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Sandals for Summer Backpacking
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Sandals for Summer Backpacking on 08/19/2008 19:56:40 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Sandals for Summer Backpacking

Stephen Akrill
(takrill) - F

Locale: Midlands UK
. on 08/20/2008 06:14:40 MDT Print View

.

Edited by takrill on 09/25/2014 05:14:24 MDT.

Derek Goffin
(Derekoak)

Locale: North of England
sandals on 08/20/2008 06:39:43 MDT Print View

Hi Steven,
Would you agree that you are warning against footwear with minimal heels rather than sandals as such?

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: sandals on 08/20/2008 06:49:13 MDT Print View

Hundreds of backpacking miles covered in my Tevas.

Great!

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Sandals for Summer Backpacking on 08/20/2008 07:04:10 MDT Print View

Nice article Chris. I enjoyed your first time sandal experience “I wore the boots in camp for warmth, as it was often frosty, but I walked the whole route in sandals,..” Too funny.

I would like to know what sandal takrill wore. I have only heard of Achilles tendon problems w/ poor footwear be it boot or sandal.

I do 3 season 30F-110F backpacking in sandals (teva terra fi2), but I’m not very stylish. I always wear a sock (or 2 in the cold). In the hot summer, I have on a thin coolmax sock. This maintains a comfortable microclimate where my feet stay dry but don’t crack-- even on hot 20 mile days on granite. W/o socks, my feet would be sweaty on the bottom. The socks keep the sweat wicked out. And another bonus of socks is NO stinky sandals. And socks greatly minimizes scratches from underbrush. I also don’t need sunscreen on the feet.

A weird affect of the terra fi2 is my heel callous got softer. When I use to backpack in teva hurricane 2’s, I built up quite the heal callous. But it softened up in the past couple of years w/ the terrafi2. Maybe it’s my middle-age skin changing; I don’t know; but it’s quite the coincidence.

Also, with a little different experience than yours, I have found my terrafi2’s to have much better ankle support than my trail runners. In fact I find it harder to twist my ankles in my terrafi2’s than trail runners. My theory is--- the teva’s have wider foot beds and when cinched tight (not too tight!), your whole leg has to roll before the ankle rolls.

My feet stay surprisingly warm backpacking at 30F when I have on a coolmax sock and a wool sock over that. And then in camp, I don the down bootie. That’s another advantage of sandals (at least Teva’s)--- there’s enough length in the straps to accommodate any thickness of socks and foot swellings. That means my down bootie won’t be squished.

There’s 26 more advantages to sandals. I won’t list them here, but I listed them at: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=14916&skip_to_post=111392#111392

May everyone find their foot zen.

-Barry

Stephen Akrill
(takrill) - F

Locale: Midlands UK
. on 08/20/2008 07:21:11 MDT Print View

.

Edited by takrill on 09/25/2014 05:15:23 MDT.

Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
sandals on 08/20/2008 08:56:30 MDT Print View

I'm another one with a couple of thousand miles in sandals - mine are Chaco Z1s. My backpacking experience with sandals has been gradual. I first got the idea from Chris Townsend's manual but at the time it seemed esoteric and far fetched. Five years ago I purchased my Chacos. First it was just short road walks; then well groomed urban trails; then a series of progressively rougher hikes to the point where I now will walk almost anywhere in sandals. This is not to say that I never experience difficulties. There can be sore points at times, and I have had the problem of cracked heels during a long walk. All of these things can be effectively managed. The recent article outlining foot care with sandals is excellent.

Most of my hiking is in eastern Canada, and I have used sandals from mid April to early December. Clearly sandals are not meant for winter use; nevertheless I've been caught out once or twice by unexpected snow falls, and have made out alright with thin Goretex type liner socks.

I would certainly not recommend that anyone embark on a long or strenuous walk in sandals without having thoroughly accustomed or adapted their feet to the foot ware. It takes some time. In my experience, simply strapping on a brand new pair of sandals and tearing off on a thirty mile walk is a recipe for disappointment, if not disaster.

It's refreshing to be able to discuss sandal backpacking without being branded an outright loon.

Cheers

Brad Groves
(a2biv) - F
sandals and foot problems on 08/20/2008 09:13:34 MDT Print View

Chris, thanks for the humor and insight in your article!

Hey, all-- First, footwear, like everything else we use, is highly subjective and personal. I just wanted to add my own perspective on the foot problem comments.

About ten years ago I started having severe back problems, to the point of not being able to stand up straight. Horrible. Much evaluation, etc, and ultimately ended up with custom orthotics. I basically haven't had problems since (if feet are out of whack, then ankles are, then knees, then hips, then back...). That said, I can't fit those orthotics in/on most sandals, and there are virtually no sandals with high arch support (not even Chacos). I have some oddball Birkenstocks that are great around town, but definitely not for the trail. What I'm getting at is that sandals can be great if you don't need significant arch support--but not everyone can pull them off. I can't say I'd recommend hiking 10 or 15 miles the first time I tried them out...

Brad Groves
(a2biv) - F
Foot problems and sandals on 08/20/2008 09:14:57 MDT Print View

Chris, thanks for the humor and insight in your article!

Hey, all-- First, footwear, like everything else we use, is highly subjective and personal. I just wanted to add my own perspective on the foot problem comments.

About ten years ago I started having severe back problems, to the point of not being able to stand up straight. Horrible. Much evaluation, etc, and ultimately ended up with custom orthotics. I basically haven't had problems since (if feet are out of whack, then ankles are, then knees, then hips, then back...). That said, I can't fit those orthotics in/on most sandals, and there are virtually no sandals with high arch support (not even Chacos). I have some oddball Birkenstocks that are great around town, but definitely not for the trail. What I'm getting at is that sandals can be great if you don't need significant arch support--but not everyone can pull them off. I can't say I'd recommend hiking 10 or 15 miles the first time I tried them out...

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Sandals and socks on 08/20/2008 09:23:05 MDT Print View

Just to echo the sentiment about sandals and socks. A few years ago I did a few backpack trips here in the desert in Arizona in sandals. With no socks or thin socks my feet dried and cracked. I needed medium weight wool socks to keep that from happening. My feet may have adapted after more sandal wear but I went back to trail runners. There are a lot of stickers in the desert and they'd get stuck to my socks when I wore sandals.

Christopher Williams
(clwilla) - F

Locale: The Bluegrass
stuff in the sandal on 08/20/2008 10:22:22 MDT Print View

I would love to hike in sandals, but getting stuff in the sandal has kept me from trying. I hate it when I get rocks/dirt/sand/the occasional stick caught up in my sandals, and since I wear fully toed sandals, I have to stop to get it out.

I have been wearing a pair of Keen and a pair of Merrell, both with fully enclosed toes, and I love them. Both would be well suited to hiking, but it's the stuff in the sandal that keeps me from going out and actually trying it.

Perhaps I'll throw on my pack and take a couple of day hikes to better gauge my stuff in the sandal fear and see if it's fear, or well placed skepticism.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: stuff in the sandal on 08/20/2008 10:34:50 MDT Print View

“…or well placed skepticism.”

Chris,
It is well placed skepticism. For the sandals you have, plan on always picking up stuff. It’s a pain. Closed-in-toe sandals are a hassle in a lot of ways.

My open-toe sandals are one size big so that extra 3/8” length is enough to protect stubbing toes. When I wore teva hurricane 2 sandals, about once/hr I got a pebble underneath the foot. In stride I was able to flick it out with a finger. This is sooo much faster than dumping that problem pebble out of a shoe. Still the sandal was so comfortable this was not a hassle to me. I thought this was natural with sandals. Then I got the Terrafi2. I didn’t pick up near as many pebbles! Sometimes I went all day w/o picking up sticks/rocks. This is because when the sandal is cinched tight (for walking) and combined with the lip already embedded on this type of sandal, gunk had a hard time getting in.

Just something to think about…
-Barry

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: stuff in the sandal on 08/20/2008 11:21:36 MDT Print View

I've tried hiking in sandals and while I found them plenty supportive and very comfortable, it was very irritating getting small pebbles and such in the sandal. These seemed to always make themselves to the very middle of the sandal and it was hard for me to just kick them out, I often had to stop and loosen the straps to get the pebbles out. If it was only occasionally, like every 30 minutes or so I wouldn't mind it, but for me it was literally every 5 minutes or so. This was with various brands (Teva, Chacos, etc).

I'm wondering if it has something to do with the way I walk, maybe I kick up stuff more than others. My wife certainly doesn't seem to experience the same problem.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Comfortable but not my cup of tea on 08/20/2008 13:07:27 MDT Print View

I had blown out my large toe nail one day and decided to hike in my Tevas. Solved the toe nail problem and gave me another: plantar fascitis. I still have to deal with my heels from that hike a few years ago.

The funny thing is the sandals were comfortable to hike in. I think I had socks on. They were just plain old Tevas. I am sure the sandals listed in the article are more substantial than the ones I was wearing.

I will still wear sandals if I am fishing and have to go a small distance to my next rest stop or camp. For long hking days I have given up on the idea of sandals.

Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
Stuff in the sandals on 08/20/2008 13:07:31 MDT Print View

Daniel,

It may well be the way you walk! While hiking with my wife the other day, I couldn't help but notice that every hundred yards or so poor Mary would be picking and flicking stuff out of her sandals, while this happened very rarely to me. I know for a fact that she tends to move along without raising her feet much - as little clearance as possible - and is always kicking and stubbing her toes on sticks and pebbles, some of which end up in her sandals. It must be aggravating as hell. I'm certainly not trying to tell you how to walk but . . . . .

Cheers

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Comfortable but not my cup of tea on 08/20/2008 13:21:43 MDT Print View

“I had blown out my large toe nail one day and decided to hike in my Tevas. Solved the toe nail problem and gave me another: plantar fascitis. I still have to deal with my heels from that hike a few years ago”

Hello Scott,
Sovling nail problems is great.
Any footwear can cause plantar fascitis. And that takes months to heal. It sounds like the sandal arch was not at all matched up with your arch. That is critical. That is why most sandals don’t fit me. I’ve tried about 2 dozen. I like having a backstrap in sandals. I just have to set this once in a lifetime and that is what centers my arch on the sandal arch. Also, a lot of heel problems are solved with some nice cushy in the sole.

May everyone find their foot zen.
-Barry

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Solving Nail Problems on 08/20/2008 13:27:52 MDT Print View

"Sovling nail problems is great."

Barrry,

I have found that nail problems for me come when I have loose shoes. I like them loose. However, when I am doing long steep descents I tie my shoes much tighter than normal and don't lose nails anymore.

On my last trip I took Crocs. While I liked the weight savings over Tevas I hated them in the streams when fishing. Also, too squishy for any type of hiking.

Peter Strand
(Ambrosia)
I always hike in sandals on 08/20/2008 14:08:47 MDT Print View

I've hiked (backpacked) hundreds of miles in teva wraptors with socks. This year I was hiking between fifteen and twenty miles a day, though I've done thirty-three. I always hike in the northeast where the going is usually quite wet. Shoes never dry. They also always give me blisters; sandals don't. I now wear my sandals with injinji wool toe socks, which is perfect. I take the socks off at camp and let everything dry. My feet do great, no blisters, no sore spots.

One exception was that my heels got bruised this year from slipping between rocks, but I think this would have happened if I had worn trail runners too.

The only disadvantage I have, that I can see, is that I sometimes ruin my socks.

Bill Ferriot
(bferriot) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Solving Nail Problems on 08/20/2008 14:20:24 MDT Print View

>>On my last trip I took Crocs. While I liked the weight savings over Tevas I hated them in the streams when fishing. Also, too squishy for any type of hiking.

I hiked 6 miles in Crocs when I first bought them, only because I didn't have my Tevas to do so. It wasn't all that bad. Those were the old clogs. I now have a pair of the new sandals. These have straps similar (but not exactly) like the Tevas. They are much more comfortable because the straps don't dig into my feet.

I've had multiple different pairs of Tevas and it seems they are all different, wear different and feel different.

I had heard a pod cast with Chris on Backpacking Light (Europe) and he said he only took one pair of shoes, no camp shoes. I said that's for me. That's what I'm striving for. And with my Montrail Continental Divides, I'm there.

Jeffrey Loso
(Vagabon) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
sandals for long distance hiking on 08/20/2008 15:01:47 MDT Print View

I started wearing Chaco Z1s after a hundred miles or so on a AT thru hike. I was trashing my toe nails in my running shoes and switched to give them a break. I have never looked back at shoes since. I have hiked in all types of weather (read winter in Minnesota) and have been happily hiking down the trail. The only problem I have ever encountered, was a new snow fall. Build up of snow under the toes is inevitable.