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Trying something new - trail runners
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Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Trying something new - trail runners on 07/08/2012 19:29:26 MDT Print View

one of the tips from Mike C's book that i have made my motto is to try something new every time you go out. i find myself experimenting more and more and i have been able to shed some bad habits, both in camp and what's on my back.

a few weeks ago i glued my Oboz boots back together but it didn't hold after a weekend of Dolly Sods so i decided to try the Salomon XA 3D Pro Ultra 2 trail runners. i used them this past weekend at a very dry Dolly Sods and they seemed to work well for my first time out. i did two days worth of day hikes and found them to be very comfortable after 7 miles and my feet haven't finished a day of hiking feeling so good in years.

i'm heading back out to Dolly Sods for a full weekend of backpacking in two weeks and i'm looking forward to showing them off at the end of the day to my boot wearing buddy who swears i'm insane. i see trail runners in his future!

i would never have considered trail runners for backpacking, esp at a place like Dolly Sods but reading about success after success with them has given me to the confidence to try them out. the real test will be this section at Dolly Sods

Rocky Point

Edited by asciibaron on 07/08/2012 19:32:45 MDT.

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

That's a lot of rocks ! on 07/10/2012 20:16:40 MDT Print View

I used 4 pairs of the XA Pro Ultra 2's on my A.T thru-last year along with Superfeet and then SOLE Dean Karnazes insoles. A great shoe with excellent traction. Good luck on your continuing adventure in trying trail runners !

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Cool on 07/10/2012 21:31:54 MDT Print View

The Salomon Comp XA models are nice too. Just get the one without goretex and you are set. I really like the XA 5; haven't tried the XA 6. Nice support and theres not one thing a boot does better. Boots aren't even in the vocab anymore.

BTW - You'll do fine. Trail Runners let you move allot easier through anything. Enjoy.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Sods on 07/10/2012 21:48:01 MDT Print View

Here in the West the trail crews pave talus with sand and gravel. I always wondered what they did with the talus they dug out...

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Sods on 07/10/2012 21:56:31 MDT Print View

Nathan, maybe in your part of the West...but here in AZ we're lucky if we get any trail maintenance beyond the occasional cairn that blends in with all the other natural rock piles.

That section looks pretty hairy...but at least it's flat unlike out here (and green!).

The beauty of trail runners is that if you're light on your feet (unlike tromping with boots) you can react to an unstable talus field pretty easily and not twist or roll an ankle. I find I'm much "quicker" and light footed with trail runners.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: Re: Re: Sods on 07/10/2012 23:38:56 MDT Print View

I switched to trail runners about 5 months ago and never will go back unless it is mountaineering time. Some 370 miles later, I find my ankles are much stronger and like you said, it is much easier to deal with unstable rocks.

One big difference is that my feet aren't nearly as bruised after a long hike as they used to get with the boots. I've figured out that like walking on concrete or asphalt, boots present a very consistent surface for your feet to land on. That sameness of every step means the same points on the foot take the hit again and again. With trail runners every step is different and spreads the impact to different places.

This also affects muscle soreness. I used to get a very specific sore spot - on the anterior tibialis in front and just above my ankle. Now it is more like a general workout and sore all over - the good kind of soreness. And I importantly note that I'm not feeling sore until after the first twenty miles!

Ankle support is only needed if you are setting out without any pre-training. A couple months of hiking on uneven ground makes for a huge difference when carrying a pack over many miles.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
I'm a convert... on 07/11/2012 12:12:37 MDT Print View

I have to admit that when I was first getting into this weird UL thing a few years ago one issue about which I was VERY skeptical was wearing trail runners instead of at least a lightweight boot. But a single experimental weekend hike made me a believer. My feet felt great, no blisters, etc. Further experiments in wetter conditions (with Hydropel) solidified my conversion. Nowadays if there is one UL tenet to which I adhere it is that boots are unnecessary (unless you need to wear crampons for real mountaineering or somesuch). And I just accept that the trail runners won't last me several years like a sturdy boot will. IME a trail runner only has 500 or so miles in it.

Edited by acrosome on 07/11/2012 12:15:26 MDT.

Chad Webster
(blaktee) - F

Locale: Targhee National Forest
Trail Runners are the BOMB on 07/11/2012 12:56:30 MDT Print View

So, I have been a boot guy for years. I wore Keens, and to be honest thought I loved them. This year i have made the switch to light weight. Spent a ton of money and one thing i bought was trail runners. Last years model on close out :) 60% off. I buzzed up the trail last and did 8 miles fast. I was going solo. When the sun was telling me it was time to find a place to sleep for the night my feet and legs were saying "I want more". Much of the trail looked just like your picture. (I backpack in Idaho, seems we raise rocks and potatoes here)ahh, sweet trail runners

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Cool on 07/11/2012 20:09:22 MDT Print View

" I really like the XA 5; haven't tried the XA 6. "

Been wearing the XA Comp series for years. Just got a pair of the XA Comp 6 and took them on a hike in June. If anything they seem even narrower than the 5 - got some blisters in places that I've not had them before (outside of my foot, outside edge of both big toes.) But I was wearing a different model of sock, too, which may have changed the fit (though they don't seem thicker than the old socks in hand.) Got a fairly stiff superfeet-style insole during a town stop and that helped, but by then the damage was done. Not sure what I'm going to do now.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Bummed on 07/11/2012 20:38:59 MDT Print View

to hear your report Ken. I guess now I hope that my 5s last until the 7s come out and hopefully they are similar to the 5s. Did you see if you could find some XA 5s in your size on Amazon or other site? Good luck.

Thread hijack over. Resume.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
Salomon XA's on 07/12/2012 08:19:30 MDT Print View

What has been your experience with the 'quick lace' system or do you replace it with traditional laces?
I have a pair of XA's but I've never liked/trusted the 'quick lace' system.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Love it on 07/12/2012 20:36:23 MDT Print View

I like it allot. I gets the shoe evenly tight in a snap. With laces you have to fiddle with getting it right or at least I do. I think they are one of the pluses of the shoes. Like it much better than the Saucony Peregrins I have and not only for the lacing system I might add.

Edited by WarrenGreer on 07/12/2012 20:37:19 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Salomon XA's on 07/13/2012 19:24:38 MDT Print View

Love the quick lace system. One of the main features of the shoe for me. It's much easier to tweak the tightness of the shoe than with normal laces -- a simple pull of even a millimeter or two makes a difference.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Bummed on 07/13/2012 19:28:07 MDT Print View

Thanks Warren. My Comp 5 GTX have another season left in them (this coming winter,) but my mesh shoes are worn out. I'm going to try the Comp 6's again, this time with some very thin socks and see what happens.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
x2 on 07/13/2012 23:23:35 MDT Print View

Ken. The lacing system is a system, not just laces. I totally agree with your comments.

Good luck on the new shoe. I'd be interested in how they work for you. It sounds like the shoe doesn't have as big of a toe box? That's what I took from your comments that they are narrower. Am I reading you right? Cause the toe box is really good on the Comp XA5. Room to move my toes but they aren't swimming in an ocean of no support. And they aren't too pointy and lacking room either. The other thing I really like about the XA is the lateral support. Doesn't add much weight but really does the trick.