Trail runners for thru-hike
Mar 3, 2016 at 9:59 am #3386462
Hello wise BPLers.
I’m currently trying to find the perfect pair of trail runners for a PCT thru-hike next year. The catch is my awkward shaped feet, as I have both very narrow heels and very wide feet. This makes it quite a challenge to find a pair without heel slip, but with the space up front for my toes.
I’m wearing a pair of Ultra Raptors at the moment, still fresh out of the box and I’m thinking of returning them as there is still a little slippage and some toe squashing going on.
Are there any durable, thru-hike worthy trail runners that I should be turning my attention to next?Mar 3, 2016 at 10:17 am #3386467Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
You’re not the only one with narrow heels – it does make finding footwear a longer process. As long as the shoe will meet my needs OK, I put more stock in the fit than the features. If you look around you’ll definitely find a good fit eventually. For me, the narrowness and depth of the heel in the Cascadia 10s fit me better than a dozen other shoes I tried on in the Fall.
The best strategy I’ve found is to try on every pair of shoes you can get you hands on and then buy the ones that fit best. Trying them out at a store with an indoor trail to test them before buying (REI superstores) make things much easier. Trying different lacing methods also helps quite a bit (each shoe seems to fit better with a different lacing method).Mar 3, 2016 at 10:36 am #3386469Billy RaySpectator
@rosyfinchLocale: the mountains
You’re going to need several pair for the PCT… probably get about 400 mi out of each pair… depending on brand/model. As you progress your feet may grow a size or more so maybe cache larger sizes along the way?
Not ideal, but you can tape your heels to make them effectively a little wider.Mar 3, 2016 at 10:44 am #3386475
Thanks Lester. I’ve heard that the Cascadia 10s haven’t got the durability that the 9’s had – what’s your experience been like so far? As Billy points out, I’ll be going through a few pairs anyway to the more durable the better!Mar 3, 2016 at 10:46 am #3386478Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Hey Chris, I have the same foot fit. Altra shoes have very wide toe boxes so give them a try. There is a company called Topo shoes which has a very wide toe box and a narrow fitted heel. Give them a look.
Also do a google search for a lacing technique called a lace lock or heel lock. It makes a huge difference.
I typically use thin minimalist shoes with no heel cup and don’t worry about a little heel slippage.Mar 3, 2016 at 10:52 am #3386481Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Have only been using the Cascadia 10s for a few months with no long hikes yet, so durability remains to be seen, but they do fit very well.Mar 3, 2016 at 11:12 am #3386490
The Altra Lone Peak 2.5 looks like they might be just the thing for me, I think i’ll give them a go. Thanks Justin.Mar 3, 2016 at 11:58 am #3386499James holdenBPL Member
can you try em on a whole bunch at a store ?
for things like shoes and packs it doesnt matter what other folks or bloggers think if you cant try em on at some point? … not just for the fit of the shoe but also the sizing which is very unpredictable between brands (and even within brands)
if you cant then ordering a bunch and returning all but the one that fits is probably yr best bet?
;)Mar 3, 2016 at 2:21 pm #3386544Matthew / BPLModerator
I’m a huge Cascadia fan but the 10s have durability issues. These are my son’s Cascadia 10s above Wanda Lake on the JMT (mile 126 SOBO) and he had maybe 50 miles of wear before we hit the JMT. These are definitely under 200 miles at this point. He’s 115# with a 25# pack at max weight. We saw dozens of PCTers with the same rip on both sides. Brooks did replace the shoes upon our return and the Cascadia 11 appears to eliminate the little stressed area between the two seams where the rip happenedMar 3, 2016 at 3:11 pm #3386555Simon KentonBPL Member
Used a pair of Lone Peak 2s for the first 500 miles of the trail. They were pretty beat up but I probably could’ve put another 100 on them. That said, I had a new pair waiting on me, so into the hiker box they went. Some one had already picked them out later that day.Mar 3, 2016 at 5:17 pm #3386584Hiking MaltoBPL Member
I have used over a dozen pairs of LaSportiva Wildcats and Cascadias and I always thought they were interchangeable with large toe boxes. I recently tried on a pair of lone Peaks and the toe box is so large I’m think of dual using it as a shelter.Mar 4, 2016 at 11:08 am #3386725
Thanks all. I went ahead and ordered the Altra Lone Peak 2.5 to see if they’re a better fit for me. Unfortunately there aren’t many stockists of niche trail running shoes in the UK, so it often has to be done by mail order rather than trying the shoes on in store. I’ll let you know how I get on!Mar 5, 2016 at 7:15 pm #3387010Lachlan FyshBPL Member
Hey, going through the same thing now (maybe I’ll see you out there?)
I was going to go with Altra as I’ve used them a bit and they do fit right… but they die so fast. I was just going to accept this and budget a bit more for it… However I got a chance to try on a pair of the Topo Athletics Justin mentioned and they are just magic – the same wide toebox as Altra (I’m a comfortable 13 in both, very similar fit in the toes) but a much more secure midfoot and heel… and smart welded overlays that make me think they’ll got at least twice as far as the Altras before tearing.
Having said that, I’m torn between their two trail models.. one being foamy and cushy and the other firmer with a rock plate. Generally running I like a bit less support and a firmer ride, but I’ve never walked 20 miles a day for days on end… should I be looking for more cush than I usually want??
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