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Minimalist Shoe Question
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/04/2011 10:39:52 MDT Print View

Okay I need a new pair of shoes for my Colorado Trail thru-hike. My current favorites are my Merrell Trail Gloves and my New Balance 101. Both have a few issus.

Merrell Trail Gloves
1. These shoes are great except I worry about durability on such a long trail.
2. Also if I carry a heavy pack between resupplies I'm going to be coming down hard on my foot which could be a problem.

New Balance 101
1. They fit well but they are a bit stiff. This combined with the lousy traction makes them less than ideal on rocks. Not a deal breaker but annoying.
2. The real problem is that the uppers blew out very quickly on both shoes. They haven't failed but they look pretty bad, I'd be a bit nervious trustying them on an almost 500 hike.

The ideal shoe would be a trail runner that was...
1. Flat soled like the Merrells
2. More protective than the Merrells but more flexible and grippy than the NB.
3. It MUST have a wide toe box. Lenght wise I could probably wear an 8.5 shoe but I normally wear a 9.5 to fit my foot in.
4. Durable, I won't have many chances to fix things if a shoe falls apart on the trail.

Currently my best choices seem to be either the Golite Amp, the Innov8 Roclite 310, or possibly the La Sportiva Crosslite (or the leather version for more durablity).

Anyone have any thoughts on these choices? Any that I've missed? The Golite shoes seem to fulfill all my requirments except I'm concerned about their durability, also I haven't heard of anyone on BPL using them which makes me a bit nervious. The La Sportivas look pretty tough but they might be too narrow for my feet.

Edited by Cameron on 07/04/2011 10:41:37 MDT.

Mike In Socal
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Golite Amp Lite and Merrell Trail Gloves on 07/04/2011 10:50:11 MDT Print View

I just tried the Golite Amp Lite but returned them because of they rubbed my ankle. The other concern I had about them was breathability but did not get a chance to really test that out.

I really like my Merrell Trail Gloves but I don't know if I would wear them for a multi-day hike yet because I am not sure about how I would handle the foot fatigue with a heavier pack and longer distance. I have done 7-10 mile day hikes in them on fire roads without any major issues - just a hot spot or two when trying different socks (or no socks). The durability on my Trail Gloves is good so far; I've had mine since January and have also used them for trail running. I run about 10-15 miles per week on the trail with no cracking or any worn spots yet.

I'm also looking for a hiking shoe with a zero drop that has a little more cushion than the trail gloves. I think that would be ideal.


Zach Vaughter
(Zach_V) - F

Locale: High Country
CT hikers on 07/04/2011 11:19:03 MDT Print View

Luke, I hiked the CT last year in Montrail Mtn Masochists and they worked really well. The Montrail Rogue Racer sounds like an ideal shoe with all the specs you are looking for. It's very similar to the MT101 but i feel like the traction is much better (granted i've only trail run in both, MT101's were my go to runner for everyday runs until I tried the RR, but the RR is much more grippy on all sorts of terrain in my opinion) I think you'd like them as they have a nice minimal feel, durable, and have the, typical of Montrails, wide toe box.

I've also done a few trips in the La Sportiva crosslite, and while it doesn't fit my feet quite as well as Montrails. I really like that shoe alot! I tried on the CrossLeather too and it felt awesome, like a glove, might be my next shoe to give a try on a longer hike.

Good luck on your thru!

-Zach_V aka Casino

Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
Minimus Trail on 07/04/2011 13:34:20 MDT Print View

I'm in love with mine. Nice wide toe box and my foot locks in place without ever being squeezed by the upper.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Saucony Peregrine on 07/04/2011 14:07:02 MDT Print View

You should look at the Saucony Peregrine. It's got great traction, a 4mm drop, and seems plenty durable. I haven't had mine long, but I really like them and expect to have them for a long time. They're a whole lot different than the Merell Trail Glove, but still pretty light. My size 9s weigh in at 9.7 oz each and fit my wide feet well.

EDIT: has a "shoefitr" thing that can be helpful when looking at shoes online.

Edited by johnnyh88 on 07/04/2011 14:10:19 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Shoes on 07/04/2011 16:55:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input
Michael - Sounds like we're in the same boat. I might try the Merrells, it depends on my pack weight. Mine have held up suprisingly well in the Texas Hill Country (a nasty place for shoes).
Zach - The Rogue Racer looks like it might be a good option. Thanks I didn't even know about it.
Chris - The Minimus looks just a bit more than the Trail Glove. My big concern is that with a heavier pack it won't be enough (more on that later). I might still try a pair on though.
John - I'll check out the Saucony Peregrine. I like the looks of it except for one thing, all that mesh makes me a bit nervious. On the other hand I've heard somewhere that its pretty tough mesh. My NB 101 blew out fast but I've heard thats a NB 101 problem from multiple other sources. I like the fact that its got a 4mm heel to toe drop.

The Amp looks perfect except I'm concerned about the sole's durablity. The Crossleather may not fit my wide feet otherwise it would be a good choice. The Saucony is a new one to me.

If it works out for me to try the CT I might try in un-resupplied. I know thats a bit crazy but its seems like a fun challenge. Also I like the simplicity of staying on the trail the whole time and not having to worry about getting to a Post Office or a store. With my gear that means I'll start out with about a 45 pound pack which will put more weight on my feet and make me a bit less nimble. Trail runners are fine but the Trail Gloves or Minimus might be a bit too light for that kind of load.
If I don't do it unsupported I might just try the Trail Gloves especially if I don't find another shoe I like enough to trust.

I'm going to try on a pair of Golites Amps and La Sportives. If neither of those seems right my next try will the the Saucony Peregrine and the Rogue Racer.

Edited by Cameron on 07/04/2011 16:57:58 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Minimalist Shoe Question" on 07/04/2011 17:22:01 MDT Print View

The shoe you're describing isn't available yet, the Altra Lone Peak is a flat, durable outsole, minimal trail shoe for ultras and hiking. It's supposed to be available late summer. It meets every hit on your criteria.

On that note, the other shoes recommended are quite different from your Trail Gloves, you'll likely find the Crosslites to be reallllly stiff and built up, like a stripped down hiking boot, unless you go with the newer La Sportiva X-Country which is like a pair of Crosslite 1's and 2's leaned out and on a diet. It has a 5mm drop vs. 8mm and is substantially lower to the ground than the Crosslites. If durability and support is what you're looking for than the Crosslites are great, they're just in a different league than the Trail Glove.
I'm finding the durability of my pair of Rogue Racers to be pretty average, the uppers are kind of lackluster, and the mesh and synthetic suede overlay in the toebox is degrading faster than I expected. These have been my every other day shoe for trail runs in the desert so YMMV. One thing I don't like about the Rogue Racers is that the midsole extends ever so slightly past the outsole, and is wearing down quickly, it may just be a quality control issue and doesn't effect my running, but just looks sloppy IMO.

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667) - M

Locale: SoCal
New Balance on 07/04/2011 17:52:27 MDT Print View

New Balance has a shoe out that might fit the bill. Not sure if it would be more durable than the 101.


Edited by Jinx667 on 07/04/2011 17:54:18 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
More ideas on 07/04/2011 18:27:42 MDT Print View

Thanks for the continued input ya'll its really appreciated. Eugene thanks for the input on the Rogue Runners. Sounds like they aren't all that different from my NB101 which I at least know what to expect with. I took a look at a La Sportiva X-country at a Mtn. biking race and thought it might work. I'm gonna order one from and see if it fits. If not I'll try the Golite Amp. I emailed Altra to ask when they might have shoes available but no response yet.

I'd sorta forgotten about the NB Minimus, it would be light for a heavy pack but it might become an option if I work more resupplies into my schedule and carry less food.

Edited by Cameron on 07/04/2011 18:28:52 MDT.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: More ideas on 07/04/2011 18:42:11 MDT Print View

inov8 shoes

Chris Cheng
(chrischeng) - F
Minimus on 07/04/2011 19:56:33 MDT Print View

I have the Merrell Trail Gloves and my girlfriend has the New Balance Minimus. One issue with durability on the Minimus is that the rubber protecting the toes doesn't go over the toes, so if you kick rocks or anything by accident you can wear through in that area. She's had her shoes a couple months and she's got a spot or two where it has worn through the mesh at the toes from accidental kicking rocks.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Saucony Peregrine on 07/04/2011 20:44:06 MDT Print View

FWIW, the mesh on the Peregrines actually seems pretty durable. I've done about 40 or 50 miles of on and off trail desert hiking in them and they aren't showing any wear yet. I used to have the Trail Gloves, but the foam part under the arch started to get torn up after just two weeks of use. I also don't get nearly as many rocks in my Peregrines as I did with the Trail Gloves.

I tried on the Rogue Racers and the NB 101s when looking around for shoes. Both of those had too much cushion for me and seemed less durable than the Peregrines. They're all very different from the Trail Gloves though. is a great site - you can usually find discount codes for 10 or 15% off.

That Altra Lone Peak looks pretty nice too...

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Minimus and Innov8 on 07/04/2011 20:45:33 MDT Print View

Thanks for the heads up on the Minimus Chris sounds like I should keep the toe issue in mind. In my experience a good running shoe may not be the best hiking shoe (durability wise) because I good place in my hikes that a runner normally would not.
Robert I would LOVE to use Innov8 shoes, especially the 212. Unfortunately I have wide feet so I can't imagine them working for me.

David Spell
(spesrf25) - F
Merrell Trail Gloves on 07/05/2011 09:12:19 MDT Print View

I just finished a section hike in the Merrell Trail Gloves from Pen Mar to Caledonia (about 18 miles) with about 30 lbs. They probably would have been fine, but my feet were killing me because that part of the trial is very rocky. I felt every single rock and wished I had a bit more cushion. If I had more smooth sections, it probably would have been fine. On a side note, I have been wearing barefoot style shoes for about a year and a half.


Art ...
(asandh) - F
Rogue Racer and Feet on 07/05/2011 10:28:08 MDT Print View

Eugene or anyone else with "serious mileage" on your Rogue Racers :

What are the longest runs you use them for, and how do your feet feel afterwards ?

I'm considering the Rogue Racer for 50 and 100 ultras but am more concerned about foot break down than shoe break down.

My feet are pretty tough, but not minimalist tough, at least not for long distance.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Mizuno on 07/05/2011 12:01:58 MDT Print View

I also find most Inov8's too narrow in the forefoot area.
Have a look at the Mizuno Wave Harrier. They suit my broad feet, and seem pretty durable. I would guess i've done 100/150 miles in them, and they are still in excellent condition. Most of my hiking is off trail.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Minimalist Shoe Question" on 07/05/2011 13:40:46 MDT Print View

@ Art,

My longest run has only been 16 miles in the Rogue Racer so far, afterwards my feet felt just fine, no real fatigue to speak of. I've only run in them for about 3 weeks now, I've been running less in my MT101's and more in the Rogues, finding them to be more comfortable as a day-to-day trail shoe. The Rogue Racer is a little sloppy on technical downhills I find, even laced tightly they just don't give me the security to fly down my regular rocky training route... maybe it's the lack of a snug heel cup and structured upper, perhaps just my feet. For regular cruising and mildly technical singletrack they're really quite nice, simple, and comfortable.

I ran a 50 miler last year in the MT101's and regret doing so in that shoe, my feet were done by mile 30 or so, the Rogues would have been a better solution had they been available. The hardened midsole "Trail Shield" in the forefoot softened up by the third run, but there is significant cushioning underfoot for dampening rocks and sharp objects on the trail.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/05/2011 13:53:24 MDT Print View

Good topic. I wore Inov8 Roclite 315's for 3-4 years, 1 pair of MT101's and I currently have a pair of Peregrines and Trail Gloves. In the end the Peregrines have been my favorite. The trail gloves are great but one mis-step on a sharp rock with a 20 lbs pack on could be a rude awakening. If Brian Doble is ever back on BPL you should ask him, he purchased 8 pairs of Peregines for a Long Trail yoyo followed by a SOBO AT this summer.

PS I agree with Eugene on the MT's. Great shoe but my feet were sore at the end of a long day.

Robert Perkins

Locale: The Sierras
Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/05/2011 21:37:09 MDT Print View

Luke, FWIW I tried a couple of different Inov8 models that didn't work for my wide feet as well, then I had a chance to try the Roclite 295, and it was a sweet fit. It had plenty of room in the forefoot and I did a trail run up in Tahoe pretty much right out of the box with no complaints. I did size up a 1/2 a size from normal.

I also like the Brooks Cascadia models as well.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/06/2011 06:38:36 MDT Print View

Been reading about this new one: Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove

Since April been walking and running with VFF Treks
Since June been rotating above with Merrell Trail Gloves

First real test coming up in a couple of weeks

Will share results

Good luck with your shoe choice!

Edited by gmatthews on 07/06/2011 06:39:22 MDT.