Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach?
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Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach? on 10/01/2013 06:16:08 MDT Print View

Hi there,

I've got for (rather UL) trekking and hiking (including overnight stays and longer trips) generally my Inov8 Roclite 315 and 370 - which are perfect for this purpose.

However, their downside is a) not waterproof and b) not very stiff (I'm living in the alps and if going into more difficult/harsh/rocky terrain they are simply too soft).

So, for some hikes (daytours, rainy days, rocky ground) as well as for cycling in the rain or holiday trips, I'm now looking for more robust, waterproof but still lightweight hiking shoes (no boots or mids).

Generally a lot of people are using approach shoes for this purpose.
What I found so far:

- Garmont Dragontail LT GTX
- Garmont Eclipse GTX
- Garmont Zenith GTX
- Scarpa Mystic GTX
- La Sportiva Boulder X

If anyone has an oppinion of my intended use, those shoes or possible (same weight or lighter) alternatives I would love to hear your suggestion!

Thanks a lot,
Christoph

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach? on 10/01/2013 06:58:35 MDT Print View

If you are set on waterproof then I recommend looking at shoes that use OutDry instead of Gore-Tex. This might limit you to Columbia and Montrail brands since you don't want a boot or mid.

Edited by rmjapan on 10/01/2013 06:59:21 MDT.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 10/01/2013 08:09:10 MDT Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 11/02/2013 11:08:17 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
best fit on 10/01/2013 08:14:33 MDT Print View

Hi there,

Thanks a lot for your suggestion!
I actually forgot the XPlorer in this list, I also considered it.

The list is basically what I want to go and try out, I won't order it online - or at least not before trying.
I heard the same about the Garmont shoes being very narrow, and I have a La Sportiva Trango Evo S (or so) which fits really nicely. So I'm curious which one will fit.
I think I did not look at the Boulder X and XPlorer so much because they seem to be non-water restistant.

Looking forward to your blog post!

Edited by chbla on 10/01/2013 08:16:13 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
this is left on 10/03/2013 12:09:05 MDT Print View

ok so my list changed to this:

Garmont Dragontail LT
La Sportiva Boulder
La Sportiva XPlorer (a bit softer I guess)
Scarpa Vitamin (couldn't try it)

La Sportiva fits best, the Garmont is a bit narrow, but also fits quite well.
Now I'm not sure which one to buy..

How is the Boulder for longer walks, hiking etc?

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 10/03/2013 12:24:14 MDT Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 11/02/2013 11:08:53 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fit on 10/03/2013 12:29:53 MDT Print View

get the one that fits best ...

thats really all there is to it with shoes ... no other piece of gear matters more in terms of fit

;)

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
thanks on 10/03/2013 12:34:53 MDT Print View

well, there are harder and softer soles, and it makes a big difference I think..

rOg w, I just read a review that said the Boulder X (low) is not that suitable for longer walks :) damn this is getting difficult :)

I think the XPlorer might be too soft and is more suitable for climbing..

But it's really hard to decide between the Dragontail LT and Boulder X

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: fit on 10/03/2013 12:51:16 MDT Print View

"thats really all there is to it with shoes ... no other piece of gear matters more in terms of fit"

I thought that was for packs?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Boulder X Mid on 10/03/2013 12:59:47 MDT Print View

Christoph, I'm a fan of the Boulder X Mid. The leather uppers and rand makes them tough. They have enough structure and stiffness to wear flexible crampons comfortably all day. They scramble well.

In my book they hike well enough. For me the rigid sole is a bit harsh for long trail miles, I find flexible trail shoes to be better. When I'm in decent shape I can do 25 mile days in trail runners and have perfectly happy feet. With the Boulders I start feeling it after 20 or so. Loosening the lower laces to give your toes more room is mandatory for hiking. Fortunately the lacing system does this easily.

My only complaint is the lower profile tread in the mid foot. Good for more friction, bad for traction in mud and steep vegetation.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
boulder x on 10/03/2013 13:04:38 MDT Print View

Thanks!

I wonder how it compares to the Low version ..

I need the shoe as a strong, robust shoe for day hikes, not really for trekking.
For trekking and longer walks I also use trail runners..

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
nb mt on 10/03/2013 13:22:56 MDT Print View

New balance mt110 winter. My 10s weigh 9.1 ounces. Awesome shoes and the borrower part can be left unzipped for more airflow while hiking if hot. I would say they are more waterproof than most shoes because the top is sealed in the event of a full shoe submersion and rain.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 10/03/2013 13:28:40 MDT Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 11/02/2013 11:09:38 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
cool on 10/03/2013 13:32:28 MDT Print View

that sounds good! :) almost convinced over the dragontails now :)
as the la sportiva feel more comfortable and I've already got the trango evo s (if I remember the name correctly)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: fit on 10/03/2013 13:51:38 MDT Print View

"thats really all there is to it with shoes ... no other piece of gear matters more in terms of fit"

I thought that was for packs?


cant stop bringing other threads in again eh mr ure? =P

shoes matter the most as youre walking in em all the time ...

perhaps youd care to say otherwise

if you want a flame war i suggest taking it to PM

;)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: boulder x on 10/03/2013 14:00:19 MDT Print View

Thanks!

I wonder how it compares to the Low version ..

I need the shoe as a strong, robust shoe for day hikes, not really for trekking.
For trekking and longer walks I also use trail runners..


keep in mind that leather uppers take a while to dry ...

the greatest "problems" with approach shoes is
- some dont have the best tread for wet weather
- leather uppers on many which take forever to dry compared to mesh
- some have a high lift compared to some trail runners

as long as you can deal with the above they work well and generally last a long time ...

approach shoes are basically made as "day hiking" shoes for easy climbs ...

eventually though it all goes kaput

again FIT is what matters ... get the one that fits you best

;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 10/03/2013 14:01:33 MDT.

J C
(Joomy) - M
Re: Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach? on 10/03/2013 18:07:28 MDT Print View

>However, their downside is a) not waterproof and b) not very stiff (I'm living in the alps and if going into more difficult/harsh/rocky terrain they are simply too soft).

So you want a stiff approach shoe, huh? Check out the upcoming Scarpa Zodiac. "like a low B1 boot says Scarpa."

Edited by Joomy on 10/03/2013 18:08:16 MDT.

Anton Solovyev
(solovam) - M

Locale: Colorado, Utah
Re: Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach? on 10/03/2013 18:23:10 MDT Print View

A word on LaSportiva Boulder X. I used to love these shoes. Had 3 pairs. However, a year ago on a hike to Gannett Peak I over-tightened the shoe laces and the very high foam insert on the back of the heel hurt my achillies tendons. It started hurting a bit on the way in on flat terrain and ended up so bad that it took me 3 months to heal completely. I had to stop wearing Boulder X other than when canyoneering (and cut away the back of the foam insert).

Boulder X has great traction, very sturdy (survives a season of canyoneering). On the other hand, it takes forever to dry and is quite heavy. Honestly, I think Boulder X is a bit overbuild with this inner foam liner.

I am planning to start using Scarpa Crux for mountaineering. These shoes are lighter, have no foam liner and feel great on my feet.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
crux on 10/04/2013 02:28:29 MDT Print View

I didn't see the Crux before, apparently it is only available in the .uk not in the rest of europe.. weird.

Scarpa Crux and Scarpa Vitamin look interesting.. but I didn't find any shop around here to try them.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
review on 10/04/2013 02:37:17 MDT Print View

I came across a review comparing the crux to the boulder x if anyone is interested:

http://www.valleyvertical.com/2013/06/approach-shoe-comparison-and-review.html

I remember to have come across an article once stating that the "average" person is sweating way more (feet) than humidity can be transported through the membrane of such socks - which makes sense if you compare it to the wind/rain shell discussions here in the forum.

Edited by chbla on 08/14/2014 02:14:25 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
mids on 10/04/2013 03:23:16 MDT Print View

I think I will order the Boulder X and give it a try.

I also plan to buy a pair of GoreTex shoes in mid size for rain and eventually winter use. I suppose I could therefore just use a mid version of the shoes I posted..

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
Re: mids on 10/05/2013 01:55:34 MDT Print View

I have been using two pairs of light mids in GTX and one pair of trail runners in OutDry.
Using them in the rainy and typhoon season here has provided some good experiences/feedback for me.

In short - almost always when there is sustained rain my socks will start to feel wet after two hours. Then they will be soaked and sogging in 2,5 hours. I've had this happen quite consistently while hiking in continuous rain. The rain I'm talking about varies from normal sustained to intense sustained rain, sometimes was a bit less, sometimes a bit more. But none of my shoes stayed dry for more than 2~2,5 hours.

I liked the OutDry trail runner because they felt less clammy over the GTX mids, but that might have been a function of the mesh of the trailrunners uppers. I think there might still be cases where GTX mids could be good. In mild snow trails where you are not constantly subjected to lots of snow or water the GTX Mids were warmer and stayed dry enough (but I have limited snow experience).

Other people's milage may vary of course, just sharing my experience.

Edited by jakuchu on 10/05/2013 01:57:47 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
again on 08/13/2014 06:35:09 MDT Print View

since it's getting rainier and rainier here in the alps, I decided to look for a mid sized waterproof shoe (lightweight of course) as well.

I'm very satisfied with the Boulder X, unfortunately it's really nothing for wet weather since it does not dry.

How about the Boulder X Mid GTX? How suitable is it for longer hiking/trekking? Since it still is rated as an approach shoe and I don't really go into difficult terrain if it is raining, what would be lightweight alternatives for longer walks? Maybe the La Sportiva XPLORER MID GTX?

Edited by chbla on 08/13/2014 06:38:13 MDT.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Gortex shoes on 08/13/2014 09:42:08 MDT Print View

I think you are limiting yourself by looking for Gortex shoes. Since your not likely going to be hiking wet 100% of the time, why not just buy beathable shoes (gortex shoes are hot) and wear gortex socks when it's wet.

I do this and it works very well for me. Gortex socks make a lot of sense in heavy rain because they are high enough to keep your feet dry when walking through flooded trails and shallow creek crossing that often occur during rainy periods.

Waterproof socks are nice in camp when your shoes are soaked.

On nice days you can ditch the gortex socks and have breathable shoes. Gortex socks only weigh a couple of ounces

Edited by skopeo on 08/13/2014 09:43:10 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
socks on 08/14/2014 01:40:15 MDT Print View

I've tried sealskinz socks once during heavy rain in summer.
My conclusion was that I was sweating so much in these socks (they don't breathe) that I was as wet inside as outside.

Furthermore in my experience a completely soaked shoe and sole you tend to lose grip..
Therefore I found it not really the best option, although it would be a lot lighter..

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: socks on 08/14/2014 01:50:58 MDT Print View

The rocky goretex socks are a step above seal skinz.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
thanks on 08/14/2014 02:09:06 MDT Print View

In that case I will give them a try

Do you know any links or more important a comparison between the different available socks?

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: thanks on 08/14/2014 23:25:18 MDT Print View

I think you will be impressed with the goretex socks. They are made from a solid fabric. They aren't as breathable as wearing a pair of goretex shoes, but a lot better than something non breathable. If you are walking through snow be prepared to change socks once during the day.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach? on 08/15/2014 01:06:39 MDT Print View

Hi Christoph

> a) not waterproof
You simply do NOT need 'waterproof'. We roam around the European Alps in NON-GTX shoes, never with GTX. Having a GTX liner just means your feet are going to stay REALLY wet - from either sweat or rain or creeks. For what you want, a GTX liner is simply a bad idea.

b) not very stiff (I'm living in the alps ...
I agree with the need for some stiffness in the alps. But most low-cut trail runners are stiff enough.

Cheers

D M
(FarWalker) - M

Locale: near a trail
Shoes on 08/15/2014 01:17:34 MDT Print View

Try the Patagonia Drifter shoe. Low top, breathes well (mesh) and dries if you soak them in creek crossings relatively quickly, and has a stiffer sole. I'm getting over 400 miles from each pair. I use them cause I'm living in Arizona in very rocky terrain and they are my go to shoe for thru hiking. And they come in wide sizes.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
Re: Re: Lightweight Hiking Shoes - Approach? on 08/15/2014 02:59:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for your answers!

@Roger, what is your solution then, also GTX socks?

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Gortex socks... on 08/15/2014 03:05:59 MDT Print View

+1 on the Rocky Gortex socks.

Yes your socks may get damp from sweat but they will dry out pretty quickly in camp if you just keep wearing the GTX socks.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
I'll save Roger some work on 08/15/2014 07:41:09 MDT Print View

I'm willing to bet Roger conforms to something like this kind of technique, posted really well and easy to read here by Andrew Skurka. An article very worth reading. This is how I've rolled for a long time, as do a lot of experienced walkers. Read it, try it out.

http://andrewskurka.com/2012/minimizing-the-effects-and-aftermath-of-wet-feet/

Good, not-to-thick woollen socks do just the trick. I mean a good quality pair of darn toughs or something like that. If your feet are cold, its likely that you need to put on some clothing elsewhere. My wife (new to the outdoors) was pretty skeptical when we were living in Japan recently and going out for night time runs at midnight in rain, snow, hail, "slushies" up past our ankles. She was convinced I needed to find her waterproof shoes or socks. But this totally works. Don't freak if your feet feel cold in the first puddle, just wait a minute, keep moving.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re:Goretex socks on 08/15/2014 07:45:46 MDT Print View

I'll let my feet be wet while hiking. Tons of water here and rain as well. Wet is inevitable. I like the Goretex socks in the shoulder seasons so I can wear my soaked shoes in camp and have warm dry feet. I too find them to be too warm to hike in. I have SealSkinz.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
right on 08/16/2014 03:18:49 MDT Print View

Ah, I understood now.. I had the same experience once when trail running. Even though I had icebreaker hiker lite socks - which are rather thick and usually do not dry well. After some moving my feet did not feel wet anymore. Although when undressing them, the socks felt wet.

I decided already that for future hikes, I will try to do it like this. I wanted to try it in the dolomites on a photo tour this weekend, unfortunately the weather was too bad, it even started snowing so I moved the tour to next week.

However, two things:

- out of curiosity I'd like to try better Gore-Tex socks than the seal skinz. Unfortunately the Rocky do not seem to be sold here in europe, does anyone know where to get them? Or are there other alternatives? I saw Gore Bike Wear GTX socks, but they don't seem to be good.

- I am still looking for good, lightweight, not too stiff GTX mids. Not for my backpacking trips but for hikes in the rain with the children of my sister. Recently they seem to have a lot of fun in the rain, and I don't really have any GTX shoes besides heavy alpine boots right now. So I'm again thinking in the direction of the Boulder Mid GTX or maybe something not as stiff. Any idea?

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: right on 08/16/2014 03:35:26 MDT Print View

Since you already like the fit of La Sportiva Boulder, I think the next step "up" would be their Hyper Mid GTX. Nice light boot with a great sole. I would choose this over the all fabric Xplorer Mid.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
nice! on 08/16/2014 04:59:37 MDT Print View

I didn't see this shoe - it seems to be much more suitable for my purpose and quick hikes in heavy rain!

Thanks a lot

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 08/16/2014 08:17:43 MDT Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 09/22/2014 21:01:44 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: right on 08/16/2014 16:19:04 MDT Print View

Hi Christoph

> Even though I had icebreaker hiker lite socks - which are rather thick and usually do not dry well. After some moving my feet did not feel wet anymore.
Exactly. I like the Darn Tough Vermont thick wool-blend socks for this. I never have any problems with 'wet feet'.

IMHO - the 'need' for dry feet is part myth and part marketing spin. We (BPL) try to move past that.

Cheers

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: Tokyo, Japan
Re: Trango Guide EVO GTX on 08/16/2014 18:51:16 MDT Print View

rOg w, thanks for that comparison of the Boulder X, Xplorer and Hyper Mid. I would not have guessed the Boulder X midsole was more substantial.

This new Trango Guide EVO GTX looks to be the new lightweight champ at 565g for a hybrid crampon compatible mountain boot with snow gaiter!

http://tinyurl.com/Trango-Guid-EVO

Edited by rmjapan on 08/16/2014 19:51:45 MDT.

Christoph Blank
(chbla) - F

Locale: Austria
thanks on 08/17/2014 01:42:44 MDT Print View

Thanks a lot for the opinions and very detailed comparison! I will have a look at both the hyper and boulder mid