View Full Version : Beginner Boots (kid)

06-11-2009, 08:39
Hi everybody,

I was asked for a recommendation in boots for a 13 yo boy in scouts. He is going to begin to backpack with his troop. Since I basically these days have tunnel vision for my own gear and am not too up on whats good for the newbies. Any recommendations. thanks!!!:rolleyes:


06-11-2009, 09:40
It is very hard to find decent running shoes for kids until they get into adult sizes. Most 13 year olds and especially younger kids are lighter than adults relative to the size of their feet, so they need less cushion and less support, but smaller sizes especially kids sizes tend to be scaled down in such a way that they are even more overbuilt. Most running shoes in kids sizes are like having them run in platform shoes.

By 13 kids should definitely be into adult sizes, so finding lighter built shoes should be easier. The big thing about hiking at that age is to keep the loads light. Scouts generally don't do a good job of this. At the other extreme is the Orthapedics Societies who's recommendations are probably too conservative. My own recommendation is for growing kids and teenagers to carry no more than half their height squared, which for 5' would be 12.5 pounds, and for 5'6" would be 15 pounds, and for 6' 18 pounds. If they are overweight they might struggle with that much. If they are very well built they can probably carry double that easy, but unless they are nearly full grown I would caution against it, especially during years of extreeme growth spurts.

With such moderate loads hiking boots are neccessary, but since kids are inclined to do alot of bushwacking and scrambling, a little extra protection around the ankles from roots and branches and rocks might be a good thing. I have a pair of leather ankle boots which would be perfect for that sort of thing, but I have had them for years and they are not the sort of thing you see on the market. The are tough leather, but flexible, and go up to say mid ankle about the same as hockey skates. There is no padding. There is a thin gortex lining on the inside but it doesn't really do all that much. The mid sole is plastic and the outer sole is rubber which I have replaced, but need to replace again because it doesn't have enough traction for winter, and might even be iffy on wet rocks.

Anyhow, 16oz a shoe in size 12. I would look for something like that for kids. Basically a light trail runner, but a higher ankle and in leather for a little more protection against sharp objects. They shouldn't need much support or cushion, but protection from sharp objects might be a good thing. It is important that they still be able to run comfortably.

There is probably very little out there that is suitable, but keep looking, you never know. As long as you know what you are looking for you are less likely to get steered wrong. Don't get steered into whatever they happen to be selling. Rugged but light trail runners with DIY leather gaitors might be an interesting way to go if the ankle isn't high enough. You can't protect the whole leg against everything, but its at least nice to protect up to as far as the narrowest part of the ankle, if they are doing alot of bushwacking and scrambling around in the woods over dead trees and stuff. If using a hatchet, there is that to think about also. A simple leather ankle boot would be excellent, not too heavy with padding and stuff. If more than 12-14oz in sizes 6-10 they are probably too clunky, and will cause more harm than good. Kids gotta be able to run.

06-11-2009, 09:49
As kids we used to wear something called desert boots, which was a low ankle boot in a sort of suede. A tougher but still supple leather would be better. Something you can waterproof in wet winter conditions and let the waterproofing wear off for warmer weather. The don't seem to have enough ankle to them or tread on them today though. There are the military style desert boots, which are like a light combat boot. They might work if you could get them cheap, and they were built light enough in your kids size.

The ones I see online seem steeply overpriced, but maybe the real ones at an Army Surplus are better and cheaper. Make sure he can still run in it, but they might work. If just hiking though, trail runner might be better. On any given trip he will want one or the other but not both. If it was my troop I would have them all make moccasins, but that's just me. Needless to say, I don't have a troop. My girl is in Guides though. We are making mocassins for her for this summer. She does more hiking with me than with her guide unit, but she does alot of great stuff with her Guide Unit that I can't do.

06-11-2009, 09:51
I wouldn't recommend anything with a full leather upper. Kids grow to quickly (especially at that age). They dont have enough time to break them in. I would look at a lightwieght mid hiker.

06-11-2009, 10:05
If the leather is soft and supple, though tough, they don't have to be broken in like a hard leather boot. The idea of the soft tough leather is more for protection not so much for support. Also the plain leather without cloth and cushion manages water better than most hiking shoes with cloth and cushion today that absorb and hold water. I was lucky to find the pair I did. Haven't seen them since or anything like them. They have an "H.M.O." logo on the side, whatever that is. They didn't need breaking in any more than a pair of running shoes, which is nil, but they have lasted alot longer. Tread isn't as good though, that's the only thing.

06-11-2009, 10:06
This is close to what I mean:

06-11-2009, 10:15
Until you find something I would suggest simple trail runners. Something without too much padding that absorbs too much water, but still fits well with both thin socks and medium or thick smartwool socks. Make sure there are no hard spots on the inside where his bony parts are. Sometimes skipping some lacing can fix that, but look for something smooth and flexible and light that won't absorb too much water.

06-11-2009, 10:35
Thanks for the replys so far.....I know I will not be recommending moccassins however. ...lol

leeki pole
06-11-2009, 10:50
Trail runner, ankle support is overrated. Go to a good running store and have them look at his pronation pattern with an old pair of running shoes and go from there.