View Full Version : boots vs trail shoes

10-24-2007, 22:47
Help please, I'm 51, have been hiking in either lightweight Danner Goretex or LL Bean lightweights (no waterproofin'). I've never had ankle problems, still play tennis 3-4 times a week and would like to try a trail shoe, just for the savings in weight and such. Biggest concern for me is probably my 'old school' mentality of the protection of high tops -- I played basketball in high school and college and coaches demanded high tops vs low

Ideas, thoughts, product recommendations? Many thanks to all, tons of great info here always.

10-24-2007, 23:09
I think it depends on your bodyweight and your pack weight. I've carried an 80# ALICE pack wearing jungle boots (almost no ankle support) and I've turned my ankle numerous times, I'm lucky not to have broken anything. I've done a couple of hikes in New Balance trail runners (I'm wearing them now) and my ankles felt a little wobbly the first day, as the water/food load lightened, they felt fine. Having tried the trail runners I still just bought a pair of ASOLO light non/goretex boots. We shall see.

10-24-2007, 23:24
RNC: my guess is you'll be fine in trail runners, so long as you're carrying a reasonable pack weight. I'm 54, and over my years of hiking I've graduated steadily downward in terms of the weight & stiffness of my boots. I hiked about 350 miles in New Balance trail runners this summer (after sending home a pair of Wolverine boots in Harpers Ferry.)

10-25-2007, 00:47
I was almost 50 when I hiked the trail and switched to trail runners. Use super feet insoles... I would try to carry less than 35 lbs. It is well worth it. Your ankles get stronger.. BTW I played basketball too...

10-25-2007, 09:48
I was almost 50 when I hiked the trail and switched to trail runners. Use super feet insoles... I would try to carry less than 35 lbs. It is well worth it. Your ankles get stronger.. BTW I played basketball too...

I agree (except I'm 54). I started with high top boots and traded them in for trail runners. I never experienced the weak ankle issue that always concerned me. Your pack weight does have a lot to do with it. Keep it light and the shoes can be lighter.

10-25-2007, 14:47
there are a variety of "trail runner" shoes(shoes lighter than a boot) but are high or mid tops. just have to look around. vasque has some that i found to be very waterproof, lightweight and super comfortable. Went from harpers ferry to katahdin in them when my lowtop montrails finally gave out.

Appalachian Tater
10-25-2007, 17:59
Since you have worn LL Bean, try these:
They are pretty nice. I got some New Balance shoes this year and like them, too. My feet are wide and flat so my choices are somewhat limited.

Jim Adams
10-25-2007, 18:20
I went back to Vasque Sundowners from trail runners but height had nothing to do with it. My AT pack weight is 26-28 lbs and although I start off over weight, I lose it quickly. My reason for going back was for more UNDER foot support. While I don't need mountaineering boots, I do find that a thin sole that doesn't bend or flex "over" rocks ended blisters on the soles of my feet. I wish that I could find "low" Sundowners just because they would be a little cooler.


10-25-2007, 20:59
I started hiking in low top lightweight hikers about 10 years ago. I'm 54 and a little over 200 lbs. I used to turn my ankles a lot. I also used to hike in custom made Limmer heavyweight boots. Since I switched to low tops, turning my ankles is a rarity. Maybe I'm more careful, or carry lighter loads, but I think the reality is that my ankles got stronger because they had to. This spring, I hiked half of the Conn. section in sandles (Keen watersports sandles) with Smartwool socks. A few weeks ago, I hiked the second half of the Conn. section with the same setup, switching to neoprene booties instead of the socks while hiking in the rain.
You don't have to be a young lightweight to use light footwear (but it may take some time to adjust).


10-25-2007, 22:17
I feel obligated to respond to this thread as well, as I'm 54, too. I recently hiked in Vasque trail shoes and loved how they felt on my feet. In the past, I've worn a high Vasque boot. My left ankle is rather weak and turned a couple of times but I was able to correct my step to keep from doing any damage. I think I hiked better in shoes rather than boots.

Tom (54 but not for long)