View Full Version : Boots
Looking to thru-hike NOBO in 2007,
What brands and types (shoe-style, mid-cut/at-ankle, hi-cut/over ankle) of boots is everyone wearing? Leather? Breathable nylon/suede mix?
How many pairs? When/where do you switch out?
Depends on a few things. What do you think the weight of your pack will be. If you are under 25lbs you could go with trailrunners of some kind. If you are over that weight I would recommend full leather boots. I have gone with composition ones in the past, but prefer the full leather. I know people who have thru'd in one pair of boots, but usually people end up using 2 pairs. People using trail runners usually seem to go through 2-4 pairs.
Other questions to help determine would be, what date are you looking to start? Are you looking for ankle support? There are many factors and you have plenty of time to test options with over a year out.
I spent many years hiking in the Smokies, so I will definitely use my Merrell Vibrams to start out with. They are high top, leather, and waterproof. I use them to train with the TN SAR group in the mountains, too. I got them before a hike, and didn't have time to break them in. I brought everything for blisters, and took off for 3 weeks. I wore them the entire time, except for one afternoon in my tennis shoes. Not one blister!!!! I hope they still sell them, because I can't imagine being without them. I might switch to my running shoes in the "flat lands", in order to save my Merrells for the mountains.
Since I have the time, I just bought a pair of Merrill's to see if I like them in general... wore them today for about 8 hours and never had a problem!!
For the thru-hike, how long is it suggested I have my trail boots and how long/much should they be broken in? I dont want to take old, broke-down boots nor brand spankin' new ones either...
I started with a pair of lightweight Montrail boots (gortex) and the soles on both boots broke by Damascus. (worn few times before trip)
Damascus - Delaware Water Gap - Montrail Hardrocks (brand new) had a little break in problem with these, but carried "blisterblock" and it wasn't too bad, very comfy shoes after a week or so.
DWG-Katahdin - New Balance 806s (worn few times at home before trip)
Both of the trail runners still had good tread and "life" left in them and I was very happy with them!!
100-150 miles in the boots and usually they're broken in. This is the standard for full leathers, composites and synthetics require less.
I did have a pair of high top leather boots that fit great, but didn't dry very well. Just bought a pair of mid height Salomons and they fit like a glove. Took them 12 miles on in Big South Fork and not even a hot spot. Very comfy. YMMV
No boots for me. I hike in trail runners. I've tried several brands. Brooks fit me the best. The Cascadia are very well ventilated and dry quickly. I can get them soaking wet during the day and if I keep them under cover overnight, they are dry in the morning. I don't see any reason to wear boots.
I have such a hard time finding boots to fit right - when I get them big/wide enough to fit my foot they go up way too high on my leg and chafe.
So I have been hiking in sneakers <gasp> - lol.....but I have been trying on low top trail runners looking for something comfortable.
I can't find any boots that fit well enough to leave the duct tape for blisters at home (not for repairs of course). I usually dayhike 4-6 miles 3 times a week with a 20 lb pack to keep in shape for the summer. Lately I have been hiking in Tevas with smart wool socks. It feels great! First time in my life my feet don't hurt after 6 miles. By the way, I just bought a pair of Chacos ( after listening to other hiker's advice) and am going to try those. I wanted the vibram soles. I really think they are the best... well at least for me.
Glad I had my heavy over-the-ankle boots when I section hiked in Shenandoah this past weekend on slippery leaves with snow and ice. The boots kept me from turning my ankle at least five different times. No way can I ever go in trail runners.
Now I am breaking in a lighter pair of Salomon boots and looking forward to having less leg pain.
Everyone's foot is a bit different, so our favorites may not work for you. Even over time, it can change -- a favorite from last year may not work this year.
My first AT hike I wore Pivettas - a heavy leather boot that lasted the whole hike but ate my feet. On my second AT hike and CDT I wore Vasque Sundowners - they were what everyone was wearing at the time. The later versions did not fit my feet as well as the earlier ones, so I no longer wear them. On the PCT I wore running shoes for the desert and then Raichles in the snow. Now I wear either running shoes or Lowas, depending on where I'm hiking and when. Backpacking on really rocky trails I prefer a bit more support. For dayhikes, it doesn't matter as much. Next year I plan to start the CDT with running shoes and will go back to the Lowas for Colorado's snow.