View Full Version : SOBO Footwear Question

04-22-2009, 20:11
Wow! WB rocks. I'm planning a SOBO hike starting in mid June and have a footwear question. I recently purchased a pair of Trail Runners as my footwear (Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX). They seem to be very comfortable and I plan on breaking them in a bit before I head for Baxter. My question is regarding the durability of trail runners in general. I know many may prefer a certain brand / model combination but I'm more curious as to if others plan on replacing them due to wear along the trail and at what interval. I didn't know if I should plan on replacing them 2 or 3 times, or what? If I really learn to love these specifically what should I expect in regards to availability from outfitters along the way? Limited selection? Are boots just much more durable? How many times did others replace footwear along the way?

04-22-2009, 22:16
I replaced my trail runners about every 400-500 miles. The soles lose their grippiness, and holes appear in the uppers. The rockiness of the terrain affects how quickly they wear out. How much mud and water there is in a particular section affects wear even more. If you're wearing a common shoe and in a normal size, you can buy along the way. A lot of people's feet grow during a long hike, so you might need to go up a size or two.

hammock engineer
04-23-2009, 02:56
I went through a lot of shoes. Part of that was figuring out what was working for me. Up north outfitters are scarse. When you come across one and needs something better to get it then wait for the next one. I was told there was one close to Monson that you could get a ride to from Shaw's if they were not busy.

If you really like them and they are working for you, have an extra pair at home that can be sent to you if needed. I left a big box of gear and food all labeled to be sent. Definitly label stuff if you do. I did not expect my family to know the small but huge differences in some of the stuff. I didn't mail drop much (other than maps and some gear). But I figured if I was going to the PO anyways, may as well save some money and pick up food there too. I would give them 2 weeks notice to get it somewhere. Never seemed to take more than a week.

04-23-2009, 03:24
Maybe purchase an extra pair now. Then have someone ship them to you when needed. (Probably by Vermont -- just saying)

04-23-2009, 09:25
I wouldn't worry too much about not finding outfitters up north if you start with a good pair of shoes you're comfortable in. I started with trail runners last year and made it to Manchester Center before getting new ones. There is an EMS in Manchester Center and a local outfitter called the Mountain Goat which is excellent. If you can't get / don't get that far on them, there are outfitters in Lincoln, NH that will be able to take care of you (and that will end up being a place you'll be at most likely). With the terrain in the first 400 or so miles, it's really important to be comfortable in your shoes. So many people had really big issues with feet/knees/etc last year going SOBO just because their shoes weren't what they needed. Those Solomon shoes are pretty good IMO - I wore them from Linden, VA to Springer last year. Happy trails!

04-23-2009, 10:07
They work great. But do replace them often and your feet will love you for it. Start buying up some ahead of time if you want to mail to yourself (be sure they are a size larger than you wear. Your feet will sprout). You'll need a pair by Glencliff or Hanover for certain. And make sure you have good insoles.

04-23-2009, 10:11
Have a great hike.
I'd wait to see how much your feet grow to decide when and what to buy.
You'll see lots of people with different shoes out there. Some better than others.

Personally, i get about 1,000 miles out of my Montrail Vitesse's (and i buy them at least one size bigger than my feet)

04-23-2009, 11:16
I wore 'trail runners' most of the way. In terms of selection along the trail plan on looking for an outfitter every 500-700 miles. When you feel its time, get a new pair. You may want to consider carrying your old pair for a few days as you break the new pair in.

Here is my last pair of shoes from my 2005 SOBO hike. These basic sneakers carried me for the final 800+ miles.


04-23-2009, 18:24
Pictures. what a good idea! Worth a 1000 words.

Old shoes and new shoes at Manchester Center, VT.


hammock engineer
04-24-2009, 05:36
Nice pics. I looked on my TJ and couldn't find any, must not have got posted. I remember replacing out my first pair in Hanover (long over due for me). I remember being able to twist them completely around. A good test for when all the cushioning and padding are gone.

The Will
04-24-2009, 07:24
My Experience: I find something that is a good fit then I can usually by some of the same shoe on Ebay for a steep discount. May be a good way for you to "stock up" on footwear for a 2000 mile hike.