View Full Version : Rock Plate in Trail Runners

01-22-2019, 15:06
Can anyone provide me with some insight on the pros and cons of using trail runners or light hiking boot that have a rock plate. I used trail runners without a rock plate and the rocks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey really beat up my foot, making the remainder of my hike painful and difficult. I plan on heading back to Pennsylvania this spring and would like to avoid a similar situation this time around.

01-22-2019, 16:01
The pros are that it lessens the pressure of the sharp rocks and spreads it across the surface of the rock plate. I have heard of people making them out of old milk jugs actually.
Only con I am aware of is that it adds a small amount of weight. Now that I said that, I'm sure a con for some is the reduction of "feel" and it could potentially add stiffness to the shoe.

01-22-2019, 16:12
My La Sportiva Ultra Raptors x 2 pair have what you’re calling “rock plates”. The shoes work very nicely on granite slabs, talus, scree and various other forms of rock along the Continental Divide in Colorado and Wyoming.
La Sportiva description of their off trail Ultra Raptors:
“The Ultra Raptor is an all-terrain Mountain Running® shoe perfect for long distance runs on burly trails. A full-length rock guard and an ultra sticky rubber outsole offer maximum protection and stability, while AirMesh uppers keep your feet comfortable and cool.”

Feral Bill
01-22-2019, 16:39
My Altras have removable rock plates. They weigh very little and seem to help a bit.

Another Kevin
01-22-2019, 16:43
I wear prescrption orthotics that have a hard shell, so I don't need an extra rock plate in the shoe. Before I got them, I wore green Superfeet, and they seemed to have a hard enough shell at least over 2/3 of the foot that once again I didn't need a rock plate.

I hiked the Catskills a lot in both. The Catskill Crud is geologically the same stuff as the Pennsylvania Rocks.

01-22-2019, 17:34
My go to trail runner is the La Sportiva Ultra Raptors with the rock plate. When I switch to something else without it, I can tell a difference.

01-22-2019, 20:58
Head to the REI in Cincy and try different trail runners and ask them which have a plate. I believe the majority do have some form of plate but it does depend on your expectations and definition. I used Altra’s Lone Peaks from Hot Springs to Waynesboro and knew that they probably wouldn’t do well in Rocksylvania. The Outfitter listened and said that I should definitely be in a shoe with a rock plate and brought out the Merrill Moab and the Solomon. I wanted the Merrill name but walked to Kent CT in the Solomon’s that just felt better on my feet. In Kent, I simply switched to a new pair of Solomon’s 1/2 size bigger! REI is great because of their return policy. I would also suggest Green Feet inserts. I personally know three thru hikers affected by Pa. Shin Splints.

01-22-2019, 22:55
I saw a video of someone who made them from old plastic milk jugs. I’d always thought I’d try to do that, but I haven’t tried yet. Anyone else try it?

01-23-2019, 04:40
Really doesn't matter at walking speed.
Your feet rapidly adjust to the....abuse.
What bruised them and made sore one trip, will likely not in the future. Give them time to adjust.

02-03-2019, 01:57
Some of the Salomons I've worn had a rock plate, I think it did help especially on sharper rocks. I don't think it would convince be to buy a shoe one way or the other though.