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PCT footwear
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Kevin Clayton
(kclayton) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
PCT footwear on 02/17/2008 14:39:08 MST Print View

I am planning on thruhiking the PCT starting on may 20 and have come to a bit of a predicament with footwear.
In the past while backpacking I have always worn boots-this was before I switched to a lightweight style and was carrying 50 pounds. The switch over has gone well with the exception of shoes. I have tried out a number of light weight trail runners but all of them so far have caused foot pain, and hot spots. Last summer I used a pair of vasque wasatch boots while working on a trail crew on the Montana CDT. They were excellent and I didn't get a single blister all summer, but they weigh 3.5 pounds.

Do my feet just need more conditioning in trail runners? or are light weight shoes for long distances not for everybody? Should I stick with something that already works for me? thank-you for the advice in advance.

Edited by kclayton on 02/17/2008 14:44:15 MST.

Margaret Snyder
(jetcash) - F

Locale: Southern Arizona
Re: PCT footwear on 02/17/2008 14:50:35 MST Print View

You really have to analyze your feet when buying runners for hiking. For instance, I have narrow heels and a normal forefoot on relatively low volume feet. I've tried out dozens of pairs of runners in the past 3 months. Merrell, La Sportiva, Brooks, Innov8, New Balance, Adidas, you name it. I just got a pair of hardrocks as my new sneak of the week to test out. The compromises were usually lateral stability, heel slip or forefoot cushioning, for me. Why do you think the boots work well for you? Try to incorporate this into looking for lighter shoes. You could also analyze your socks and their compatibility with different types of footwear.

Good Luck,


Locale: Greater Gila
Re: trailrunners on the PCT on 02/17/2008 14:51:31 MST Print View

Although it's hard to address everyone's feet, I'm not sure why running shoes shouldn't work for everyone. The important thing is finding shoes with a good fit for your feet. I have never worn boots when hiking, even when hiking with loads in the high 30 lb range. I have hiked in various cheapo New Balances, Montrail Hardrocks, and recently Inov-8 Terroc 330s.

If you are getting hot spots and blistes, where are they typically occuring? If they are on the heel, it could be a lacing issue, or perhaps you need different socks. At the start of my AT thru-hike last year I was wearing Montrail's with thin socks. I was getting constant hot spots on my heel, and I couldn't figure out why. I was lacing my shoes up tight to no avail. I finally came to find out that the problem was using socks that were too thin. By switching to thicker socks, all of the extra space in my shoes was taken away, and my heel had nowhere to move. Blisters solved.

Having said all of that, I think you should definitely keep looking into finding a way to use trail runners on the PCT. I would worry that carrying heavy, non-breathable books would wreak havok on your feet in the desert and wet High Sierra. I have fallen in love with the Inov-8 terroc's because of their narrow profile,but roomy toebox. These shoes are very breathable for the desert heat and to drain High Sierra water, have great traction, and fantastic underfoot protection when coupled with Superfeet insoles.

Edited by vaporjourney on 02/17/2008 14:57:08 MST.