Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes State of the Market Report 2011


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Alice Hengst
(Moondust) - MLife

Locale: Southern Sierras
Re: Dumb Question on 09/01/2011 10:41:18 MDT Print View

Christopher, I think stability and ankle injuries have little or nothing to do with foot shape and much more to do with ankle strength and flexibility. If you wear low-cut shoes for hiking, your ankles will get stronger over time, especially if you are hiking off-trail. You can also do some balance exercises to help your ankle strength and stability: balance on one foot for 60 seconds. When you can do that easily, then balance on one foot with your eyes closed. When you can do that easily for 30 seconds or more, then step on a foam pad and balance on one foot with your eyes closed.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
shoes on 09/01/2011 11:58:16 MDT Print View

Sometimes I think it would help if shoe reviewers (and commenters) would give more details on the type of terrain they're on when using different footwear. Well defined trails are a different animal than sidehilling cross-country up along a 20% grade with rocks and scree. The loose, comfy shoe that is so sweet on a flat trail practically gets twisted off my foot in rough country. Mike Clelland's advice to size your shoes loose and floppy was surprising to me.

A question: how do you folks size and tie your shoes such that you have room in the toe, but can control foot slide within the shoe on steep downhills? How do you keep your toes from getting jammed into the end of the shoe, unless it is locked onto your feet tightly, and perhaps painfully?

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Zooms ... Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes State of the Market Report 2011 on 09/01/2011 12:45:50 MDT Print View

@ FritoKid

"Nike Air Tallac Zooms. Great lightweight boot and they were tough to find from the get-go. Bought a pair and wore them for awhile even though they were a little too small (only size available - nothing against Nike).. Ended up selling them on geartrade.com eons ago but a super-great set of light hikers. Keep looking for them in vain on Nikes website."

I also have a pair of Air Tallacs, which are similar to the ones I was describing but are GoreTex and more suited for winter/wet weather use (excellent lightweight snowshoeing shoes, BTW).

These others are named something like Air Mokaba (or Mochajava or MockYouba or...). The box is long gone and Nike has scrubbed the interwebs of their very existance, so I can't seem to dredge up the specific model. Their committment to hiking, as opposed to trail running, waxes and wanes at a whim.

Very generally, I find Nike toe boxes run tight so finding a pair that work for hiking (especially downhill) has always been a challenge.

Cheers,

Rick

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: different fit problem on 09/01/2011 17:18:20 MDT Print View

"This can be solved in plastic ski boots"

It can also be solved for running shoes by careful use of a razor blade to cut a slit that will relieve the pressure on the little toe. It doesn't have to be enough to expose the little toe.

Edited: I neglected to mention that usually a hroizontal AND vertical slit are made where the little toe aligns on the last.

Edited by ouzel on 09/01/2011 17:25:05 MDT.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: different fit problem on 09/01/2011 17:28:05 MDT Print View

Enplane more of this please. I'd like to try it on a pair of Newbalance MT876OR's I have in a 2E. The toebox just isn't wide enough on my right foot.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: different fit problem on 09/01/2011 18:11:09 MDT Print View

"Enplane more of this please. I'd like to try it on a pair of Newbalance MT876OR's I have in a 2E. The toebox just isn't wide enough on my right foot."

Hi Chad,

If your post is in reference to mine, what I'm trying to say is locate where your little toe is by pressing with a finger along the side of the toe box with the shoe on. Your little toe will feel the pressure. Then draw a cross centered on that spot with a marker pen. Draw the lines about 3/8" to begin with(you can always enlarge the cuts if that isn't enough). Remove the shoe and make the cuts. Put the shoe back on. If the cuts have relieved the pressure, you're done, otherwise remove the shoe and extend the cuts another 1/8" or so. Repeat the procedure until the pressure is removed or the shoe falls apart(just kidding). We used to do this with running shoes all the time. I haven't had to do it with hiking shoes because I've had good luck with my fit so far, but the shoes are basically the same, so I don't see why it wouldn't work with them, too.

If you were referring to some other post, sorry I wasted your and my time. ;)

bart spedden
(bartspedden) - F
Thanks! on 09/01/2011 20:33:08 MDT Print View

First, thanks for a good article. It definitely has me thinking about "ankle support" in different ways. I used to be a full grain leather boot wearing, 40lbs pack toting, weekend tripper. That changed years ago for a lightweight setup, but there's still a place in my heart where I secretly miss my big ol' chunks of leather. But at least now I won't miss them because of their ankle support.

This is a total nit pick but I spend a lot of time in my F1s and they absolutely flex at the ankle, by design. In fact, because of long tours and races, my wife has switched to them as well because of how efficient they are in tour mode with a flexible ankle and toe bellows.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Re: different fit problem on 09/02/2011 06:32:27 MDT Print View

Yup Tom yours was the post I was asking about! Thanks for explaining the 'shoe cutting' method to me. Also thanks for being able to interpret my use of the word 'enplane'. :P

One question though, when you make the cuts are you cutting all the way through the shoe so that there is now a hole in the shoe around your pinkie toe?

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Toe protection on 09/02/2011 11:43:16 MDT Print View

Am I the only person concerned about toe protection? In my experience, some shoes/boots have a hard shell over the toe, some just an extra layer of fabric and some not even that. I'd appreciate knowing what toe protection these shoes have, but there's nary a word about toe protection.

I'd also like to know which shoe's sole/footbed combination has the most cushioning. Not a lot on that here either.

The most discomfort I've experienced on hikes is toenail pain from bashing my toes on rocks with shoes that had anemic toe protection. A close second is pain due to inadequate sole cushioning.

Am I the only person with these problems? That's the impression I get from this article.

I'm adding some words about "ankle support":

It has always been my understanding that this support is intended to keep the ankle from flexing beyond it's limits. Not to prevent ALL flexing. I find that high top boots do this for me fairly well and protect me from sprains. That said, the other way to limit over flexing is by limiting the weight on the ankle, something that trekking poles do quite nicely and they also make nice tent poles.

Edited by herman666 on 09/08/2011 13:31:00 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: different fit problem on 09/02/2011 17:34:34 MDT Print View

"Also thanks for being able to interpret my use of the word 'enplane'. :P "

I was only doing unto you as others have done unto me in similar situations. ;=)

"One question though, when you make the cuts are you cutting all the way through the shoe so that there is now a hole in the shoe around your pinkie toe?"

Yes, although it should be just a narrow slit, as opposed to a gaping hole. If you're worried about the exposure, you could glue/stitch a piece of fabric or whatever over the cuts with enough slack to avoid pressure on the little pinkie, although I don't think that should be necessary. We never used to have any problems, and we ran some pretty rough trails. As always, YMMV.

Let me know how it works for you if you decide to go ahead.

william chriswell
(billc926) - F
???? on 09/03/2011 05:21:18 MDT Print View

Nice article to read while having my morning coffee....But to what end? Useless info IMHO

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
concur on 09/03/2011 12:32:21 MDT Print View

>Nice article to read while having my morning coffee....But to what end? Useless info IMHO

Concur. As is sometimes the case, I got more value from the comments than the article. I wasn't too terribly surprised, though, since it was from the author who says the only 'real' piece of meaningful data in landnav is magnetic north.

I learned about the different NB lasts, and how to use a razor slit to expediently fix a pressure point in the toe area. I tried this on an old pair of shoes that consistently hit my right big toe on the edge, and it worked great.

rick mccoll
(rgmccoll) - F

Locale: East Tennessee
wide feet, high arch, narrow heel on 09/03/2011 15:27:21 MDT Print View

Please, would you do an article on the availability, regardless of style and height, of these shoes. I cannot, as an individual, shop everything. I have tried and cannot find any consistency in the the sizing.

My right foot is somewhat larger than the left. I have, heretofore, dealt with this by using different lacing techniques for the right foot than the left.

I have gone thru hundreds of $$, trying to get to the perfect boot(shoe) to no avail.

Please consider this for future editorials.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
True (emergency) ankle support on 09/08/2011 19:37:22 MDT Print View

Sports team trainers are taping experts when it come to using tape to give support where it's needed.

For chronically weak ankles (i.e repeatedly sprained) or newly sprained ankles use adhesive tape in a stirrup fashion from one side of the ankle, under the foot and up the other side of the ankle. After each underfoot wrap apply a lateral strip around the heel to each side of the foot. Use 3 to 4 wraps in each direction.

Alternate horizontal and vertical taping to create an "interwoven" appearance where the tapes cross. Done properly this will absolutely support the ankle from flexing left or right and permit only forward and rearward flexion. Also it can help keep swelling of an injured ankle down somewhat. An ACE bandage can be applied over the taping if the boot will accomodate it or at night if desired, to reduce swelling. ACE bancages will flex so it's best to use adhesive tape for "splinting" ankles if it's available.

Change dressing every 2 to 4 days. Clean with alcohol/hand sanitizer before applying new dressing.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: True (emergency) ankle support on 09/08/2011 19:58:53 MDT Print View

"For chronically weak ankles (i.e repeatedly sprained) or newly sprained ankles use adhesive tape in a stirrup fashion from one side of the ankle, under the foot and up the other side of the ankle. After each underfoot wrap apply a lateral strip around the heel to each side of the foot. Use 3 to 4 wraps in each direction.

Alternate horizontal and vertical taping to create an "interwoven" appearance where the tapes cross. Done properly this will absolutely support the ankle from flexing left or right and permit only forward and rearward flexion."

+1 Tried and true.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes State of the Market Report 2011 on 09/14/2011 15:14:06 MDT Print View

Hi all

Sorry, I haven't been posting replies to this thread. My excuse is that Sue and I were doing the Red Route of the Via Alpina in Europe, from Trieste to Oberstdorf. Dolomite country - lots of limestone and some shale. (Look it up.) We were there for 8+ weeks Great fun, but extremly rough country for shoes: acres (or days) of limestone scree.

> how hard would it be to devote a little cheap warehouse space to some proven
> ultralight trail shoes if that would entice us to maybe check out their regular
> tennis shoes
Well, the Dunlop KT-26s and Dunlop Volleys haven't changed in 20+ years. The company would not dare!

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: mids on 09/14/2011 15:16:43 MDT Print View

Hi Dale

> I've been surprised that someone hasn't jumped outside the box and gone to a tough
> but fast drying all synthetic hiking shoe using many of the features found in water
> shoes--- something with enough mesh to keep the rocks out, no leather, etc.
That's a fair description of most of the New Balance shoes I have been reviewing recently. I took 814s to Europe: they lasted. No need to take them off in the evening.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: hmmm on 09/14/2011 15:26:03 MDT Print View

> It appears that the article was written with an apparent bias. And with the wide feet
> in the line-up, that left them with a significantly smaller set of shoes to review.
> I can understand the bias since trail runners are just more comfortable to wear.
and
> I didn't see a lot of familiar brands included - brands like Merrill, Danner,
> Cabelas', LL Bean, Vasque etc.

Both comments are correct, BUT ...

The bias was entirely due to the fact that all of us in the review have (very) wide feet. No matter what anyone wants in a review, I am not going to wear shoes which are too narrow for my feet. Been there in the past, done that, had the agony. Never again.

Yes, we did check many many brands which advertised themselves as wide (and many more which simply did not say how wide they are), and generally all the missing brands people have been mentioning were no more than a D width. It would seem that only companies of the size of New Balance are willing to make their shoes in multiple widths. Well, we take what we can get.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Toe protection on 09/14/2011 15:53:33 MDT Print View

Hi keith

> I'd appreciate knowing what toe protection these shoes have,
Yeah, all of them had good toe protection.
In fact, I don't think any of us bother testing footwear that does not have good toe protection. I guess we sort of assume that.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Durability? on 09/14/2011 15:55:32 MDT Print View

> I hesitate to take lightweight, low cuts into alpine off-trail backpacking conditions...

Ha!
Lightweight, low cut NB814s in the European Dolomites for 8 weeks. It doesn't come much rougher than that limestone scree country. No problems at all.

Cheers