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InsanityBeckons
03-10-2009, 20:50
I have a pair of NB 478's, would these make a 3 day hike in the first of April?
Or should I get some boots and start to break them in?
This is the first time hiking and I don't want to speed a ton of money on it and never do it again.

Please chime in.

The Weasel
03-10-2009, 20:56
For your first time, no need for boots, unless you have weak ankles or are going in wet conditions. Trail shoes are excellent, and most running/jogging shoes that have good tread on them are just fine. If you are concerned about ankle strength, you can do a lot even in the next few weeks with stretching exercises.

Weasy

ColdFire
03-10-2009, 21:04
And be sure and wear Nylon socks so you don't get blisters or hot spots :sun

CrumbSnatcher
03-10-2009, 21:30
where ya hiking? A.T. in georgia.? no boots needed.

InsanityBeckons
03-10-2009, 21:45
Yes, sorry the AT in Georgia. Working at getting stuff together on a budget. Hows the WalMart bag hold up for $30 I don't think it would be to bad.

Summit
03-10-2009, 21:53
Well, considering I did my first hike with a Boy Scout knapsack that had canvas shoulder straps (no padding) and no waist belt, and still managed to get hooked on backpacking, it'll probably work, at least until you decide if you'll be in this sport for the long haul! :)

Definitely go with the running shoes . . . and consider never getting big heavy leather boots.

hikergirl1120
03-11-2009, 07:22
I have two questions. I am a "boot" hiker but I am trying to be open to trail runners. I like that they are much lighter, but I am still not sold.

1) Are their trail runners with a sturdy enough sole? Are the soles going to wear out quickly?I find that if the sole of the boot I am hiking with is not stiff or sturdy enough my feet are in rough shape after a few days.

2) How many pairs of trail runners would you expect to go through on a through hike? I would imagine that a leather boot would hold up better.

hoz
03-11-2009, 07:50
You have to find what works for you. I tried hiking in runners/trail shoes and didn't like it. At first I was enthralled by the "lightweight" thing, but after hiking in those my feet, ankles and shins just throbbed.

I need a good solid footbed and some ankle support.

Lightweight shoes didn't give me that. And YES, I tried Superfeet insoles. I've since gone to Sole Ultras and they give better support, but not enough for a day of hiking in trail runners.

Take a look at your route and pack weight. If you stay on groomed trails with minimal roots and rocks, and a light pack the shoe, runner philosophy might work for you.

Willa leather boot hold up longer than a trailshoe? I guess that depends on the maker. But I'd say, all things being equal, Hell Yeah!

Frick Frack
03-11-2009, 08:01
I would hike in your trail runners assuming you are not going to carry too much weight (over 35 lbs). Only you will be able to determine what is appropriate for yourself and only experience will teach you. I am a "boot" hiker myself because like Hikergirl I need extra support for the bottoms of my feet. I'm trying some lighter weight boots but the trail runners I have tried leave my feet trashed at the end of the day. Everyone is different so my advice is use what ya got then determine what you need if you want to pursue backpacking further. Good luck.

Rockhound
03-11-2009, 09:50
You can pick up a pair of High-Tech boots for $40 to $60. 2 pairs of these will get you the whole way from GA to ME. You might even be able to do it with 1 pair. They are all I've hiked with for the past few years and I have no complaints. I've heard of people spending close to $200 dollars for boots that they were not happy with. If you already have trail runners you might as well start out with those and if they wear out or you are unhappy with them there are plenty of outfitters along the way where you can get another pair of trail runners or switch to boots.

hikergirl1120
03-11-2009, 11:24
I have a new pair of Asolo 520's but I am a litle concerned on their fit...luckily I got them at REI so I can return them if I end up changing my mind...I wanted to get something that was super tough and I have always wanted a pair of those. I have done some really light hikes in them and the thing that concerned me is that descending on some rocky terrain my foot was sliding forward...I don't kow what to do about it. I guess I am alittle worried about getting stuck on the trail with some crappy shoes/boots. I am starting SOBO so I am wondering how easy it would be to get to an outfitter up north...

Jayboflavin04
03-11-2009, 11:49
I am going middle of the road to try! I have always worn heavy gortex boots while hiking! So I bought a mid non-gortex montrail hiker to start. This gives me a good starting point to go either direction. But if you have a heavier pack I would sway more towards boots.

The Weasel
03-11-2009, 11:53
Trail shoes, even light ones, generally have soles that are similar to boots, with similar wear. Boots will not hold up better or worse than shoes, assuming similar quality to begin with.

If you have foot slide, go back to REI and ask to see their "Bootfitter." This is NOT just a regular sales person. Most REI stores will have one, perhaps in rotation. The Bootfitter can advise you about fitting issues, including new insoles, socks, and other things.

Footwear is the MOST important gear on a hike, and while differences in prices and styles can be relatively unimportant, FIT is critical to your enjoyment.

Weasy

Highway Man
03-11-2009, 12:24
I have a new pair of Asolo 520's but I am a litle concerned on their fit...luckily I got them at REI so I can return them if I end up changing my mind...I wanted to get something that was super tough and I have always wanted a pair of those. I have done some really light hikes in them and the thing that concerned me is that descending on some rocky terrain my foot was sliding forward...I don't kow what to do about it. I guess I am alittle worried about getting stuck on the trail with some crappy shoes/boots. I am starting SOBO so I am wondering how easy it would be to get to an outfitter up north...

If I were you, I would return the boots. I have exact the same boots and took it to Mt. Washington in Feb. They are made to suite for certain extreme hiking consitions, but not good for long distance and warm-weather hikings.
I listened to the people here and switched to Vasque Mantra with very satisfying results. Now I have two pairs ready for this year's thru.

garlic08
03-11-2009, 12:39
I have two questions. I am a "boot" hiker but I am trying to be open to trail runners. I like that they are much lighter, but I am still not sold.

1) Are their trail runners with a sturdy enough sole? Are the soles going to wear out quickly?I find that if the sole of the boot I am hiking with is not stiff or sturdy enough my feet are in rough shape after a few days.

2) How many pairs of trail runners would you expect to go through on a through hike? I would imagine that a leather boot would hold up better.

There are sturdy "trail shoes" out there, but they can be nearly as heavy as boots. "Trail runners", on the other hand, are very light and do not give much more support than any other running shoe. They do have a more aggresive tread and excellent ventilation.

A good trail shoe will last well over 1000 miles. Trail runners need to be replaced about as often as any other running shoe, 5-600 miles in my experience.

Trail runners are made for, well, trail runners. But lightweight hikers, those who very seldom carry more than 20 pounds in the pack at any time, have adopted them. They are not really made for the typical AT backpacker with a 30# or heavier pack.

Summit
03-11-2009, 12:41
I have two questions. I am a "boot" hiker but I am trying to be open to trail runners. I like that they are much lighter, but I am still not sold.

1) Are their trail runners with a sturdy enough sole? Are the soles going to wear out quickly?I find that if the sole of the boot I am hiking with is not stiff or sturdy enough my feet are in rough shape after a few days.

2) How many pairs of trail runners would you expect to go through on a through hike? I would imagine that a leather boot would hold up better.There is a 'cross breed' of running shoes called "cross-trainers" (most online outfitters have links to that category). The main difference between trail runners and cross-trainers is the later almost always have Vibram soles, which will satisfy your concern for a sturdier foot bed. Those type soles do make cross-trainers a little heavier than regular running or trail running shoes, however. Personally I think cross-trainers is an excellent choice, but many folks like regular running and trail running shoes.

How many pair for a thru? Most people report that even if the soles aren't blown out on a running/cross-training shoe, their cushioning function is gone by around 500 miles. That said, you should probably plan on four pairs for a thru, although you might get by with one less pair.

Alligator
03-11-2009, 12:52
...
1) Are their trail runners with a sturdy enough sole? Are the soles going to wear out quickly?I find that if the sole of the boot I am hiking with is not stiff or sturdy enough my feet are in rough shape after a few days.

...The support on my last trail runners appears to have given out while the soles still have good tread left. Also, the mesh didn't hold up too well.

In my experience, boot soles are stiffer than the trail runners. I compensate by taking more effort to get good foot placement on rocks. That is, I aim to place my feet onto "flat" points, flat sides of rocks or flat sections of trail. I'm pretty agile on rocks though so this doesn't slow me down. After a few miles, most hikers are fairly adept at picking their path along the trail. Watch a tourist walk up a rocky hill and then watch a hiker.

Frick Frack
03-11-2009, 13:09
I have a new pair of Asolo 520's but I am a litle concerned on their fit...luckily I got them at REI so I can return them if I end up changing my mind...I wanted to get something that was super tough and I have always wanted a pair of those. I have done some really light hikes in them and the thing that concerned me is that descending on some rocky terrain my foot was sliding forward...I don't kow what to do about it. I guess I am alittle worried about getting stuck on the trail with some crappy shoes/boots. I am starting SOBO so I am wondering how easy it would be to get to an outfitter up north...

I hiked SOBO last year in the Asolo 400's. They were excellent for me. Sounds like yours are a little large? I hiked from Wesser, NC to Springer in some Salomon trail runners (my 2nd pair of Asolo's gave out) and my feet were screaming. I'm trying some Garmont Flash (the Eclipse is the low-cut version) boots that I bought from REI and they have been excellent so far. They are somewhere in between a boot and trailrunner. As for outfitters up north, good luck. We didn't have much luck till Manchester Center VT.

Berserker
03-11-2009, 16:58
I have a pair of NB 478's, would these make a 3 day hike in the first of April?
Or should I get some boots and start to break them in?
This is the first time hiking and I don't want to speed a ton of money on it and never do it again.
Assuming you aren't carrying a ton (30 lbs would be my max) of weight I would just go with what you have. If you plan to backpack more after this first foray and don't like them then you can check out other options.

Berserker
03-11-2009, 17:05
I have two questions. I am a "boot" hiker but I am trying to be open to trail runners. I like that they are much lighter, but I am still not sold.

1) Are their trail runners with a sturdy enough sole? Are the soles going to wear out quickly?I find that if the sole of the boot I am hiking with is not stiff or sturdy enough my feet are in rough shape after a few days.
I’m in the same boat as you. I’m a “boot” guy, but want to be more of a trail runner guy. I haven’t quite made it down to trail runners yet (hope to if I get my pack lighter), but I have ditched my full leather boots and heavier synthetic boots for other options (see my response to Summit below). The reason I ditched the heavy boots was because I feel they were not helping me at all, and might have been hurting me. I've been working on this for a few years by the way.

I have read different peoples opinions on how traditional backpacking boots actually restrict movement, and can lead to injuries. One place where you can read about this in Ray Jardine’s book “Beyond Backpacking”. Note that I don’t agree with most of Mr. Jardine’s ideas…he’s a little out there, but I do think his dissertation on footwear is pretty good (except when he gets into cutting slits into his shoes…does anyone actually do this?). Anyway, I didn’t believe all I had read until I found out for myself. I used to have “weak” ankles where I would turn them periodically out on the trail when stepping on off camber stuff (like roots, rocks, etc). What I found out is that they were weak because I wasn’t properly strengthening them, and the stiffness of the boot soles didn’t help as they didn’t flex over uneven surfaces (thus causing the boot and subsequently my foot to turn awkwardly over objects on the trail). I started training on trails (rather than sidewalks) and wore trail runners for my training. After doing this for a while my ankles got significantly stronger.

At any rate, my point is that there are other options out there so make sure to check them out. The other thing to think about is that with lighter more flexible shoes you will be more nimble on the trail, and your feet won’t get beat up as long as you pay attention to your step placement (i.e. the tendency with heavy boots is to just walk on everything, whereas with less substantial footwear one needs to walk more “carefully”). Also keep in mind that the fit is the most important thing, and everything else is secondary. If you find a really cool pair of boots and they don’t fit well you’ll be miserable. I always tell my buddies that I don’t care if it’s pink, if it fits good I’ll wear it (I might have to dye it a different color though).



There is a 'cross breed' of running shoes called "cross-trainers" (most online outfitters have links to that category).
Several shoe manufacturers make a “hybrid” type shoe too. What I mean by a “hybrid” are shoes that are typically made of synthetic uppers, have a stiffer sole than a trail runner but that is more flexible than a sole on a typical traditional boot (Vibram), and are usually significantly lighter than traditional boots. It’s more or less the mid-point between traditional boots and trail runners in my opinion. The versions I have personally tried out include the Salomon X Pro X, Nike Tallac, Patagonia Vagabond, and right now I am checking out the Salomon Fastpackers (both the low and mid). Not sure if the Fastpacker mids really fit well (so I might be sending them back), but man are they nice and light.

SunnyWalker
03-12-2009, 23:32
Do a search and go to Ray Jardines Adventure page.