Does anyone make a really stiff sole, mesh top (or otherwise nice and breathable) hiking shoe? Something available in the US.
I weigh 175lbs, my fair-weather base weight down to 11lbs.
I need some new trail shoes.
I had ankle surgery a couple years ago (2009, ankle fusion) and last year I paid a physical therapist to help me overcome some foot pain I experienced after a couple overnighters in the eastern Oregon Cascades last year.
He and I worked up some exercises to strengthen the foot on the now non-standard ankle side, and I have this routine I'm going through in preparation for the hikes I want to take this season.
I asked him about footwear and showed him the pair of "Beast" (Brooks) shoes I'd been wearing.
He squished the shoes between his hands. Mashed the toes up, twisted the soles.
"You're gonna need stiffer soles."
I bought those shoes after they were recommended by the orthopedic surgeon in Bend who operated on my ankle. He thought they were good for the recovery period (which lasts for ages after ankle fusion) but I'm recovered ... and I want to take the PT's advice.
I only have enough money for one major purchase this season, and I choose shoes.
Mrs Elliott and I were in Portland (Oregon) this morning (she visiting clients, me driving and enjoying the journey) and I had a chance to drive to Next Adventure on Grand St. Darn nice shop!
A nice young fellow in the Shoes department helped me. I explained I wanted something with a very stiff sole, suitable for lightweight backpacking.
He had several shoes with stiff soles. And, he said, they were all waterproof.
Waterproof. I mulled that.
"Goretex," he added.
Visions of my feet wrapped in baggies, skin softening, becoming waxy and prunelike, blisters growing like malignant mushrooms in the sweltering tropics.
I don't need waterproof shoes, I said. I want ventilation and a stiff sole.
He paused. He looked at the shelves of shoes.
"None of our mesh-top shoes have stiff soles. They are more for trail runners. For hikers we have waterproof shoes. For mud, streams, puddles."
Most of Next Adventure's clientele hike in parts of Oregon where waterproofing matters -- places that fit the stereotype image of Oregon: a rainy land with mossy trees, translucent dripping newts, and banana slugs. You know, Sometimes a Great Notion-grade dank and drippage.
But I live in the Oregon high desert. It's arid here, and not only do I have little interest in slogging through mud, streams and/or puddles, it's also unlikely that I need footwear for such conditions.
So I hope to find some shoes available in the U.S. which have real stiff soles and breathable uppers -- recommendations?