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Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/07/2012 11:42:28 MDT Print View

Footwear can be a very personal thing. I like wearing minimalist shoes, they are like walking in moccasins. I feel EVERYTHING and I like that. Most people would think they are inappropriate because of how little protection they give me. I bet there is some guy out there who hikes everywhere in crocs. My point is, don't be afraid to go outside of the ultralight backpacking norm.

I can appreciate the ankle protection that a high top boot provides though. I don't mean support but protection. On a recent trip I jammed my foot between two rocks. Ouch! And later I kicked over a rock and it smacked right into my ankle. Double ouch.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Sure they provide ankle support. on 09/07/2012 11:59:45 MDT Print View

If you have an injury or weak ankles, then the taller boot will provide support such that you can't move your ankles. However, ankle support is just ankle restriction. It won't provide you a stronger ankle; it will only prevent you from moving a weak one.

Ankle support in a shoe has to do with heel stability, not ankle support. You actually want the ankle to flex sufficiently so that your gait is not compromised. Now a taller upper can allow for less lacing pressure directly over the instep, holding the heel and foot into the heel cup from a better position above that area, and spreading the pressure out over a greater area. True. But it won't provide ankle support as that comes from stiffness around the heel.

Now, if one has weak ankles, assuming a nice stiff heel placement, a higher boot can provide some stability for the ankle. So if you have weak or damaged ankles, then wear a boot. But if you have a means of strengthening your ankles, that is the best way to go about it.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 09/07/2012 12:23:17 MDT.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: boots on 09/07/2012 12:19:16 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."

The same type of support an ace bandage gives to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Since the boot also resists sideways movement there is support there.

As far as loose, if the upper laces of the boot are not tight enough to provide enough pressure on the leg then my ankle will start to hurt. Walking (power walking as most people refer to it) in low top shoes without a pack also sometimes also hurt. Walking in low top shoes with 15+ lbs will almost always cause my ankle to hurt.

Maybe I do have damaged or weak ankles, don't know. But, I can't see how anyone can claim that "high top" shoes (i.e. boots) to not provide ankle support. You may not need that support (my wife does not), but that does not mean it is not there.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: boots on 09/07/2012 12:23:55 MDT Print View

If you have an injury or weak ankles, then the taller boot will provide support such that you can't move your ankles. However, ankle support is just ankle restriction. It won't provide you a stronger ankle; it will only prevent you from moving a weak one.

Ankle support in a shoe has to do with heel stability, not ankle support. You actually want the ankle to flex sufficiently so that your gait is not compromised. Now a taller upper can allow for less lacing pressure directly over the instep, holding the heel and foot into the heel cup from a better position above that area, and spreading the pressure out over a greater area. True. But it won't provide ankle support as that comes from stiffness around the heel.

Now, if one has weak ankles, assuming a nice stiff heel placement, a higher boot can provide some stability for the ankle. So if you have weak or damaged ankles, then wear a boot. But if you have a means of strengthening your ankles, that is the best way to go about it.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/07/2012 12:48:28 MDT Print View

+2 on David T’s flexing.
I never looked at it that way, but that’s how it ends up. With a stiff sole, it’s fun walking on scree; it feels like a massage. If it brings excruciating pain then a change of footwear is in order.

I went from boots straight to sandals 8-10 years ago. And I strongly shy away from closed-toe sandals as they are torture for me.
I don’t know if anything can dry faster or breathe better than open toe sandals; which eliminates the athlete’s foot and stench. And, yeah, I get a lot of dirt on my feet. But at the end of the day, my feet, socks, and sandals are clean because I walked through a stream and shook my feet.

Good luck on your footwear choice.

-Barry
The mountains were made for Teva’s

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Boots on 09/07/2012 12:58:41 MDT Print View

As someone who has had bad ankles in the past, here are my experiences:

The first option is to wear heavy boots. I used to do this. The downside is that they are heavy, stay wet, and restrict some of the flexion/extension of the ankle that you like to have. The upside is some protection from rolling the ankle too far laterally that can cause injury.

The second option is to strengthen your ankles enough that you can wear light meshy trail running shoes. I have done this over the past couple of years. They are lighter, dry quicker, and have little restriction in ankle movement. I think they cause fewer blisters. It is also my opinion that a low-profile trail running shoe lessens your chances of ankle roll about as well as a supportive boot. The main downside to this option to me is that you do need to strengthen your ankles before you start wearing them on the trail. I think running in fairly minimal shoes before using a low trail runner works pretty well.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Boots on 09/07/2012 13:42:10 MDT Print View

" I think running in fairly minimal shoes before using a low trail runner works pretty well."

I tried that. It does NOT work. I run through our park most days and used Merril water shoes several years ago. I switched to Montrails for a couple months before going on a 6 week trip on the trail. After a week my feet were just too sore to continue. I picked up a set of Tevas to continue. The water shoes felt fine for running in and so did the Montrails. The Tevas I continue to use for canoe trips where no significant hiking beyond 7mi per day is required.

I often hike in loose boots. These are fine for fairly level trails and uphills. Downhill will jam your toes, though. I tighten them up before descending more than a thousand feet.

The MidHikers are actually good ankle protection. No, they do not help that much with support, they simply are not high enough. Jamming a foot between rocks, roots and through blow-downs often means I will be scraping my ankles, though. High sneakers or ankle top boots (mids) are really needed for hiking the ADK's outside of the tourist traps.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/07/2012 14:01:50 MDT Print View

First off, one of my favorite trail runners is the Teva X-1 C (I can't decide between those and the Inov8 315). I like it because it's just right for my narrow heal, and the toe box is wide enough to fully accommodate the biomechanical spread of the forefoot without constriction; I've gone through plenty of brands that were just too narrow and pinched, even though the stated size was my size (D). Unfortunately, I don't think Teva makes this shoe any longer, so it's a good thing I bought a second pair!

My current favorite is the Saucony GridPro Outlaw, which I saw featured in Backpacker mag with glowing reviews. It's a mid using a "barefoot running" construction, i.e., there's only a 4mm differential between the heel and forefoot, yet it has a more than ample sole plate to guard against sharp rock bruising. In addition, it has an extra cuff that comes up the Achilies to keep out rocks and a D-ring at the bottom of the laces for attaching gaiters. I just completed a 24 mi traverse of the Crazy Mtns. wearing these, going over some of the steepest, rockiest, longest passes ever with nary a problem. It was like floating along in moccasins!

Also, any non-Goretex fabric shoe will admit some trail dust, but it feels soo goood to swish the ol' dogs around in a mountain stream that it's not a problem.

Lastly, the only time I sprained an ankle I was wearing high-top leather hikers, and I could always, always count on them to give me blisters...I haven't had a blister since I graduated to trail runners some 15 or so years ago.

Happy Trails!

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Consider the Terrain on 09/07/2012 14:19:12 MDT Print View

If I am going to be on a trail then I use my trailrunners, however, in the summer I am often on scree and talus because I am climbing mountains here in Colorado. I find the ankle protection from the twisting/rolling/rubbing while on scree/talus to be better in lightweight mid-hikers (Ahnu Eldridge with eVent) http://www.ahnu.com/mens-elkridge-mid-ankle-hiking-boots/AF1128,default,pd.html.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Definitely on 09/07/2012 14:19:21 MDT Print View

Well I think this has to do with 2 things - location, and how much you hike/run. Honestly I'm not a big runner. It hurts my knees, and I just don't love the way it feels. Maybe I don't do it right. So my workouts are different, and so I don't train and strengthen my ankles every day in running shoes like some other UL hikers do. I also don't get to hit the trails every weekend, because I live in a city and work. So at best, I get one overnight or multi day hike every 2-4 weeks during the summer, less during the winter. Because of these realities, running shoes, even stiffer ones, didn't do the trick, and neither do minimalist shoes. I find that using a lighter weight boot, like many made by solomon are actually amazing. Why? Because I can't run on a trail every week and make myself "used" to all the rocks and roots. Furthermore, for those less familiar with hiking in the northeast, there are tons of roots and rocks and the trails are really not foot-friendly. My attempts at using trail runners and UL shoes/minimalist shoes just yield bruised ankles and more sore feet. I went back to boots and couldn't be happier. I can hike up and down rocky peaks in the white mountains all day long and have way less foot fatigue than with running shoes. All this being said, there's nothing wrong with a low cut hiking boot with some support, I have enjoyed my low cut shoes for short distance and approach-type hiking for a long time, but prefer real boots for backpacking. Even with just 30 lbs on my back, my feet are a lot happier with lightweight boots than with trail runners or minimalist shoes, and I think that everyone will have their own experience and level of comfort to deal with.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
No boots for me on 09/07/2012 15:47:57 MDT Print View

Trailrunners work for me and I always thought of myself as having weak ankles and needing boots until I tried them. I haven't had an issue using them anywhere. Including snowshoeing. Combined with a pair of 40 Below LE overboots. Can't beat light feet in the snow!

Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
Working in boots on 09/07/2012 20:21:17 MDT Print View

You know, whoever said it might be due to working in boots may have hit the nail on the head. I wear my work boots for at least 40 hours a week, and I walk, run, jump etc. in them every day. They are Converse duty boots with thick soles and composite toes... not light, but they are very protective. Add to that the fact that so many of my other activities involve wearing boots: motorcycling, XC & downhill skiing, snowshoeing and I think that maybe my feet are just so used to having boots on them that anything else feels wrong. I ran (not hard core running, but more like slow jogging) today in my boots. It's a long story that I won't bore you all with, but the bottom line was I had to get just over 4 miles in an hour down a steep mountain trail with my daypack and hiking poles. Managed it with no problems (aside from being really freaking tired!), no blisters, no rolled ankle and relatively un-sore feet.

Maybe next time I go shopping for shoes I will try a running store instead of an outdoor store, and try some Brooks or Inov8 shoes. So far (aside from the current Tevas) I have tried hiking shoes from Merrel, Columbia, Salomon and Vasque, and have really not loved any of them for hiking. The Tevas are the best of the bunch and I have no problem wearing them for a short hike or something un-challenging like a rail trail, but I bet my feet would be killing me now if I'd run down that mountain in them!

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
x on 09/07/2012 21:07:18 MDT Print View

I was at Lake Vernon last year and I guy came along hiking barefoot over the granite that was slicing the soles of my trail trail runners; you could tell he wanted everyone to notice.

Mark S
(gixer) - F
Yep one here, i prefer my boots still on 09/07/2012 22:22:26 MDT Print View

I have 4 pairs of trail/approach shoes and have tried them all out on the trails.

I still prefer my boots though.

My legs and ankles are less fatigued with the boots after 20 miles hiking, even more so if i'm backpacking.

I still wear the trail shoes when out and about, but for offroad use my boots are better by a fair margin.

Andrew McAlister
(mcalista) - F
Strengthening the ankle on 09/08/2012 00:50:05 MDT Print View

Just on the issue of strengthening the ankles, regular trail running will improve the ENDURANCE of the relevant muscles, and may make them less fatigued at the end of a long day's hiking.

But if you actually want to strengthen the ankle and foot muscles, and reduce the possibility of a rollover or improve your ability to recover from a misplaced footing, you need more focussed strength training. Barefoot calf raises are excellent for the foot and ankle - even better if you can graduate to single leg calf raises, as that really works the balance aspect.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Strengthening the ankle on 09/08/2012 05:11:59 MDT Print View

I wear Innov 8 trail runners or my heaviest shoe is a Lowa low shoe...which I don't wear as much anymore. I have one bad ankle from past destructions so it has it's weakness no matter what I do to keep it strong. When I feel I will be on some rough terrain, I put on an ankle support for sprained ankles. It works very well. I like the runners because when I do twist and turn my feet, I can catch and recover before anything bad happens. I have better control and feel with my feet. I can also walk thru streams without worry about drying out heavy boots. The day I switched my heavy Asolo leather boots to just sneakers while on the trail, I haven't looked back.

Edited by leadfoot on 09/08/2012 05:13:49 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Good fit on 09/08/2012 09:48:52 MDT Print View

"Maybe next time I go shopping for shoes I will try a running store instead of an outdoor store, and try some Brooks or Inov8 shoes. So far (aside from the current Tevas) I have tried hiking shoes from Merrel, Columbia, Salomon and Vasque, and have really not loved any of them for hiking. "

You mentioned earlier that you had trouble finding shoes that fit. Try New Balance. Especially if there is a NB store near you. They have a lot of variety of widths and lasts.

http://www.newbalance.com/women/shoes/Trail/201200,default,sc.html#?start=0&sz=24

I don't have a problem with sand getting through the mesh as there is a material on the inside to prevent that. It's probably getting in through the top as the low cut does make a difference in that area. Add a pair of lightweight gaiters like the Dirty Girls (http://dirtygirlgaiters.com/). That makes a big difference on keeping sand and small rocks out. Since I started using them, I no longer have to stop to get small rocks out of my shoes.

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Has anyone gone back to wearing boots after trying shoes? on 09/08/2012 10:34:00 MDT Print View

I've been wearing hking shoes or trail-runners for over 10 years.

This year, I went on a glacier mountaineering course, and wore boots again (Zamberlan Vajolets). They weren't bad at all for the approach hike to the glacier, or the hike back to the trailhead. But, there's no way I would wear them for an ordinary backpacking trip..

I'm Madnik
(Madnik) - F
Some need it. Some don't. on 09/08/2012 17:05:19 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."

This. And the comment about location. Boots provide more ankle support. BUt, not everyone needs more ankle support. And... whether they do or not is dependent on location. When in doubt, allow more ankle support despite the weight. Know that you don't need it? Go without. But.... not everyone can or should.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Working in boots on 09/08/2012 17:52:59 MDT Print View

Jen, if it works for you, do it. Everybody's feet are different.
I'm not so sure about the working in boots, though, since I work in boots (construction) and have for many years, but I hike in trail runners and love them unless I have to carry an unusually heavy load (Papa Bear duty). But I suspect one difference is I have prescription orthotics that I wear in whatever shoes/boots I am wearing. That means my insoles are the same insoles regardless of shoe, and specifically designed for my feet and their problems.
If you do try some other hiking shoes, look for the stiffest soles you can find, as I suspect that may be the biggest difference between your boots and shoes, and for me the stiffness of the sole is definitely a factor in how comfortable they are on the trail. Give me a shoe with a nice flexible upper but a stiff sole and I am good to go.