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Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - M

Locale: Central TX
Shoes for going around the world! (?) on 07/19/2008 20:05:56 MDT Print View

Hey guys,
I've just learned this past week that I have a spot on the World Race, a journey that will begin in October, send me through 5 continents, and return me to the states in August '09. Cool huh?

Naturally, like any of us would, I've shifted into gear mode. I need shoes--or a set of them--that will be reliable enough to last me the year and get me through a lot of different conditions and activities. I wanted to solicit the advice of this wise community.

So, here are the things I'll likely be doing, and bear with my lack of detail:
1) Working
Building houses, painting things, doing demolition maybe. Walking around on urban surfaces, probably a lot.
2) Hiking
Going through rainforest mud, desert sand, mountain rocks, maybe some snow. Sometimes with a pack on my back (up to ~30 lbs) and sometimes not.
3) Playing
Running around with kids. Playing field sports on grass and probably a bunch of different sports on hard-courts and/or concrete. Going to beaches, probably.
4) Socializing
Going to church, or nice meals in public--stuff that doesn't really permit muddy trail shoes.

A pretty wide variety of stuff, right? I'd like to get it done as simply and efficiently as possible.

Here's my current lineup. These are shoes that I've tried and tested favorably, and that I currently either own or could quickly get new pairs:
1) Inov-8 Flyrocs
2) Salomon Tech Amphibs
3) Thrift store semi-presentable black skate shoes

The idea is that I can fill all my hiking needs with the Inov-8, all the miscellaneous working and playing needs with the Salomons, and wear the skate shoes in situations that need it.

Thanks for bearing with me through all that. I'm uncertain about a few things, like:
- will the inov-8s be durable enough for 11 months of intermittent hiking (sorry I can't be more specific with my estimate, all I know is that some destinations will be urban, others will be backcountry or mixed)
- will the salomons be durable enough to handle various movements on concrete-- like for soccer or basketball--all year long?

I know these questions are vague, but currently there's not a lot more information available to me than this. I guess I'm just asking you to consider the things I'll be doing and make your own best guesses. What would you take if you had as vague a picture as me? Would you go with a different combination? I've had a good (limited) experience with Montrails, and I know they're known for durability--should I go with them instead of the Inov-8s? I've heard good things about the Conti Divide, Hardrock, and Vitesse--which do you think is the most versatile? Are all highly durable? Would you take a different water shoe? Are the new generations of Salomon water shoes better, worse, or equal to the old Tech Amphibs? I won't take Chacos or Tevas or the like, please don't advise me for those--just not versatile enough in my eyes. Or, make a case that they are?

Do you think I can accomplish my goals with just 3 pairs of shoes? Any commentary in any direction is welcomed. I'd like to make the best, most educated decision I can. Thanks for your help friends!

Christopher Chupka
(FatTexan) - M

Locale: NTX
Keen Newports on 07/19/2008 20:21:55 MDT Print View

You could get a pair of Keen Newports in the brown leather. They are good for hiking, can be used in the water, and dress them up with a nice pair of socks for evening wear :)

Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - M

Locale: Central TX
Re: Keen Newport on 07/19/2008 22:33:56 MDT Print View

Hey great suggestion, thanks!

I'll research more into Keens, I forgot about their line and it looks like it offers a lot of possibilities that could be "solutions" to my dilemna. What has your experience been with their:
- sizing
- durability
- flexbility
- drying time
- general performance characteristics

Ed Tyanich
(runsmtns) - F - M
Keen's on 07/19/2008 22:48:53 MDT Print View

I'll second the Newports. I have a pair I have used for work, water sports, hiking both mountains and desert and they are still going strong after more than three years.

I finally picked up a second pair in case the originals wear out.

They dry very quick.

The Newports , for me have run true to size. I wear a 13 in most everything and that holds true with the Newport's

They are very flexible. I run in mine as well.

And for me they have been very durable.


Edited by runsmtns on 07/19/2008 22:54:09 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Shoes for going around the world! (?) on 07/21/2008 08:03:42 MDT Print View

Demo work demands toe-tectors (steel caps). You just can't afford a foot injury with your schedule. Obviously, you won't want to pack them with you, so how about posting a pair out to the location before you go if you're not sure they'll be provided onsite?

Good luck and have a great trip.

Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - M

Locale: Central TX
Re: steel toe on 07/21/2008 08:25:11 MDT Print View

Yeah, good suggestion but I think the kind of demo work we'd be doing on this trip will be light-duty stuff. In fact, we may not do any demo work at all, but in any case, if the character of the work required serious foot protection like that, AIM would have let me know in the packing list they provided.

I'm pretty sure at this point that I'll be getting a pair of Hardrocks for my primary hiking shoe, since it gets great reviews from pretty much everyone, it's super durable and still under a lb, and the Montrail last agrees with my wide-ish foot.

I'd still like to find another shoe that I can just kick around in and maybe be comfortable moving around concrete or asphalt. Will the Hardrock stand up to this, you think? I suppose overall it would, I'm just wondering if I should get a different, more sort of "hybrid" trail shoe that has a less aggressive outsole so as not to get worn down on hard-court. I'm looking at the NB 873s for this, but also thinking about an Inov-8 F-lite, maybe the 335s. Any opinions on those? Anyone know if the Hardrock outsole could be alright with some abuse on concrete?

Anybody know anything about the Montrail Odyssey? Looks really cool but I can't find much of a review anywhere.

As for those water shoes, I'm eyeing the Keen Zerraport carefully, as its reviewers have seemed more enthusiastic about it than the Newport, and it seems a little more versatile since it has the convenience of converting to a slide by removing the heel strap. I'll go try them on before I order. If I don't like them, I may just go for the Salomon's again, because I've had such a good experience with them. Has anyone tried out the Salomon Karma? This seems to be the next-generation Tech Amphib. I'm curious if they're any good.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Shoes for going around the world! (?) on 07/22/2008 14:46:58 MDT Print View

I would take just 2 footwears.

You threw this criteria down:
“Building houses….., doing demolition”

Not knowing what this entailed, I would feel safer with steel toed shoes. Mine are from Sears similar to (ouch, long link, $40).

AND when you polish these shoes, I use them with a white shirt and tie for going to church.

Well how about something that
1. dries 10x faster than a Keen (in my tests),
2. Comfortable for “working”
3. Great for walking 20 miles on blacktop, cement, asphalt, etc. This is the worse of all surfaces to walk on for great lengths. Most shoes/boots will destroy your feet doing this only once. But my footwear doesn’t. This requires a long-life squishy heal.
4. Keeps sweat out and toes are airy in 110F desert yet keeps feet warm in 25F walking.
5. Can accommodate thin socks to puffy down booties and add some wool socks in there with always just the right room (not too tight, not too loose).
6. Perfect for “rainforest mud, desert sand, mountain rocks,”
7. rinses off by walking through a stream and they look good as new. Rarely scrubbing is needed.
8. Stays stiff for handling scree.
9. prevents ankle rolls (ouch).
10. Perfect for basketball and racquetball (I play this a lot w/ my footwear), as well as other fast paced sports.
11. feels like a slipper at night yet gives good backpacking stability during the day w/ loads up to 30lbs.
12. no need to take them off when crossing streams/rivers
13. Use them for water sports
14. walk on 30 degree incline wet granite and NOT slip. Amazing!
15. no need to wear blister treatment.
16. no need to carry blister treatment.
17. no hammer toes or blackened toenails
18. lighter footwear. Only 10oz each. This gives way more energy. I noticed that right off the bat.
19. has wiggle room for the toes.
20. is fast and easy to dump out a pebble (maybe twice/day when hiking).
21. Shoe smell is gone.
22. Stay in the same pair of socks all day
23. They’re cheaper than the other boots and shoes I bought
24. Good tread and arch life. I’m getting 500-1100 miles. It depends on the terrain.
25. Very quick to loosen/tighten when feet swell or shrink while hiking.
26. No more athlete’s foot and thus no more powder needed.

Now you noted “I won't take Chacos or Tevas or the like, please don't advise me for those--just not versatile enough in my eyes. Or, make a case that they are?”

Well I’m making the case for the Teva Terra Fi 2. When worn at least with a thin coolmax socks, all the above 26 statements work beautifully for me. I tried a couple dozen sandals before I finally found one that fits. It is such a simple design yet has amazing results. #4 is the reason I switched to sandals about 10 years ago. Some other, of the above, items came with sandals in general and the rest are products of the Terra Fi2.

I do wear this sandal to church. My sandals are black and my socks are black and 99% of people don’t notice I’m wearing sandals with my suit and tie.

Some people I talked to, that had a hard time with the terra fi2, had the back strap adjusted wrong. It only has to be adjusted once in its lifetime but it needs to be correct--- and that’s another post which I won’t go into here.

Good luck with your shoe choice!


Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - M

Locale: Central TX
Re: Terra-Fi on 07/22/2008 16:59:09 MDT Print View

Thanks Barry, that was pretty convincing. I seem to remember that Tevas fit me much better than Chacos due to my low arch or something . . . so maybe I'll give them a second look. I'm awfully attached to my Tech Amphibians, but there's a chance. What you said about their versatility is especially convincing. Reminds me of a big guy I know that has some Terra-Fi's, or something that looks sorta like 'em, and he never wears any other pair of shoes, really for any of the sports he plays.