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Hiking Shoes for 1st-Timers

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Hiking Shoes for 1st-Timers

Postby mammoth80 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:57 pm

Next month I'm taking a handful of scouts (14-15 yr olds) on their 1st backpacking trip out of Mammoth. We're going over gear and a few of them don't have hiking boots.

At this point should I tell them to go out and buy boots and try to break them in? Or would sturdy running shoes work? I just want them to have comfortable feet to enjoy their 1st trip (~25 miles, 4 days, on trail).

How important is water-proofness? It will be mid-July and with the high snow levels this year I'm sure we'll run in to some snow and wet conditions.

Thanks,
Ryan



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Re: Hiking Shoes for 1st-Timers

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:09 pm

You don't need to break in the hiking shoes/boots made of synthetic materials. They are what they are, they fit or don't. Their life span is short but they are lighter and comfortable for a few hundred miles. That said, I wouldn't suggest to anyone that they go backpacking with new shoes - try them out on a walk of a few miles, either around a park or on a dayhike, and make sure they are okay for hiking.

I avoid waterproofing for 3 season shoes, but that is my preference because I hate sweaty wet feet, and goretex doesn't breathe well enough that I feel comfortable in it. If the temp at night is above freezing the non gore shoes dry out completely - something that irritates a few of my hiking buddies because theirs don't. The goretex also makes no difference if you happen to cross water deep enough to go over the tops - and then you are squishing because they are equally good at holding water inside the boot as keeping moisture out. All the water is out of my mesh trail runners five minutes after I've gone wading, and I've actually had the socks dry out while I was walking on a 70F day. I've hiked in snow before - late spring snow is usually not powdery, so I was fine walking on consolidated and compacted snow without the waterproofing.

Some people like goretex shoes tho, and I am sure one of them will be along to explain why. I sure can't figure it out - except for winter, for which I do have a nice pair of waterproof and insulated boots.
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Re: Hiking Shoes for 1st-Timers

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:28 pm

My question is, what have they been using on there local (pre backpacking )
hikes?
You have taken them, with packs on, for pre season trips so they can get accoustomed
to the weights on there bodies, right?
If boots, than stick with boots because there ankles are not yet condition for
trail runners yet, and you are setting them up for an ankle sprain or worse.
Some folks are fine with trail runners/low hikers, but others have weak ankles
and after using boots through the years have only made them weaker, I for one
haven't worn boots for many years.
I personally like goretex trail runners in snowy condition, and have not had problems
with them during summer hikes either, though my last 2 pairs were not goretex, but
this will change again this year since my last pair of shoes have been discontinued, again. ](*,)
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Re: Hiking Shoes for 1st-Timers

Postby tim » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:29 am

I'd just make sure they take water shoes (we use crocs) for any stream crossings and also to have something to wear around camp. That way any damp shoes/boots can be dried out. Its much more of a problem if you have to keep wet shoes on because you have nothing else.
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Re: Hiking Shoes for 1st-Timers

Postby quentinc » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:33 pm

AT, if you're hiking through steady snow (a likely occurrence this summer!), don't your feet get wet and freezing? Like Mav, I've been using GoreTex trail runners as of late. They seem like a nice compromise between full-scale boots and porous trail runners. If the snow is deeper than ankle-high, gaiters take care of it.
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