Forum Index » GEAR » Trail runners or boots for the Sierras?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 17:43:44 MST Print View

I have to admit that I am wearing Vasque Sundowner full sized backpacking boots. I don't count the weight of clothing worn anyway like some of you do but my question is this,

To the people who are hiking the Sierras (especially in the southern half): Are you wearing boots or trail runners?

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 17:56:59 MST Print View

I used trail runners and loved them. I would probably only consider boots for mountaineering.

I didn't choose them for weight. Weight doesn't matter to me. I choose them because they were more comfortable and had better ventilation.

Mark Hume
(seattlesetters) - F

Locale: Pugetropolis
It depends.... on 02/10/2010 18:00:24 MST Print View

I have decades of experience in the Southern Sierra. The questions you need to ask yourself are:

1. How much weight will you carry?

2. How much ankle support do you need?

I have bad ankles and wouldn't dream of wearing trail running shoes in the Sierra even if I wasn't carrying any wieght. A sprained ankle 30 miles from your car (10 miles of that cross-country, above treeline, on talus and scree) is just no fun. Trust me on this.....

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 18:06:31 MST Print View

Trail runners.

This is BPL, so I assume we are all carrying light loads. Exceptions are winter snow (some still use runners) or mountaineering.

I don't buy that heavy boots or high ankle support prevents injuries. I have fewer problems (actually none), since I retired my Danner Mtn Lights and Lowa Banffs.

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 18:07:55 MST Print View

Mark,

I will be carrying between 25 to 28 lbs (8 days). I actually have pretty strong ankles but I still worry about just that...hiking over rocky passes or through off trail scree.

Laurence Beck
(beckla) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
re:Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 18:11:58 MST Print View

So - If I opt for trail runners, any suggestions on the brand and model? What do you look for in a trail runner?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 18:20:09 MST Print View

"To the people who are hiking the Sierras (especially in the southern half): Are you wearing boots or trail runners?"

Mid ankle trail runners: Inov8 Roclite 370's, used to wear Montrail Namche's. Both are up to the job, on trail and off, with loads up to 30#, at under 2#/pair.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 18:39:22 MST Print View

I normally backpacking in the Yosemite area, but I have done the 70 miles High Sierra Trail from Sequoia to Mt. Whitney and more recently, the Whitney Portal to Mt. Whitney.

Loads were 36 lbs on the HST and 23 lbs from the Portal.

Both times I wore Innov8 trail runners with no problems.

That said, I do use hiking poles, which have saved me more than a few times from going face first into to the dirt.

I would think that trail runners would be fine for you and if you use hiking poles, I think you have nothing to worry about.

-Tony

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 19:07:34 MST Print View

Last year I destroyed a pair of Inov8 330s on the JMT. They were shredding at 100 miles and done at 190 miles when I hit Tuolumne Meadows. 175# + 26# of gear/food. I use poles.

Toe caps where peeled. Lugs were missing. Most lug-caps were gone. The right heel was collapsing. Fabric was slashed.

Light. Cool. And just durable enough.

Would I wear them again? Maybe. I was definitely on the edge.

[ed: this was an 11 day trip]

Edited by greg23 on 02/10/2010 20:23:07 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 19:27:27 MST Print View

Mid ankle trail runners: Inov8 Roclite 370's, used to wear Montrail Namche's. Both are up to the job, on trail and off, with loads up to 30#, at under 2#/pair.

How much do you weigh?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: How much do I weigh? on 02/10/2010 20:20:52 MST Print View

Eugene,

I usually weigh 139-140# going in, after bulking up ~3#. Gear and food for 10 days is another 25-26#, depending on shelter option and food option. I, too, use poles.

The Namche's are more durable, but I prefer the Inov8 370's for the exceptional friction properties of their soles(invaluable on granite slabs and talus), lightness, and fit. I liked them enough to buy 3 extra pairs just before they were discontinued. If the Namche's fit you, they are a heck of a good shoe, IMO/IME.

Edited by ouzel on 02/10/2010 20:27:44 MST.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: re:Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 20:53:32 MST Print View

I look for 3 things in a trail runner:
1) fit
2) fit
3) fit
Since I never manage to find more than one model that fits, the choice is easy. If you are lucky enough to find more than one model that fits, then you can consider weight, breatheablity, sole stiffness and so on. If I had choices, I'd go with a shoe that has a nice breatheable mesh upper, fairly stiff rearfoot sole with nice deep lugs, and a good solid heel cup. And I do all my backpacking in the Sierra in trail runners, on or off trail, packweights up to 30 lbs.

James Naphas
(naphas13) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Trail runners or sandals on 02/10/2010 21:38:28 MST Print View

Depending on route, I've been wearing either Salomon XA Pro 3D trail runners or chaco Z-1 sandals. My ankle has more support with the Chacos (love that footbed), but the Salomons provide more protection from scree. IMHO, the footbed support is a lot more important than how high your uppers go in protecting against sprains, but higher uppers help protect against scrapes.

One thing you might have to use with trail runners in the Sierras are low gaiters. They help in places like Sawtooth pass where you're hiking through really fine scree.

FWIW, I weigh around 190, carry about a load of 25-32 lbs.

Edited by naphas13 on 02/10/2010 21:39:48 MST.

Michael Walker
(mwalker) - F

Locale: Everywhere. All of the time.
Sierra Trail Runners. on 02/10/2010 21:53:13 MST Print View

I had no problems with Trail Runners on the PCT Sierra sections. I use either the New Balance 812 or 904. Both are great shoes. And I get near 1000 miles out of them. When I've worn boots in the past, I tend to roll my ankles a lot, not badly but it is annoying. Almost never in runners. Go figure.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Trail runners or boots for the Sierras? on 02/10/2010 21:56:50 MST Print View

Trail runners typically. Though I prefer high top "trail running boots" if my trip involves a lot of talus scrambling. And talus scrambling is what the sierra is about in my mind, so I'm trending more and more towards boots these days. Hot dang, I want to get out there!

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
Ankle support on 02/10/2010 23:04:50 MST Print View

Thinking about ankle support, has anyone with injury-prone ankles ever considered taping them? Does anyone know anyone who does it as a matter of routine, i.e, not just as duct tape first aid? I've never heard of it being done, but it seems like it might offer a modicum of support, especially in the absence of high top boots.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Ankle support on 02/10/2010 23:19:59 MST Print View

Ankle support, either provided by taping or a brace is an excellent idea! I encounter this frequently. Problem with taping is that it requires a lot of tape for a multi day trip. I have friends who use braces and I've taped many a person's ankles.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
braces or tape on 02/11/2010 00:05:12 MST Print View

White paper medical research has shown in one study that lace-up braces with low-top shoes had the lowest number of ankle sprains in their study population. Pneumatic braces have also shown to decrease the incidence of ankle sprains in several papers. Taping is also somewhat effective but not as good as braces. Overall, nothing prevents ankle sprains but these types of support can decrease the chances and/or severity of injuries.

Michael Cockrell
(CAL-EE-FOR-NIA) - F

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Re: Salomon XA Pro Trail runners on 02/11/2010 15:52:57 MST Print View

I have done both boots & trail runners. My boots are light also. But the trail runners really allow me to "boogie down/up the trail" with my poles. I can set a mean pace.

I do have to be more careful around more rocky parts though, as the boots allow me to jam with less fear of injury.

Yes, trail runners require you to be more careful of your steps, but fun. If my load is more, I go with boots.

Trail runners do cut down the skin wear than boots, so less "prepping" the feet with moleskin.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Boots on 02/11/2010 16:03:10 MST Print View

I use boots, always.

When the majority of NBA players use low top shoes I might change my mind about ankle support, but until then...