View Full Version : Boots, trek shoes, or what?

sweaty yetti
12-26-2009, 22:29
I'm starting my hike in Georgia in March and this is the first time I've done any serious backpacking.

I'm looking for recommendations on footwear from experienced hikers. Should I get boots to start or trek shoes or what? I really would like to prevent blisters but I hear they are almost inevitable. Thanks

12-26-2009, 22:43
My first multiday hike in the mid 1970s found me with a full frame pack and leather street running shoes. I was told I should have worn something else and ended up buying boots, then heavier boots which hurt my feet, then custom made heavy boots so my feet wouldn't hurt so much. Then I bought some lighter hiking boots and lighter low top hikers (not "trail runners, but light). After getting my 3-5 day cool weather pack down below 25 lbs. I realized I didn't need the support of even the light hikers and switched to trail runners (various models but I'm using Asics now). Last year I even finished the last 20 miles of the Hundred Mile Wilderness in sandals made for water sports (Keen Newport H2) when my runners stretched out too much. Yes, I even climbed Katahdin in them.
It's up to you, really, but lighter shoes (with enough arch support - I use orthotic inserts) will make your legs happier at the end of the day.
The old adage is "One pound on your feet is like five on your back". I believe that.
I used to feel my knee joints pop when I lifted up each three pound Limmer (yes, that's six pounds for the pair). The Limmers were the best heavy boots I ever had, but I've done hundreds of miles in light shoes since retiring them around 2001 or so.

12-26-2009, 22:49
Btw: If you mean you're attempting a thruhike, you should pick out the socks you intend to wear and go to the outfitter with them on at the end of a day on your feet (your feet will swell during the day) to find the shoe that's right for you,
Also, a pair of waterproof socks (I use Sealskinz) are very effective in keeping your feet relatively dry (they will be damp from sweat) and warm in the event of a freak snowstorm. I've hiked in my Sealskinz at temps down into the mid teens (nothing under them) and been fine until I stopped (then my feet got very cold quickly). I carried a pair of down (synthetic will work just as well, probably) booties for camp. I really needed them on that trip.

12-27-2009, 02:44
Good advise-this is one of those things that are Hike your own hike. On your shake down hikes try what you think will work then modify-don't forget insoles.Best of luck-remember it's your head not your feet!

12-27-2009, 12:32
I think the trend today is to hike with trail runners instead of boots. Don't matter what you wear on your feet you will probably experience blisters. A good pair of boots will probably last for 1000 miles while good trail runners only go about 400 miles.
I thru hiked with a pair of Montrail AT hikers. They were quite a heavy boot but I liked the additional support they gave me. I had experienced sprained ancles in the past and didn't want one on my hike. These boots lasted through my whole hike. I had new soles put on after 1500 miles though.
Some advise I always give to potential thru-hikers is; go barefoot as much as posiable before you hike. This will help to toughen up your feet for the long journey. I had a few places on my toes where I would develope blisters. I first started to tape these spots before starting my day. I than took to just rubbing in a little Vasoline to these areas before putting on my socks. This worked very well.

12-27-2009, 19:54
I'm starting my hike in Georgia in March and this is the first time I've done any serious backpacking.

You live in Texas. Any chance of getting a a handful of overnighters before the big event? I imagine the weather in the Dallas area is a bit more mild than say..Colorado. ;) Being serious, the temps in the Dallas area are probably are slightly warmer than what you'll see in the mountains of GA come March. Any backpacking you can get in before the AT will only help (and, did I mention, it will be fun? :) )

Besides being fun, overnight backpacking will let you test your gear, shakedown your system and let you find out which gear works for you. :)

The Lone Star Trail is not far from Dallas apparently:

WB threads of interest:

ps. Looks like January is a prime time to hike the LST! :) Here's what the guidebook author (an occasional WB user) has to say about the trail:

And for any other wondering what seasons are best for a thru-hike, or any hike for that matter, I highly recommend January, Feb or March. Temps are usually mild to cool, bugs are nonexistant and the trail is typically all yours to enjoy. Other months are doable, but you do have to take precautions against the heat and bugs (and sometimes, the hunters).

If you can squeeze in 8-10 days (about 15 MPD on easy terrain), it would be a great prep hike.....

At the very least, some day hikes in some hilly areas (if possible) may help, too.

(As an FYI, I use trail runners because they dry quickly and my feet are less tired. I also use a lighter pack)

12-27-2009, 20:09
i agree with Mags, other than the warmer than colorado part :) i went to college there and now live in Abilene so i know both places.

but seriously, you should get in some overnight hikes to test your gear and figure out what kind of shoes/boots will work for your feet. Big Bend is a great place to go. not sure how much free time you have and it would be about a 10-12 hour drive from dallas if i'm not mistaken. another good place to go would be Colorado Bend State Park. The nice thing about Big Bend this time of year is you don't have to worry too much about weather if you stick to the desert area. still has some great hill/mountain work, but without the snow you can get up in the mountains.

If you need some ideas or would like someone to go with you, PM me, i've got a pretty open schedule. i'm planing to start my thru in April.

12-29-2009, 10:50
stronger feet need less boot.walking bearfoot is the trick. fett are week and live in the dark in townlife. get them on a program before thruhiking. you would be suprised how rough and cold the ground can be yet still be walked over barefoot even with soft feet. just less distasnce maby, but that can be increased. i walk 5 mi max barefoot in the woods .