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Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes?
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Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/05/2012 21:58:19 MDT Print View

I'm just a bit curious about this...

I recently decided to try out some hiking shoes instead of the heavy boots I've been wearing for years... and quite frankly I don't see what all the fuss is about. The shoes I bought (Teva something-or-other) fit my feet pretty well, and are quite comfortable. I hate the mesh on a lot of trail runners / hiking shoes because one of my biggest dislikes is getting sand inside my shoes, so I chose a pair that were made of canvas material with an eVent lining. Success! No sand inside, dry, comfy feet and no blisters. However, having worn them for a couple of backpacking trips and some dayhikes, I'm finding that I just don't like shoes that much. My feet seem a lot more tired than they are in boots, and I can feel all the lumps and bumps under my feet. Sadly my favourite boots of all time are the now discontinued Montrail Blue Ridge (I'm on my 3rd pair, I like them so much), so maybe I will have to get used to those shoes after all...

So I'm just curious... has anyone else had a similar experience? I really wanted to like wearing shoes instead of boots, but at the end of the day I just don't.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/05/2012 22:05:45 MDT Print View

Don't give up after one pair. How many pairs of boot did it take to find your favorites? Shoes are such a personal choice thing. Try on some more and keep track of what you like and don't like to narrow down your choices. I have not looked back. You might have to strengthen your feet a bit perhaps.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/05/2012 22:57:33 MDT Print View


Well Teva is not exactly known for producing good hiking shoes. They use to make a pretty sweet sandal you could hike in but they discontinued it a long time ago. The only thing from Teva I would even remotely consider using is the Omnium, but that is something only long distance hikers would have an appeal for (due to foot swelling).

There are a bazillion shoes that could be listed here (and sure others will) but you should consider going with some of the following:

Inov-8 Roclite 315 - a full size, super tough, shoe with a rock plate, decent padding and acceptable breathability.

Brooks Cascadia 7 - an amazingly comfortable shoe with excellent support and a good rock plate and so-so breathablity. This is a great first shoe when going from boots to trail shoes.

If you have a foot with fat toes, you could check out the new Inov-8 TrailRoc (BPL link) series of shoes. You would want to go with the 255. I do not think these should be a shoe you should use at this point though.

My vote goes to the Cascadia shoes as a great starting place when migrating from boots. Comfort, protection, not the lightest out there but lighter than boots. Only real downside to them is that they do not dry out as quickly as Inov-8 or other shoes that have less padding in them.


Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Trying stuff on... on 09/05/2012 23:42:27 MDT Print View

I forgot to mention... I tried on about 20 pairs of shoes when I bought the Tevas... they were the best fitting, and fit my goal of having no mesh for sand to work its way in (which is what made me give up on the last 4 pairs of hiking shoes that I've bought and then regretted buying). It's not that they're uncomfortable... I was pretty pleased with how comfortable they were once I'd replaced the insoles. They fit snugly so my heel stays put, which is a rare find for me. I just found them much more tiring than my boots, when I thought the opposite would be true. Maybe I just need to strengthen my foot muscles? I wear boots for work as well, so pretty much the only time I wear shoes or sandals is for doing the shopping ;)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/05/2012 23:59:20 MDT Print View

I switched from boots to shoes a little over a year ago, and most of the trips that I do that should be called lightweight have me using Inov-8 shoes. Once in a while, if I know the trip will be terribly wet or rocky, I will wear some Montrail boots.

Yes, the Inov-8 shoes are mesh on top, so sand and dust gets through the socks and covers my toes. But, what can you do?


ed hyatt
(edhyatt) - MLife

Locale: The North
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/06/2012 00:44:45 MDT Print View

I wear unlined shoes most of the time for backpacks....but for the last couple of years I have switched to lined mids for multiple overnight hiking trips in Scotland.

The principal reason for this is not wanting to have wet stinking feet and footwear for several days at an end as up there wearing shoes in the sort of terrain I frequent will invariably result in soaked feet.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/06/2012 06:48:56 MDT Print View

Yes. I tried several pair of light weight trail runners, hiking shoes. None were as comfortable as my older 19oz mid-hikers. I have had these for several years (since 2006 or so?) Adidas, Montrail, Keen, Solomon, Merril, Inov, and others have been tried over the years. Always one trip and back to boots. My last excursion was the NPT where I was determined to use Solomons for the whole trail. My feet were literally torn apart after three days of hiking, 22mi, 16mi, 10mi. All three sides of my achilles tendon were really sore and the tops of my arch was almost as bad. Only one small blister was present on my little toe. This was after 5 months of wearing them every day for workouts (running, walking over moderate terrain.) My feet healed after I got the boots on for the rest of the trip.

This forum and several lists I belong to have really urged me to switch to trail runners. I have hiked in mid-hikers for close to 20 years and low boots before that. I like to experiment, so not exclusively. In the ADK's, the preponderance of roots, rocks, boulders, and just plain off-level stream-side trails puts a lot of stress on the sides, bottoms and ankles. With runners, these were the areas that came up sore after a few days. So, for me, I think I will simply ignore all the urgingings from now on and use my boots. They work with no pain, unlike every pair of trail runners I have used. They work fine around camp, and for daily exercise routines, not so good for a week in the ADK's.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
I sorta did on 09/06/2012 06:53:05 MDT Print View

Well, I went from truly old-school, hard leather, big Vibram-soled boots to lightweight hiking boots many years ago, and then to trail runners and now back to "boots", albeit sorta lightweight ones --in a sense of relativity to other boots.

I noted the OP's comment that boots are worn daily at work, and I sense those are likely utility boots that weigh as much or more than a nice set of light hiking boots. In that case, with the hiker "normalized" to more foot weight and a higher level of sole protection, etc... I'm not surprised.

In my case, my loads aren't yet light enough nor my feet strong enough such that I enjoy backpacking with my excellent trail runners, which I hike in regularly. I prefer the more robust rock-plate, beefy toe box and ankle coverage of my boots, and I make up the "weight difference" by carrying a smaller cast iron skillet. Ha ha.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
nope on 09/06/2012 13:14:14 MDT Print View

:) I've never looked back

my footwear evolution went- heavy leather backpacking boots-> "light" leather backpacking boots-> light trail running mids-> trail runners, I could have skipped all those in between steps (and saved $!), but I guess I had to see it for myself- now I believe :)

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Haven't looked back on 09/06/2012 14:49:33 MDT Print View

I tried the Nike Lava Domes when they first came and set the stage for low-cut, light-weight hikers. And I never took a BPing with boots again. For cramponing? Snowshoeing? Running the chainsaw? Yeah, I kept one pair for that, but after realizing I had nice Danners, Raichle, etc, full-grain leather, vibram Montagna soles, that I hadn't used AT ALL for 15 years, I donated them.

There are now many more options than Lava Domes and when I got a pair of 25th anniversary Lava Domes, I realized how much low-cut hikers had improved. Merrill's idea of a foot's shape fits me well, so I usually use their's. Or Salomon for those that came from the Trail Runner end of the spectrum.

>"My feet seem a lot more tired than they are in boots, and I can feel all the lumps and bumps under my feet."

That sounds like me if I do more than 20 miles in running shoes without a stiff sole. I try to twist low-cut hikers in the store and if I can get more than 30-40% twist from heel to toe when I really crank on them, I pass. Over 25 miles on a dayhike or over 15 or so with weight on my back, and I want that stiffness in the sole, or my foot feels beat up at the end of the day for having stepped on so many roots, rocks, and uneven ground.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/06/2012 17:40:15 MDT Print View

hail naw.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/06/2012 18:35:18 MDT Print View

If its ankle support your after there are a few people who make very lightweight/ minimal mid trail running shoes, I recently started looking around for some.

One benifit of mids is better ankle support. It seems like you dont have to be as carefull stepping on uneven terrian. Also debris rocks etc. are less likley to get in you shoe.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/06/2012 20:29:00 MDT Print View

Nope, and my boots got relegated to trail maintenance only. If it's a backpack in project, I'll lug the boots in/on my pack and still wear my trail shoes (Inov-8 Roclite 295s) for the hike in/out, use them as camp shoes, etc. The 295s also became my everyday shoe too.

If I could find the perfect boot, it might be a different story.

Edited by TRAUMAhead on 09/06/2012 20:29:37 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
footwear on 09/06/2012 20:31:06 MDT Print View

Agree that you should not base your decision on Tevas. I tried the Raith mids because they fit well in the store, with good heel lockdown, which is almost impossible for me to find also. But on the trail, they were a nightmare, much as described by James M., except it only took a day hike to reach max pain.

Liked David T's advice about flexing. Will try that from now on. Thanks.

Edited by scfhome on 09/06/2012 20:32:33 MDT.

Andrew McAlister
(mcalista) - F
Protection, not support on 09/07/2012 08:41:27 MDT Print View

If I wear boots now, it is for ankle protection (from rocks, logs, etc), rather than ankle support.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Protection, not support on 09/07/2012 09:15:17 MDT Print View

+1 Andrew.

Mids do not provide ankle support but rather protection to the ankles. The idea that it provides support to the ankle is a myth. In fact, ankle support comes almost entirely from how stable a shoe keeps your arch and heel. If you are feeling stones and ruts under lighter trail shoes v.s. boots, then you may be looking at the wrong shoe. I use Salomon trail runners and the cushioning is diving. I never feel any ruts, stones, etc, with that shoe.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
not yet on 09/07/2012 11:23:11 MDT Print View

Boots if snow/winter terrain. Shoes for everything else. I have yet to try a pair of Innov-8 shoes. I really want to. I'll have to say, though. I think that I prefer the support of really lightweight nylon hikers over pure trail runners. That said, I have not had a good enough pair of TR's yet. I have a pair of North Face Tyndall now that look like hiking shoes but wear like TR's (light vented) and they are working well.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
boots on 09/07/2012 11:29:58 MDT Print View

I don't understand why so many people do not believe that boots provide ankle support. If my boots are loose my ankles hurt. Properly tighten them and they quit hurting. They certainly provide support to my ankles.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: boots on 09/07/2012 11:40:11 MDT Print View

What kind of support do your boots provide? Loose boots - can you expand on this?

Your situation is likely unique because you have damaged / weak ankles.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Sure they provide ankle support. on 09/07/2012 11:40:30 MDT Print View

Of course boots provide ankle support. I had switched to boots for a while after a particularly ugly ankle sprain. But I do ankle strengthening and balance exercises and have been able to switch back to trail runners. Trail runners combined with trekking poles give me plenty of support and less weight, but more importantly less blisters. Even with a good fitting pair of boots, I blister more than in a set of good breathable lightweight trail runners.