Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.


Postby DAVELA » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:46 pm

Went on a great trip to the French Alps this summer and at my dads insistence brought my vasque sundowners.I hadnt worn them much in the past.Anyway i wore them for one day hike only and they destroyed my feet and socks.I used my old new balance shoes for the rest of the trip.I spoke to someone later and they felt that boots were like foot coffins that are bad for your whole body/spine/knees/posture and your entire foot skeletal structure.I felt my boots overwhelmed me.This person also suggested sandals for hiking and backpacking and i did see backpackers with sandals in france.
I know there is a new thought of minimizing footwear for hiking/bpking except for glacier conditions.
I love my running shoes for hiking.They wont take much abuse though.Does anybody have suggestions for good running shoes for hiking?Are the new cross trainer/trail runner shoes better than old running shoes or just hype?

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Postby maverick » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:45 am

I have used trail runners for years, I cannot stand boots, unless there is a lot of snow
when I have no choice but to wear them.
I have been through several makes, and the Montrail Hardrocks are the best fit for me
but as with most they will not handle off-trail travel at all.
I have been through as many as 3 pairs of shoes in one season!
Last year I tried some La Sportiva Exum Pro's which lasted the whole season surprisingly
and may go another maybe, though they look pretty beat up.
Like packs they are not made to last, especially for off-trail travel, but for the comfort
these types of shoes offer, especially when at the end of the day my feet are pain free
it is worth the trade offs.
With all that said they are not for people carrying large packs, or weak ankles, they
have there limitations, especially for those who are inexperienced and untrained.
They are best for trail travel for most.
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Postby freestone » Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:35 pm

I am now a trail runner convert and this was the first year that I tried them in the Sierra.The problem I was having with boots was toe bang on the downhill side of the mountain. With trailrunners that problem has disappeared, my nimbleness on and off the trail is much improved, and I have been motivated to lighten my load because of them. My trip to the Sierra is usually in the fall, so marshy areas are dried up for the season, but on my last trip I managed to find a boggy spot and my feet were instantly soaked to the skin. I continued on for a couple of miles, they dried out quickly and I was ok, but I could see misery if the rain and bogs were frequent and there was no chance for the trail runner and sock to dry out. I current wear a pair of Zamberlan's size 13, I have had them for about a year and are still in very good condition. You can get them with Gortex, but I am not sure how well it would prevent a soaking, plus Gortex makes my feet too hot.
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Postby ERIC » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:09 am

I know there a number of really big fans of the Montrail Hardrock on HST, so I'm sure someone will suggest that shoe. It's a great shoe, with one drawback IMO. I bought my wife a pair, and my biggest complaint is that they're not really waterproof.

I own Vasque Blur trail hikers, which are waterproof, and I love'em.
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Postby Phreak » Sun Dec 20, 2009 5:20 am

I hike in Salomon XA Pro Ultra 3D GTX trail runners. I stopped wearing boots in '88 and have strictly used trail runners since.
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Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:02 pm

Count me among the ones who no longer uses old school heavy boots. In fact one year I got bad blisters one day before starting a 9 day trip- so I put on my New Balance jogging shoes, duct tape on my heel, and wore those the whole way! The shoes were trashed by the end, but my feet were fine and the trip went off without a hitch, including some scrambling (Mt. Crocker if I remember correctly). I remember BITD when Nike Lava Domes were the rage. Now there are about a gazillion choices. I use Lowa brand light hikers, (pricy!) becasue they fit my fooot: wide front but narrow heel.

BUT there is one exception- when one encounters that really hard steep snow. A twirp like me can't kick steps in soft shoes. I now carry those super light weight mini-crampons that will fit on trail shoes, but I haven't been 100% happy with that solution.
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Postby Radnord » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:10 pm

I can certainly understand the popularity of trail runners as they are quite light and, these days, well made. For myself, I would love to use them, but I need more ankle support, especially on long backpaking trips. There are several very good brands of flexible, lightweight hiking boots that offer support, while not being as stiff and heavy as the old-school five-pounders. I have a pair of Vasque (I forget the model) that are soft, flexible, and reasonably light, while offering great traction, well-protected soles, and good ankle support (they're waterproof too!). I have used them on day hikes and two-week backpacking trips and I have not come close to developing a blister. There are alternatives, and so it doesn't have to be one or the other. Does anyone know of any trail runners that are high-top!?!
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Postby balzaccom » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:55 pm

A post from our website about shores. The saga continues:

These Boots are Made for Walking

Many years ago, M had a pretty nice pair of hiking boots. These were all leather, really built to last, with metal eyelets for the laces except for the very tops, which had little curved metal hooks for the laces. State of the art in 1971 or so. And she wore them forever, and they lasted forever. All that began to change with a hike in Lassen Volcanic National Park about twelve years ago.

We had walked up the the top of the Chaos Crags trails, and our whole group was then enjoying the lovely feeling of walking downhill. But M changed all that in an instant, in a rare and comical performance. As her feet swung forward, step by step, the lace of her left boot suddenly caught on one of those little metal hooks on her right boot. The result was instantaneous, as her body kept moving forward at a good clip, but her feet were suddenly stopped in place. She went catapulting down the slope with truly astonishing speed, quite literally head over heels.

Once she came to her senses, she diagnosed the problem and finished the hike walking a bit like a sailor, with her feet well apart. The children were giggling the whole way back to camp.

That night in camp, she borrowed a pair of pliers and carefully bent those hooks down and out of the way. Problem solved.

Until, of couse, she started hiking on a dusty gravelly trail and discovered that her now open-top boots let in way too many small pebbles.

It was time to go shopping for new boots.

And she has been shopping ever since. Here's what she wants: lightweight, so that she doesn't have to lift any more weight than necessary. Strong, so that she doesn't feel every rock on the sole of her foot. Perfectly fitted, so that she can only wear very thin socks and never get a blister. And attractive, so that she looks good in all those photos that P takes of her on the trail.

Seems simple, right? Guess again.

She is now on her fourth or fifth pair. She has fought her way through terrible blisters, sore and bruised feet, fitted insoles and even ugly boots. And yet...

The only pair of boots that she seems to be able to wear are a pair that our older daughter left behind when she moved to the big city. They are not particularly light. They are not hugely attractive. But they allow M to wear two pairs of socks, so that she doesn't get blisters. They are tough enough on the soles to protect her feet. They fit well enough that she doesn't need the insoles.

The search goes on.

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Postby fishmonger » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:48 am

tried the trail runners, hated it, and was lucky not to injure myself. I am back to heavy boots. Love to bomb down the trail in something that will crush the granite and keep my mind off my ankles.

Modern boots are so much lighter than what I started with in the 80s that I find it pointless to go with anything less. i'd rather leave GPS and other useless junk behind than downgrade my shoes for a few ounces saved.
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Postby JWreno » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:48 pm

I love the trail runners but I hate that the shoe makers don't carry the same models from
year to year. I like New Balance but some years the newer models don't appeal to me.
I also use the low cut hikers from the traditional backpacking brands but they usually
weigh a little more than the trail runner. The trail runners seam to have better padding.
I notice the difference when hiking 15+ mile days. I use a low cut gator sometime to
cut the stones and duff out of the shoe.
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