I hiked the PCT in two large sections and ended up with foot injuries both times.
The first time I had stress fractures in my metatarsals. I bought really stiff shoes (probably motion control) and they totally crippled me. When I got home I healed my feet by walking barefoot around town.
The second time I ended up with a sore sesamoid in my left foot. The sesamoid problem was caused by the curve of the shoe where it goes into the arch causing pressure there and whenever my foot rolled out, the shoe would twist and tear at me there.
Again I'm healing my feet walking around town barefoot.
Recently I've been wearing flat, minimal shoes, too. The healing is great. It feels great.
I'm starting to wonder if, like the whole barefoot running thing, maybe hiking deserves minimalism as well. I want minimalistic hiking shoes.
- protection from sticks jabbing the top of my foot and my arches,
- protection from poison oak,
- protection from sharp pebbles underfoot,
- huge toebox so my toes can freely do their job,
- good traction
I don't want
- tons of padding,
- raised heels,
- arch support,
- shoes that are narrow and not foot-shaped,
- tons of support that weakens my ankles and foot muscles
When I first read Ray Jardine and went from high-top boots to low-top running shoes and experienced the amazing power of using the full range of motion of my feet and legs to power me uphills, that was the beginning. I think I want to take it even further.
If according to all this research I keep reading that running shoes are causing more injury than they prevent, wouldn't the same be true for wearing trail running shoes for hiking? Can hiking benefit from minimalism like running?