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GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews on 11/17/2009 15:05:57 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
doh! on 11/17/2009 16:28:37 MST Print View

A shoe that can't get wet (without falling apart)? And that costs 130 dollars?

Back to the drawing board.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Weight on 11/17/2009 17:35:26 MST Print View

It's too bad these shoes have gotten heavier, because otherwise they would be appealing. I could probably live with a less durable shoe if it was significantly lighter, grippier and more comfortable than other shoes on the market. At 13oz there isn't much of a weight advantage over the average hiking shoe.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Weight on 11/17/2009 17:53:43 MST Print View

Nice report,

The failure of the sole at such a rapid rate seems to be a common theme with GoLite shoes and really needs some attention.

I am a big Golite fan and have several of their products, but shoes are definately off the list.


Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews on 11/17/2009 19:04:21 MST Print View

Read "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" and then try some Inov8's.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews on 11/17/2009 19:58:36 MST Print View

I hope durability becomes an issue. GoLites might wear faster than others but not by much.

I went through a pair of Inov8 330's on the JMT.

I have about 200 miles on some Salomons that are now missing lugs, have much of the "color surface" on the sole worn off, and blow stitching around the toe caps.

I think $.50 a mile is a bit much for footwear.

(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Re: GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews on 11/17/2009 20:43:54 MST Print View

"I have about 200 miles on some Salomons that are now missing lugs, have much of the "color surface" on the sole worn off, and blow stitching around the toe caps."

In October I put 200 miles on a brand new pair of Comp 4's in the Sierra and brought them right back to REI after 10 days having worn right through the front upper part of the shoe where it flexes.

Where can I find fit, performance & durabiity.

Have two pairs of Inov8 that feel too narrrow for anything longer than a few hours.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Durability vs. "Gripability" on 11/18/2009 04:10:30 MST Print View

"I hope durability becomes an issue. GoLites might wear faster than others but not by much.
I went through a pair of Inov8 330's on the JMT."

Both shoes illustrate the essential tradeoff that all trail shoes face. To get a good grip on wet rocks, they need small lugs and soft rubber soles. They won't last long. My Mudclaws from Inov8 are already pretty much worn out after 100 miles, despite their deep lugs.

To get durability, they need harder rubber and less aggressive lugs. My Hardrocks will last forever, but I can't use them on trips where I expect a lot of wet rocks.

Sigh. Where's modern technology when you really need it.


Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Fit/ Vibram Five Fingers on 11/18/2009 04:24:25 MST Print View

Trying hard to stay on topic, but drifting . . .

"Have two pairs of Inov8 that feel too narrrow for anything longer than a few hours."

Double dittos on that. Inov8s are good only if you have a narrow foot, especially in the toes. Mine are absolutely unwearable in winter because of the heavier socks. Sadly, my Mudclaws are a perfect fit everywhere but in the far-too-narrow toebox.

The attractive feature of the Golites is the ability to adjust the fit. I can life with a short life if I don't die on the wet rocks of southern Ohio and my feet survive the adventure without sore toes.

BTW, the best solution I've found for the wet-rock problem is the Neoprene version of Vibram Five Fingers. They weight about 6 oz. each, and their thin soles are essentially lugless, hard rubber. They appear to have been designed for scuba diving, so they grip like a sonofagun on most surfaces, especially wet rocks (and most other surfaces more than adequately). They also seem to be holding up really well.

If the thought of wearing toe shoes doesn't ring your bell, consider it the next step from those heavy trailrunners. :-)

The next step, is, of course, no shoes at all, but the Vibrams are the next best thing to barefoot, and the Neoprene keeps your feet SO warm, even when they are wet.


Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
The durability of trail running shoes on 11/18/2009 07:27:56 MST Print View

I've gone through a few pairs of shoes in my day. Here are some observations...

- The inspiration for the GoLite shoes -- the soft-against-the-ground approach -- was realized in their first generation shoe. But their fit was sloppy (too wide all over), their ability to side-hill was very limited because the center-of-gravity was too high, and their durability was in the toilet. I solved the last problem by lathering Aqua Seal on the toebox and other failure points, and just dealt with the other problems: I'm not sure I could have hiked 6,875 miles on hard-packed, cobblestone-laden trails with any other shoe without severely bruising my forefeet.

- I destroyed a pair of Vasque Aether Tech's in 150 miles back in February while on the Hayduke Trail. The shoe lacks a skeleton -- it's all mesh -- and a small fray near the anchor system for the Boa laces developed into a 3-inch long rip that I had to glue and tape shut (or at least try). The shoe's toebox is also monstrous.

- I put about 350 hard miles on the Solomon Tech Amphibian back in March in the Grand Canyon. They were light, extremely breathable, and dried really quickly after getting wet; and after 350 miles the core parts were no worse for the wear (upper, midsole, sole). However, I had to stitch up the heel cup strap because otherwise the buckle would slip and my heel wouldn't stay locked in the shoe. The laces were starting to fall apart -- they may have had a few more days until rendered completely useless. And, finally, the mesh paneling is just not a sturdy enough platform to keep one's foot over the midsole -- there's some give to the material, so when side-hilling the edges of my feet (particularly around my heel) would slide over the edge of the shoe. Oh yeah, they also don't fair well when brushed up against cactus!

- I'm current sponsored by La Sportiva and have been wearing their shoes for the last year. My favorite shoe for backpacking is the Fireblade: the upper is absurdly durable (I put 500 miles on one pair and not even a seam had blown out), the sole is really grippy, and they're low to the ground and therefore great for side-hilling. They're also very light. The problem with the La Sportiva shoes is that they still use a EVA-based midsole, which over time collapses and doesn't come back, especially if you're doing lots of miles day-after-day. This was not an issue in Alaska because I was off-trail ~75 percent of the time and the ground was generally very soft; but this would become a problem if used mostly in an on-trail environment. I'm trying to convince La Sportiva to make a Fireblade-type shoe with a plastic plate in the midsole but haven't had too much success with that pitch -- yet!

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Shoe durability tips on 11/18/2009 07:39:32 MST Print View

In the last post I gave a brief history of my footwear experiences. Here are a few general tips about footwear durability:

- Coat the seams and the known blow-out points with Aqua Seal before you take a step. If more blow-out points emerge, treat them too -- and then, with your next pair, treat them preemptively. Don't use SilNet -- it won't stick to fabrics other than silicone. And Seam Grip isn't as good.

- Give your shoes a day off if you can. On a backpacking trip this is impossible, unless you want to carry 2 pairs of shoes -- I've done that before and don't recommend it -- it's not worth the weight investment. But if you're just day-hiking or trail running, have at least two pairs of shoes and rotate them.

- If you are going to be on hard surfaces day-in-day-out, then I'd recommend either a GoLite shoe (note the associated problems above) or a lightweight trail runner or "day hiker" with a forefoot plate. Basically, your goal is to stay away from an EVA mid-sole, which is collapse-prone and after that your "cushioning" is gone. A growing number of people seem to be fans of minimalist shoes with no cushion, but I think this is impractical for hard-packed, cobblestone-laden trails while wearing a backpack -- your feet get eaten and eventually bruised. It might work for trails with soft surfaces, but at least in the Rockies you won't find many of those (or in the Northeast, or in the Southwest). Even so, I'm not sure it'd work day-after-day. The problem with "light hikers" is that they tend to want to control everything about your stride, which is where I have some agreement with theses barefoot advocates -- that will only lead to problems.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: The durability of trail running shoes on 11/18/2009 08:53:48 MST Print View

Awesome feedback and insight on shoes. Since you mentioned Sportiva and wanting a "shoe with a plastic plate in the midsole," have you tried out their Wildcat? It has a nylon shank. One of the most supportive shoes I've seen, but really easy gait, and light. Ordering a pair next check, though, so no field use...

Andrew Skurka
(askurka) - F
Sportiva Wildcat on 11/18/2009 09:01:27 MST Print View

I don't mean to get too far off topic here, since this forum is about the GoLite shoes (which, however, naturally raise the issue of footwear durability), but re the La Sportiva Wildcat. I've run in this model quite a bit -- 500 miles or so. The durability of the upper is very good and the sole is sticky; snow performance is limited by the lack of knobs on the sole -- it's pretty smooth. It's a roomy shoe and there's a bit more side-to-side movement than I'd prefer (though I tend to have a narrow and small-volume foot, so this might not be a problem for someone with a wider and/or larger-volume foot). As far as forefoot protection, it does a better job than the Fireblade but ultimately it's EVA midsole shines through and the cushioning will disappear in the forefoot.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Sportiva Wildcat on 11/18/2009 09:03:58 MST Print View

Bummer, sort of. Sorry, folks. Back on topic! (Although I guess we could say that it looks like most trail runners have some issues, and less EVA in them would be great.)

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
What shoe does last? on 11/18/2009 10:39:41 MST Print View

Does anyone know some trail running shoes or really light hikers that do have a forefoot plate? I've experienced the same problem with EVA mid-soles: they feel great at first and then poof, its gone. Golite might be on to something, but I wasn't a big fan of the orginal Golite Sun Dragons. For what it is worth to others, I tore through a pair of Montrail Hardrocks and Vasque Velocity VST's just this past summer. Durability seems to suck on all trail running shoes these days.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: The durability of trail running shoes on 11/18/2009 10:49:01 MST Print View

i can attest to the EVA problem as i was backpacking in some trail runners with no plate and EVA midsoles. the midsole completely gave out uner the ball of my left foot. i still had about 10 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain to go. by the time i got back to the car, i had a blister under my left foot bigger than a quarter.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
try mountain masochist on 11/18/2009 11:10:19 MST Print View

I'm not sure why no one has mentioned the Mountain Masochist from Montrail here. It's marketed as a runner, has the aforementioned plate, and fits the light designation. I just returned from a 225 mile hike in mine. Packed rail bed (i.e. HARD surface). No foot issues on the bottoms of my feet. Unfortunately, my Superfeet's deep heel cups rubbed on the outside edge of my heel. I might give up on Superfeet from this experience. I don't wear insoles in my running shoes. Not sure why I think I need them in hiking shoes. The forefoot is a tad narrow for my foot in the Mt. Masochists. Rubbed my pinky toes, swelling occurred, downhill progression to very sore toes. Shoes are still looking pretty good. They already had 100 trail miles on them, along w/ some weekend errands.

Andy, thanks for the hearty endorsement for the La Sportiva's. Unfortunately, they only go up to 13's I believe. Leaves us bigfeet out of the market. Golite does this too, IIRC. I understand being in the minority. Finding long enough sleeves, inseams, and shoes is a regular issue for those of us that are tall. However, a lot of people are 13's and when you consider feet swelling and the need for a size larger shoe....what happens then?

Why not go the Ray Way? Get some New Balance or Nike runners and replace every few weeks or bounce box alternating pairs down the line until you kill them.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: try mountain masochist on 11/18/2009 11:24:04 MST Print View

i've heard really good things about the masochist, but never tried them. right now i am wearing some salomon XA3's (i think they are called), and so far they have been great. from what i understand they have a nylon flex control plate, and they do a good job at keeping those rocks from causing any pain.

just my 2cents

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: GoLite Footwear Competition and Fire Reviews on 11/18/2009 13:02:18 MST Print View

Some really useful posts here.

>Have two pairs of Inov8 that feel too narrrow for anything longer than a few hours.

The 330, 310 and 295 are all fairly wide models.

I just ordered a pair of the new New Balance NB100, which have have some forefoot protection, and are *light*. I hope they aren't too narrow though. And I doubt the upper will last long. I've really been liking the NB MT840s because it comes in a 2E, but of course it's now been discontinued (sigh).

The La Sportiva's sound good. The uppers on my shoe always wear out far before the soles ever do (soft/muddy overgrown trails here) even with seam grip on the stitching.

The Inov8's in particular have an annoying habit of the lace loops getting frayed/torn very early on. You can melt a new lace hole in the shoe with a tent peg or similar when it happens though - just be careful not to melt the laces at the same time ;)

Anyone know what the difference between the Montrail Masochist and the Streak is? I've been a bit put off either because they look too bulky/built up.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re; masochist on 11/18/2009 14:00:18 MST Print View

Can't speak for the streak. But the Masochist is no way what I would call a bulky shoe. They are a no frills trail runner. Lots of breathability, gusseted tongue, light wrap on the toe of a reinforced material. No toe cap though. I have not had trouble with stubbing toes or the like with them. Weight-wise, they would fall in the heavier class when compared with a traditional running shoe, mainly because of the reinforcement plate on the sole. I really like them and want to stick with them, but I'm afraid swelling feet are going to continue to treat me like your Inov8's treat you. I can't go wide though, because of my narrow heel. I'm left finding the roomiest toebox I can. Good discussion here.