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Shoes: How light is too light?
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Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Shoes: How light is too light? on 08/05/2011 20:41:31 MDT Print View

Would this survive a month of good trail...say in the Alps or Sierras? photo

Sean Staplin
(mtnrat) - MLife

Locale: Southern Cdn Rockies
What is it? on 08/05/2011 20:52:16 MDT Print View

What is it?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
light shoes on 08/05/2011 20:54:06 MDT Print View

Two separate and not necessarily related questions:

Are your feet strong enough for the shoe/terrain pairing?
Will the uppers hold up?

I've found the later to be a bigger issue than the former. Have some Sportiva X Countrys on order and am hoping they perform.

Ankar Sheng
(Whiskyjack) - MLife

Locale: The Canadian Shield
Re: light shoes on 08/05/2011 20:59:53 MDT Print View

This is an important distinction. I did a 65 km hike in vibram five fingers and the soles of my feet were bruised and incredibly tender half way through the trail.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
INOV-8 Bare-Grip 190 on 08/06/2011 08:01:00 MDT Print View

It looks like the Baregrip 190 to me. I hike in the X-Talon 212s and have found them to be just fine.

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
Light on 08/06/2011 09:08:20 MDT Print View

I hike in vibram trek sports at 5.5 ounces a pop there pretty darn light. but keep in mind there minimislt shoes and I built my feet up to them. So I have very strong feet but I have no problem with doing lots of milage in them sometimes up to 40 miles a day

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
200 on 08/06/2011 12:51:16 MDT Print View

Inov-8 Bare-Grip 200. I think I will like them. They aren't all that minimalist. The upper is sturdier (and heavier) than many and there seems to be some reinforcement of the mesh around the edges. Also, the toe is constructed in such a way that I don't think sole will readily peel off. They are flat :)

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Shoes: How light is too light? on 08/06/2011 13:12:05 MDT Print View

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: INOV-8 Bare-Grip 190 on 08/06/2011 14:27:30 MDT Print View

wiiawiwb nailed this one. The ones displayed are the BG190.

Unless you have already conditioned your feet for those shoes I think you would end up having serious foot damage after being in the Sierras.

I migrated from: Boots -> Brooks Cascadia 5 -> Inov-8 X-Talon 212 -> Inov-8 X-Talon 190

But even than, I would not take the Inov-8 X-Talon 190 into the Sierras.

Too much shale for too thin of a shoe.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
200! on 08/06/2011 15:11:16 MDT Print View

I took the photo above with my iphone -- it is a picture of the inov-8 Bare-Grip 200 in my hand. The box is on the desk next to me.

So far, I am comfortable running in NB Trail Minimus. I use NB Road Minimus on road. By comparison, this is a beefy shoe. Suppose I'm looking to go less minimalist :) The question was in regard to durability of light footwear over the long haul. Yes, the mesh especially.

Also happen to have X Talon 190 on my desk. I think the BG 200 will make a better tramping shoe for my purposes. I have an X Talon 212 (not as flat as BG 200- 6mm vs. zero) on the way. Ryan made an interesting, and quite timely from my perspective, comment about these models today on another thread.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/06/2011 15:57:32 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
re: Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150 on 08/06/2011 15:32:02 MDT Print View

Anna, thanks for the scoop! Now, that's gotta be pushing the limits for tramping! No? Mesh looks very delicate.

Have you been wearing Inov-8s for a while. I completely ignored them until now figuring that they would be too wide and high volume being men's sizing. I am pleasantly surprised.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/06/2011 15:45:44 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: re: Inov-8 Bare X Lite 150 on 08/06/2011 18:44:21 MDT Print View

I have been wearing inov-8s for about 3-4 years now and love them.I don't know if the 150s look like they would last long but it will be interesting to see them when they come out.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
depends on 08/07/2011 03:10:11 MDT Print View

I've been transitioning to a minimal shoe for the past year or so, and I'm a not totally clear what the limit is for me either. Last year, I used an NB 101 on trail runs and backpacking trips, and it was fine, although not all that minimal IMO.
This year, I started with a merrell trail glove on day hikes/runs. I love the feel of hiking with these especially on rocky/technical terrain. You have to choose your footing more carefully, which I think adds to the fun. I did one 3 day trip a few weeks ago on the colorado trail, with three 27 + miles a day. My feet and muscles felt great at the end of each day. I'd say fresher than normal, I suspect from a softer/more efficient stride.
However, the following week I went for another 3 day trip on the CT, this time with 30 + miles each day, and by the end of the 2nd day my feet were bruised and I was miserable. I bailed. I attribute the bruising partly to 20 miles of fast hiking/jogging on the first night done with a headlamp over rocky terrain. I've since reconsidered footwear, but more so my itinerary for weekend trips ;)

From what I can tell, if you are attentive about foot-placement over a long day of hiking, you can get away with a very little shoe. For me, I think the trail gloves are perfect for hikes less than 20 miles a day, and I'm still experimenting with mileage beyond that. I think the most challenging terrain for minimal shoes is little bits of loose/sharp shale. Hard to pick your way through that without slowing down quite a bit.

I'm weighing taking the merrells on a two month trip to new zealand this nov/dec. At this point, they are my preferred mountain footwear, but I'd hate to have to deal with bruised feet on a long trip like that.

A lot of people seem to love the innovates on these forums, but IMO the lugs on even their most minimal shoes make them pretty lousy for rocky trails. I think these were specifically designed for fell running over muddy UK terrain. Having soft rubber lugs like that leaves your feet more vulnerable to pronation, like more built up shoes, and can make for some sloppy footing on rocky terrain. Just my experience/opinion, I'm sure they work well for others, and maybe they have some less lugged shoes in their lineup that I haven't seen.

Sorry for the summary: toughen your feet as much as possible and make sure whatever you take is well tested on the type of terrain/mileage you expect to cover. Hope that helps!

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: depends on 08/07/2011 08:10:40 MDT Print View

Yes they do have shoes without lugs look at my links above,you might also be interested in Ryans thoughts

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Shoes: How light is too light? on 08/07/2011 14:10:01 MDT Print View

In the past two years I have gone from Inov-8 315's to 212's and now am trying the Bare Grip 200's. I hiked on the AT for 30 miles, some parts very rocky with the 212's and IMHO a tough foot is needed. I have been wearing the 200's around the woods and a wrong step on a root pains my foot a bit. I will probably use my 212's for 2 weeks in Yosemite at the end of this month. I plan to do about 60 miles all over the park with about 32 miles over three nights. I agree with Ryan about lugs on the soles and love the grip of the 212's and 200's. I felt the 315's where slippery.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
New Zealand on 08/07/2011 14:45:35 MDT Print View

What are you tramping in NZ this summer?

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: depends on 08/07/2011 16:30:27 MDT Print View


Good progress. You are way, way ahead of me. But I'm going to keep working on increasing my mileage.

Here is some inspiration...

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
re: on 08/08/2011 00:19:33 MDT Print View


Exactly. A friend and I are going to be exploring the south island for a couple months starting late October. Can't wait! Have you been?


Cool video. Did you read Born to Run? That Ted seems like quite the character. Nice finish with McDougal by his side, who has pretty much changed the face of running by writing a book. Impressive all around.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: re: on 08/08/2011 10:23:45 MDT Print View

I spent 2 months in New Zealand,beautiful place and nice hiking.I was on both the north and south island,unfortunately the exchange rate is terrible now.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: re: yes read the book on 08/09/2011 16:58:46 MDT Print View


Was a very inspiring book to me!

Read it right after I had begun my transition.