Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

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Satchel Buddah
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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:37 pm

Did the same transition a couple years ago from beloved Zamberlans (still use them for harsh stuff or deep snow) to a variety of shoes until I found the North face ultra 110 GTX - Strong toe protection, wide toe box, good overall grip, good in snow, pretty deep sole and padding. Not as light as some of the trendy stuff but reassuringly protective with sharp rocks and volcanic grit. They performed fine on a HST hike and all sorts of winter (with gaiters) and summer hikes. These are obviously not as durable as Zamberlans... maybe good for 200 miles at most.
Keep in mind light shoes work best with light packs, if you are lugging north of 40 pounds your feet likely will take a beating.








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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by maverick » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:47 pm

Have been using trail runners for decades Rocky, the key is to find the right fit, period. You will have to go thru the specs of a lot of shoes to narrow down the ones that suit your purpose, then it's all about the fit.

REI's return policy is great, but their selection is sometime limited, but usually shoe companies will use the same last in its shoes, in a specific category, so once you find a company who's last fits, then try a couple models out.

You really have to take them out and test them, with a light pack on, to see if they are going to work for you or not, walking around the apartment or store won't tell you jack how they will feel after walking 10 miles, traversing a steep hill, climbing some steep smooth rock, going over some jagged rock, or going down some steep terrain for a few miles.

I too had the Ultra Raptors the last two seasons, they were pretty good protection and grip wise, but the rand at the back of the shoes was rubbing my heel, so I did some surgery on it, anyways, trying out the Bushido II this year, so far so good.

Here are a few of the sites that I review each year for the newest offerings:
https://www.switchbacktravel.com/best-t ... ning-shoes
https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/s ... ning-shoes
https://www.runnersworld.com/gear/a2211 ... ing-shoes/
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by oddtiger » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:57 pm

La Sportiva has quite a few options. Wildcat (the non-GTX version and previous gen, not the current 3.0 version) is the model I wear for most trips. I like the original Wildcat the most, and bought 8 pairs of them when they went on sale. The fit and size could be tricky though. I usually wear US 10.5 but La Sportiva's EU 44 (US 10.5+) works much better for me.

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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:10 pm

If the shoe fits, wear it! I have never found the perfect shoe, but fit is my #1 priority. Perhaps if you prioritize your list of "wants" in a shoe, you can more easily decide which shoe is the best, given what is available.

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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by Rockyroad » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:15 pm

Thanks for your inputs. I agree that fit is #1 priority that will ultimately drive my decision. I have a clear idea of what I am looking for so am making a list to try out and hope to get as close to perfect as possible. I know this is a dynamic process and the search never ends - except for oddtiger who has stocked up 8 pairs that work for him.

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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by Jimr » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:03 pm

Going back to your original question. Going from traditional boots to trail runners was heaven! A pound on your feet is like 5 pounds on your back. The down side is that trail runners are expensive (as are boots), but the tread doesn't last very long. I had a pair of Danner boots that lasted me 20 years with one resole. No resoles for trail runners or, perhaps, today's boots. I have not had a pair of trail runners where the tread lasted more than two seasons. Such a shame because the shoes are in fine shape except for worn down soles. I still carry boots when I know I will be dealing with heavy scree. I used to carry the boots when I brought crampons, but the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 seems to take crampons well. Earlier versions had a wider toe box, but lacked in stability for crampons. Other than that, they were awesome. The 3.5 has a narrower toe box, but just fine for my wide feet and affinity for wider toe boxes, with added stability around the perimeter to add stability all around.

I have strong ankles and tough feet, so bottom sole protection is of no issue to me (I live barefoot and always have). YMMV.
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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:47 am

Buy them now before tariffs kick in!

I too agree that going from boots to shoes was pure comfort. I did not make the choice, my feet did. I ended up with some kind of damage on my outside ankles that made wearing boots impossible. Back then they did not have good sturdy trail runners. So I put "Superfeet" inside regular tennis shoes for one season; even went up Harrison Pass with crampons tied to my tennis shoes (ouch!). There are a lot of good options out there now.

A large component of ankle support for a low-cut shoe or trail runner is the tight fit you get in the instep. You do not get that in a boot. Your foot in a most hiking boots is looser, and any support is due to the stiff sides stopping a roll. I have not found any less ankle support in runners. Your ankle is exposed though, so you have to step more carefully in talus. I always use gaiters.

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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by Rockyroad » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:57 pm

Just wanted to report back that I decided on the La Sportiva TX3 due to its fit (hurray for half sizes!), grippiness, and stiff sole. I did not get a chance to try them outside of the house but they felt so comfortable, I took them, with stock insoles, on a 4-day trip without breaking them in. I honestly felt I could hike all day in the TX3s. What a difference from my regular boots. I used to feel clumsy over talus – but it was the boots all along!

Thanks again for everyone's input, especially Cameron for suggesting the TX3s.

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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by CAMERONM » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:03 pm

Glad they worked out for you!
KCHBR_7322 tx3.jpg
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Re: Experiences and suggestions for switching from a boot to shoe?

Post by oleander » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:54 pm

I was about to interject another vote for the TX3's, but it looks like you already came to that on your own :)

Glad it worked out.

I have wide-ish toes but very narrow heels. Heel blisters on the uphill have always been my nemesis. The TX3's have pretty much solved that problem, though I still tape my heels on days when I expect lots of steep uphill. Grippiness and comfort (have done up to 17 mi., and they do not feel too hot) are great. The soles wore out faster than I expected on my first pair, so for strictly on-trail trips, I wear older/cheaper shoes and save my TX3 soles for true off-trail trips.

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