November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Comparing Shoes — Go for a day hike with one on each foot?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Mitchell Ebbott
(mebbott) - M

Locale: SoCal
Comparing Shoes — Go for a day hike with one on each foot? on 01/23/2014 00:42:36 MST Print View

It sounds ridiculous, but the more I think about it the less I see against it. I've picked up two pairs of trail runners recently (New Balance 876 and Salomon XA 3D Pro Ultra 2) and want to figure out which pair to keep. Should I just go for a hike with one on each foot and see how each one feels at the end? Someone please talk me out of this.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Comparing Shoes — Go for a day hike with one on each foot? on 01/23/2014 00:45:33 MST Print View

"Someone please talk me out of this."

You will look ridiculous. Don't do it.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Bad Idea on 01/23/2014 06:09:16 MST Print View

Don't do it. The shoes may have different "stack heights' (i.e. the soles have different thicknesses). If each foot is different your walking will be off in weird ways and you could be very uncomfortable. You need to try each pair out individually, ideally in the house. Hopefully one pair will be more comfortable then the other and you'll know which to keep and which to return.

Edited by Cameron on 01/23/2014 06:10:16 MST.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Bad Idea on 01/23/2014 07:06:59 MST Print View

What Luke said. If you're really interested in a "side-by-side" take both pairs on a hike and switch midway. Or do the same hike with both on different days.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
pack both on 01/23/2014 07:13:01 MST Print View

wear one matching pair on the way in, and the other on the way out. Buy from REI so you can return the rented equipment you didn't like.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Yes, it's a control group. on 01/23/2014 09:48:53 MST Print View

A different shoe (or sock combination) on each foot is EXACTLY how I do it. This is the equivalent of a scientist using a control group in an experiment. Yes, you need to switch your "control group" around occasionally; the experimental foot becomes the control foot and vice versa. I would not recommend one pair on the way in (when your feet are fresh, say you're mostly climbing) and the other on the way out (when tired, trail going down). Too many variables interfering. You need to switch back and forth several times during your trip to average across variables (such as tiredness, slope, etc). So yes, you'll have to take both pairs with you and carry the unused ones. A minor sacrifice on the altar of science.

I've never had this method throw my pace off or give me troubles. Just the opposite, it helps me prevent troubles. You can really hone in on relatively minor differences this way. When you find an improved set of sock/shoe, that becomes your new baseline, and your new control for the next experiment.

Who cares what it looks like. Science isn't fashionable.

Edited by Bolster on 01/23/2014 10:12:04 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
One more comment... an exercise machine on 01/23/2014 09:58:26 MST Print View

One more comment. If you need to keep the shoes looking pretty (so you can return a pair, and you don't have a lenient seller like REI), then take the shoes to the gym and do the elliptical or treadmill. A new shoe should be able to go for at least 45 minutes.

I have an elliptical at home and wore one pair of new shoes--which were very comfy, I thought! based on walking around on the carpet--but they could only make 20 minutes on the elliptical before discomfort set in. Returning them was easy because the shoes were extremely clean. I found another pair that could make a 45-min workout on the first try, in comfort. I kept them and they've turned out well.

No, an exercise machine isn't the same as a trail. But if you need a "clean test drive," an exercise machine is certainly better than walking around the house with new shoes, which tells you not much at all.

Edited by Bolster on 01/23/2014 10:09:15 MST.

. Kirby
(Kirby805) - F
RE: Comparing Shoes — Go for a day hike with one on each foot on 01/23/2014 11:38:40 MST Print View

Came here to say that I hate buying new shoes sooooo much. My feet are so picky it drives me insane.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: RE: Comparing Shoes — Go for a day hike with one on each foot on 01/23/2014 12:00:27 MST Print View

Well, it depends. Are both your feet the same ?

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Different Legs on 01/23/2014 12:46:06 MST Print View

That's a good point, actually. If one of your legs is shorter than the other (which is quite common) you may find your greatest comfort when you have a taller sole (or thicker sock, or insert, or orthotic, etc) under your shorter leg! One more good reason to experiment with your control-foot against your experimental-foot.

Edited by Bolster on 01/23/2014 12:46:54 MST.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Different Legs and/or different foot size/shape on 01/23/2014 13:16:02 MST Print View

And not only different leg length but also differences in foot shape and/or size.