Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Minimalist Footwear for Fall/Spring Backpacking


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John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: PNW
Re: Walking and running on 08/11/2011 16:01:12 MDT Print View

Pretty cool, Hartley, I'd love to see a list of all the shoes you've tried and your opinions on them! I definitely agree that running in minimalist shoes is different than walking in them, mainly because running uses the forefoot strike and walking uses a midfoot or heel strike. I just wanted to provide a different viewpoint to people for why a transition period might be necessary.

I started off my journey into the world of minimal footwear with a pair of Merell Trail Gloves. I did not find the transition to running in them very difficult, but walking in them took a little more effort. I returned those to REI after only having them a month because the desert in my backyard was tearing up the non-vibram sections of the sole (I walk my dog a lot in a local desert park, a good place to test shoes). Since most of the damage was under my arch, I think it may have had something to do with the shoe being a little narrow in the midfoot.

I then tried the Montrail Rogue Racers, the MT 101s, and the Peregrines and only the Peregrines were wide enough for my feet. The Rogue Racers and MT 101s also felt way too cushiony for my tastes. After several day hikes and 1 overnighter, they are hands down my favorite shoes yet. My longest stretch in them was a day hike of 14 miles, 3500 ft elevation change and they performed great. Like I said earlier, I just wish Saucony made a more minimal version, and with better color choices.

That's interesting/slightly unfortunate to hear about the MT 20s - I have never seen a pair of Minimus Trails in person. I'd still like to try a pair, if for no other reason than to use them as my daily work/walking shoes, but maybe not if they are that delicate. It seems the only minimalist shoes which have good reviews for walkers are the Saucony Hatori and the NB Minimus Life, neither of which could stand up to hiking. Any others good for walking? Inov-8's are too narrow for me; the VFF might be good overall if they fit, but I'd never wear those to work...

Hartley F
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
MT 20s on 08/11/2011 17:45:01 MDT Print View

John, they are well made. A thoughtful design. Delicate looking mesh. Clearly, manufacturers are saving weight in the mesh dep't! IMO, they are well within "minimalist". You might like them.

Since you brought it up...the Hattori is junk:
hattori

For work, check out the Minimus Life. I hear some race walkers train in it.
http://www.shopnewbalance.com/detail.asp?style=MW10MM&s1=Froogle&s2=DF&s3=MW10MM&gclid=CJW37se2yKoCFSY0QgodXGle0Qlife

VFFs didn't work for me -- they stretch my toes too wide apart -- I have to yank my toes apart to get them on. My feet don't splay much. My friend in DC informs me that VFFs worn with suits are the norm on the subway.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/11/2011 17:58:15 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: PNW
Re: MT 20s on 08/11/2011 20:38:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info. I'll probably be trying both the MT 20s and the NB Life soon. I might look into the VFF too. I've been wearing some water shoes from Target on my dog walks lately, so I'm ready to move up to some real shoes.

Here are two semi-new and durable-looking VFF shoes that might be good for colder weather hiking:

Trek LS

Borimo

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Walking and running on 08/11/2011 20:40:30 MDT Print View

LOL - regarding my reality not fitting your theory

Throughout history there are always those who when observing something working in practice will ask, yes, but does it work in theory.

5 pound pack base weights? hahahahha

Backpacking with minimalist shoes? hahhahhaha

While you theorists keep playing with shoes, some of us will go backpack with ours.

Reflect a moment and see the humor.

Hartley F
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Running is NOT fast walking. on 08/12/2011 02:09:06 MDT Print View

NOT in theory. NOT in practice!

Fast walking:
walkers
Start of 20 km Race Walk Event, Beijing Olympics, 2008

Running
running
(Leading Pack, 2008 Olympics, Marathon)

You can readily find frame by frame, side by side comparisons of these very different activities on you tube and elsewhere (Google it) and analyses of the biomechanics.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/12/2011 02:46:19 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MT 20s on 08/12/2011 02:11:31 MDT Print View

Gee, I wonder if you could strap real crampons onto those things.

Not.

--B.G.--

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: WNC
Re: Running is NOT fast walking. on 08/12/2011 07:55:07 MDT Print View

I used to racewalk competitively and can confirm that it is very different from both running and walking. I was around 12 at the time and could walk a mile in 6 minutes. I could also run one in 4:45 then. With racewalking, you are required to have a least one foot on the ground at all times, where with a run usually both are off the ground during some point of each stride. The form for racewalking looks really funny, but the speed that can be attained is undeniable. For reference, with a normal walk 12 minute miles would be pretty fast.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Inov-8 X-Talon 240's on 08/13/2011 17:28:04 MDT Print View

Have recently been trying these. They're higher, and a bit heavier than the 190's (roughly 4 oz per pair, I think), but I'm pretty sure they're made on a less restrictive last than the 190's. I have a broad fore-foot and a narrowish heel, and they fit just fine. The lugs underfoot give a "lively" feel at footstrike, and the body/sole combination flex well together to give a glove-like feel which is both unrestrictive and sensitive.

Previous experience has been with various types of Inov-8 290's, 310's, and 315's (all quite a bit heavier)-- the X-Talon 240's are my favorite, which is surprising, as I never would have thought I would like a high-sided shoe.

Edited by swimjay on 08/13/2011 18:02:24 MDT.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Sorry on 08/15/2011 04:11:31 MDT Print View

Whoa, sorry everyone for my long delay in getting involved in this conversation! This article published while I was on vacation and somehow I missed it in my RSS! Wish I could have been involved a lot sooner!

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: Goretex Socks? on 08/15/2011 04:12:36 MDT Print View

Hartley F,

I am using the Rocky Gore-Tex socks. One of these days I would like to try the ones from Gore to see if they are any different/better.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: no soft stars? on 08/15/2011 04:15:53 MDT Print View

I basically struck Soft Star off the list because of the all-leather upper. I am not a huge fan of a leather upper for multi-day trips.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: Re: LaSportiva on 08/15/2011 04:22:24 MDT Print View

Whoops, you guys are correct, that is the Skylite, not the Crosslite.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: Luna Sandles on 08/15/2011 04:28:05 MDT Print View

@Paul,

I would love to try a pair of Lunas some day, but they weren't appropriate in my mind for this article (i.e. Fall/Spring).

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: "Natural"? on 08/15/2011 04:37:22 MDT Print View

@Hartley

Going for minimalist runs and doing multi-day trips in minimalist footwear are quite different stories. One is a short duration activity with a long recovery period in between. The other is a long duration activity with a short recovery period in between. I have found that running in minimalist footwear is good training for backpacking, but that to be able to handle all the various terrain types and to be able to do it for hours on end, day-after-day, definitely takes some time to work up to.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: "Minimalist" vs "Barefoot" for backpackers on 08/15/2011 04:44:38 MDT Print View

@Luke

I am with you with fat/wide toes. I have found that with the narrow toeboxes, by then end of the day my toes are actually quite sore. This probably also has a lot to do with the fact that I spend a lot of time on my forefeet as I get much better stability that way.

Although they weren't available at the time when I wrote this article, you may want to try the New Balance Minimus Trail shoes, they have a nice wide toebox a pretty aggressive sole (although nothing like an X-Talon), and just a little bit of cushioning.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: "High" mileage with minimalist shoes on 08/15/2011 04:52:54 MDT Print View

@Henk,

Since you already are a sandal user, maybe you could continue in the vein, but with trail sandals instead? You could experiment with Huaraches (Luna makes some out of varying thicknesses and cushioning), and you may also want to try out the Teva Zilch as well.

I would just start out with day hikes and maybe an overnight to get a sense for how quickly you body can make the transition. Everyone is different, the important thing is to figure out how fast/slow your body will respond and work within those boundaries.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
La Sportiva Error on 08/15/2011 11:56:07 MDT Print View

The La Sportiva identification error has been corrected and noted in the text.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Luna Sandles on 08/15/2011 12:30:13 MDT Print View

its hard to pinpoint what is considered "fall/spring" weather and appropriate footwear in a world with such varying weather. while minnesota is just defrosting in march, arizona can be 90 degrees in some areas.

that being said, i do think sandals should have been included in your study - and i can tell you something i learned about sandals like LUNA brand.. the toe strap is miserably placed and you'll quickly notice why on downhill hikes.. there is an answer to this, either make home-made sandals without the toe strap, (which the luna brand does not offer) or try these: http://www.unshoesminimalfootwear.com/pahtempe.html
i'd like to hear what others think on the Unshoes/strapless model. they look 'doable'.

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Re: Re: Re: Luna Sandles on 08/15/2011 13:09:05 MDT Print View

Sandals were included in the study, they were in the Summer article.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Re: Re: Re: Luna Sandles on 08/15/2011 15:08:47 MDT Print View

"@Paul,

I would love to try a pair of Lunas some day, but they weren't appropriate in my mind for this article (i.e. Fall/Spring)".

sorry, i should have specified "luna" (or similar) sandals. my bad.

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 08/15/2011 15:10:52 MDT.