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Lighter weight boots?
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John Davis
(JCD) - F

Locale: Southeast
Lighter weight boots? on 07/13/2013 17:23:47 MDT Print View

I have always worn solid and heavy hiking boots due to many twisted ankles in my youth. Current boots are Zamberlins, Since I have lightened my pack load I was thinking about trying some lighter weight boots. Does anyone have suggestions on boots that have decent lateral support but are lighter weight?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lighter weight boots? on 07/13/2013 19:00:09 MDT Print View

> boots that have decent lateral support
On Backpacking LIGHT???

More seriously, the myth of 'lateral support' is just that: a myth.


Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Lighter weight boots? on 07/13/2013 19:02:32 MDT Print View

Yeah, unfortunately Roger is right. It's like those back belts people wear when they lift heavy really does absolutely nothing for you in terms of stability. It may give you a teensy bit of extra proprioception in your ankles, but offers zero extra support.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Hiking shoes on 07/13/2013 20:59:08 MDT Print View

John, I too suffered through a youth filled with twisted ankles and for decades my favorite boots were Vasque for hiking, and I did my first thru hike of the CDT in 1980 with them, and although heavy they seemed fine. Then I switched to Ariat for riding endurance rides and ran half the distances to spare the horse in those, but still suffered a twisted ankle every once in a while, those boots are light of course but over the ankle. I thought I needed the support. I will mention that I am not spring chicken now at my mid fifties. Then per many recommendations here I switched to trail runners, first of course trying my precious Vasque brand name but I still had pronation problems. Upon more study on my shoe wear and gait I discovered recently that I am an under pronater and found a brand that works for me tremendously better than any shoe in my life, the Brooks brand which has a model specifically for under pronation. Now my five and ten mile training loops are so much better and my ankles and feet are getting stronger. I also had plantar faciatis and that is gone for good I hope.
You might try to ascertain the exact reason you twist your ankles and look at the wear of your shoes and have your way of moving looked at and go from there. Personally, I don't think I will need my heavy boots except for extreme snow and ice conditions where I have to kick footholds out, and I'm NOT looking forward to using them at all again! I'm pretty sold on the trail runners with dirty girl gaiters.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Hiking shoes on 07/13/2013 21:43:46 MDT Print View

14.4 ounces...â„¢-MID-OutDry/GM2133,default,pd.html

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Actual Advice on 07/13/2013 22:05:04 MDT Print View

I could just yell "Boots Bad!"

Instead, I suggest this:

Buy a pair of "barefoot" shoes for around the house/yard. Vibrams or Vivobarefoot, as little support and cushioning as possible. Wearing these for a few months will strengthen the tendons in your feet that control the movements in your step, which will essentially re-teach your body how to be a conscious, gentle stepper. After a few months, you can hike in trail runners and your smaller, more natural steps will do a lot more in the way of preventing the slips that roll your ankles in the first place.

Roger Williams
(KayDub) - M

Locale: Idaho
Re: Re: Hiking shoes on 07/13/2013 22:34:44 MDT Print View

You don't see them mentioned here much, but there are several types of relatively light ankle braces that will fit inside trail runners, and will give you some extra support. The combo of trail shoe and brace will be lighter, and more adjustable, than most boots. This should be adequate for most trail use.

These braces are commonly used by high school athletes in our area small schools, since the coaches don't always have time to tape everybody before practice. I have sprained my ankles while cruising timber and wearing 10" high custom boots, and have had to borrow a brace from my son to work the rest of the week.

I have also had success using a BOSU to rehab and strengthen my ankles. It takes a while, but it helps you treat the problem, not just the symptom.

Something to try anyway. Braces are pretty cheap, and hopefully they would end up as the back-up plan if you could get some more stability in your ankles.

Zach Waller
Not boots persay... on 07/19/2013 12:18:16 MDT Print View

I like the Salomon XA pro mids... they're not boots but cover the ankle. I dont wear them for support though. I like that they cover the ankle because i seem to always scrape my ankles on rocks when srambling up peaks or climbing rocks when bushwacking. Just a failsafe for my clumsiness.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Lighter weight boots?" on 07/19/2013 12:55:41 MDT Print View

I used to think I had "weak" ankles. I badly sprained an ankle hiking - badly, as in it took a full year to heal- and when I saw the ankle doc he said that weak ankles are a myth. That what happens is that our habit of walking on flat surfaces has created a lazy link between the nerves of the brain and the ankle. So your ankle starts to roll- and your brain sends out a signal to the ankle to stiffen up- but the signal doesn't get there in time and bam, you get a sprain. The cure, he told me, was balance exercises. He gave me a couple to do.

Exercise 1- balance on one leg, hold the foot of the other leg out in front of you, and write the alphabet in lower case and then upper case letters, without putting your foot down on the ground.

Exercise 2- balance on one leg, with the other leg tap in front of you, to the right side, behind you, to the left side, over and over.

Yoga balance poses such as the tree pose are also fantastic for building the brain/ankle connection.

If you find any of these balance poses easy, do them with your eyes closed. It's amazing how much harder they are when you don't have a visual reference.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: shoes 'n' boots on 07/19/2013 13:20:23 MDT Print View

I like a stiff-soled hiking shoe that gives good rock protection and arch support. If your ankles are sore, I would look to arch support. With flat feet, your ankles roll in and that throws everything else out of whack, right on up to your knees.

The only time I turn an ankle is landing wrong, as in not paying attention. Rough trails with loose rocks need more attention. Trekking poles have done as much as anything for not turning an ankle and general stability.

I do like mids in wetter/colder weather for mud and snow. They are warmer, which is not a strength in August!

I like that idea about people being used to walking flat surfaces and losing the sensitivity to walking uneven ground.

My recent experience with Patagonia Drifter A/C shoes has been excellent. They offer low tops in waterproof and non-waterproof versions and there are mid's as well. They have the best forefoot protection of any shoe I have found.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: shoes 'n' boots on 07/19/2013 14:37:08 MDT Print View

I sprained my ankle at age 24. It would get a little better, I'd hike more, it would get worse, and I just had to take it easy for over a month to let it heal.

BUT, no normal shoes or boots offer ankle protection. If they did, you couldn't bend your ankles (think downhill ski boots). As Dale mentions, boots can offer protection from rocks, crushing injuries, some arch support, and stiffness in the sole. But a sturdier low-cut hiking shoe offers most of that at a lot less weight and are quicker to dry. For decades, that's all I used unless I use even less (running shoes, barefoot-style shoes, etc) unless I need the height for snow and then I'd go with a very soft and flexible upper.

Those ACE-brand ankle supports would do more to stiffen your ankles (also they are pretty good cushioning from rocks and totally mosquito proof) than wearing boots.