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Cedar1974
07-13-2015, 10:42
I was looking through the Backcountry Edge website and noticed there were sections in footwear for Hiking boots/shoes and Backpacking boots. What is the difference, and why would there be a difference?

Wyoming
07-13-2015, 13:22
This is a big subject. I will provide a snippet to try and help clarify footwear.

1. There are 4 types of footwear used for hiking (not counting weird stuff like crocs and chachos, etc). These are boots, hiking shoes, trail runners and running shoes. All are used.

2. Almost no one has used boots for long distance hiking for some years now. Boots are those high top, frequently leather, very heavy footwear which was all there was in say 1970. They are still required for many mountaineering activities, but are a very sub-optimal choice for long distance hiking.

3. In the switch out from boots the light weight choice which was transitioned to were running shoes - like the New Balance. This evolved over a long period of time and was not actually something that the famous UL hikers came up with as many of us were using running shoes in the 60's (which is where the old UL guys got the idea). So for a time there was boots or running shoes.

4. "Boot" companies saw big sales drops during this transition and naturally adapted as they wanted to make money. So they started evolving from hiking boots to walking shoes over a period of years. The result are the very high tech walking shoes of today which resemble cut down boots but also incorporate all kinds of light weight technologies.

5. Running shoe companies not wanting to give up ground and also to satisfy a growing niche activity (trail running) reengineered running shoes into a much more rugged shoe designed for running off roads. The trail running shoe has adopted some of the hiking shoe technology just as the hiking shoe has adopted some of the trail running shoe technology.

6. At this point in time the clear choices for footwear for long distance hiking are either trail running shoes or walking shoes. Running shoes and boots are well behind the others in terms of performance.

7. Both trail runners and walking shoes are excellent choices and, in truth, there are only minor differences between them anymore. Trail runners are designed for running of course and that has some fundamental differences from a walking design. But those differences are not huge. In terms of weight the top of the line trail runners and walking shoes weigh almost exactly the same anymore. A trail runner will have a softer sole than a walking shoe while a trail runner will be more flexible than a walker is. Walking shoes are built in the same basic construction technique as a boot while a trail runner clearly has its roots in running shoes. What this latter point gets to is that a top quality walking shoe will last a LOT longer than a trail runner will. For example a person on the PCT might go through 6 pair of trail runners (I have read about people getting only 250 miles per pair of trail runners on the PCT) while a top quality walking shoe will often last for 1500 miles and some get an entire trail out of one pair. So walking shoe are a much cheaper choice of footwear than trail runners are over the course of 2-3000 miles.

8. No one can tell you which kind of foot wear is the best choice for you. Only you can do that and you have to experiment. It all depends on what you find comfortable, what keeps injuries to a minimum, and all kinds of other preferences of which only you know what works for you.

Hope that helps some. If you have more specific questions fire away.

Cedar1974
07-13-2015, 15:11
Uh, my question was the difference between a Hiking boot and a Backpacking boot. Is there a difference? Does a backpacking boot hold up better under a heavy load than a hiking boot? Is there a difference at all, or is this just market talk?

Walkintom
07-13-2015, 15:39
Uh, my question was the difference between a Hiking boot and a Backpacking boot. Is there a difference? Does a backpacking boot hold up better under a heavy load than a hiking boot? Is there a difference at all, or is this just market talk?

Minimal difference. In fact, it's just a couple of names that someone created for categories of footwear and the difference between two brands within a category is often bigger than the difference between two shoes by the same manufacturer across the categories.

Get what works for your feet and don't sweat the category labels.

Another Kevin
07-13-2015, 17:41
Minimal difference. In fact, it's just a couple of names that someone created for categories of footwear and the difference between two brands within a category is often bigger than the difference between two shoes by the same manufacturer across the categories.

Get what works for your feet and don't sweat the category labels.

What he said.

In warmer weather, I routinely go backpacking in trail runners. The old saws about needing ankle support when hiking are only partially true. Most of your ankle support comes from your sole and insole. Many trail runners don't have an adequate insole. I usually take out the factory insole and put in green Superfeet.

That would pretty much cover it for most of the hikers on this forum, since most hikers on this forum don't go out in what I wouldn't consider 'colder weather.' I switch out of trail runners when compatibility with crampon and snowshoe bindings becomes an issue. Then I'm back to the old-school full leather boots, or Sorel pac boots for deep winter. Maybe one of these years I'll decide that I can afford mountaineering boots.

theoilman
07-13-2015, 17:48
Hiking Boot - you wear to hike.
Backpacking Boot - you carry in your backpack.

This was my first thought when I saw the thread name. Then I looked to see if it was in the "humor" section.

Cedar1974
07-13-2015, 18:14
Hiking Boot - you wear to hike.
Backpacking Boot - you carry in your backpack.

This was my first thought when I saw the thread name. Then I looked to see if it was in the "humor" section.

good one, but strangely they had two different catagories, and it made no sense to me.

bigcranky
07-13-2015, 19:04
The two categories are there so the salesman at the outfitter can sell you a more expensive boot. "Oh, you're going BACKPACKING. Then you need this $250 Backpacking Boot."

I wish I were kidding.

Madpaddy
07-13-2015, 19:47
I was looking through the Backcountry Edge website and noticed there were sections in footwear for Hiking boots/shoes and Backpacking boots. What is the difference, and why would there be a difference?

I wear my 520 Asolos high top boots year round hiking. I dont have any issues with uncomfortably in hot weather with em. Change out the sock situation of course as the cold weather and winter prevail. I find its important to have a rugged boot with sufficient ankle support and protection over a low cut trail shoe.

Odd Man Out
07-13-2015, 20:32
Hiking/walking shoes (think Moab Ventillators) often come in a taller version that comes part way up the ankle, but not as high as the old fashion hiking boots (often referred to as mid as in middle). So that perhaps makes yet another category. I've had dozens of shoe sellers at outfitters insist I need waterproof boots (or mids) to keep my feet dry and ankles straight. I ask how it is that so many people thru hike the AT in trail runners and they just give me a "deer in headlights" stare.

http://www.merrell.com/US/en/moab-mid-gore-tex%C2%AE/16222M.html?dwvar_16222M_color=J87311#cgid=men-footwear-hiking&start=1

http://www.merrell.com/US/en/moab-gore-tex%C2%AE/16230M.html?dwvar_16230M_color=J87577#cgid=men-footwear-hiking&start=1

http://www.merrell.com/US/en/crestbound-gore-tex%C2%AE/17559M.html?dwvar_17559M_color=J01529#start=1

Sarcasm the elf
07-13-2015, 20:41
Hiking/walking shoes (think Moab Ventillators) often come in a taller version that comes part way up the ankle, but not as high as the old fashion hiking boots (often referred to as mid as in middle). So that perhaps makes yet another category. I've had dozens of shoe sellers at outfitters insist I need waterproof boots (or mids) to keep my feet dry and ankles straight. I ask how it is that so many people thru hike the AT in trail runners and they just give me a "deer in headlights" stare.



Yup, I walked into REI wearing my old pair of trail runners trying to find a replacement since they discontinued the model. I told the guy that I had well over 1,000 miles on the shoes and needed to find a similar replacement, he responded by telling me flat out that I needed a pair of good boots with ankle support for hiking on the A.T. :datzI guess he only knew how to follow the script.

bigcranky
07-14-2015, 08:21
Right, sometimes I have to lie about my intended use or the poor salesman can't handle it. :)

Starchild
07-14-2015, 10:20
The two categories are there so the salesman at the outfitter can sell you a more expensive boot. "Oh, you're going BACKPACKING. Then you need this $250 Backpacking Boot."

I wish I were kidding.

Another part of that is to help people make up their mind. Some people will know what they want but many others are clueless, so but having a hiking boot and a backpacking boot the consumer can chose based on their activity, they feel like they are getting the right product for their activity which gives them the confidence to make the buy. It helps people intro, they will learn on the way it's all, well mostly, BS (there are differences adn reasons why they placed the similar boots in one category or another.

pauly_j
07-15-2015, 04:13
Probably no difference but in my dictionary I have the following:

Backpacking - Being completely self-sufficient over a longer period of time. Footwear will likely be lightweight, maybe more casual looking (for people who 'backpack' around the country/world?). The sort of shoe people wear for thru-hiking.

Hiking - Day trips, weekend trips, etc. A heavier-weight, probably water-proof, strong soles, etc. The boots you grab when you plan to hike a big peak, spend a couple of days car camping, etc.

Fredt4
07-18-2015, 23:02
Hiking boot - made for hiking, only used by deadenders & newbies
Backpacking boots - also only used by deadenders & newbies
Trailrunners - used by experienced hikers & backpackers & hikers

My Merrel trail runners lasted about 1,500 miles, when I replaced them the soles very very thin, should have replaced them much earlier.

Drybones
07-19-2015, 08:33
I believe it's just a matter of how the manufacturer chooses to market them.

RangerZ
07-19-2015, 19:26
Hiking boot - made for hiking, only used by deadenders & newbies
Backpacking boots - also only used by deadenders & newbies
Trailrunners - used by experienced hikers & backpackers & hikers

My Merrel trail runners lasted about 1,500 miles, when I replaced them the soles very very thin, should have replaced them much earlier.


Ok, I just want to get the terminology correct:

A hiker finishes at the sign on Baxter Peak wearing boots – are they a deadending thru hiker or a thru hiking deadender?

A hiker wears trailrunners or boots depending on trail conditions – are they an experienced newbie or an experienced deadender?



I would have asked these questions earlier today, but I was busy out hiking. Sunny, clear, hot 90* in Pittsburgh today.

RangerZ
07-19-2015, 19:57
Hiking boot - made for hiking, only used by deadenders & newbies
Backpacking boots - also only used by deadenders & newbies
Trailrunners - used by experienced hikers & backpackers & hikers

My Merrel trail runners lasted about 1,500 miles, when I replaced them the soles very very thin, should have replaced them much earlier.


Now that we have addressed that, can we get definitive answers for:

NOBO/SOBO/flip flop
Jennifer/Scott
Shelter/tent/tarp/hammock
Sleeping bag/quilt
Down/synthetic
Alcohol/esbit/canister
Poles/single stick
Thin/thick/toe socks
Zip offs/running shorts
Beer/gear
Knorrs/Mac and cheese
Mail drop/no mail drop
Commando/compression shorts

The mods could then delete all those threads.


And, items of national concern:

Courier New/Ariel
Coke/Pepsi
McDonald’s/Wendy’s
Vanilla/chocolate ice cream
Ritz/Wheat Thins crackers
Creamy/chunky PB

I’ve been lurking/contributing(?) here for a few years, I thought that the only absolutes were:

No cotton
Front to rear
There are no absolutes

Another Kevin
07-19-2015, 22:47
Hiking boot - made for hiking, only used by deadenders & newbies
Backpacking boots - also only used by deadenders & newbies
Trailrunners - used by experienced hikers & backpackers & hikers

My Merrel trail runners lasted about 1,500 miles, when I replaced them the soles very very thin, should have replaced them much earlier.

I guess that in the winter I turn into a clueless deadender. :) Because, as I said before, trail runners do NOT work with my snowshoe or crampon bindings.

Wyoming
07-20-2015, 15:12
LOL well I am glad that I was not the only one who felt like taking a bite out of his rear.

Grampie
07-20-2015, 17:10
Normanly a backpacking boot is designed to be worn carrying a heavy load over rough trails. Hiking boots are made to carry a light load over more established trails.
To do my thru-hike, after much thought, I decided on a backpacking boot. That boot lasted me my whole hike. The first time I decided that I had made the right choice was after walking in snow for three days in Georga.

Sarcasm the elf
07-20-2015, 18:20
I guess that in the winter I turn into a clueless deadender. :) Because, as I said before, trail runners do NOT work with my snowshoe or crampon bindings.

Come on Kevin, you know that if you do anything besides 3 UL season hiking on well groomed trail, then you're doing it all wrong. :D

Another Kevin
07-20-2015, 22:14
Come on Kevin, you know that if you do anything besides 3 UL season hiking on well groomed trail, then you're doing it all wrong. :D

What is this "well-groomed trail" of which you speak? :D

Deadeye
07-21-2015, 17:17
I believe it's just a matter of how the manufacturer chooses to market them.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

SeaNymph
07-21-2015, 21:51
Hiking Boot - you wear to hike.
Backpacking Boot - you carry in your backpack.

This was my first thought when I saw the thread name. Then I looked to see if it was in the "humor" section.
I thought the backpacking boot was the lightweight shoe that you use at the campsite!

mountainwilderness
07-22-2015, 17:48
I have both pair of hiking and backpacking shoes. My 2 cents are this
Hiking shoes have a different sole/ cushion for light quick travel VS backpacking shoes are more for load carrying. More impact resistance soles and softer insoles to take stress off feet. I have grown to love both. And have noticed a big difference in which ones in wear for what I'm doing.
Wore my hiking shoes backpacking 68lbs and alot of foot stress. Backpacking shoes really helped that out

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

Harrison Bergeron
07-22-2015, 18:31
This is a big subject. I will provide a snippet to try and help clarify footwear.

1. There are 4 types of footwear used for hiking (not counting weird stuff like crocs and chachos, etc). These are boots, hiking shoes, trail runners and running shoes. All are used.

2. Almost no one has used boots for long distance hiking for some years now. Boots are those high top, frequently leather, very heavy footwear which was all there was in say 1970. They are still required for many mountaineering activities, but are a very sub-optimal choice for long distance hiking.

3. In the switch out from boots the light weight choice which was transitioned to were running shoes - like the New Balance. This evolved over a long period of time and was not actually something that the famous UL hikers came up with as many of us were using running shoes in the 60's (which is where the old UL guys got the idea). So for a time there was boots or running shoes.

4. "Boot" companies saw big sales drops during this transition and naturally adapted as they wanted to make money. So they started evolving from hiking boots to walking shoes over a period of years. The result are the very high tech walking shoes of today which resemble cut down boots but also incorporate all kinds of light weight technologies.

5. Running shoe companies not wanting to give up ground and also to satisfy a growing niche activity (trail running) reengineered running shoes into a much more rugged shoe designed for running off roads. The trail running shoe has adopted some of the hiking shoe technology just as the hiking shoe has adopted some of the trail running shoe technology.

6. At this point in time the clear choices for footwear for long distance hiking are either trail running shoes or walking shoes. Running shoes and boots are well behind the others in terms of performance.

7. Both trail runners and walking shoes are excellent choices and, in truth, there are only minor differences between them anymore. Trail runners are designed for running of course and that has some fundamental differences from a walking design. But those differences are not huge. In terms of weight the top of the line trail runners and walking shoes weigh almost exactly the same anymore. A trail runner will have a softer sole than a walking shoe while a trail runner will be more flexible than a walker is. Walking shoes are built in the same basic construction technique as a boot while a trail runner clearly has its roots in running shoes. What this latter point gets to is that a top quality walking shoe will last a LOT longer than a trail runner will. For example a person on the PCT might go through 6 pair of trail runners (I have read about people getting only 250 miles per pair of trail runners on the PCT) while a top quality walking shoe will often last for 1500 miles and some get an entire trail out of one pair. So walking shoe are a much cheaper choice of footwear than trail runners are over the course of 2-3000 miles.

8. No one can tell you which kind of foot wear is the best choice for you. Only you can do that and you have to experiment. It all depends on what you find comfortable, what keeps injuries to a minimum, and all kinds of other preferences of which only you know what works for you.

Hope that helps some. If you have more specific questions fire away.

Thanks for your history of the religion of hiking in sneakers, but it doesn't thave a lot in common with the history of hiking footwear.

To start with, the notion that "no one" hikes in boots these days is non-sense. I spent a month on the AT this spring, and by far the majority of hopeful thru-hikers I met were wearing boots -- defined as high-top substantial shoes covering the ankles. I did see a large minority hiking in some form of sneakers, but and most were not thru-hikers. And they older they were, the more they complained about their aching feet.

Heck, for that matter, I saw quite a few actual runners -- people out for a day's 10-mile run between road crossings, carrying nothing but a water bottle and running in typical running shoes. All I can say ahout that is "wow". I even saw one thru-hiker hiking barefoot. I seriously doubt that she'll make it to Katahdin that way, but who knows -- when you're 20 you're bullet-proof.

The history of hiking footwear is the same as the history of every other thing in modern life -- progress. You're right -- nobody hikes in 7 pound leather combat boots anymore, including the military. But boots, like everything else, are much improved from 30 years ago. My Danner's are 3 pounds. My Merril Moab "trail runner" sneakers are a piddlin' 16 ounces lighter at 2 pounds.

When I'm carrying a pack for weeks on end, climbing mountains on a rough trail full of rocks and roots, I wear my boots. If I'm out for a summer dayhike in the flatlands of Texas, I wear my sneakers.

Fortunately, I have no religion when it comes to hiking, so I am free to choose the right tool for the job.

RangerZ
07-27-2015, 22:14
Ok, I just want to get the terminology correct:

A hiker finishes at the sign on Baxter Peak wearing boots Ė are they a deadending thru hiker or a thru hiking deadender?

A hiker wears trailrunners or boots depending on trail conditions Ė are they an experienced newbie or an experienced deadender?



I would have asked these questions earlier today, but I was busy out hiking. Sunny, clear, hot 90* in Pittsburgh today.




Sorry, I just canít let this lay Ö
Itís worse than I thought. Today as I was putting on my boots for an after work/before dinner hike I realized that Iím not only a clueless (sorry Kevin) deadender, Iím also a blue Superfeet wearer. Everywhere else here on WB I see green, green, green Superfeet. Blue Superfeet wearers - donít let them walk all over you. Stand with me and say ďI wear blue SuperfeetĒ.
Choice goes not only to type of footwear but also to the color of my sole.

poolskaterx
02-23-2016, 21:18
I use my heavy backpacking boots now for day hiking while doing photography, keeps me a little more stable when I am not paying as much attention to the trail as I should because I am focusing on my camera gear. The heavy duty boots are also great to stabilize a hurt ankle;i.e: broke my ankle 3 weeks before a photo shoot that comprised of a 3 day 18 mile hike and I would not have been able to make it without the stability of my "backpacking boots" Asolo GTX520. My pack loads used to be close to 50lbs and the heavy/stiff ankle boots were pretty great; now my pack is 25lbs and I wear the much lighter La Sportiva Men's Synthesis Mid GTX for my outings.

Heavier backpacking boots for stability with heavy loads
Light weight foot wear for experienced hikers and generally lighter loads

Use the right tool for the job.

Pheral
02-24-2016, 07:43
I believe it's just a matter of how the manufacturer chooses to market them.

This. When I starting hiking back...well, quite a while ago, we just called them hiking boots, regardless.

Cheyou
02-24-2016, 08:10
http://appalachiantrials.com/footwear-2015-thru-hikers-wore-appalachian-trail/

ldsailor
03-05-2016, 01:59
No one really addressed the waterproof issue except one post that inferred a water proof shoe/boot was unnecessary. I'm new at this, so I have a question in that regard. Everything I've read so far indicates a hiker will get caught in a torrential downpour, maybe numerous downpours, sone or later. It seems to me a water proof shoe/boot is optimal in case this happens.

Comments?

Old Hillwalker
03-05-2016, 08:09
What would you wear for several days of this terrain?

3396433965339663396733968

bigcranky
03-05-2016, 09:52
No one really addressed the waterproof issue except one post that inferred a water proof shoe/boot was unnecessary. I'm new at this, so I have a question in that regard. Everything I've read so far indicates a hiker will get caught in a torrential downpour, maybe numerous downpours, sone or later. It seems to me a water proof shoe/boot is optimal in case this happens.

Comments?


You'll get plenty of torrential downpours, plus hiking through mud holes, bogs, etc. Your shoes are going to get very wet, all the way through. Note that even "waterproof" shoes have a giant hole in the top, where you foot enters, and water in a torrential downpour will get inside the shoe as well.

So your feet are gonna get wet.

For me, the important thing is "how quickly will it dry"? A synthetic, mostly mesh trail runner will dry in an hour or two once it stops raining. It doesn't hold water inside (so it's not all squishy), and my feet stay comfortable with medium weight wool socks. A waterproof shoe will take a lot longer to dry, and a full leather Goretex boot can take days, in my experience.

I do use Goretex trail runners (low cut) in the winter, often with eVent gaiters if the snow is more than a few inches deep. In winter there is less chance of soaking the shoe in rain or a puddle, and the Goretex liner helps keep my feet warmer and drier than mesh shoes -- though keep in mind there are some very experienced long distance hikers who wear their mesh trail runners in the winter in snow.

Leo L.
03-05-2016, 11:59
What would you wear for several days of this terrain?
...


On my desert hikes I have this kind of terrain many a time, mostly without estabished tracks, and many times steep up/down.
All shoes I tried so far, or heard of being tried by others, failed, rather sooner than later.

Years ago I started with various sneakers and trail runners, and just accepted the fact that any pair did no better than a few hundred km.
Downside of these low cut shoes was that they filled with sand and small stones quite quick. And at some point in time they start to stink.

Later I tried out the famous "Adidas Jogging High II" (a remake of the 80ies), they performed very fine, didn't fill up, but had an even shorter lifetime than trailrunners.

Then I tried a pair of Austrian handmade leatherboots, lightweight, and designed to "hike around the world" - they started to disassemble after only 2 weeks of serious use.

Last autumn I tried a pair of low-cut "Stoneworker" working shoes, stiff and sturdy with lots of rubber all around. They started to break after 4 weeks.

A local guide took Northface Access shoes I brought him, they started to loosen the sole after 2 weeks.

On my nex desert trip I will take a pair of dutyboots, Austrian handmade low-cut leather shoes which include a textile shaft to make them boot-high.
We will see how they perform.

Old Hillwalker
03-05-2016, 13:19
What would you wear for several days of this terrain?

3396433965339663396733968

Forgot to mention that these pictures were taken in the Northeast US.

OH

Another Kevin
03-05-2016, 16:17
Forgot to mention that these pictures were taken in the Northeast US.

OH

So, don't leave us in suspense. I've certainly been to some played-out mines that poisoned the soil and left terrain that looked like that, but nowhere where the scar went on for days.

Odd Man Out
03-05-2016, 16:49
No one really addressed the waterproof issue except one post that inferred a water proof shoe/boot was unnecessary. I'm new at this, so I have a question in that regard. Everything I've read so far indicates a hiker will get caught in a torrential downpour, maybe numerous downpours, sone or later. It seems to me a water proof shoe/boot is optimal in case this happens.

Comments?

There was a recent thread on this topic. I am a believer of the notion that waterproof boots keep your feet wet. Here is my story from that other thread.
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/117202-Why-trail-running-shoes-over-waterproof-boots?p=2046259&highlight=#post2046259

Old Hillwalker
03-05-2016, 16:51
So, don't leave us in suspense. I've certainly been to some played-out mines that poisoned the soil and left terrain that looked like that, but nowhere where the scar went on for days.

Gros Morne, Newfoundland. But not for days and days though.