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Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Mt100s on 05/29/2010 18:15:37 MDT Print View

I bumped the MT100 thread up with some new thoughts on mine. They're a great shoe with two features that could potentially be big drawbacks for some users. In most respects they're also the most comfortable hiking shoe I've ever worn in my life.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Mt100s on 06/01/2010 11:14:42 MDT Print View

My thoughts...

Vibram Five Fingers are heavier than other options, extremely hot, and leave your little toe open to potential injury on roots, rocks, etc. Also, they can beat up the bottom of your feet if hiking for prolonged miles on rocky terrain. To be honest, I do not see where they fit into my gear kit at all. For those who are into barefoot running philosophy, they do have a place in some situations.

Last year I did a 60 mile hike, which included many miles of scree, rocks, lava beds and the like. I wore the lightest racing flats that I could find, Asics Piranah, at about 5 oz each. The bottom of the soles were completed shreded at the end of the hike. The bottom of my feet were a little sore, but not too bad.

This past weekend Craig Wisner and I did a similar hike. Craig wore MT100s, and I wore Sacouny Shay racing flats. Similar in weight, but the Shays have formed spikes in the soles. I think the Shays performed a little better on hard snow pack. We probably did at least 10 miles in snow. We both brough plastic bags to use a water proof socks, just in case. We did not need them, as our wet feet quickly dried, and moving all day, our feet we warm enough, actually sometimes it felt good to be walking in cold snow. I did injur the ball of by left foot, when I land hard on a pointed rock on day 1. We probably did at least 30 miles on very rocky terrain.

I can't speak for Craig, but going more than a couple days on this kind of rocky terrain is probably too much for this kind of minimal shoe.

I thought that the Shay's would do better than the Asics... and they did, as the soles are still in great shape. But on the 3rd day, the right Shay shoe suffered a construction failure, causing that foot to over pronate, more than if I were walking barefoot. This could have been caused by me changing my walking due to the injury, as I was favoring my left foot, and hiking with more impact for 45 miles on my right foot.

So in the future, I am going to stick with my Saomon XA Pro 3D's for hikes of this magnatude.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Mt100s on 06/01/2010 11:45:47 MDT Print View

How would the terrain you went through compare to typical PCT tread? I have been using the XA Pro's and was thinking of picking up some MT100's as an alternative for my thru-hike next year.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Mt100 on 06/01/2010 12:24:40 MDT Print View


I wouldnt expect a very long life with the
MT100's, i could see u replacing them or having to do some serious field repair by Idylwild. I recently posted in a thread discussing the 100's some pics showing vulnerable and weak areas Ive found in the 100's. It's difficult and tiring finding an edge on snow packed slopes in the slipper like upper of the MT100's, if you encounter snow in the San Jacintos you may regret using the 100's. On packed and well blazed trails durability becomes less of an issue, this is where the MT100's shine.

scri bbles
(scribbles) - F

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Barefoot on 06/01/2010 13:51:25 MDT Print View

I finished my first 5k run in FiveFinger sprints. Running feels very natural in them. I had a very different experience with hiking. I did a 15mi ish overnight in my VFF's and realized that they were not nearly as comfortable at a walking pace, my feet were very sore and I found myself regretting the decision. YMMV.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
@ Greg on 06/01/2010 21:09:49 MDT Print View

A lot of the trail was rocky scree type of terrain. Mostly rocks and difficult to find a spot of plain dirt on each step. Rocks about 3" - 6" in size. This is the PCT Section from the Cedar Spring cut-off to Fobes Saddle. The Jo Pond Trail Section has about 7 miles of volvanic rock. Miles of nothing but rocks, and little dirt at all. Not your typical well worn Sierra trail.

Craig told me that his MT100s have about 250 miles of trail running on them. I was surprised, as they looked to be in great condition. So, they are durable, but as Eugene mentioned, you will probably be buying many pairs to do a thru hike.

They are fairly inexpensive, so you might want to buy a pair and try them out. Everyone is going to be different.

As an interesting side note, I had been running a little bit in my Shays the past couple of months, just to make sure they would fit right. I really give no thought on my foot strike at all. But, I tend to be a light walker. Craig followed my most of the first 11 miles, and commented that I did the entire section walking on the balls of my feet. That comment really surprised me.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Asics Piranah on 06/01/2010 21:32:06 MDT Print View

I love my Asics Piranahs. Comfy right out of the box. Like Roman Dial, I use Salomons for my 1,000-mile hikes.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Asics Piranah on 06/01/2010 22:33:09 MDT Print View

I love them too. But they don't last. Mine were done after a 60 mile hike last year. My son's college cross country used them one year for races only. They did not last a season.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Re: Asics Piranahs on 06/02/2010 13:04:21 MDT Print View

Is there any glue, liquid rubber, epoxy, or other substance one could paint on them to toughen them up? I hate to give up the great fit and extreme light weight of the Piranahs.

Jarred H
(calculatinginfinity) - F
Re: A Side-Thought on Tom's Shoes on 06/02/2010 22:35:45 MDT Print View

I love hiking in my Tom's, theyre the most comfortable shoes Ive ever worn. I never get blisters or experience any discomfort but they do tend to get a little smelly after awhile, especially in wet conditions. Even when Im off trail they work great, keeping thorns out of my feet and on the ground.

Jarred H
(calculatinginfinity) - F
Re: Re: Re: Asics Piranahs on 06/02/2010 22:42:51 MDT Print View

shoe goo is great for shoe repairs when stitches start to come out or you wear holes in the upper portion

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Asics Piranahs on 06/03/2010 03:52:56 MDT Print View

> shoe goo is great for shoe repairs



(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Goo on 06/03/2010 14:08:54 MDT Print View


Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking on 06/03/2010 16:45:02 MDT Print View

I backpacked a 32 mile trip the other weekend in MT100s. 20 miles the first day and 12 the second. They were fine but a little narrow for my feet. One thing I did not like was how easily foxtails went through the shoes. Otherwise, they did not feel all that minimal to me. (Nor did they feel maximal.)

I brought a pair of Feelmax Osmas on a trip recently. I walked only a few miles in them. They are so much like moccasins and so close to barefoot I would have to work my way up to bigger miles.

I have been trying all sorts of shoes in order to find what is best for me. Oddly I think Chaco sandals are actually best for me, but I will have to work my way up in distance. The thing I like about them is that there is ample room, total freedom for my toes. The other thing I like about them is the support. I realize that going minimal you want to minimize that sort of thing. But other shoes that supposedly have support do not do what the Chacos do for me, which is make me walk like I should. I put them on and suddenly I'm not grinding my sesamoid bone and twisting my knee and limping. Other shoes don't seem to help me with this and instead have too much stiffness and cause me injuries. I like the dirty feet. :)

But you've ruled out Chacos so that leaves trying out other shoes. There's a company I found online that makes handmade shoes. Native Earth. You might look at their Period Styles for some possible shoes. You can order their shoes with a plain conveyor sole or with a lugged vibram sole or some other kind of sole. Their shoes are unstructured, without arch support or a raised heel. Something to consider anyway.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking" on 06/18/2010 16:44:00 MDT Print View

Anyone tried these?

RunAmoc Lite- Trail mocassins

RunAmoc Lite

Eric Wheeler
(CactiGuy) - F

Locale: Oklahoma
"Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking" on 02/04/2011 13:14:14 MST Print View

I thought I could reignite this discussion. Has anyone seen these new Merrells?

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: RunAmoc on 02/04/2011 13:17:11 MST Print View

Javan Dempsey wore them on our Art Loeb thru.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: "Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking" on 02/04/2011 13:24:29 MST Print View

Yeah I have the Soft Star RunAmoc Lites and use them daily. Really like them, but as with much minimalist footwear, they're primarily designed from a Runner's standpoint.

The perforations let grit in very fast, so wearing them without socks on the trail is nearly impossible, and in Peru, even with socks, it was very difficult, in fact, the grit wore holes through my socks.

I thought about trying the non perforated RunAmocs, since I really do love the shoes, but I've heard they're kind of hot for the summer.

I'm going to be trying the new Merrell Trail Gloves. I was skeptical at first, but by all accounts they have huge toe-box, so as soon as I get a chance to try some on, I'll likely pull the trigger.

Otherwise, the Altra Adam's look like a great option.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: "Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking" on 02/04/2011 13:29:24 MST Print View

Here's an interesting review of the Trail Glove that was posted on the forums when I asked about them, has comparisons with the Adam and the NB Minimus helped make me really be interested in this shoe:

For me, the Minimus is pretty much out due to their desire to capture the vague "transition" market by not offering it with zero drop. I'm sure they'll be releasing another zero drop version later to maximize minimus profits :P

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Minimalist Footwear Recommendations for Hiking" on 02/04/2011 14:34:45 MST Print View


You nailed it with the vague 'transitional' marketing on behalf of NB, they're going to capitalize on offering the 4mm drop Minimus line slated for March for fear of "injury" to consumers transitioning too quickly and will inevitably offer a 0-drop at a later date once those converts are 'transitioned'. The Minimus isn't going to be available online (*this may have changed) until sometime later as NB wants in-store running shoe sellers carrying the Minimus to provide a tutorial to potential buyers an educational primer on the Minimus before walking out the door with a pair. Lame? Yep, kinda lame.

I was talking with a buddy of mine after a run who has about 60 miles under the new Merrell Trail Gloves so far in the past week and he compared the Minimus to the Merrell Trail Glove as well, they're both very comparable in terms of balancing low weight, encouraging neutral positioning, and providing minimal amounts of protection for the feet for use on rough trails. I was very impressed checking them out, I have elephant feet so I couldn't try them out but if they can handle the trails we run on out here they can handle hiking most anything except crampon worthy travel. It should be noted that the toe box is wide as hell and should accommodate really wide feet.

The Minimus to me is nothing special, another great slightly more minimal shoe offering, a stripped down MT101, there are a plethora of 4mm drop racing flats available, NB is in some ways reinventing the wheel here- changing the styling and marketing the shoe under the feet and long hair of Anton Krupicka and it's going to work very well for them in 2011.

Here's two reviews, one on the Minimus, the other on the Trail Glove *(the author of the review is the ambassador working with Merrell in developing, testing, and educating consumers on their new 'Barefoot' line)

Barefoot Running University- Merrell Trail Glove review

Barefoot Running University- NB Minimus Trail review

Edited by Eugeneius on 02/04/2011 15:07:51 MST.