View Full Version : inserts and shoes
those of you who opted for shoes instead of boots, did you buy several pairs of the same kind of shoe? and how does that work with inserts? would it make a huge difference if i used three or four different pairs of shoes along the way? is this one of those simple things that i'm needlessly complicating?
your feet change after hiking awhile....if you not sure or you don't know you may want to wait on buying multiple footwear...
I would not buy mutltiple pairs of shoes before the hike unless you know exactly how your feet will change over the course of your hike and know what shoe you want. So, if you haven't done a multimonth hike before, I'd hold off buying multiple shoes.
Instead, buy as you go. I used 4 pairs of shoes on the PCT. Some got through with 3 pairs. I started with a pair of used Superfeet, bought new ones after 450 miles, and another new pair 1300 miles later. I changed shoes at miles 563, 1191, and 1984. Remember that running shoes and trail runners break down internally before they start to show a lot of wear. 500-600 miles is usually about the limit for walking, but you can usually push them into the 700-900 mile range, depending on your legs and feet.
I got new shoes through REI, twice calling their 800 number and once via the internet. To get new shoes, just call from a town about 2 weeks before you want the shoes. Mileage on superfeet vary. I had a pair that was really thrashed after 1300 miles. But, they also went through the toughest part of the trail with me. The current pair have about 1000 miles on them and look great.
Do not buy more than one pair of shoes. Your feet change when you do a lot of hiking. Generally they become wider and maybe a little longer. THe volume of my foot decreased when I was doing heavy duty hiking (Yes, fat feet, lost weight decreased size of shoes)
THe one problem that I have with shoes (Take this with a grain of salt as I wear size 14 wide shoes) is that they do not last very long. My Lowa trail runners gave up the ghost after about 400 miles. On the other hand my LL Bean low cut day hikers have almost 1000 mies on them. They don't have any tread left on them so I wear them mowing the lawn or working in the garden. I got them on a close out ($49) and they are worth every penny and much more. They do not weight much more than my Lowa trail runners.
One also must ask how much weight they are going to carry. I generally carry 35 pounds (5 days food, plus water) and I would not carry that load wearing trail runners.
I would echo everything chris said. There is a great website for a foot doctor/shoe sales in Abingdon if you are having feet problems by the time you reach Damascus (where most problems would show up). His site is http://www.footrxstore.com/
As for inserts it depends on what you have. A cushion insert might last less than 300 miles. A gel insert will last a lot long though. A supportive insert out of plastic (superfeet) will essentially last forever. However, if you experience foot problems, you might need a custom orthotic. The doc in abingdon can do that for you. Your feet might change as you hike, so you might need new inserts if new problems show up.
Also, runners change shoes as soon as 300 miles. You will have to judge for yourself if you need to do it that often. Depends if you need the cushioning and support from the foam.
Somewhat related, my feet tend to get very sore after hiking about 15 miles, regardless of the amount of weight I'm carrying (if any). I was thinking of purchasing a pair of more cushioned insoles and think that I may have just enough room in my Vasque Clarion's to accommodate. Does anyone have a preference for Sorbothane, Spenco or something else? As a section hiker, I'd be comfortable if the insole held up for 300-500 miles, but my feet do tend to get very wet from sweat.
I've used sorbathane ultra insoles, but did not like the arch support on them, so switched back to superfeet. The sorbathanes are heavily padded, but also weigh a rather significant amount. They are also somewhat pricer than superfeet. I think around $36. My feet tend not to get tired anymore, unless I try to put in a ridiculous day, so I look more for arch support than anything else.