Another shoe recommendation thread
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adam mcconnell
(amac)
Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/15/2013 15:12:07 MDT Print View

I'm sure this question gets worn out, but here goes. I have a 3+lb pair of leather, waterproof hiking boots and am second guessing the need and weight of a boot. I've been posting around here lately about an upcoming trip to GNP. I don't get to hike regularly. I live in flatlands of NOLA. I wear my current pair of boots regularly while doing other outdoor activities, so new boots/shoes will get worn hard. In other words, the expense could be justified.

So, the quesion's - do I need boots to hike in GNP? and would you suggest swapping out of these heavy leather boots for a lighter model? I have plenty of ideas on what I would get, but feel free to offer your suggestions. Thanks

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
shoe on 05/15/2013 15:18:20 MDT Print View

what is GNP? Glacier National Park?

But im still pretty sure you dont need boots to hike it.

Edited by livingontheroad on 05/15/2013 15:33:11 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/15/2013 15:24:23 MDT Print View

Boots are really heavy. Why not hike in running shoes?

adam mcconnell
(amac)
Running shoes are for running on 05/15/2013 15:38:15 MDT Print View

"Why not hike in running shoes?"

I'm a runner and wouldn't run in hiking shoes. I don't play basketball in running shoes and I don't play tennis or golf in running shoes. Why would I want to hike in running shoes?

GNP = Glacier National Park

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Running shoes are for running on 05/15/2013 16:50:11 MDT Print View

"Why would I want to hike in running shoes?"

Because a pound on the foot is equivalent to 5 pounds on the back... read that somewhere.

Perhaps you could hike faster in running shoes?

Perhaps you would be less likely to get injured in running shoes in many places?

They dry quickly?

This is Backpacking Light, so you are going to find few folks here still hike in boots. But, you need to wear what works for you.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Running shoes are for running on 05/15/2013 16:59:02 MDT Print View

Hiking shoes are whatever fits you and works well. Trail runners, tennis shoes, running shoes, sneakers, whatever you want to call them. I'm talking about lightweight low cut shoes. You said that your boots seem too heavy.
Some people even hike in sandles or crocs.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Running shoes are for running on 05/15/2013 17:12:52 MDT Print View

I was one of those quite resistant to hiking in "running shoes" but as soon as I tried it I swore I would never put those heavy goretex boots on ever again. And I really, really like them.

No need to wear such clunkers on your feet for anything unless you are schlepping heavy metal or sharp stuff that might fall and crush your toes. Lightweight runners/low hikers/sandals/trail runners/whatever just let you cruise along without a care in the world. Ahhhhhh.....

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: shoe recommendation on 05/15/2013 17:32:17 MDT Print View

If the shoe fits, wear it! Using lighter shoes is one of the snowball effects of a lighter pack. If you don't have a big load, you can wear lighter shoes and gain on the pick 'em up and put 'em down factor.

I wouldn't get too hung up on the name of it works. I personally prefer a "hiking shoe" design for multi-day hiking and rough stuff, but I have trail runners and use them. Trail running shoes tend to have excellent cushioning, rock plates in the forefoot to protect from stone bruising, and as other have mentioned, they dry quickly and are light weight.

Many don't like waterproof shoes as they won't dry easily once they are wet, some taking days to completely dry out. Many hold that waterproof footgear promotes blistering due to the moisture retained and absorbed by your skin. Waterproof low tops never made sense to me: like locking your convertible with the top down, it will only keep out the shorter thieves :)

I do prefer waterproof/breathable mids for winter hiking and early spring with intermittent snow and lots of runoff-- many trails in the Cascades and Olympics are more like shallow (COLD) streams this time of year. For the rest of the prime hiking season, you will find me in a well ventilated low top shoe with good traction.

adam mcconnell
(amac)
Which hiking shoe... on 05/15/2013 20:35:42 MDT Print View

Amazing to think that the hiking shoe market sells any hiking shoes at all if most experienced hikers opt for non-"hiking" hiking shoes. I've always been concerned that running shoes, sandals and other less supportive soled shoes would lend to bruised feet and or sore arches. I haven't put much thought into how waterproofing a shoe could work against you. Shame on me for believing the "breathable membrane" description. Now I'm more confused than ever.

I'll stick with wear what works best (or what I think works best). Thanks for all the insight.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Check Out Running Shoes! on 05/15/2013 20:51:14 MDT Print View

Bought hiking boots.

Regretted it. Switched to running shoes.

I will say this, though- there's a middle ground. My Salomons have lugs like hiking boots but the materials, weight, fit, and construction of the flexible sole and upper is definitely cued by running shoes.

You could slap a pair of Brooks running shoes on and hike the entire AT and you would likely do it faster, and more comfortably, than with hiking boots- even lightweight boots. It's worth considering, even if it seems outlandish. But if you want lightweight hiking-specific shoes, check out:

Altra
Inov-8
Salomon
Merrell

And there are others, but most BPL members seem to gravitate to these brands. Especially Altra.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Which hiking shoe... on 05/15/2013 21:46:27 MDT Print View

"Amazing to think that the hiking shoe market sells any hiking shoes at all if most experienced hikers opt for non-"hiking" hiking shoes"

Don't lose sight of the fact that BPL is still on the fringe of the backpacking spectrum. Mainstream backpackers are still gobbling up traditional footwear.

Gerald L
(Mtngeronimo) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Which hiking shoe... on 05/15/2013 22:08:21 MDT Print View

In my experience the 'breathable membrane' is nothing more than marketing hype when it comes to boots. It may help with vapor but not liquid. The key with a waterproof boot is not to let your feet get wet! But if you are like me then that means changing socks several times a day to deal with perspiration. I used to hike strictly with boots but have switched to trail runners since I pack with a lighter load. I can hike farther and my feet are more comfortable than ever before. Although if I was anticipating a wet trip with cold conditions then light waterproof boots with gaiters would most likely be in order. I would check on trail/weather conditions in GNP before making a final decision on footwear.

Edited by Mtngeronimo on 05/15/2013 22:11:39 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Which hiking shoe... on 05/15/2013 22:14:05 MDT Print View

Adam, you are right to be confused. The mainstream backpacking market sells some very heavy, expensive and unnecessary things. Double walled dome tents for summer, 1 pound backpacking filters for crystal clear alpine water, goretex jackets for ocassional rain, and such.

"I've always been concerned that running shoes, sandals and other less supportive soled shoes would lend to bruised feet and or sore arches."

It's all about conditioning. I am at the extreme end of this. I hike in extremely thin and flexible shoes (3mm sole) and it's like walking in traditional moccasins. It took a while to condition my feet for that.
Your arches are meant to support themselves and arch support is just a crutch for them that can cause them to be weak.

Now by all means, you should use what you are comfortable with. Shoes are a very personal thing. I hike with a gear who hikes waterproof steel toed boots, a guy who wears running shoes, and a guy who wears vans sneakers. It's preference. I'm not against boots at all, I just think it's ridiculous that so many people consider them a requirement for hiking.
Don't ruin a trip by wearing shoes that your feet aren't conditioned to use.




Waterproofness:
Once you get over the idea of wet feet and just accept it, you will feel liberated. I have done multi-day trips where my feet were wet constantly and it was never a problem for me. Wet feet doesn't mean cold feet. Your feet produce a ton of heat and wool/synthetic socks do insulate your feet well while wet.
If you are hiking in frozen or snow conditions it's different, but even then some gore-tex socks will keep your feet warm.

Also if you are hiking in warm weather, non waterproof shoes will be much cooler and less sweaty. If they get wet from rain they will dry very quickly when the sun comes out.

Edited by justin_baker on 05/15/2013 22:15:34 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Running shoes are for running on 05/15/2013 22:14:43 MDT Print View

"I'm a runner and wouldn't run in hiking shoes. I don't play basketball in running shoes and I don't play tennis or golf in running shoes. Why would I want to hike in running shoes?"

:-O

*goes to make some popcorn and then find a good seat for the upcoming flame spectacle*

Edited by millonas on 05/15/2013 22:24:00 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 02:53:03 MDT Print View

Glad I never hiked in "hiking" shoes.

Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
re: on 05/16/2013 05:15:49 MDT Print View

I can't understand why Adam is so defensive and dismissive of what people are recommending here...strange.

J R
(JRinGeorgia) - F
not defensive and dismissive on 05/16/2013 05:32:02 MDT Print View

I think the OP is simply saying "I understand what you're saying but I'm still confused -- please explain it to me."

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Look at "trail runners," maybe that will help on 05/16/2013 07:02:15 MDT Print View

Adam, as others have said you are right to be confused. You will read tons of stuff about people hiking in minimalist shoes, barefoot, whatever. It is decidedly NOT a good idea to go there right away, if ever. If you run a lot you may have thin-soled, light-weight running shoes which may also not be appropriate for you to hike rocky trails with.

I, for example, hike in Salomon XA 3D Ultra 2 something something... They are not goretex and they are certainly not hiking "boots." But if you look at them I'm not sure I'd want to go run 10 miles in them here in the city, either. They have relatively big lugs, a toe guard (which is great for ME), and they are quite cushy. They are, to me, middle ground between a hiking "boot" and my pretty minimalist running shoes. The sole is sturdy enough that I am not bothered by sharp, rocky trails but light enough that I don't even bother to bring camp shoes because these are just fine and I don't feel the need to tear them off at the earliest possible moment.

Anyway, part of the BPL experience is giving things a try that you initially think - "no way!" - because before you know it, you can't imagine why you were so set on doing it the old way.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Sole Unit on 05/16/2013 07:22:31 MDT Print View

To be fair I'd be very surprised if many are walking in road running shoes. They just wouldn't grip well enough much of the time.

Luckily there have always been people mad (brave?) enough to run up/down mountains and the shoes aimed at them have nice, grippy sole units attached :) They've also picked a strong following for walking with.

adam mcconnell
(amac)
Excellent insight on 05/16/2013 07:52:00 MDT Print View

I don't mean to come off dismissive or defensive, just not as intune to the norm here at BPL. I clearly entered into this with pre-determined, traditional ideals that hikers wore "hiking" shoes. I live in New Orleans and the flat terrain and hot, hummid weather calls for sandals - all the time. Heading west for me is like a fish out of water. Please forgive me if I sounded cynical.

I have gone through Salomon and La Sportiva trail shoes. I still don't think my cityfied arches are ready to hike in my asic runnig shoes. I have my eye on another Salomon trail/hiking shoe. I am definitely leaning towards the shoe vs boot. However, I may opt for the goretex. I deal with rain and mud down here regularly and hosing off my shoes without getting the interiors wet is a plus.

Thanks again for all the great insight. I'm sure I'll post another annoying thread as I progress through my checklist. Keep the popcorn handy! :-)

adam