Hello Helpful BPL Members!
Based on the insight of many members at BPL and other places around the web, I had been thinking of going to a trail runner for my next pair of hiking/backpacking shoe. After wearing out my Merril Moab Mids much earlier than expected (~250 miles), I took the plunge. After a lengthy try on session a month ago at a REI (Santa Monica, CA), I decided to grab a pair of the LaSportiva Wildcats 2.0.
Admittedly, I only tried on LaSportiva models. I was looking for hiking/backpacking specific trail runners and not trail runners for actual trail running. I had already experienced some painful feet due to the minimal protection of the Merrils and rocky all day hikes in the San Gabriels so I wanted to make sure I was getting some underfoot protection. After much research, which perhaps some of you could relate to, it seemed LaSportiva or Salomon would be the best for the task and my feet. I decided against the Salomon because of my foot type (described below).
I haven't had a chance to try out my Wild Cats yet. My last day hike with my worn down Merril soles left me with a painful IT band that required some rest and I've haven't been able to get to the mountains since it healed. In the mean time, however, I picked up a pair of Brooks running shoes, GTS 14, to replace a worn out pair of New Balances (I also picked up a new pair of dress shoes for work which led my girlfriend to make some cracks about a shoe fetish - hey! feet are important and you have take care of them!).
And, oh goodness, do I love my new Brooks running shoes. The best running shoes I've owned. This development has lead me to reconsider my Wild Cat purchase, especially since I haven't worn them yet. I'm now thinking about the new Cascadia 9. Generally speaking, I've only heard good things about the Brooks Cascadia line, but those comments come mostly from trail runners and day hikers. I haven't heard a lot from those who use the Cascadia for backpacking.
I plan on trying on the Brooks Cascadia 9 to make sure they work for my feet, but I also want some feedback from those with some experience. I'm looking for anyone who has used the Cascadia 9 or the predecessors and ideally someone who has used both the Cascadia 9 and the Wild Cat 2 and can provide a comparison. Of course, any feedback from Wild Cat users or other trail runners will be most welcome.
My feet are slightly wide, though not excessively so - definitely not narrow. I also pronate slightly so I need a little support. Because of my feet I eliminated Salomon options because the shoe lasts looked narrow and while I haven't seen any Inov 8 trail runners in person, their lasts also look narrow.
My Backpacking Style
I'm in the final steps of buying a light backpacking setup. I'm not completely ultra-light - a good estimate of my finalized base weight is 15 lbs. The MAX trip length I see in the foreseeable future is 7 days. Most of my trips will be in the 3-5 day range. Total pack weight will MAX out around 25 lbs.