Sep 20, 2020 at 7:25 pm #3676903
My question is similar to Lennox’s elsewhere in this forum, with some regional specificity. I didn’t want to hijack his post. Hopefully there are some NY’ers here. Most of my hiking and backpacking is in NY and NJ; therefore, I’m hoping the folks here can give some advice on footwear suitable for the rocky, up & down trails. I currently have 3 pairs of shoes:
An older (13 years plus) pair of FiveTen approach shoes. Original model before they started spinning off the designs. Thick sticky rubber with full leather upper that doesn’t breathe. Bought them to scramble rocks and slabs with, indestructible. 1 pound 15 ounces for the pair. These are my main shoes. They weren’t designed for long hikes and after a day on the trail my feet feel like someone’s been pounding nails into them.
A pair of Salomon GTX hiking boots. Heavy, don’t breath, I have them mostly for cold weather, snowshoeing etc. Nice ankle support but you definitely know you’re wearing a full hiking boot. Heavy duty sole is more protective against the jagged rocks you have to content with in Harriman, lower Hudson Valley.
A pair of running shoes. Light and breathable but not quite enough support or protection from the rocks. I should add that I’m not new to hiking, it’s just that I’ve put up with these options long enough and am willing to explore other options.
I need to balance weight, breathability against protection from the rocks. My feet are pretty sore after a day of stepping on or around all the rocks we have in NY. I’m looking for suggestions. My local REI is keeping very limited stock and the conversation is often “You should wear full on hiking boots” or “Just wear your sneakers.” That’s if you can get into the shoe department, which they’ve roped off the access to. They seem to give stocking preference to the Oboz brand…a brand I’m not familiar with. I’m willing to drive a little from the NYC suburbs to find a good shop and good shoes if anyone has local intel.
My base weight is 16 pounds ( 6 of which is the pack….that’s another story!), if that helps.
ThanksSep 20, 2020 at 8:00 pm #3676904dirtbagBPL Member
I live in NY. My backpack trips are NY, NJ and PA. I’m always in Harriman and Catskills. For last maybe 10 years or so.. I use Salomon trail runners 3 seasons. I have a gortex pair that I sometimes wear in late fall early winter when it gets really cold out.. But in winter with snow and ice and deep cold I wear my Salomon Tundra winter boots. Its hard to recommend someone a shoe.. Everyone feet are so different and preference too. I’m gonna say Salomon trail runner.. Not gtx though..Sep 21, 2020 at 6:56 am #3676922
Thanks. Now I just have to find them. I think REI has moved away from Salomon, but I’ll have another look.
Are you using an aftermarket footbed? I’ve been using Superfeet Green but—honestly, I made that choice years ago and it’s possible there’s something better now?Sep 21, 2020 at 7:07 am #3676923dirtbagBPL Member
REI and a lot of stores barely have stock . I am just fine with the stock insole..have never needed to try changing them out. You can also check Salomon website..Sep 21, 2020 at 7:27 am #3676924Allen CBPL Member
@acurranoLocale: Nuevo Mexico
La Sportiva Ultra Raptors are the best combo of weight, breathability, rock protection, and traction that I’ve found. REI carries them as well as most of the options below, but you may need to order them if your local store doesn’t have them in stock. I would order two pairs, they run small so try 1/2 and a full size larger than your normal running/hiking shoe size.
Other options which check most or all of the same boxes:
La Sportiva Jackal, Akasha, Akyra
Salomon XA PRO 3D
Salomon X Ultra 3 Aero (non GTX version)
And if you want more to go even lighter with more cushion/less support, try the Hoka Speedgoat or Evo Mafate, or the Altra Olympus. All 3 use Vibram Megagrip soles and are highly cushioned for plenty of rock protection over long miles.
Don’t be afraid to order a number of options and return them if you can’t try them on locally.Sep 21, 2020 at 8:37 am #3676927Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I’ve never hiked in New York or New Jersey, but I have done a lot of hiking in talus and rock with La Sportiva Ultra Raptors – however they do run narrow, which is good for me, but perhaps not you. Their European to US sizing is also off, so where a 43 is a US 9.5 in a lot of brands, it’s a 10 in LaSportiva.Sep 21, 2020 at 9:13 am #3676936bjcBPL Member
The two shoes I’ve had success with rocky trails like in the NE are La Sportiva Raptors and Hoka Speedgoats. Obviously fit is an issue and both are more narrow than some in the forefoot. I have to wear a half size larger in the Raptors than the Hokas. My take is that the Hoka outsole is a bit stickier and the shoe overall is more cushioned. Both great shoes.Sep 22, 2020 at 7:15 am #3677024
Thanks everyone. I dread buying shoes, particularly online, and I’ve been putting this off for too long. LaSportiva, from past experience looking for other types of boots, are usually too narrow. I like a slightly more open toe box so my small-toes dont get scrunched up. I’ll have to poke around to find the other brands; i’d prefer to try them on in person.
Green Superfeet inserts…..are they still the ‘preferred model” for hiking?Sep 22, 2020 at 6:11 pm #3677119Sean PBPL Member
@wily_quixoteLocale: S.E. Australia
The salomon XA pro3d come in a wide fit which takes them to a slightly wider than normal fitting – they have a nylon plate that makes the rear to midfoot quite rigid. In fact they feel nearly as rigid as my Salomon B1 boots.
They might suit you well but being a trail runner the sole wears through more quickly than you might like. I wouldn’t wear superfeet in them as they already have a noticeable stability medial post. I have owned a pair for 15 years, let me rephrase that… I have owned successive pairs for at least 15 years – they’re a classic IMO especially now that the sole is much grippier on rock.
Salomon x-ultra have a similar fit, without the stability features, but much burlier sole – a proper walking shoe sole.
I had a pair of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor and found the fit narrow in the toebox and loose in the heel.
All three shoes are high stack & high drop and you will lose some trail feel and stability in them.Sep 23, 2020 at 10:19 am #3677170Adam GBPL Member
I’ve had good luck with New Balance trail runners with Superfeet insoles. The combination of the insoles and thicker padding seem to the do the trick. I also wear Darn Tough socks with toe socks underneath, so that adds a bit of extra padding. My feet did hurt when I first got into them, but they toughened up. I also tried Altra Lone Peaks. Not recommended.Sep 25, 2020 at 7:23 pm #3677462
Ordered the Salomon X Ultras in an mid height configuration. Store only had the vortex version so had to order the regular aero version. Bonus that the mid version has actual laces.Sep 30, 2020 at 7:12 pm #3677993Steven ThompsonBPL Member
My go to shoe is the Brooks Cascadia trail runner. I am a fairly recent transplant to the upstate NY area and these have tackled multiple high peaks, the great range traverse, and a Northville-Placid thru hike.
The sole is adequately sticky and there is a rock plate which buffers pretty much everything. Though in NY my preferred stomping grounds are out west and these are likewise great shoes in Grand Canyon, the Sierra Nevada, and San Juans (on and off trail).
I prefer the non-gtx version so things get pretty messy during mud season, but 30 second standing in a creek crossing cleans things up well enough, and because they drain well I don’t get blisters. (my sock choice is the injinji original weight, 2 on each foot).
Granted, at size 15 my choices are limited, but i am now at 8 seasons on these and remain quite happy with the trail comfort…the only bad run were the version 14’s which had a really crappy mesh upper. All the others, including the 15’s I wore this summer have been a great balance of comfort, stability for both day hiking and backpacking, and durability.Sep 30, 2020 at 7:52 pm #3678003
Thanks Steven. The REI nearest me doesn’t carry the Cascadia, just some of the other models in the line. In the end, they had the Salomon’s in my size to try on, they were comfortable and so I ordered the non Gortex version. They should arrive tomorrow.Oct 4, 2020 at 7:17 pm #3678467
Back to square one. It turns out the non-GTX Salomon Ultras do not have the same lacing as the GTX version I tried on in the store. As such I can’t quite get the heel to lock in. May have to order the Brooks and give them a try.Oct 4, 2020 at 7:27 pm #3678470Sean PBPL Member
@wily_quixoteLocale: S.E. Australia
I have a pair of salomon x-ultra 2 that I had similar problems with a heel lock. I was so annoyed I cut the laces off and threaded my own runner’s heel lock using a spare pair of salomon laces.
Over time the sole bedded in and now it isn’t an issue. Still a risk for you, I admit, and sending them back is probably the safest option.
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