I don't want to beat a dead dog hear but I really need to hear more on foot wear! (boots) My thru-hike pack will be around forty pounds for 2003.I'm a small framed guy at 46 but have had know problems with my feet; just my lower back. Thank's for helping. :confused:
Even though I have switched to running shoes, I've used boots for years. So I'll try to help out.
First, do not mail order, go get the boots fitted by a real person. Bring your socks you intend to use and with the pack with the proposed weight so you can walk around the store in them. Don't just put them on and walk around a couple of seconds then say you'll take them. Go to a good hiking store with some cool gear, ask to try the boots on, then walk around the entire store for a while.
Things to look for: extra room at the toes. If your toes feel like they are touching anything when you just walk in a store, you will end up with bruised toenails on the downhills. The heel should be firmly in place, but not too tight, a good measure is if you can stick a finger inside the heel cup with your foot in place.
Your foot will grow if you are not into A LOT or rucking yet, so a little extra foot room can be ok if a thick pair of socks save you from this, and then later you can loose the thick socks for thinner ones.
The lighter the boot the better. One pound on the foot is worth 5 on the back. Look for a pair of boots under 2 pounds if you can find it.
A good brand name isn't always important, god fit is better. But I have seen some boots fall to pieces on the AT, the big difference was someone with HiTecs was SOL, while someone with Vasque boots got a replacement. BUT no boots known to man ar made to last 2168 iles, expect to replace boots at least once, or maybe even twice.
Now, if you are carrying 40 pounds, maybe you could loose some weight there and go to running/trail shoes. You back and feet may be more happy with that solution.