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Trail Shoes - NB872/873 the way to go?
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David Zirkle
(zirkledw) - F
Trail Shoes - NB872/873 the way to go? on 05/05/2007 23:21:29 MDT Print View

So if I have gotten my pack weight down to 14 lbs for an overnight (I know that's still high, but 3 years ago I had a pack that weighed 7 lbs and I am also unwilling to part with my hammock)

So it seems like I can safely ditch the heavy hiking boots, at least for the summer. I wear size 13, so empasis on the heavy part.

It sounds like the New Balance 872/873's are a favorite. Money isn't an issue, but I have found these for $60, which would leave some money in my gear budget for other toys, I mean gear...

It sounds like longevity is an issue, but its pretty rare for me to be out for more than a couple of nights, so that's not as much of an issue for me.

Anyone have other suggestions that wouldn't be too much more?



tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
Trail Shoes on 05/06/2007 09:04:26 MDT Print View

Fit is the most important.
Make sure the shoes you get, fit!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Trail Shoes - NB872/873 the way to go? on 05/06/2007 11:26:04 MDT Print View

First of all, 14 pounds isn't bad. You have to be careful of the perspective here-- there is ultralight and then there is crazy-light :) 5 pound base weights aren't for everybody, every season, every climate or local conditions. Hike thy own hike!

As to your shoes, when you get into running shoes, you will see that each model is made for a particular kind of runner and helping to correct how their feet hit the ground-- over and under pronating, etc.

Since you will be walking, this may change a bit. I would love to hear the ergonomics of choosing running shoes for walking. IMHO, I think we choose trail runners because they are the lighter and more cost effective alternative-- and we can get them to work. There are a few manufacturers who make lightweight walking-specific and load bearing shoes. Montrail is one that comes to mind.

This is complete armchair quarterbacking, but I imagine that you could get an idea of your walking style (pronation, etc) by looking at the wear on your old shoes-- looking at heel wear and so on. This might give you a fighting chance in getting a trail runner that suits your walking style. A good sports shoe salesperson will know the brands and models that will help you get a good stable platform. You will find this information on the better web stores too.

My daughter does cross country running at school and we went through this to get her a running shoe that suited her non-average foot and gait issues. We're blessed with a number of excellent running stores in the area with the staff and inventory to dial in a shoe for her needs.

I think the UL industry really needs to develop walking and load bearing specific shoes. Trail runner construction techniques and materials certainly make sense, but I know that changes can be made in the rocking motion of the sole, traction, protection, heel construction and so on to maximize the shoe for UL hiking.

In the case of the 872, I found a consumer review at that descries this model as neutral ergonomically. Try surfing "new balance 872 review" to see what you can find. There is a BPL spotlight review too ( There is an interesting review of New Balance trail runners as walking shoes at .

I also wonder about how shoes are made in such a wide range of sizes with the same materials and construction, where they will be worn by say, a 5'2" woman who weighs 120 pounds and a guy who is 6'6 and weighs 220 (loose examples). I wonder what the impact pressures and other physics come out to between these ranges. The variations in gait due to leg length, hip width and dozens of other ergonomic variables. I run into this myself as I'm outside the bell curve, being 5'10" and a 30" inseam, so my stride/gait is much different from someone who has say, a 34" inseam.

I'm all ears to what others here know about those issues.

[exit soapbox mode]

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/06/2007 11:37:11 MDT.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Trail Shoes on 05/06/2007 11:56:54 MDT Print View

In acting timing is everthing, in trail shoes, fit is everything. The 872 is a great trail shoe--but only if it fits your type of foot. In the past I've made the mistake of buying Montrail shoes due to favorable recommendations on this site and elsewhere. Well, Montrail shoes don't work for my type of foot, so they are a waste of money for me. Will Rietveld loves the 872 (search for his review on this site), and he is a very knowlegable individual, but the the 872 will only work for you if you have the same kind of feet he does.

What are the anatomical features of your foot: wide toe area, narrow heel, one foot larger or wider than the other, bunions or other bumps, flat arch, high arch, over pronate, under pronate. If you have fairly normal feet you won't have to worry so much about this stuff, but who has normal feet--I wish I did! My right foot is one full size larger and than my left, both feet are wide in the toe box area, and I tend to be a moderate over pronator (land on outside heels.) Saucony shoes for moderate over pronators (sometimes called support type shoes) work best for me, but may not be the best for you.

In conclusion, do research on the internet (,, measure both feet at the shoe store with the Brannock device, find out what kind of feet you have. It seems to me that the 872 is designed for normal feet, so if that is what you have, you are good to go, if not, look elsewhere.

I should have been a podiatrist, I really get into this stuff!

David Zirkle
(zirkledw) - F
Re: Re: Trail Shoes - NB872/873 the way to go? on 05/06/2007 20:13:53 MDT Print View

No need to apologize for the soapbox. I teach Econ and I used to jumping on it myself.

I didn't realize the monorail were designed for walking not running. I had some experience with trail shoes when they were first coming out. I trained for and almost finished a 50 mile trail run, but I haven't bought a pair of trail shoes in almost a decade, so I have lost touch.

I plan on hitting the couple of shops here where the might be able to suggest the right shoe for my foot, but it has been my experience that I get funny looks when I ask what things weigh or if they have a scale. My hope was to get a feel for what would have been light, comfortable, and successful for people so that when I get to the store I'll have a better idea what to look for.

I don't really intend on droping my pack weight any further. 14 is with food and water, I know I could go further, but but that would mean giving up some durability and my hammock, neither of which I am willing to do. Besides I would probably want my thermarest back if I was going to sleep on the ground and the one I have weighs almost as much as my hammock....

thanks again.

David Zirkle
(zirkledw) - F
Re: Trail Shoes on 05/06/2007 20:16:46 MDT Print View

If nothing else, y'all have saved me from buying the NB 872's online and convinced me that it would be wise to take my beatup Asics into the store and see which shoes that they think will deal with my feet...

I appreciate the advice.


Kim Grant
(Kimberlymae) - F
Five ten approach shoes on 05/06/2007 22:36:07 MDT Print View

I swear by my five-ten approach shoes, made for both men and women. They're meant for day hiking with light loads. I've done the Grand Canyon and Mt. Timpanogos in mine, along with every other hike where I wasn't carrying my pack for a 3-nighter. Check 'em out. Large toe box, excellent arch support, and that wonderful vibram rubber sole.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Trail Shoes - NB872/873 the way to go? on 05/07/2007 12:23:19 MDT Print View

A 14 pound load is great, and so much more enjoyable than a 60 pound load. I find that having a base weight in the 14 pound range provides the right mix of trail comfort (it's light) versus sleeping comfort (I have the stuff I want with me). Each hiker needs to strike this balance independently.

Trail runners are also an individual decision. New Balance offers a range of sizes and widths of road- and trail-running shoes, but also be aware of the last on which the shoe was formed. My lovely wife swears by the SL-2 last, which has a narrower heel cup and a wider forefoot (available in the 90x series shoe). If I wore NB's, I'd go for the SL-1 last in the 80x shoe. Again, though, this depends entirely on your own two feet.

Brands you might consider, besides NB, are Montrail, Salomon (I like the XA Comp and XA Pro), The North Face, Inov8, and possibly Merrell.

David Zirkle
(zirkledw) - F
A decision has been made and the winner is .... on 05/09/2007 09:15:25 MDT Print View

Something totally different that what I was planning. I bought a pair of Keen Newport H2's. I veered away from the trail shoes for few reasons:

I really beat up the toes of my boots so I felt better about having a serious toe box. Most of my summer trips are going to involve lots of fly fishing so getting something that would dry fast made sense.

These ended up being heavier than the shoes I was looking at. I probably gave up an oz or two on each foot, its hard to tell though since I didn't get a pair of trail shoes out of the store.

Thanks for all the imput.