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Need light but sturdy boots
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Dan U
(danno141) - F

Locale: North Central Texas
Need light but sturdy boots on 08/22/2009 21:19:36 MDT Print View

Hi, I'm new here. I've been checking out this site for a few weeks now. I'm 47 and haven't backpacked in almost 20 years. Back then I did Colorado many times in the Uncompagre area, also lots on the Ok-Ark border Ouachita area. Now I'm thinking about getting back into it. I'll proabably start with some 2-4 day trips to ouachita. After reading lots of posts and checking various sites (geartrader, STP etc.) I'm fairly clear on what bag/pack/tent,tarp I'm going to use. What I can't seem to find is a good sturdy lightweight hiking boot. Any suggestions (No trail runners, not good on 47 year old feet.

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
"Need light but sturdy boots" on 08/22/2009 22:36:42 MDT Print View

Don't count trail runners out. I've used them the last several years, I'm 50, and found them just fine for the lighter loads you'll carry, compared to 20 years ago. This is especially true for trail hiking.

Off trail, I've used Inov-8 Roclite 390 XCR

Take a day hike with your two or three day load and see how you do.

Dan U
(danno141) - F

Locale: North Central Texas
Trail runners on 08/22/2009 22:50:47 MDT Print View

Thanks Tim, I would consider Trail runners, but I've had a high ankle sprain. Not much fun, can't imagine it 30 miles from nowhere. I was looking for something light but with ankle support. Also I once did a 3 day trip in Stan Smith tennis shoes I played tennis in every day of the summer. The third day I could barely walk. That trip bruised the hell out of my sole (maybe also my sole thinking about that last day.) I don't want to go backmto the vasque full leather vibram sole 6 pounders I wore 20 years ago, but I think I need more ankle/sole support than amped up tennis shoes. Hope I didn't harsh your mellow.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Check a good shop ... on 08/22/2009 23:14:18 MDT Print View

There are numerous good options from all the big names: Montrail, Salomon, Inov8, Vasque, etc. Alot depends on your foot and what fits. I'm a Montrail guy, and I'm thinking I'll probably get some Hardrock Mids for snowshoeing this winter. So go try some stuff on, there's plenty of choices.

Dan U
(danno141) - F

Locale: North Central Texas
Inov-8's on 08/22/2009 23:20:59 MDT Print View

I did some googling and I couldn't find the XCR's. Some sites had an GTX gore-tex version. I ran across a BPL forum, one of the first posts was someone concerned about "turning an ankle" on rocky terrain. Since I plan on hiking in OK-Ark Ouachita I'll encounter plenty of "rocky terrain." I need a boot that will stand up to it. (This is the same country that bruised mt soul- sorry for the spelling error earlier.)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Need light but sturdy boots on 08/22/2009 23:50:17 MDT Print View

You might want to try trail runners to see how they work. Trail runners are definitely not "tennis shoes" but true running shoes that (because of where they're used) are more supportive than the standard running shoe. I (granny, age 73, with relatively weak ankles due to previous sprains) was a real skeptic about them until last fall, when I was finally persuaded, kicking and screaming, to try them. I tried to turn my ankles in them deliberately and couldn't. I found that the trail runners (Montrail Hardrocks) did a far, far better job of addressing my arch support and severe pronation problems than did my boots. During a 5-day trip in the Wind Rivers with a pack over 30 lbs. (my dog got sick so I carried nearly all of what was in his pack), I never once missed the boots! Your mileage may vary, of course. At least try a pair and see how they work for you (you can always wear them for around home and for exercise walking if you decide you prefer boots on the trail).

In other words, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If they don't work for you, at least you'll have the satisfaction of having explored alternative possibilities.

There are "mid" versions of a number of trail runners which might also suit you. If you get the right kind, they'll provide the anti-pronation support you need but will give you the security (illusory, IMHO) of something around your ankles.

Edited by hikinggranny on 08/22/2009 23:54:03 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Inov8 on 08/22/2009 23:59:00 MDT Print View

You can see the Inov8 product line here:

Including the Roclite 370 and 390 which, as Tim hinted, are more like light boots than trail runners. Somewhere on the website they list distributors, too.

Dan U
(danno141) - F

Locale: North Central Texas
More on Inov-8's on 08/23/2009 00:35:56 MDT Print View

OK, I've seen the boots on a website, read a few reviews (2 pro, 1 con). They look like they have decent ankle support, I just wonder what my feet will feel like after walking on sharp rocks for 3 or 4 hours. I also wanted opinions on more options, if this was 5 years ago before they started making them in china and ruined the souls I would have just bought a pair of Vasque Sundowners. Anybody else? Asolo, Merrel, Wolverines; comeon , a little help please.

Aaron Robson

Locale: Texas, California, BC
other options on 08/23/2009 00:59:30 MDT Print View

My biggest problem with trail runners is I do a lot of scrambling - the mesh uppers on trail runners simply gets torn apart on scree and talus. You might want to check out Chacos - I have a pair of Canyonland lows - pretty sturdy uppper, about 800-900 grams for the pair. I know they make a mid-cut version of the boot which might suit you.

Dan U
(danno141) - F

Locale: North Central Texas
Chaco's on 08/23/2009 01:26:03 MDT Print View

Thanks Aaron, I checked out the Chaco Mid online. Looked like good ankle support and good reviews, except one that said the laces are too thin, duh, buy new laces. Saw a price for about $60, great, but I would never buy boots online. Fit problems. PS any idea what a pair of 13 EEE's would weigh? Never mind.

hunter nelson
(hunt4car) - F
boots on 08/23/2009 12:55:37 MDT Print View

so here is what i gather you need
1.ankle support
2.a way to make sure the sharp rocks dont dig in to your feet
it sounds to me like you need hiking poles can catch your self with them tripping or after you take a bad step. can put some body weight on them taking weight off your feet.
also dont you need something to hold up your tarp/tent you listed

if you dont like this idea i think a decent fall back would be some montrails

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Need light but sturdy boots. on 08/23/2009 13:25:25 MDT Print View

It has been proven that high ankle boots provide no ankle support whatsoever. It is a fallacy. Protection from roots, rock, etc? Yes. Support, no.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Need light but sturdy boots on 08/23/2009 15:13:19 MDT Print View

MERRELL Moab Ventilator mid-height boot

I just returned from 220 miles on the JMT. Wore these the entire way. Ventilate well, drain well, dry quickly, great suport.

I replaced the stock insoles with Spenco insoles and added a gel insole under that in the forefoot area only. Very comfortable!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: More on Inov-8's on 08/23/2009 16:02:04 MDT Print View

Oboz Sawtooth. I've backpacked quite a bit with them. Great underfoot support. They make a mid height if you really think you need it. The regulars have been great on my 51-year-old feet!

Edited by idester on 08/23/2009 16:03:30 MDT.

WV Hiker

Locale: West Virginia
Watch the midsole on 08/24/2009 19:57:34 MDT Print View

One thing that most people don't pay attention to in the quest for ever lighter shoes is the construction of the midsole. The midsole provides most of the support for the arch of your feet. If you have flatter arches you need a better midsole. Almost all of the lighter boots (and trail runners also) use an EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) midsole. For more support you need a PU (polyurethane) midsole. If you've ever hiked a lot, especially on rocks and the soles of your feet are sore the midsoles are probably to blame. You probably also want some kind of heel support and or control. This applies whether your load is light or heavy because you are still supporting your body weight. I've been on a quest to find replacement hiking boots at around 45 ounces (2 lbs. 13 oz.) for the pair. I have actually found a few with PU midsoles at that weight point.

Edited by vdeal on 08/24/2009 19:58:05 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Moab on 08/24/2009 20:29:52 MDT Print View

"MERRELL Moab Ventilator mid-height boot

I just returned from 220 miles on the JMT. Wore these the entire way. Ventilate well, drain well, dry quickly, great suport.

I replaced the stock insoles with Spenco insoles and added a gel insole under that in the forefoot area only. Very comfortable!"

thanks for posting that, it's one of the boots I'm looking at (the other being the Inov-8 370)- there are not a lot of non-gortex options in a mid height I'm finding

Vernon- you might look at the Asolo Lander- it's the boot I'm currently using- a little on the stiff/stout side for most on trail stuff, off trail the boot really shines- weight in M size 9 38 oz which isn't too shabby for this stout of boot- non- gortex as well, not the fast drying boot, but not bad

most of my hiking is on trail, thus my quest for something a little lighter- if I know the going is will be tough the Landers will do the trick

WV Hiker

Locale: West Virginia
Asolo Lander on 08/25/2009 13:16:00 MDT Print View


Thanks for the info. Unfortunately the Lander has a EVA midsole so it's off my list. Right now the two boots on my short list are the Lowa Zephyr GTX-Mid and the Merrell Legacy Gore-Tex. Both should come in under 47 oz. for a full pair of size 11's. I actually prefer GTX and these both have a PU midsole. Of course I still have to try them on to see how they feel. I'm not of the trail runner persuasion. Did it once, didn't care for it. I may try it again for on trail hiking but I do a lot of off-trail bushwhacking and just like my regular boots.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lander on 08/25/2009 18:18:01 MDT Print View

ahhh- didn't know that, they do have a lot of rigidity (for the weight of the boot)

my boots are gradually getting lighter, don't know if I'll ever get to the trail running stage, but you never know :)

Aaron Robson

Locale: Texas, California, BC
eva vs pu on 08/25/2009 20:00:27 MDT Print View

I wouldn't immediately strike anything with an eva midsole off your list, for a couple reasons.

First, eva can be made in a wide range of densities - from my experience with running shoes (of the non-trail variety) I have had eva-midsole shoes that felt more like blocks of wood than shoes, and I have also had eva-midsoles that felt like pillows. I would guess that there are eva midsoles out there that are stiffer and denser than pu. Just a guess though.

Secondly, you have to consider the sole material as well. If you took two identical shoes with the exact same midsole stiffness and density and put a thin blown rubber sole on one and a thick vibram-type rubber sole on the other, the blown rubber shoe will feel light and flexible while the vibram sole will feel sturdy and supportive.

Just something to think about - in my opinion, the only way to really tell if a shoe will work for you is to try it on, walk around in it, and carry a load with it. 30-45 mins of that in a store should give you a decent idea of how supportive and comfortable a shoe will be.

WV Hiker

Locale: West Virginia
eva vs pu on 08/26/2009 19:14:14 MDT Print View


It may be true that EVA can come in different densities but in general a PU midsole will provide better foot protection than EVA. In addition, EVA will break down much faster than PU.