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What do I want in hiking boots?
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michael huynh
(radlations) - F
What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/19/2010 13:56:16 MDT Print View

So I've been hiking, backpacking, camping and I've only been using ordinary shoes. Sneakers, everyday shoes, and even basketball shoes.

Theyve all been fine. Provided enough traction even on slippery hill sides.

I hear about hiking boots and how great they are.

What's so great about them? What are their benefits and what should I be looking for in a good/cheap pair of hiking boots.

Edited by radlations on 04/19/2010 14:03:43 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/19/2010 13:59:22 MDT Print View

Fit and comfort aside, what I look for are good support and good traction. Trail runners serve my purpose. For me, there is just no need for anything heavier.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/19/2010 14:11:39 MDT Print View

Good/Light/Cheap

Pick any two from three.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/19/2010 14:22:57 MDT Print View

You want them to be sneakers/trail runners. Boots are not needed on the trails here in CA. You still in San Jose? Weather will be too warm for boots soon. Stick with what has been working for you so far.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/19/2010 14:47:38 MDT Print View

I look for cheap, light and comfortable. Good tread is also a must. This is true whether choosing a boot or trail runner IMHO.

Mike McHenry
(mtmche2) - F
What you have works on 04/19/2010 15:33:18 MDT Print View

Sounds like what you have works. I'd stick with it. There are a ton of people who hike in sneakers and tennis shoes. Who knows, maybe if you keep rocking the basketball shoes, you could start some trail fad.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: What you have works on 04/20/2010 21:33:04 MDT Print View

I've even seen people hiking flip-flops. No joke. I asked the guy and he said he had heel spurs and flip-flops were the only things he could wear. Last weekend I saw bare foot prints on the PCT.

It's just walking and if you can walk and hike in what you have, that's all that matters.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: What you have works on 04/20/2010 22:59:44 MDT Print View

You don't want hiking boots.
Get that dirty thought out of your head.


Boots were one of the best bad habits I've ever quit.
Now I'm trying to kick shoes :)

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
my first hike... on 04/22/2010 14:46:11 MDT Print View

I wore cowboy boots... but I don't recommend it. ;p

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/22/2010 17:03:24 MDT Print View

Your feet!

Bwahaha!... OK... sorry

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/22/2010 18:42:30 MDT Print View

> I hear about hiking boots and how great they are.
> What's so great about them? What are their benefits
They were an outcome of the need for boots for the soldiers of the European armies, in centuries past. Prior to that all sorts of strange footwear were used by travellers and the military, going back to sandals as worn by the Roman legionaries (and earlier).

Their benefits these days are that they allow good control of step-in crampons and good control of skis. Other than that, their main benefits are that they return a good profit margin to the shops that sell them, and to the companies that make them. Far better return than for joggers.

> what should I be looking for in a good/cheap pair of hiking boots
That someone else is stuck with them rather than you.

Cheers

Charles G.
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/23/2010 07:06:36 MDT Print View

Unless you anticipate having to kick steps in snow for any extended period, I recommend you stay with shoes. But, kicking steps in snow, especially hard snow, can be painful, at best, in running shoes. Step kicking and crampon use are the two main reasons for climbing boots. A lot of backpackers appear to feel that they need climbing boots for good trail. The power of the marketing department I guess.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/23/2010 07:25:02 MDT Print View

I see many pictures of blisters on this site.

I don't get blisters in my leather boots.
I don't get knocked ankles or stubbed toes on unstable rocky ground either.
I can get up rock faces where those in lightweight footwear would struggle for purchase on small toeholds.

For sure you don't need stout leather boots for noodling along on nicely manicured trails, but they have their place on my feet when I'm scrambling off piste and moving quickly across harsh terrain. Which is often.

I have bought a pair of lighter weight trailshoes to keep Roger happy though. Lafuma X-lite mids. And they seem quite good for intermediate walking/scrambling use on defined paths.

Edited by tallbloke on 04/23/2010 07:30:38 MDT.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
light weight hiking boots versus trail runners on 04/23/2010 16:22:09 MDT Print View

My hiking boots are falling apart, and I'm debating what to get now. I'm a little afraid of getting trail runners (never had 'em before), because of rain, snow, and stream crossings/wet trails. I'd worry that my socks would get wet, and it sucks to have wet socks.

Or am I paranoid? Do you keep reasonably dry feet with trail runners? When wouldn't you use trail runners?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Wet feet on 04/23/2010 17:25:05 MDT Print View

We just finished doing the Lost Coast trail and had wet feet the entire time. No big deal and nobody had any foot problems either. It's just water. You could add some Hydropel to your feet to help with maceration. Try it. You might just find that it is not an issue.

Derek Schutt
(derek_fc) - F

Locale: Northern Colorado Front Range
wet feet on 04/23/2010 17:35:31 MDT Print View

I had wet socks for 5 days last time I backpacked (heavy), and they were bunching up on me, and stunk pretty bad too. Perhaps I just need new socks.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/28/2010 19:10:16 MDT Print View

> I have bought a pair of lighter weight trailshoes to keep Roger happy though.

Oh Rog - how ... :-) (JOKE!!!)

> I can get up rock faces where those in lightweight footwear would struggle
> for purchase on small toeholds.
That's not how we use light joggers and friction shoes. Typically a 'smearing' technique works much better. From our last trip (it was a bit extreme):
Rockwork Main Ck 0363

Left pic: me getting water in the evening from a small pool at the bottom of a sandstone sluice box: the cliffs between us and the creek below were about 50 metres. I just frictioned back up (New Balance MT910GT joggers). Would have been much harder to do in boots though. We would have been a bit embarrassed without that pool...

Right pic: Sue going up some cliffs on the way home (MT910GTs).

Cheers

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: What do I want in hiking boots? on 04/28/2010 20:19:39 MDT Print View

"I just frictioned back up"

Is that pink line in the foreground a hand line/rappel setup of some sort?

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: light weight hiking boots versus trail runners on 04/28/2010 20:26:23 MDT Print View

Derek, wet socks suck WAY less in trail runners. When I wore boots, I had to take them off every time I crossed a stream and change into my crocs. Now I just ford the stream and keep on hiking. My shoes and socks are dry in ten minutes on a warm day and maybe fifteen or twenty when it's colder.

When it's rainy, your feet are going to get wet no matter what. Might as well have lightweight shoes that breathe easily!

I use trail runners on EVERYTHING. Some of the terrain around here is super hard, but the trail runners hold up. They tend to wear out a bit faster than boots, but they're less expensive and make the trips more enjoyable. Buy a pair and I'd wager you'll never go back.

Rolf Exner
(rolfex)

Locale: Melbourne
Cost comparison of boots and runners on 04/29/2010 03:37:13 MDT Print View

Roger C wrote regarding hiking boots:

"their main benefits are that they return a good profit margin to the shops that sell them, and to the companies that make them. Far better return than for joggers."

I'm in the midst of a conversion from boots to shoes, and so far have no regrets. But I do wonder whether the economics are as favourable as some think. Boots are MUCH longer lasting than runners, so I'm currently thinking that over a decade, my new taste for runners will cost me much MORE than hiking boots would have. I know Roger C walks happily in very cheap Dunlop KT26s, but they don't suit me, and the profit margins on fast wearing specialist hiking shoes seem more than enough to make up any shortfall in profits from boots.