View Full Version : Down the middle...

03-03-2003, 12:06
Tried the 4lb Boots.
Tried the 1.5lb Trail Runners.

This morning after hiking a few miles at a local state park (My nose is still thawing), I stopped by EMS. After ordering and returning the Salomon XA-Pros (arch to narrow, and constructed like crap), I wanted to look at some other trail-runners. Already having researched every trailrunner I can find, I humored the unknowing salesman and allowed him to pick a shoe. "This one is lightweight, strong as an ox, and will last a lifetime" (You can picture my smile). I put on the Merrell Chameleons, took 1 step, and realized a gaping tear was present where the upper portion of the shoe was not bonded to the sole. The salesman said "Thats not suppose to do that!". I took them off and left.

When is a lightweight, well constructed boot/shoe going to be made? After looking at multiple trailrunners, I'm not satisfied with their construction, and wouldnt trust them on my upcoming 3week LongTrail thru, nevermind when I start up springer in '04. They are certainly comfortable, and have superb breatheability, but I think I would destroy them at an insane rate.

On the other end of the spectrum is the 4lb wafflestomper. Constructed like a rock. Weighs about the same too. I like the superior contrcution, and strong arch support. Hate the sweat, and never-dry properties. Using the new modified slogan, 1lb off your feet is 6.4 off your back, I could theoretically take 13 lbs (my base pack-weight) away by going with the weenie-shoes.

I think I am going to aim for something down the middle now. A low-cut boot with as little leather as possible. Any ideas guys? I take a 13 regular.

03-03-2003, 12:23
I've had much the same concerns regarding trail runners, RH, although I probably value ankle stability a little more highly than most. I've been extremely satisfied with my Vasque (http://www.vasque.com) Clarion boots in terms of fit, comfort, construction and durability, but I'd love to shave a pound off the 3.1 pounds they weigh. I did find a lighter weight (2.5 pound), leather low-cut called the Fusion GTX, but the Gore-tex may only serve to slow down the drying process.

03-03-2003, 12:38

I currently use the Clarion GTX as well, and have been looking at the Nimbus GTX. I think Gore-Tex can have it's place with a non-leather boot, more as a waterproof liner rather than a waterproof/breatheable liner. When using trailrunners, I feel it is out of place. I do like the Nimbus GTX, and it's limited use of leather, only on structural areas. Moosejaw has some. I'm considering buying them.

03-03-2003, 12:56
The Salomon Raidsports I used last summer were fine, for the most part. The construction of the shoe was strong enough that there was no visible damage to them after 450 miles on the AT and another 100 or so of other trails in some western mountains. However, the internal cushionning had long since broken down. I got a paid of New Balance 904s and have been dissatisfied with them. Both have tears in the sides, which started after about 100 or so miles of Smokys hiking. The tears are now pronounced and large, thanks to Nicaraguan volcanoes. Traction is substandard (particularly with anything wet) and they irritate my achilles. This summer I am planning on starting with regular running shoes (Brooks Beast) for the first 450 miles of the PCT and then switching to a trailrunner/adventure shoe to get me into the Sierras and to Yosemite. I'll probably buy a pair of Salomons again, but need to wait to see how much my feet swell in the desert. Salomon has a largest since of 14, which is what I usually wear.

Remember that trail runners have a short life span. Four or five hundred miles before cushionning starts to break down. Of course, people do stretch them to 900 miles.

For those with smaller feet than I, Sportiva makes several different kinds of "approach shoe". Like a trail runner, but a little stronger with better traction, I think. If I had a size smaller feet, I would definitely try them. Reviews from friends of mine are all positive.

03-03-2003, 13:04
Check out the Lowa Tempest Lo's...low cut leather boot, no Gortex, lots of good tread, roomy toebox. Weight is 2.5 lbs. I found it to be a nice mix of trail boot & trail runner.

03-03-2003, 13:32
I'll add a vote for the Lowa Tempest Los as well...I just replaced an old pair--soles were worn but the Uppers were still in good shape-- with a new pair..The newer Tempests are made a little differently and seem a little lighter..I wear a size 13 in the lowas, about one size up from what I thought I regularly wear..the toebox is very roomy...

I've put a lot of miles on these with and without a pack and have never had problems with blisters or hot-spots... I think they are the most comfortable hiking/walking shoe I've worn even if they are heavier than trail runners...

I also have a pair of the Lowa Renegade high boots...Like those a lot for winter and rougher going...

03-03-2003, 13:49
[QUOTE]Originally posted by RagingHampster
[B]Tried the 4lb Boots.
Tried the 1.5lb Trail Runners.

On the other end of the spectrum is the 4lb wafflestomper. Constructed like a rock. Weighs about the same too. I like the superior contrcution, and strong arch support. Hate the sweat, and never-dry properties. Using the new modified slogan, 1lb off your feet is 6.4 off your back, I could theoretically take 13 lbs (my base pack-weight) away by going with the weenie-shoes.

You are totally right when talking about the two extremes of footwear. The problem I had with the boot extreme had nothing to do with their weight, comfort, durability, etc. Turned into a health issue for me. The balls of my feet and my heels went numb. Because a boot does a lot of work for you in terms of support and foot strike, you walking becomes very uniform. I pounded the same spots on my feet day after day until I lost feeling. I switched to a sneaker and started getting feeling back. I stuck with the sneaker and gained some of those extra benefits like weight, quick drying etc. I did go through 4 pairs of them though.

I used to love the 804's from New Balance. Don't make them anymore. The only problems I saw with them is the the front toe cover would come unglued pretty quickly, but never got any worse. I didn't have this problem but I saw others rub through the back of them by the heel. I got about 750 miles out of them before they were done. Kinda reminded me of The Blues Brothers and thier car. At the end they slam the door and the whole thing falls apart.

03-03-2003, 14:17
I have Asolo GTX 95's and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I wore them all last summer over the PA rocks and they are no worse for wear. Great traction, good support, and I did not experience the tired feet and sore arches I did in my other boots. Although billed as a light weight boot, 2.5 lbs a pair, they handle like a heavy weight. They had a write up on the book in "BackPacker" magazine which was right on the mark from my personal experience with the boot. I know that when the pair I own need to go to boot heaven they will be replaced with the same pair. YMMV


03-03-2003, 15:37
The problem with many of the new trailrunners is that they are essentially a low-cut boot with rock hard soles. This is great if you want a lowcut boot but if you want to go lightweight, I would recommend staying away from anything too rigid. Otherwise you end up with the same problems as boots. Most people that I knew, including myself, that tried a running shoe - true trail"runners" like new balances will never go back to boots unless there is snow on the ground. They are pricey and I must confess the 805s aren't as good as the 804s aren't as good as the 803s (strange that they keep getting worse over time) but my 804s lasted me over 800 miles (hot springs to duncannon) and then I switched to merrels. I hated the merrels so i switched back to new balances for the last 400 miles or so - my feet were happy again. Keep in mind my pack was light (15-30lb). I don't know if this would work if you had a 45 pound pack. Anyway - another obvious advantage of sneakers on a long distance trip is that they require no break-in time. Just slap on a new pair and you are ready to go.

03-03-2003, 15:43
I use trail runners in winter too! Went up washington at the end of december with them and Katoolahs (a flexible crampon which works with boots or sneakers and weights about 1 lb).

I just need gortex in my trailrunners for winter for warmth.

Gravity Man

Blue Jay
03-03-2003, 15:43
I'd add a third vote for the Tempest Lowas. Since it is obvious you can't use the light weights, the Lowa is the next step up. Lowa users are very loyal, so they must work.

03-03-2003, 15:46
I'd like to go a little lighter than the Lowas.

I'm taking the plunge.
I ordered the Vasque Nimbus GTX.

- 1lb 14oz for Size 10.
- Size 13 (my size) should be around 2lb 1oz +/- 1oz.
- Gore-Tex Waterproof/Unbreatheable (in my opinion) Liner.
- Beefy Sole & Arch Support.
- Lot's of good Nylon Panels.
- Lot's of bad Leather Supports to suck up water.
- On sale.

I'm hoping I have found the healthy middle between weenie shoes and wafflestompers. I'll let you know :-? :confused: :eek:...

03-03-2003, 16:22
REI lists the weight for the Tempest at 2 pounds for a size 9 shoe....

03-03-2003, 16:45
LOL your right!

I should have checked. Someone above said 2lb 8oz/pr (assumed size 9 meaning close to 3lb for a 13).

I definetly trust Vibram as a quality company. How is this boot in the mud? Does the leather absorb alot of water? I'm nervous about that 2lb becomeing 3.5lb after sloshing through some mud puddles.

How fast do they dry?

If the Nimbus Gtx's don't do it for me, these may be worth a try.

03-03-2003, 17:53
Presto: by your above post you did 750 miles in your New Balance 804's; Grimace says he did greater than 800 miles. I have read other entries of excessive mileage out of these trail shoes/hikers/runners/whatever, but i have not found it so, at least with me. Am I the only one who gets half that mileage??

Perhaps it is a matter of weight and wondered what each of you weighed? I am 6'0" and weigh 200 pounds. If you weigh less perhaps that would help to explain some of the difference..

My 804's wore out completely by 435 miles and the tread was almost smooth. Those were measured miles mostly generated by speed walking doing my exercise routine and about 80 miles were with pack. I make a computer entry after each walk to keep track of my miles/month/year and so know exactly how many miles are on each pair of shoes. I go through a new pair about every three months and keep at least two pair in use so as to alternate them from time to time. Now the 805 replacement took much longer to get used to but I dont think they will last much longer. Regardless, I am very happy with these and consider the above mileage better than normal (for me, at least and my experience) and will never go back to the waffle stompers again. I feel-for me anyway-that the "ankle support" argument for higher cut shoes or boots may be just manufacturers blowing smoke....

Just curious

03-03-2003, 19:05
If you are walking any sort of hard surface, the tread will wear out faster (concrete specifically). On trail, you tend to blow out the front of the shoe or sides from going down hill.

Gravity Man

03-03-2003, 19:16
low mileage with the 804's? Some people are just harder on footwear than others. Raindog in '01 probably got about 300 to 400 miles out of a pair.

Lowa's: Good shoe, but for me, the rubber toe piece gave out from rocks and roots. Used shoe goo and got another couple hundred miles of easy trail out of them.

Salomon: I got 3 miles out of them. Ripped out on top near the toe.

I'm currently using Garmont and my pair at present has about 200 miles or so on them. So, still relatively new so to speak. I got them because the selection was limited when I walked into town.

Frankly, with superfeet insoles, I didn't feel significant differences between what different boots they had there.

Trail Yeti
03-03-2003, 20:05
Add another vote for the Tempest Lo's...used them from Mass onward...still have good traction, and still fit. they do dry slower than a trail runner, but faster than a boot. I never really had any problems with mine...I know lots of hikers who used them last year. Some went the whole way on just 2 pair!
also casting a vote for the NB 804's...I got 700 miles off of mine before the lining in the heel tore out. They did bother my achilles at first, I cut out that little hoop at the back and they were fine.
Also tried a pair of Vasque Vapors....pieces of crap! toe started to come unglued after 20 miles! After a lot of hassle, Vasque finally replaced them, and the toe came unglued after 10 miles! ONly good thing about them was they dried fast. Thanks to all the hassle from Vasque, they lost a customer for life. Down with Vasque, they suck! IMO

Blue Jay
03-04-2003, 08:59
Vasque used to be the number one AT shoe. You could call them and they would have a pair waiting at the next PO. Many hikers took too much advantage of that service, would demand a new pair in PA. Someone bought them out a few years ago and they went down hill fast.

03-04-2003, 23:26
RagingHamster----PLEASE try the LLBean goretex Cresta Hiker...you cant go wrong with Beans 100% return offer, they also have a boot guy answering 800 calls all day long....plus you can try them on the Long Trail and if you dont like them when you get back return them for 100% of your money....I used Raichle Palus (truly indestructible) and Raichle Monta Rosa's (truly comfortable) for years but found the same comfort and durability in the Cresta....read Backpacker mag's reviews, so far mine have 180ish AT miles on them and will be on the next hike and the one after that (unless I hear of someone who has success with Seal Skinz and Teva WRaptors)

Trail Yeti
03-05-2003, 01:07
my cousin Papa Smurf 97 uses Chacos and seal skinz. He only wears the skinz for exreme cold or snow. Works great for him. I also hiked 400 miles in my chacos...

03-05-2003, 01:12
If it fits and it's comfortable...everything else can be dealt with. I am currently using Merrell Ventilators and they work well. Being Merrell of course things have gone wrong, but nothing that couldn't be fixed easily. Focus on fit and comfort, the rest falls into place. It's also a good idea to know how to fix gear when it breaks as opposed to hoping it doesn't. Everything will break at some point.

03-05-2003, 09:36
The crestas look like they weigh a ton. Any ideas on their weight?

03-05-2003, 09:39
from Kathadin to Kent, CT. These were the honkers I used that made my feet go numb. (see the previous post) They are heavy- don't know about the weight.

03-05-2003, 09:43
According to gearfinder.com, the all leather ones weight 3#7oz and the leather/mesh ones weight 3#4oz.

03-05-2003, 10:28
After not wanting to torture my feet in classic Norwegian welt, all leather Scarpa Rio for nine years, I decided to go to the Lowas. I did not reduce my pack weight and feel 10X faster and more comfortable. I tried the Merrel Chameleon GTX, but these had more support and a real roomy toebox, very important to me. The 2002 model was a good deal on closeout and, I think, a little more supportive than the 2003 Vibram-soled model. I'm pretty sure I won't go back to the clod-stompers unless I go on an expedition in Alaska or something.

03-05-2003, 10:48
I agree about the shift in Lowa construction. I just bought a pair of the 2003 model to replace my old (3 or 4 year old) Tempests. The new model with vibram sole doesn't have the same feeling of solidity that the older ones had though they are lighter and very comfortable. I use my Lowas as "everyday" shoes (as well as for hiking) unless there's some reason to wear something more conventional...

Last year I bought a pair of Merril Ventilators to wear on those hot, sultry mid-atlantic days. I found them to be very comfortable and to fit well. However, the Lowa's tend to feel cooler on hot days than do the ventilators . . . go figure...

Trail Yeti
03-05-2003, 17:01
My feet sweat like crazy in my lowas...maybe its because I wear gaiters....

03-05-2003, 22:56
I use MTN Hardwear trail gaiters. just tall enough with lo cuts or lo boots without too much material. hot feet, I think, is unavoidable.

03-06-2003, 11:42
REI outlet (REI-Outlet.Com) has last year's model Lowa Tempest Lo on sale for 67 bucks...largest size available is 11.5 however... Here's the link


03-09-2003, 06:34
Well the Vasque Nimbus GTX were perfect, all except the contoured arch which does not match the contours of my footarch. So, they're going back too.

I must say that I've looked at the Tempest Lo's, but I'm not excited about the all-leather uppers. It inhibits breatheability, and soaks up water unless you clean/treat it every couple weeks. I would like something that breathes well. Cinched up wet feet suck.

LL Beans site is down right now for maintenence, but I'll check out the "Cresta Hiker" when I get back from todays hike.

I'm looking for something with mesh, or atleast nylon.

I'm really tempted to try the Teva route. I'm looking at the Wraptor Guide, and Vector. Anyone use the vector? I'm worried about chaffing between the straps and my feet.

03-09-2003, 10:20
visit the lowa website or rei.com...lowa makes a variety of footwear including shoes with nylon panels...REI sells teh Nevada lo which looks like the tempest except it has nylon panels...

good luck on your search for the perfect shoe!

03-09-2003, 10:35
Have you tried New Balance 804's or 805's?

03-13-2003, 10:49
Cresta is a wafflestomper. No go.

I'm going to try the Teva Guide Wraptor w/Seal Skinz. I already received the guides and they fit great. Now it's just a matter of testing it when the seal skinz come in. I figure 2' of snow pack in 20*F weather in central mass should be a good test.

I'm really feeling good about this one. If not, I'm going to try a pair of Lowa Los with the mesh.

By the way, Size 13 Teva Guide Wraptors come in at 1lb 14oz for the pair!


I had a pair of NB (forget which model), and they were kinda chincy in my opinion...

03-13-2003, 12:09
I haven't tried NB's myself, but I belong to PCT-LIST also and quite a few people there have hiked the entire PCT in NB 804's or 805's. Seems like this would be a pretty good recommendation for them.

03-18-2003, 11:49
Teva Guide Wraptors & Seal Skinz.

Well I tested this system for a week in various winter conditions. I also wore a pair of mid-weight Smartwools inside the Seal Skinz.

The guide wraptors have traction problems with snow. Almost no tread makes for a nice hike along side the trail where you can get some grip. I fell on my @$$ when I tried walking downhill on some icy snowpack.

You definetly need some type of insulation besides the Skinz when walking in snow. I found a pair of Smartwools to be adequate, if your prone to cold feet you may need two pairs (and hope they both fit in the skinz!).

I stayed almost dry. I found that with 2 hours of fast-paced hiking I couldnt get rid of all the sweat my feet were generating. My socks became slightly moist. But this was no worse than what would have built up in a boot. Another plus I realized while hiking is that gaiters became useless. Seeing as you have no boots to pack with snow, and the sealskinz are spandex tight around your calf, I took them off after the first 1/4mi. I carried a pack w/20lbs, and had no problems.

I plan to use this system on my 120mi Metacomet-Monadnock Thru in May. I can't wait to hike with no snow, and wind between my toes!