 101s for winter. Just enough of stiffness for snowshoeing.
The article doesn't have to be new to be highly relevant to our community. I'm sure there are many out there who are investing in expensive boots for winter when they could be going cheaper, lighter, and more comfortably this way. These are the kinds of technique-oriented articles that make BPL worth the money for me.
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