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PCT Footware
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Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
PCT Footware on 12/04/2006 15:36:41 MST Print View

I'm planning for an 07 PCT thru-hike and am trying to figure out what to do about shoes. My regular hiking shoes are Montrail Hardrocks and my feet seem to fit the Montrail shape. I'm convinced by the arguments against Gore-Tex for at least the portion of the trail up to Washington, and so am looking for light, breathable, quick-drying footware.

However, due to water and food weight in certain sections I could be carrying 40lbs for short periods of time and am a little concerned about rolling an ankle (mine aren't especially strong). I'd also like to have something with an aggressive tread/firm sole for the Sierras. Am I worrying unduly about ankle support, and can people suggest possible footwear options I can look at?

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: PCT Footware on 12/04/2006 19:21:29 MST Print View

>Am I worrying unduly about ankle support, and can people suggest possible footwear options I can look at?

I can't diagnose whether you have an ankle problem or not, but I suspect by the time you get to the Sierras your ankles will be stronger. I also assume you're going to do a bit of training before you start.

I wore my Montrail Susitnas (GoreTex XCR) on the Wonderland Trail in Washington in September, and after they wetted out in the first half-day of rain I switched to my Montrail Hardrocks for the rest of the trip. No regrets there: the Hardrocks dried out somewhat when it wasn't raining, and gripped well on the wet and slippery trail. The only place I wouldn't use them would be on snow (overboots?).

Montrail makes the Torre GTX boot (4 pounds/pair for size 13), which has good support for a relatively light boot. They conform to the 'Montrail fit.' The GoreTex doesn't work in long-term wet in these either, as my socks were wringing wet after a half-day of hiking in sleet, and they didn't dry out during the rest of the trip (again, Washington). They do work OK for short periods of rain. (The boots did have about 400 miles on them, but still.)

I'm sure somebody will suggest Brashers, with which I have no experience.

Edited by Otter on 12/05/2006 12:48:49 MST.

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
PCT sneakers on 12/05/2006 11:45:15 MST Print View

In 2005, the Montrail Hardrocks were on sale by the time the thru hikers got to the Wrightwood area...many needed new shoes and REI was just a quick ride down I-15 and many hikers bought them and were seemingly happy with them.

I haven't tried the Hardrocks so I can't give you my feed back. I hiked the PCT in various Adidas sneakers including the Trail Response shoe, the Supernova Trail shoe and some generic Adidas running sneakers. I think I do have pretty stong ankles. Although I don't have an answer for you, I can tell you that the Hardrocks have worked for many.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: PCT Footware on 12/05/2006 14:12:17 MST Print View

The Hardrocks have good torsional stiffness compared to other trail sneakers, and for me offer good stability (compared with many others I've used). My difficulty was finding a pair that my accommodated my forefoot--sample variation eventually came through!

I've found trekking poles to be more important for ankle safety than high-top shoes, but not everyone likes to use them.

Re: PCT Footware on 12/11/2006 12:06:53 MST Print View

I did the PCT this summer, and I went through a variety of shoes. All drained well, as far as I noticed.

Brooks Cascadia: Barely made it 500 miles. Blew out on the outside of my foot near the toes. My theory is, my feet were too wide, or grew too wide during the hike, for the shoe. Not a lot of support or firmness in the sole.

Montrail Hardrocks: Most hikers swore by these. Last 900-1000 miles, lots of support, very firm sole. Heel cup was too big for my feet - I ended up with bloody heels after 200 miles, and had to ditch them. If they work for you, though, stick with them - you'll save a lot of money that otherwise would've been spent on replacing shoes.

New Balance 809s: The shoe I eventually settled on. Lasts 700-800 miles (longer for some hikers I knew), and wide enough for my feet. Not a lot of support. Somewhat firm sole. Traction on smooth wet rocks was poor compared to the above.

Had no problems with ankles. I rolled them, yes, but never seriously. They get stronger as you hike. Poles helped immensely.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: PCT Footware on 12/11/2006 13:20:41 MST Print View

Thanks for all your replies. Looks like the Hardrocks will be a safe choice for me. Has anyone had experience with the Montrail Vitesse? They're pretty light and seem to have a little more support than the Hardrocks.

Robert McGaughey
(havoc) - F

Locale: North Texas
Montrail Vistesse on 12/11/2006 14:41:42 MST Print View

Graeme, check the reader reviews for info on the Vitesse. They rate very high. I use the Vitesse and love them. I just wish they had a liitle more cushion and a little deeper tread pattern. I find them very comfortable, very durable, and wear them around the house, hiking, and climbing 14er's. Great shoe!

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Re: PCT Footware on 12/11/2006 19:02:03 MST Print View

>Has anyone had experience with the Montrail Vitesse?

The Vitesse have a slightly narrower toe-box. I get a black right little toenail from mine, but no problem at all with my Hardrocks of the same size. The Vitesse weight 1.2 oz/pair less than the Hardrocks in size 12. The Hardrocks have a bit more heel support than the Vitesse (the stiffening goes higher up on the heel). The Hardrocks are gaiter-strap friendly. Shank length and stiffness seems to be the same.