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Interesting Podiatrist's Advice
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Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Interesting Podiatrist's Advice on 03/02/2007 20:51:47 MST Print View

I just spent half an hour in a Podiatrist's office to learn about shoes, footcare, and hiking.

I asked him his take on the traditional contention that tall heavy boots provide needed support and prevent injury.

His answer: it used to be true, but the strength of modern running shoes now negates the need for boots. He said that shoes are built stronger and can provide the needed support in the sole -- thus reducing the torquing of the foot that used to necessitate hightop boots. (I am paraphrasing heavily here.)

He'd never heard of lightweight backpacking but he said that backpacking in trail runners is perfectly reasonable when modern shoes are used.

One more tidbit: he said he dislikes all "gear company" shoes. Buy "shoe company" shoes, he said. And this guy was a shoe geek if ever there was such a thing. He knew all the models and their strengths, weaknesses, and relative dimensions. I brought in some Nikes from 2001 to show him the shoes that gave me the least knee pain for some reason, and he knew their model name and year.

If you're in the Lower Mainland, I recommend Dr. Roy Mathews in New West.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Interesting Podiatrist's Advice on 03/02/2007 21:01:46 MST Print View

What were some of the "shoe company" shoes your doctor recommended?

John Hopkins
(DrGonzo) - F

Locale: Southeast
Companies on 03/02/2007 21:07:30 MST Print View

What specifically is a "Gear Company"? Like North Face?

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Re: Interesting Podiatrist's Advice on 03/02/2007 21:16:48 MST Print View

I didn't post them because I didn't ask him specifically which companies are best. He gave me specific models for my type of feet, which came from Brooks, Asics, and Adidas. I found the Adidas on clearance and went for my first kneepain-free jog in 3 years.

When he said "shoe company shoes", by the way, he used Nike/Brooks/New Balance as an example.

I asked him whether Nike was more a "fashion" brand rather than a serious running shoe, and he said that every "running shoe" brand has some models of good shoes. They just aren't necessarily the models we see in advertisements. He said some Nikes are popular amongst pro runners, but not the flashy models you see on billboards with the clear plastic bubbles in the soles.

I asked about Montrail, and he frowned and said they had "too much curvature". I wish I'd asked what he meant.

The bottom line, though, is that you need shoes that work with your feet *and* your type of walk. My feet are very rigid with high arches; they don't bend "up" very well due to bone structure. That means I need higher heels for some reason.

EDIT: John, to answer your question he used Columbia and The North Face as examples. All these questions are making me want to go back for clarification -- if only it didn't cost 73 bucks!

Edited by bjamesd on 03/02/2007 21:18:02 MST.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Interesting Podiatrist's Advice on 03/03/2007 09:29:45 MST Print View

"I asked about Montrail, and he frowned and said they had "too much curvature". I wish I'd asked what he meant."

He likely is referring to the narrowness of the instep, which forced feet inward like a chinese girl with bound feet. For someone with a wide instep (like me), this had led to a bruised instep after aggressive walking (or heaven forbid) actual running. However, I just purchased a pair of wide-cut Montrail Hardrocks that have worked extremely well for me with a pack.

In the outdoor footwear industry, we sometimes refer to "shoe companies" versus "gear companies". The difference is simple. Dd the company start by designing and selling shoes or did they "branch" over into it. What branching over ususally mean is they designed a shoe and have some "show company" built it to their specs. This is because the cost of starting up a shoe manufacturing are HUGE and it usually takes years to recoup the investment. I know REI contracts out (with Merrell, Vasque, and Raickle) and I am almost certain North Face does as well. Columbia probably sort of does now that it owns Montrail, and they likely build their Columbia models in the same facility.

When I think of "shoe companies" in terms of the outdoor market, I think Montrail, Merrell, Vasque, Lowa, Raichle, Chaco, Teva, Garmont, Tecnica, Scarpa, Salomon, and La Sportiva. They may not make the best running shoes, but their trail runners are often specifically made for the UL hiking community.

Edited by Bearpaw on 03/03/2007 09:30:47 MST.