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Another shoe recommendation thread
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Excellent insight on 05/16/2013 08:10:07 MDT Print View

Just do a search on BPL for shoes. It will take you months to read all of it, and you will find a wealth of information. Unfortunately you will need to remove personal preferences to gain an objective view. Shoes are one of the most discussed subjects here.

David Walls
(tbird911) - F
LIve in Tennessee and here's my two cents . . . . on 05/16/2013 08:29:03 MDT Print View

New Balance Leadville's for the win! I also like the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mids . . .

Your Mileage may vary!


Troy Hawkins
(ollyisk) - F - MLife

Locale: Germany
re: on 05/16/2013 08:34:53 MDT Print View

I find the waterproof shoe to be rather pointless. It's like wearing waterproof shorts or a waterproof tshirt. There are reasons you don't find those items regularly.

To make a waterproof shoe worthwhile you would need, at the very least, gaiters because water usually comes in from the top, running off your leg/pants. Also worth noting that most streams have sections that are deeper than the slightly-above the ankle height most trail runners offer.

The biggest problem with waterproof shoes, as has been pointed out, is that waterproofing isn't a one way street. A non-waterproof shoe can drain quickly and waterproof shoe retains water because its waterproof membrane keeps it in there.

Get something that drains quickly, dries quickly, and wear wool socks.

I personally wear Innov-8 Roclite 295s and I love them. Very comfortable from the get go, extremely sticky, and they seem to wear well, and they're relatively light.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Running shoes are for running on 05/16/2013 08:40:32 MDT Print View

I just went on trip with breathable shoe. Every time I went through a stream deeper than 1 inch, my feet got wet. At end of day, my feet/socks were quite a bit wetter than if I had waterproof breathable mid height boots like I normally use. But it wasn't too bad.

Now if I was on a warmer trip with no stream crossings or rain, then breathable shoe would be better than WPB mid height boot.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 08:43:21 MDT Print View

You might want to read this
and this
The articles I have linked are by Andrew Skurka ,he does not wear boots on his adventures

Edited by annapurna on 05/16/2013 08:45:28 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 09:04:00 MDT Print View

I wear WPB mid height boots with breathable nylon gaiters in the wettest conditions - wet brush and melting snow - and my feet are just damp at the end of the day.

Andrew talking about "pruned (or macerated) feet being itchy, sore, and blister prone" seems like crazy to me. And washing socks daily to get out grit and organic matter? Gaiters prevent this.

Of course there are different techniques for different people in different conditions. I rarely do more than 5 hours in a day and usually stick to trails.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 09:27:14 MDT Print View

Andrew does wear gaiters,and I am sure he spends more time hiking (and not always on trail) than most people.

Edited by annapurna on 05/16/2013 10:08:26 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 09:58:00 MDT Print View

Hey Adam,

Thought I'd finally weigh in on the issue since I just made my morning double espresso. It seem like you may be making a heavy shoe vs. lighter shoe argument. But for that sake of argument lest call the heavy shoe a "boot". I bought some heavier "hiking" shoes from New Balance and they felt like boots on my feet.

Firstly keep an open mind - the issue of boot versus shoe has largely been decided, seemingly without any serious completion, on the shoe side by pretty much all of the backpackers who have done through hikes and/or have tons of experience using a *lightweight* packing approach where they are not lugging a huge 30-60+ lb pack. I find that pretty convincing myself.

Also keep in mind they have nearly all folks here *tried* both boots and shoes in the past and it would seem most people, sometimes with great initial resistance (myself included), that lightweight (running, hiking) shoes, were in every way superior. My story is a good example of this as I started with extra reasons why I might believe I needed more boot (a surgically fused right angle due to an injury) - I may write about that learning curve some day. This community is full of iconoclasts, so if there were a legitimate argument for heavier boots I'd expect someone here to artfully defend boots.

At this point the "forget about boots, they suck in every way" mentality has more or less passed down as the inherited knowledge of a ton of people and enough trail miles to probably go to the moon an back 1000 times over. Full analysis of this question can be found in Ray Jardine's early books, as well as whole articles on this site about 10 years ago.

The main myths for using boots over shoes the the corresponding refutation based on experience are as follows:

1. Boots provide ankle support. Not really! A boot can't really protect you from a twisted ankle (or worse) if you stumble badly or fall, so if you think that you are dead wrong. As many people have pointed out the amount of actual ankle support required to prevent such an injury once you are slipping/falling would be so much that it would probably prevent comfortable walking at all. What heavy boots will do is both keep you from feeling what is under your feet (hence increase the chance of slipping or stumbling), AND having a slower reaction time once you loose your balance. So the refutation of this idea is that with boots you will loose your balance MUCH more often, and once you loose you balance a little, the chance this will slide into a possible injury-producing major slip or fall is also MUCH higher. Final result - the net chance of injuring yourself is MUCH greater with boots. This one is in position 1 since I think it is the most counter-intuitive one. But it is oh so true! I resisted too, many years ago, but I experienced the material difference. There was a great story, I think it was on this site about 10 years back, of a guy hiking with his buddy (in traditional boots), and he had just switched to trying running shoes. They both were hiking with the same weight on their backs, and on the same trail. What he observed (he was hiking behind him for a while) was that his friend would have a little slip and slide or slight stumble about every 100-200 step, while he didn't have any. Every 100 of so slips would escalate into a more serious stumble, and so on. Case closed. If you are not wearing a heavy pack (and possibly even if you are) you are safer in shoes in most cases, and boot are not going prevent or substantially mitigate an injury once you start to go down.

2. Waterproof boots protect your feet from water. Yes, they do, when you walk the drizzly streets of Seattle to the local coffee house - not on a back-country trip. Again, some inexperienced people might find this a paradox, but it really is not. If you have to cross a stream, and water gets into a waterproof boot, this is a total nightmare. With shoes it is generally only a minor inconvenience. From the other end, water-proof breathable boots hold more moisture from sweat IN much more than shoes. End of that story. OK, not really. But in general terms, yes. Managing water rather than preventing water seem to be what most people do.

3. Boots protect you feet from blisters. This is pretty much a lie. What boots will do is amplify the things that actually DO cause blisters much more than shoes.

4. Boot protect you feet from rocks. They do, but in line with 1. you will NEED to protect you feet from rocks much more wearing boots. Good trail running shoes are enough protection, most people have found, provided you aren't wearing a huge heavy pack.

5. My local retailer told me I need boots. Go read Jardine if you want to see some nice rants about this. The most important thing to know, it that most shoe maker don't care, and sometime don't realty know, what is best. The just want to sell you the shoes, preferably the heaviest most expensive possible. Just forget about the labels, in most cases, saying "running", "hiking" etc. Unfortunately in order to navigate this you are going to have to break down the actual component that are important for what you want to do, and analyze things for yourself, because there is a ton of total crap coming from the marketing departments mixed in with the occasional small amount of truth. You are just going to have to educate yourself, or else go by trial an error until you find something that works for you.

There are more of these, but reason FOR switching to shoes are obvious - your legs will be much less tired using lightweight shoes when hiking - much more so than wearing boots around the town and at work will allow you to understand. This is a good in itself, of course, but it also prevents injury through fatigue-related events. I find especially going over a mountain pass I appreciate the lack of heavy boots on my feet, though that is probably also due to my total energy level being taxed more.

All of these above is totally old hat on this site, possibly to Adam as well, so I hope people will fogive me for going over the "obvious".

OK, need to refuel on espresso now.

Edited by millonas on 05/16/2013 10:34:45 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 10:22:41 MDT Print View

"Andrew does wear gaiters,and I am sure he spends more time hiking (and not always on trail) than most people."

Actually I was wondering if there is anyone at the moment on the planet that spends MORE time. That must be one on crazy SOB. LOL

Anton Solovyev
(solovam) - F

Locale: Colorado, Utah
Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 10:28:14 MDT Print View

I am also looking for shoes recommendations. I currently use Moab Ventilators mostly, but they are:

1. A little too warm
2. Have a little leather on outside (long drying)
3. Let too much sand in
4. Last half a year at most

Ideally I would like Vibram sole (a requirement), fully synthetic, breathable, sand resistant, quick drying, abrasion resistant, light.


Another shoe I use is LaSportiva Boulder X, which is awesome where climbing or mountaineering is involved, but these have very high heel section which presses on my achillies tendons and has caused me injuries in the past.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 10:42:41 MDT Print View

Very True Mark :)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 10:50:40 MDT Print View

I don't think it's that cut and dried - many people wear waterproof breathable shoes or boots

I have little experience with breathable shoes, but they were fairly wet on my one trip of 4 nights. I have a lot of experience with WPB boots and shoes and my feet would have been only slightly damp on that trip.

If the weather was drier then maybe the breathable shoes would be drier, I'll find out. And I need to get thin socks rather than Merino. I may change my mind. But based on Skurka's advice on how to deal with pruned/macerated feet I'm skeptical.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 10:57:02 MDT Print View

It's true,he doesn't really know much,he's just full of himself;)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 11:17:25 MDT Print View

"It's true,he doesn't really know much,he's just full of himself;)"

Ha, ha, ha,... you have a smily face icon, but, Skurka's techniques work for him on his trips but not necesarily for everyone. I think he and Ryan and Ray Jardine and others have come up with a lot of good ideas, many of which I have adopted, but I don't like to do things just because the rest of the herd is following : )

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
the shoe debate on 05/16/2013 11:42:48 MDT Print View

I have trail runners. I hike in them a lot. I have sandals. I hike in them a lot. I also have a pair of (gasp!) leather hiking boots--and I hike in them a lot. The boots were sort of an accidental purchase. I was in the middle of a long trip, and the trail runners I mailed to myself (an updated version of the model I was wearing at the time) turned out to be uncomfortable to the point of being unwearable. I promptly returned the trail runners and headed to the one gear shop in that trail town. I tried on every pair of trail runners the shop had in my size (montrail, salomon, merrell, keen...the usual suspects) and none of them worked. I am on the cusp of being a wide, especially after a few months on the trail, and wides can be hard to find in women's sizes--and small shops rarely have a large stock of mens size 6 and 7. Trail runners are often built on a very narrow last, and in most of them I absolutely cannot comfortably wear two pairs of lightweight socks (for blister prevention), with a few exceptions such as Altra and wide New Balances (inov-8 used to work for me, but no longer). I was almost ready to give up and just slug along in my worn-out sneakers, but decided to have a look at the boots. Tried on a pair of mid-cut Lowa Renegades in the clearance section (marked down to a price comparable to most trail runners) and was amazed to find that they fit like a charm. Very flexible sole, roomy toebox--everything I want in a trail runner that gets harder and harder to find!

I am not a true believer in one type of shoe versus another. There are some very comfortable boots out there and the same technology that makes sneakers lighter makes boots lighter too. Gore-Tex is mostly an annoyance on longer trips, but if you're doing shorter trips, it can be really nice. It does an excellent job keeping your feet getting soaked from morning dew in grassy places, and muddy sections that turn out to be swamps. When it's cold, leather boots with a goretex liner keep my perpetually-chilled feet considerably warmer than mesh runners would. In some cases, warmer feet is a good thing! Moreover, boots can last a darn long time. There's a reason why people have been making shoes out of leather for as long as people have been making shoes! I think the minimalist movement in footwear is great because some minimalist models are very comfortable. I've spent a lot of my life barefoot, and I've never bought into terms like "arch support" and "ankle support" when buying shoes and anything with a cushy elevated heel feels very unnatural to me. However, I think a lot of manufacturers are using the term "minimalist" to produce footwear that is practically disposable. I really balk at shelling out $$$ for a few ounces of rubber and mesh that I know will only see me through a season at most.

Also, I find a good pair of leather boots to be much more aesthetically pleasing than those neon-coloured Salomon runners everyone seems to be wearing ;) I can't wait until manufacturers decide it's time to go back to greys and browns.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: the shoe debate on 05/16/2013 11:55:50 MDT Print View

How can you not love these shoes?

mizuno universe wave 4

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 11:58:20 MDT Print View

I hear ya Jerry, but yeah try thin syn socks and maybe bring an additional pair if its not dead of summer. then you can do the 'sock trade' thing as needed.

As you know the thick merinos just hold water, the syns will dry out more.

I take out my insoles overnight if they are really wet.

It works better than you think... unless moist feet REALLY bother you. Usually, at least for me, the friction within my shoe creates enough heat to speed the drying of the sock.

its not bad for me, even in slushy snow of spring.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 12:06:26 MDT Print View

Do your feet become prunish and macerated?

If you have to take out your insoles to dry them, then I bet they're wetter than if they were WPB. It sounds like you're making my case.

So, what's a good thin quickly drieable synth sock?

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Another shoe recommendation thread on 05/16/2013 12:17:28 MDT Print View

No pruning. On longer trips I'll have dry socks to use for sleeping and they will dry out my feet overnight so even if they were pruned, they are dry in the AM.

If I cross a stream in the middle of the day and they are soaked, I'll wring out my socks and then hike in em. Another cool thing about shoes is I can pull em off and on easily.

I dont HAVE to take my insoles out, but say, if I get em wet right before camp, when I dont have much walking to do to dry em out before we get to camp, I'll take the insole out just to help the airflow in the shoe and across the insole.

I dont have any fancy Syn socks, just some Lorpens.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Excellent insight on 05/16/2013 13:07:39 MDT Print View

“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.” [caps added for clarity]

Well no one chimed in so here’s another view…. That’s all I hike in until the snow gets too deep. And I’ve been on so many trails where I sunk a foot deep in mud that I went halleluiah with sandals because they rinse off with ease at the next stream and will dry faster than coolmax socks (if you have the correct sandal). And if you’re used to wearing sandals you may be surprised how easy sandals are in the mountains. Breathability is way way way more important than waterproofness. For foot health, stay away from gortex for 3-season backpacking… Anyway, I could talk forever on this subject…

Maybe one more point: Many “breathable” shoes are terrible at drying. I would avoid this type of footwear for the sake of foot health.
Well maybe another point: I struggle with vibram soles. It may last long, but when the temperature starts dropping its grip goes downhill. And also vibram loses a lot of grip when wet.

Good luck in your footwear choice,
-The mountains and Illinois bogs were made for Tevas