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Help with shoe selection
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Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
Help with shoe selection on 04/03/2013 03:40:24 MDT Print View

So I'm in need of some new hiking shoes, but I'm not really sure which way to go.

I have been using New Balance MT101s for the past year or so and have been generally very happy with them - they are lightweight, comfortable, drain really well. My biggest gripe with them though is that they have very poor traction on rocks and hard/slippery surfaces. The hard sole on them does not seem very rubbery so has very little grip and has been particularly unnerving on a few recent trips.

So, I'm basically looking for a 3 season trail runner that has better traction/more agressive tread but is still relatively lightweight and drains well (I'm not one to try to keep my shoes dry).

I am considering going with NB again and giving their MT110s a shot - they seem to have a stickier sole. Or I had been considering turning to Inov-8 shoes, I've heard a lot of good things, though I'm not really sure which model would suit me. After reading RJ's article on backpacking shoes late last year I looked into the Altra Lone Peaks, but subsequent reviews of read say that they soak up a lot of water, which is probably a deal breaker for me. In other words, I dont know.

Any input, ideas, experiences to help me find a good trail runner to use for backpacking would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by philthy on 04/03/2013 03:57:15 MDT.

Richard Reno
(scubahhh) - M

Locale: White Mountains, mostly.
Vasque Pendulum? on 04/03/2013 05:09:50 MDT Print View

I just got a pair of Vasque Pendulum shoes, and my first impressions are great!

They're light (advertised at 11 oz., I think); have a 6 mm. drop (19mm. in the heel, 13 in the forefoot); and water (even really, really cold White Mountains in March water!) flows through quickly.

The drop hasn't been an issue for me, and doesn't seem to have an adverse effect either walking or running (I usually run either barefoot or in vff but like the idea of a little more protection in the woods).

The tread seems good, so far. I've worn them on a couple day hikes and been running in the woods on mixed surfaces-- slushy snow; frozen granular; ice; and of course the 3 R's. So far so good, except that htey do slip around pretty good on an icy slope.

Don't know yet how well they'll wear, and i still kind of cling to the old gore-tex paradigm (love my Vasque Scree 2's!); but I think they'll be my go-to shoes for as long as they last and I'm optimistic.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Depends on terrain on 04/03/2013 10:50:19 MDT Print View

I have Merrill Moab Ventilator shoes B/C I hike in the desert southwest a lot and need the sole protection from jagged rocks.

Yeah, they may be a tad heavier but it's all in the sole protection.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: sticky shoes on 04/03/2013 11:07:02 MDT Print View

If NBs fit you the other models would be worth examining. I wasn't fond of the MT100s rubber or tread.

The La Sportiva X Country is minimal trail shoe with a mid-narrow fit and rubber that is sticky, but not quite approach shoe sticky. The tread pattern is also fantastic in mud and loose gravel. You can still find them on sale. I haven't had a chance to put hands on the replacement (Anakonda), which is hopefully not too different.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Inov-8 on 04/03/2013 12:56:06 MDT Print View

My Inov-8's just last and last. very durable and well-made. However, I don't have hikers- just everyday shoes. Still, a big +1 to the company.

I just picked up a pair of Salomon Speedcross 3's and they have rubber studs on the bottom for traction. Preliminary testing says traction is superb. However, I don't know how well they drain.

Edited by mdilthey on 04/03/2013 12:57:00 MDT.

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: re: sticky shoes on 04/03/2013 13:35:06 MDT Print View

I like the traction of the La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0, very similar tread to the La Sportiva X. Although, a drawback to both is they have a built in shoelace gator that makes it difficult to affix traditional gators (without modification). They also seem to hold really wet mud more than some other treads, which I would assume would get slippery, but strangely haven't experienced that even with mud caked on them. Overall, I really like the shoe, but the tread does wear down quick... but something I'm willing to live with to gain the cleat like grip they offer.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Help with shoe selection on 04/03/2013 14:39:19 MDT Print View

If they suit your foot then Inov 295's would be worth a look IMHO. They are pretty wide fitting and grip well. A new version is about to be released, so you should be able to get a deal on the older ones.