View Full Version : Footwear For New Hiker

06-25-2014, 14:54
Hey guys. I just recently got really into hiking. I have gone on about 20 day hikes already this year ranging from 4-6 mile to 30 mile day hikes. I have done so without proper equipment. (i.e., regular running shows, to hiking pack, no polls, etc). I am in the process of buying some real gear. I was looking at the Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX Hiking Shoes - Men's $160.00 for footwear.

Anyone have any experience with them? Do you like/dislike it? Are there better shoes for the price? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Feral Bill
06-25-2014, 15:17
Fit is what matters. You need to try on a number of different shoes then decide.

06-25-2014, 15:50
Fit IS what matters. If you can, go to an outfitter that knows their stuff and they can help you find the right pair. But then consider if you really want waterproof shoes/boots as your only pair. They can be hot/sweaty in summer.

06-25-2014, 15:53
What sort of footwear did you wear when you were doing your 30 mile day hikes? Whatever you wore, seemed to work out good enough to get you 30 miles down the trail. Me? I use some generic New Balance trail runners with great success. :)

06-25-2014, 16:11
Yeah, it's about fit. For example, some hikers think the box they come in feels better than my favorite shoes.

I started hiking in the 1960s and 70s, before we needed "gear." Gym shoes (I even remember wearing old oxfords) and dad's old WWII rucksack got us going. Any old shoe that fits works fine.

As you hike more and if you think you want to put money into it, some of the materials and features available now are pretty nice. You sure can pick and choose depending on the style you develop. There are too many options to even think about.

06-25-2014, 16:17
If you are in good shape with no special foot issues, running shoes are just about as good as dedicated hiking shoes. I just did a 19 mile hike on Saturday across the above treeline section of the AT in the whites which is basically 2miles of dirt trails and 17 miles of rocks with a pair of New Balance trail runners. I would spend money on good socks, dump the cotton and consider Darn Tuffs or Smartwools.

06-25-2014, 16:49
@ slbirdnerd (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php?45971-slbirdnerd). Thanks for that thought. I do sweat a lot from my feet. The major complaint that I have read about the Salomon shoe I posted about is that it could "get wet from inside." (i.e., traps in moisture).

@ daddytwosticks. I used a pair of Underarmour running shoes (not trail running shoes) and certainly not running shoes as I mistyped above. The problem with that 30 mile hike is that I learned that those shoes were inappropriate for longer hikes. When I got home I was a mess. Knees hurt for 2 solid days after hike. My feet were a mess, both with blisters and general pain. On my right foot, I couldn't curl my toes for almost a week. I think it took me 2+ weeks just to feel normal. I learned that night, when I couldn't go down stairs after the hike due to pain, maybe it was time to invest in real hiking equipment. However, I am super cheap, so I am trying to do it one thing at a time. I will look into the New Balance trail runners for shorter day hikes. Thanks for the information.

@ garli08. That is precisely what I have been doing and I never had major problems with it. Had a small gym bag for foot/water only, regular running shoes, gym shorts, cotton white t, and cotton socks. After this last hike, I learned either I need to equipment to prevent being MIA for almost 2 weeks or i should stop doing such long hikes altogether if it is a me problem and not a gear problem.

@ pealbagger. I recently became an REI member. I am very frugal and the cost associated with hiking is quite daunting to me. However, you good socks point is well taken. I spent $30+ on REI merino wool socks and liners. Hopefully, that will significantly help the blistering. Have to imagine it is better than cotton socks.

Thanks all again for comments. New guy here and new hiker. I appreciate all advise.

06-25-2014, 18:52
New Balance trail runners for me. There are moments when I wish for more stiffness and better traction but overall, for the AT, they're a good compromise.

Over the course of 35 years my hiking footwear has gone from heavy to light: heavy leather to lighter leather, to mid-height fabric boots and finally to glorified sneakers, aka trail runners. I haven't worn leather hiking boots for about 15+ years now.

06-25-2014, 20:07
I hate to sound stupid, but it is inevitable when you are me. Can you post a link for an example of the new balance trail runners you would suggest?

For example I, just put new balance trail runners into google and got a deal at khols for $50.00. New Balance 570 Trail Running Shoes - Men Would this be an example of what you are talking about?

06-25-2014, 20:44
Google "new balance 659" and you'll see several pix. That's just one model, a year or two old, there are probably many more, and of course newer. For sure, a single pair will not get you from Springer to Katahdin.

06-26-2014, 00:12
I've been buying New Balance 411 shoes at a local discount sporting goods store called "Big 5" for under $50 on sale. They seem to work about the same as the $100 version I used to wear. It appears that most New Balance trail running shoes use the same last. And they seem to last about the same.

But not everyone can wear New Balance. They are torture for my wife, for instance. One advantage is that they are usually available in at least three different widths--D, EE, and EEEE. The wider option is what makes it work for me.

You can only find out what works for you after hiking many miles. I hope it goes better for you than it did for me--it took me 2000 miles on the PCT to finally find the right size and width for pain-free hiking. Those were a lot of painful steps to get there.

07-09-2014, 13:40
I switch between Brooks Cascadia's. And TNF hedgehog.

I add a powerstep insole to them because a way way over pronate

Both work really well. My next show I might try a mid height

07-09-2014, 16:00
My last pair of trail runners were NB MT510. Wore them for a few weeks before taking my family to Disney. After the third day I took my shoes off and my big toe was numb. Not tingling but freaking numb. Went to doc, then foot doc and he told me to stop using them and buy a more supportive shoe. I tried on Salomon XA 3D (and others), they felt great. Almost bought them on the spot but I am a cheap bastard and could not justify 130 dollars for a pair of shoes. Found the Salomon X-Ultra on closeout and bought them for 83.00 with free shipping from REI outlet. They fit very similar to the XA's but have a more robust sole. I have not used them on a long hike yet but will this weekend and can follow up on the comfort if you wish.

07-10-2014, 00:53
This brings up a point that is applicable to me personally so hopefully it won't be considered thread-jacking. I know the feeling of not being able to walk down stairs (or much at all without discomfort) after my 15-16 mile day hike Sunday. I know some of it was IT band related but the muscle that runs behind my kneecap connecting the upper and lower muscles was what was killing me. Would an appropriate pair of shoes remedy that with of course, more hiking perhaps? I did do about 13-14 miles of that hike with no soles on the Salomons I was wearing lol