So I'm leaving on the JMT in a week and still don't have a pair of shoes selected. I've been doing all my training hikes (16-24mi) in a pair of beat Asics road running shoes with Superfeet inserts, and I run in New Balance Minimus Trails, all with only minor foot pain at the end of the day.
However, the soles on the Asics are pretty much worn out and inspire no confidence on any patches of loose gravel. So begins the search...
My ideal shoe would be a replica of my old one: a lightweight, moderately supportive and cushioning road runner with an ultra-breathable mesh top and a rugged outside. Reg width but wide toe box is preferable. Shoes matching all characteristics but the rugged outsole requirement are easy to find: Saucony ProGrid Guide does it for me (my Asics shoe is no longer available.)
However, the lugs on the Saucony outsole are so shallow they look like they'll be perfectly flat in like 100 miles, and provide poor traction from mile 0.
Yesterday, I got a new pair of Vasque Mindbenders: http://www.rei.com/product/796760/vasque-mindbender-trail-running-shoes-mens
...and broke them in with a 24 mile hike through a redwood forest (fairly mild trail). At the end of the day, I felt great but my feet were killing me. The pads of my heels were beat, but that pain subsided. My arches, however, hurt statically and even more so just curling my toes. Walking was reduced to a painful hobble. The way I see it, it can be a combination of 3 things:
1. Just not "broken in" yet
2. Not enough cushioning (highly doubt they'll get softer after breaking in)
3. My Superfeet inserts make the shoe too stiff. When I push off of my forefoot, the shoe buckles in on top, but the insert tries to stay flat, bruising the top of my foot. (Does this even make sense?) When I loosened the laces my foot was sliding around inside, and when I tightened them back up the arches hurt even more.
So... would you suggest I stick with the Saucony road shoes, comfort being more important than traction? Or am I just describing a typical break-in period for the Vasques? Perhaps I can just swap out the insole for a more flexible, better cushioning Scholls gel insert?
I don't have many (if any) long training hikes left before I leave so your input is tremendously appreciated.