Conundrum...
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albert barragan
(comaone) - F

Locale: PNW
Conundrum... on 03/18/2011 16:51:34 MDT Print View

So I am by no means an UL'er, but I have made the plunge to the lighter side, and although I am embracing it and loving it, there is one particular piece of equipment I am having a hard time with (okay two, my backpack also, but that one is gonna stay the way it is for now) my boots. I am a typical lightweight-boot-wearing backpacker, currently I am using Asolo Fugitives with gortex, and I like the boots. I have weak ankles due to teenage abuse (skateboarding was tough on my ankles) and I gravitate towards a show that would protect me, I know that alot of you use the trail runners for hiking, and just the other day when I really started to really consider it.
I went on a day hike to a local trail a frequent regularly, and the water levels were elevated to the point that I could not just hop boulders to cross, so here I am knee deep, and all is great, feels refreshing envigorating, but by the 8th time and a few miles to go I realize that this boots are real heavy, now I've been in this position before, but have never thought of another option, thats when I began to think about trail runners, and how easy they woold dry and not be flooded with pounds of water.
Now for my dayhikes I guess it will not be such a big deal, since I carry very little on my back, but with my newly lighter pack, how would my body behave? I have been able to lower my pack to about 13lbs without consumables (my pack weighs 3.6lbs) so I am worlds ahead of my old 30lb base pack.
Anyone else out there with horribly weak ankles? that made the change to trailrunners? I am going to venture to this trail in the next few days with a pair of runners see how it goes...

Sorry for the rant fellas!!!

Jon Hancock
(bigjackbrass)

Locale: Northwest England
Boots don't really help on 03/18/2011 17:52:16 MDT Print View

I used to have a lot of trouble with my ankles when hiking, but in the mid-nineties I started to carry a little less weight and started wearing mid-height "cross trainers" as they were calling them then. Much lighter than my previous boots, although pretty beefy by current standards. The difference was remarkable: I was practically bounding along; and I'm no bounder :-)

Reducing pack weight further helped even more, so that I've not had ankle trouble for years now. Unless you're wearing very tall, stiff boots I don't believe they provide as much support as you might think. I have tried some very light shoes that were not up to the job (the sole unit simply collapsed under my weight) but I've had great success with Inov-8 shoes. They provide ample support for me and a much better fit than off-the-shelf boots did. In winter I do still wear boots sometimes, usually my old fabric and leather Brasher's, but always find myself yearning for the slipper-like comfort of my Inov-8s. Ultimately you'll have to find a brand and model to suit your particular foot, but you might be surprised to find that less footwear can actually mean more comfort and support.

If you're really unsure, take the boots in your pack for a few test hikes and wear the trail runners, which gives you the option of changing back on the trail.

Edited by bigjackbrass on 03/18/2011 17:54:03 MDT.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Boots don't really help on 03/18/2011 18:00:55 MDT Print View

Montrail mountain masochist mid GTX
North face gamble mid GTX
GoLite Timberlite mid
Inov-8 boots

to name a few. if you want to progressively get lighter try boots like this, high top runners, either GTX of no liner. some of these weigh as much as regular trail runners.

and again, fit,fit,fit,fit and fit are the most important features of footwear.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Conundrum... on 03/18/2011 18:20:10 MDT Print View

If you are worried about "horribly weak ankles" -- you can still get by nicely with a pair of trail runners if:

1. Your ankles are only weak from lack of exercise and not suffering from any medical condition.

2. You exercise your ankles with day hikes.

3. You keep your pack weight reasonably low on "real" hikes.

Everyone is going to be different, of course, but I have never hiked in "real" boots -- only trail runners. No problems at all. But of course, my pack weight is also less than 30lbs.

albert barragan
(comaone) - F

Locale: PNW
ankles on 03/18/2011 18:33:10 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input fellas, I am gonna dayhike this weekend with a pair of running nikes to test it out..

Regarding my ankles, it isn't a lack of exercise, they have been abused, I have dislocated them at least 4-5 times each, so they are very suseptible to tweeks, just walking, whitout a pack, I can miss step, most everyone does it, a tiny 1 degree off of fully planted feet, this can happen on concrete, asphalt or trail, and my ankle will bend, sending painfull shocks. Most times is just that, I stumble and hop on one foot and I'm fine, someother times the bend is more and I have pinched nerves and caused swelling, if you add weight to the equation and perhaps a river fording or a scramble up a mountain, and things can get dicey!!

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
trekking poles on 03/18/2011 19:37:19 MDT Print View

You didn't mention whether or not you use trekking poles, but with ankle concerns I highly recommend that you use two trekking poles when transitioning from boots to shoes.

Sorry if this is just stating the obvious, but who knows what is and isn't obvious to another person (!).