Sep 15, 2020 at 12:35 pm #3676179
I have downsized (down-weighted?) my backpacking gear from a 60-70 lb full pack to about 30 lbs (15-16 lb base weight). I used to wear heavy waffle-stomper boots. I am looking for some shoes for backpacking over lots of rocks with a 28-30 lb pack.
I have tried Altra Timp 1.0, 1.5, Altra Lone Peak 4.0, 4.5 and Topo Ultraventure Trail running shoes. I love the fit of these, especially the wider toe box and the minimal drop of the soles. The Altras tend to start falling apart for me after just a couple of weeks. The Topos seem to hold up. All of these are fine if I am only carrying a light daypack.
Neither the Altras or the Topos seem to have enough sole stiffness to keep my feet from hurting due to all the flexing over the very uneven rocks that I seem to walk on during most of my hiking.
I am looking for something with a fit and uppers much like the Altra Timp/Lone Peak or Topo Ultraventure shoes, with soles that are less flexible. A wider toe box and zero or minimal drop might be ideal. My ankles seem fine, and I do not need high top boots. I also do not need waterproof or waterproof-breathable shoes.
Are any of you using such a shoe or do you have suggestions?
Thanks, LennySep 15, 2020 at 12:42 pm #3676181Michael GillenwaterBPL Member
@mwgillenwaterLocale: Seattle area
My suggestion instead of new shoes is to be patience and do the work of slowly strengthening your feet and lower legs. Rather than looking for a product solution.Sep 15, 2020 at 12:53 pm #3676184
Thanks, but I have been strengthening my feet, legs, lungs, etc for the last year. In addition to 4 multiple-day backpacking trips, I have hiked 8-18 miles per week with my backpack. I have no difficulty in hiking the miles. I mostly hike over a lot of very uneven terrain with lots of sharp-edged limestone. The Altra and Topo shoe soles flex constantly, and it hurts.Sep 15, 2020 at 1:24 pm #3676187Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
As is typical of the internet, that post could come across as disrespectful, either intentionally or just miscommunication : )
I like stiffer soles than on typical shoes. If I step on the edge of a sharp rock, it telegraphs through to my foot. And sole spreads load across foot better.
I can’t answer your question though, I use mid height boots most of the time which usually have stiffer soles.Sep 15, 2020 at 1:38 pm #3676190
Thanks. I hope I was not disrespectful. It was not my intention. I will take a look at some mid-height boots. I did not know that they often have stiffer soles.
LennySep 15, 2020 at 2:31 pm #3676198Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Michael’s response could have come across as disrespectful, in my opinionSep 15, 2020 at 2:44 pm #3676200S LongBPL Member
Have you considered adding an aftermarket insole to your existing shoes? I know there are a few solutions out there that are basically add-on rock plates to protect your feet from pointy trail debris. That’s about the lightest solution I can think of. My Altra Superior 4s came with add-on rock plates. I never used them, but I mostly go barefoot and have for most of my life, so my feet are accustomed to the abuse (I’m also pretty skinny, so less weight on my feet).Sep 15, 2020 at 2:59 pm #3676201
OK, thanks. I did not take it as disrespectful. Just a good suggestion for something that I had already tried and omitted in my original post.
I should back up and think about the problem instead of just thinking about what I think the solution should be. The problem is my feet hurt after my shoe soles flex over a lot of uneven rocks when carrying a heavy(ish) backpack. Exercise could be a good solution, except I have tried it. The suggestion of stiffer insoles might also be a solution. I will try that, as I have a set of stiffer insoles that I have not yet tried.
Suggestions about shoes, and other things, are still welcome.
LennySep 15, 2020 at 4:34 pm #3676222bradmacmtBPL Member
I’m 59 years old, 5’10”, 145+ lbs and carry a backpack in the 24-38lb “all up” weight range (depending on the length of the trip). Here in the rocky, Rocky Mountains I’ve become extremely fond of the Salomon X Ultra 3. For my feet Salomon hits the sweet spot of lightweight but with a stiff yet comfortable sole. And unlike some, I’d never use tie-laces again if I can help it. I love the Salomon lacing system.
Also would add, I’ve added a lot of yoga/stretching to my week in the last 3 or 4 years… several of the positions involve the feet and arches. It makes a decided (and cumulative) difference in the way feet feel.Sep 15, 2020 at 4:43 pm #3676224Steven ThompsonBPL Member
<p style=”text-align: right;”>I’ve been wearing Brooks Cascadia. With the exception of the 14th gen shoe these have been excellent. Uppers robust enough to tackle off trail talus fields, reasonably sticky soles (14’s and 15’s are better in this regard than previous years) they have a rock plate that protects underfoot and resultingly have some stiffness.
They last an entire season of trail hiking and perhaps a good 200 miles if hiking off trail.</p>
The best shoe has to fit and at size 15 my choices are limited, but through 7 seasons and 7 generations of shoe I remain happy with these.Sep 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm #3676233
Thanks! I have heard of these. I have just put them on my short list of shoes to research and try on, if my local REI carries them.
LennySep 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm #3676234
Thank you. I will check these out. I have not heard of these before.
LennySep 15, 2020 at 7:17 pm #3676259Sep 20, 2020 at 9:59 am #3676858Steven ThompsonBPL Member
Lenny, not sure where you are at but I saw the Cascadias at REI in Las Vegas, so pretty good chance they’ll have them in your local store.Sep 20, 2020 at 1:55 pm #3676873David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
For lightweight, but not UL hiking / backpacking shoes, I’ve had good luck with Merrill’s offerings, like their Moab. The toe box is decently wide. I get a few years out of them and am always a bit confused about people replacing their shoes after only 500 miles.
I suppose for competitive runners, yeah, every ounce counts, especially on your feet, and I’ve long been a proponent of getting weight off your feet, but I find 1) the uppers of more running-shoe-like “trail runners” get shredded on rocks, and 2) the less stiff soles leave my feet feeling beat up after 20-30 mile days, even without a pack.
And it’s not because I haven’t conditioned enough. In my 20s, I’d be doing 10+ miles on my feet every day and think nothing of a 25-mile day hike and yet running shoes would leave my feet wrapped around every rock and root on the trail, while a low-cut hiker with stiffer soles let me do 40-50-60 miles in a day.Sep 21, 2020 at 10:35 am #3676944
Thank you Steven Thompson. My closest REI is in Austin, TX. I will look at these when I visit.
LennySep 21, 2020 at 10:37 am #3676945
Thank you, David Thomas. I have had some Merrill Moabs before and I liked them. If I recall correctly, I thought the toe box was too narrow for me, but I will check them out again when I visit REI. I know I liked them for general wear around town.Sep 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm #3676965Bob BBPL Member
I went on a shoe hunting journey almost identical to the OP and landed on the Topo Terraventure 2’s, which have a rock plate, are sturdier than other Topo trail-runners, and AFAIC strike the “goldilocks” balance of comfort vs support for backpacking.
Altra Lone Peak 3.something’s were too sloppy and loose even for on-trail use, later Altra models had major durability issues, and no other brands currently have the toe-box room I was looking for (solomon, vasque, brooks, merrell, new balance, etc).Sep 21, 2020 at 3:03 pm #3676966
Yes, Bob B, this sounds very much like what I am doing. The newer Altras I have tried have started falling apart within the first couple of weeks of use… and not through-hiking. Just hiking on a local trail. Probably less than 30 miles total.
The Topo Ultraventure soles are a little too flexible for me. I sent an email inquiry to Topo asking about both the Terraventure 2s and their Trailventure boots. They recommended the Trailventure as having a more rigid sole than the Terraventure 2. In any case, when I get over to REI, I plan to try both of these Topo shoes as well as several of the others that have been mentioned here. I do not think I really need the high-top boots, but if the sole feels better on those than any of the other shoes, I may go with those.
LennySep 21, 2020 at 4:02 pm #3676975idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
I’d recommend that you check online to see if the REI you go to has the shoes in your size in stock before driving there.Sep 21, 2020 at 4:18 pm #3676978PaulWBPL Member
@peweg8Locale: Western Colorado
I think I’m in the same boat as you Lennox. I love my trail runners for light hiking (currently using Terraventures, Ultraventures, and Lone Peaks), but I don’t consider any of them supportive enough for backpacking. For a long time my main backpacking shoe has been the Moab Ventilator version 1, but sadly the Moab 2 doesn’t work for me. As my stock of Moab 1’s dwindles (I stocked up) I’m looking ahead and am considering various Salomons. I have pretty wide feet though and no one local stocks Salomon wides so I’ll have to chance it with mail order. I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread. Let us know what you decide on.Sep 22, 2020 at 6:15 pm #3677121tom laknerBPL Member
I’ve been wearing Lone Peaks since V1 and have been disappointed by the fast wear. They seemed to be the only game in town though so I continued to buy . This past spring I bought a pair of NB Fresh Foam Hierras and have been completely satisfied with them. The Vibram soles show little wear with maybe 500 miles on them. The mesh also shows little wear where the Lone Peaks would be ripping already. The wide fit sealed the deal .
TomLSep 23, 2020 at 6:47 pm #3677233Mathew MacDonaldBPL Member
When I was on a search for a new hiking show a few years ago I narrowed it down to maybe 5 or 6 brands then I ordered all of them from Zappos.com. It was very helpful to wear the diferent shoes around my house and really take some time to check out each shoe. I kept the model I liked and returned the rest of them to Zappos. In my case it was the winner was the Merrel Moab 2 Ventilator in wide. Zappos offers free return shipping for the shoes that don’t work out for you.Sep 24, 2020 at 9:48 am #3677288
Thanks, Matthew. I have done that with REI products before. I may try this with Zappos.
L.Sep 24, 2020 at 9:49 am #3677289
Thanks, Tom. I too am disappointed in my recent Altra purchases. Both Lone Peak and Timps. I will look at the New Balance shoes too.
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