View Full Version : what is better? two pairs boots ready to go or buy one on trail?

11-12-2005, 22:32
I have been wrestling with a question and as yet have know answer.

I currently have one pair of hiking boots to hike the AT next Spring-fall. They are mid weight 3.8 pound goretex lined nubbuck leather. anyway..I understand that for most.. one pair does not go the distance.

So I can

1) head to springer with the one pair and when I need a replacement, by a second pair along the trail that will fit better than a pre bought pair since my feet will have grown a size or so,


2) buy my second pair now. I can get it all broken in so wont have not broken in boots blister problem. However I worry with option 2 that if my feet grow a size or even half a size in the first months of the hike that the boots may no longer fit right and cause other problems.

what is the best way to go? what do most folks do?

lastly, I have thought about getting a lighter pair but given the ruggedness of the trail I am not yet willing to risk backpacking the AT with less than rugged boots.


11-12-2005, 23:57
By one pair of the rugged boots you feel you must need. Don't buy a second pair, as you will see how others do, will learn more about the rugged boots and your feet. Your feet are also likely to change sizes on your walk.

Buy a new pair when you need them, or when you are convinced that the rugged pair aren't that helpful.

11-13-2005, 00:11
I wear trail runners that take little break in time. May not work for you, but definitely wait to get second pair. My feet grow at least 1/2 size bigger in about 500 miles.

11-13-2005, 09:35
As others have posted, you don't know how your feet will change during hiking. And perhaps your ideas about footwear will also change. And there are plenty of places along the way to get replacement footwear. So, unless you have some odd feet, then I suggest buying a replacement when the time comes. That's what I did.

11-13-2005, 10:44
I bought one pair. By Virginia it was clear they were not really working out and I bought a totally different type of boot to replace them. I am glad I did not buy in advance.

The Will
11-13-2005, 12:20

I think your rationale is right on the money. While your feet may not change in size (mine did not), it does happen. In fact, I got my second pair of boots on my thru from a hiker who had a pair of pre-hike-purchased boots mailed to him. They no longer fit him and he was just as thankful to get something for them as I was to get a great pair of boots vastly discounted.

My suggestion is to wait until it is necessary to buy a second pair of footwear. As earlier posts have mentioned, by the time you need that second pair you may have determined that you can get by with a sturdy trail shoe or even a trail runner...and these take very little break-in time if
any at all.

11-13-2005, 12:20
thanks folks. I guess that settles the question. I will wait till on the trail to by the second pair of boots..if in fact the time comes when I do need the second pair. Who knows..maybe my boots will go the whole way?


11-13-2005, 15:29
With the one pair of boots should come some extra duct tape in the pack.

11-14-2005, 19:18
ditch the boots and buy chaco's

11-20-2005, 03:36
If your hypothetical second pair is sitting at home broken in and ready to go, as long as they are the same size as your originals you'll already know if they'll fit or not by how well the shoes on your feet feel. If your shoes seem tight at replacement time, forget the backup shoes at home and buy on the trail but if your first pair still fit fine I wouldn't think there should be any worries about the second. You can always just not use them if they show up and they don't work for you.