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Trail shoes

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Trail shoes

Postby tightline » Mon May 14, 2012 11:45 am

I plan on hiking the John Muir Trail this summer. As you all know, to do this in a reasonable period of time it is required to hike a decent amount of miles every day. I'm a pretty experienced backpacker, but I had knee surgery a couple of years ago that took me out of the game a little bit. One knee is now "bone on bone". I've been working hard to condition the muscles around the knee. I'll soon be working harder on reducing my body weight to reduce the load on the knees for this trip. I'm from the old school I guess you would say in that I used to strap on the leather boots, throw as much crap in my pack as I could, including fishing gear...and go. I am now re-gearing all my stuff for a "lightweight" approach. Anyway, that being said, and I know this is very subjective, but I was wondering what people's opinions were regarding a type, or brand of "trail runner" shoe. I am almost certainly going to at least try these out on a couple of overnighters to see how they do before the big hike, but I am trying to decide on which ones. I do not plan on getting waterproof or gortex shoes. My main thing of course is comfort and durability--but I would like a shoe with excellent cushioning for decending---like about a total of 45,000 feet worth! It's the decending that bothers the knee. I'll also be trying out trekking poles which I never used before. Just wondering if anybody out there has any input regarding the shoes....thanks



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Re: Trail shoes

Postby maverick » Mon May 14, 2012 12:45 pm

Hi Timberline,

Shoes are very important, and the fit varies from person to person which makes
recommending shoes difficult. The best thing you can do is go to an outdoor
retailer like REI, try on several shoes, than take the best feeling ones out on
some hikes. Going through on-line dealers is always a crap shoot, and takes time.
Every year I went on a quest to find a shoe that would be comfortable and
durable, but most of the time it was one or the other, or when one was found
it was discontinued or the style changed the next season and no longer fit the same.
My current shoes are probably the best shoes I have worn in over a decade.
My feet despise boots, so they have not been worn in decades. My current shoes
are comfy, durable, breathe well, and have good traction, and hopefully they
don't mess with a good thing (always by several pairs when you find that perfect
shoe!).
http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/pat ... 9356-0-961
If you have been wearing boots up to this point make sure you get in some time
hiking in them(with a pack on) so your feet can get used to them, and that your ankles
can get stronger.
Do calf raises and reverse calf raises to strengthen them and give them flexibility
through there full range.



In regards to hiking poles I went through the same search, year after year the locking
mechanism would start to give out becoming unreliable and/or they would break.
Then found these a couple of year ago, and have not had a problem ever since:
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en ... king-poles
Hiking poles are one of the best things you can do to take the pressure off your knees
so definitely buy some well before you hike so you get used to using them.
Also read this: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4067
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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: Trail shoes

Postby oldranger » Mon May 14, 2012 12:48 pm

TL

I use light midhigh hikers in the 2 to 3 lb. range. The most critical element is comfort. In 10 minutes walking around the store and scuffing the toes I can tell if they are good to go. The heavier and stiffer the more likely I am to have blister issues. If too flexible they are hard on the feet over nasty, rocky, irregular terrain.

Trekking poles--highly recommend them. I prefer external locks as they are easy to tighten. the internal threaded locks, though stronger (so they say) tend to strip. Though I was skeptical I bought black diamond carbon fiber poles at 14 oz. per pair. They are entering their third season with no issues.

REI is having a sale starting friday so that is a good place to start looking. Naming a particular brand and model of boot is kind of silly because everyone has different feet.

Mike

listening to Maverick is usually a good idea except when he tells you that an 18 mile hike is easy to do in a day. Oh, and Markskor will tell you to stay away from the eliptical poles as he found out they are strong in one direction but not in the other.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby maverick » Mon May 14, 2012 1:46 pm

Mike wrote:
listening to Maverick is usually a good idea except when he tells you that an 18 mile hike
is easy to do in a day.


Well on trail easily. The last JMT hike took 9 days with a day layover at Rae Lakes, and
could have skipped Guitar Lake, but felt like talking to these young ladies, otherwise
it would have taken 7 days. :unibrow:
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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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Trail shoes

Postby Bluewater » Mon May 14, 2012 1:59 pm

Hi tightline,

As others have said choosing a good hiking shoe is subjective, all I have is my own experience.

I tried many brands of mid height boots and Gortex trail runners at REI and ended up returning all of them. The REI return policy makes it a good place to start. While training for the JMT last year I finally tried the Montrail Sabino trail runners. I have wide feet and these fit just right. The non Gortex are much more breathable and they dry quickly after water crossings. 26 ozs for the pair with the after market gel inserts. They were comfortable while carrying up to 20 lbs and hiking 15 to 20 trail miles/day for 11 days straight with no blisters.

I used TiGoat AGPs. They are adjustable, carbon fiber, guaranteed and weigh 7 ozs for the pair. I was reluctant to use such lightweight hiking poles, but all of the reviews I read we're positive. They worked great, no problems. I have also struggled with knee problems and hiking poles make a huge difference, especially with the long descents.

Have fun. The JMT is beautiful.
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby tightline » Mon May 14, 2012 2:52 pm

Thanks for the input everybody. I appreciate it---including info on the trekking poles. I understand the shoe thing is a tough answer. It's a funny thing but between hunting and my day hikes I log an awful lot of miles but never went too overboard looking into footware. I'd just find some good boots (usually Danners), and go-- but for the John Muir trip the footware issue has been of the highest priority. I don't want shoes breaking down 100 miles into this thing, and I do agree, comfort is key. And like I said, the trekking poles are a new thing and I am optimistic they will be helpful.....Right now I'm shooting to get my pack to 35 pounds, with water, food etc, but I guess that could change. That would be packing 7 days of food-with a food pickup midway. I'm leaning more "lightweight" than ultralight. With the knee I guess I should be thinking ultralight but if you like some coffee in the morning, a hot meal in the evening, and prefer to sleep in an enclosed shelter (if it is raining), those ounces add up in a hurry as far as getting into the true "ultralight" category. I never really paid attention before. I admit I should have though. Can't believe how much weight I was packing around. I always had a pair of jeans in my pack for camp and bad weather, as well as a pair of tennis shoes for camp and wading..I could go on and on. I even brought a fishing creel that I packed tackle in and it doubled as a day pack for my hikes out of base camp. I always returned to my truck with 2 or 3 days worth of just in case extra food and snacks that I had packed around. I could certainly handle it then but I definitely I think could have made the hiking a little more enjoyable. I did that on SO many trips. Then the last time out it was just not fun at 52 years old with my big bulky pack diggin into my shoulders and back, and big leather boots sloggin along...so for this trip I said it's time for a change. What is really nice though is the good quality light options that are available today for about all the required gear.
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby sparky » Mon May 14, 2012 3:00 pm

I have had good luck with my merril ventilators. On my third pair of them in as many years. Not bad because I get out a lot and wear them to work a lot. One pair will last you a JMT trip, they are light and fit my foot really well.
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 14, 2012 6:12 pm

Merrils seem to fit a lot of feet. We have a Merril outlet here (Folsom, CA) and there is a better selection just among the Merrils than all the shoes at REI. I have never been very pleased with the selection at REI. I use "Superfeet" insoles instead of the insoles that come wtih Merrils. The superfeet insoles are a lot sturdier and last a long time. They are expensive (about $30) and I replace them every year. My husband loves Keens. Keens are wide and I have a very narrow heel so have yet to find a pari of Keens that fit. The best shoes I had were Merril Radlands Low, but of course, they no longer make them. In the "big picture" the JMT at a bit over 200 miles, is really not a very long trail (compared to the PCT). I would think most shoes would do fine. Fit is the most important thing.
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby LMBSGV » Mon May 14, 2012 9:28 pm

Another fan of Merrill ventilators. I've used them for many years - each pair seems to last two years and that includes everything from every day walking around, all my trail hiking in the SF Bay area, and trails in the Sierra. I don't use them for off-trail hiking, but for everything and anything else except on those occasions when hiking shoes are a no-no, that's what I wear.
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby quentinc » Thu May 17, 2012 6:01 pm

I've been using the Patagonia Drifters that Mav recommends and am very happy with them. I have always had problems with my knees and feet, but much less so since ditching regular boots and going with trail shoes. I use Spenco arch inserts, which are way better than Superfeet if arch support is your problem (Superfeet does some other things that Spenco doesn't, so it all depends on your feet).
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby AlmostThere » Thu May 17, 2012 9:35 pm

Superfeet blues and Trekstas are my magic formula. I've worn out my first pair in a year (600+ miles) of the Trekstas and long since replaces the insoles. I'm about to get another pair of the same shoes, maybe in mid-height this time. 90% of my hiking is done in the Sierra.

18 miles is do-able. :thumbsup:
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Re: Trail shoes

Postby freestone » Fri May 18, 2012 9:44 pm

I have jumped onto the trail shoe bandwagon for all the same reasons as everyone else, so no need to rehash that. I go for more leather (or leather substitute) and less mesh to get better lateral support on rocky, stumpy, trail and off trail talus and scree. Currently, I am wearing the Patagpnia Scree or the Zamberland Braise depending on the mood. Be prepared to stop often and empty out the trail debris that falls into the shoe, or wear gaiters.

Speaking of bandwagons, I never got onto the trekking pole wave, but I did give it a try because I do have a history of enjoying cross country and downhill skiing. For me, after 5 miles, it became just another weight liability. I ended up losing one of them and the survivor morphed into a very respectable and adjustable walking stick. Be prepared to lose tips on steep inclines that have lots of talus and scree.
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