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View Full Version : Thoughts on Switching from Boots to Trail Shoes



FlyPaper
06-24-2011, 11:37
I always wear boots while backpacking. I had one ankle sprain six years ago (not while hiking) and virtually every
hike I find that my boots seemingly prevent me from rolling my ankles. I don't consider myself highly prone to
ankle sprains, but I have had one pretty good sprain.

I've occasionally seen people hiking in trial shoes.

Recently, I did a long day hike (about 15 miles) in tennis shoes. I was willing to try this because I was not carrying
anything but food and water, and I reasoned my legs would not become as fatigued as they would if I were carrying
a pack.

It really worked out well. I would want thicker soles if I were doing this long term.

My shoes are about half a pound each whereas my boots are probably more than 2 pounds
each. It would really be nice to reduce my feet weight as that would reduce strain on all
my joints.

Does anyone have experience or expertise on the risk associated with switching from boots to trial shoes. I figure
a good ankle sprain while hiking would end the hike for me and at least one hiking companion that would stay back
with me. I'd then have to hobble off the mountain after whatever rest I could manage depending on time available
and proximity to water.

On the other hand, lighter trail shoes might reduce fatigue such that I'm less likely to need ankle support.

HiKen2011
06-24-2011, 11:44
I always wear boots while backpacking. I had one ankle sprain six years ago (not while hiking) and virtually every
hike I find that my boots seemingly prevent me from rolling my ankles. I don't consider myself highly prone to
ankle sprains, but I have had one pretty good sprain.

I've occasionally seen people hiking in trial shoes.

Recently, I did a long day hike (about 15 miles) in tennis shoes. I was willing to try this because I was not carrying
anything but food and water, and I reasoned my legs would not become as fatigued as they would if I were carrying
a pack.

It really worked out well. I would want thicker soles if I were doing this long term.

My shoes are about half a pound each whereas my boots are probably more than 2 pounds
each. It would really be nice to reduce my feet weight as that would reduce strain on all
my joints.

Does anyone have experience or expertise on the risk associated with switching from boots to trial shoes. I figure
a good ankle sprain while hiking would end the hike for me and at least one hiking companion that would stay back
with me. I'd then have to hobble off the mountain after whatever rest I could manage depending on time available
and proximity to water.

On the other hand, lighter trail shoes might reduce fatigue such that I'm less likely to need ankle support.

Like Nike says, Just do it! And by the way they (Nike) makes a great trail shoe! I sprained an ankle pretty bad in high school and it gave me a fit for years. Actually seemed worse when wearing a boot. Trail runners, " best decision I ever made".

Spokes
06-24-2011, 11:55
The jury's still out for me. I switched to a pair of Vasque Velocity (yes, they are crap) with SuperFeet inserts and ditched them after about 300 miles. Killed my feet. I still want to try it again with a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR, or even some ASICS GEL-TrabucoŽ 14.

FlyPaper
06-24-2011, 12:00
The jury's still out for me. I switched to a pair of Vasque Velocity (yes, they are crap) with SuperFeet inserts and ditched them after about 300 miles. Killed my feet. I still want to try it again with a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR, or even some ASICS GEL-TrabucoŽ 14.

I'll take this as a recommendation for my purposes. I presume if I can live without the ankle support of boots, I can find shoes with adequate soles. Although this brings up a good point about needing to get the right trail shoe.

hikerboy57
06-24-2011, 12:02
I dont really think boots give you much more ankle support, but I still prefer them to protect my ankles for scrapes and abraions., and they certainly keep the duff out easier than trail runners,

blueridgetreks
06-24-2011, 12:42
I used Montrail Continental Divide for 3 years then tried Vasque Boots for a week long hike on the AT in VA last Fall, worst hiking mistake I have made!! Took them back to REI when I returned, got full refund and bought a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX trail shoes, seem to be working well (on sale at REI today for $99, I paid $128). I would have stayed with Montrail but of course the Continental Divide is no longer made and the Montrail Hardrock is a mere shadow of the shoe it was before Columbia bought them out. I use hiking poles and can easily dig in with my poles if I feel my ankle start to turn, so the sprain concern is not a biggie for me. I like the weight of trail runners, probably the #1 reason I originally switched. Feet are such a personal preference thing, all I can say is don't skimp on shoes and buy good socks, they are what will take you many a mile, good luck.

ScottP
06-24-2011, 13:14
I hike in just standard nike pegasus running shoes. works for me

FlyPaper
06-24-2011, 13:47
I used Montrail Continental Divide for 3 years then tried Vasque Boots for a week long hike on the AT in VA last Fall, worst hiking mistake I have made!! Took them back to REI when I returned, got full refund and bought a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX trail shoes, seem to be working well (on sale at REI today for $99, I paid $128). I would have stayed with Montrail but of course the Continental Divide is no longer made and the Montrail Hardrock is a mere shadow of the shoe it was before Columbia bought them out. I use hiking poles and can easily dig in with my poles if I feel my ankle start to turn, so the sprain concern is not a biggie for me. I like the weight of trail runners, probably the #1 reason I originally switched. Feet are such a personal preference thing, all I can say is don't skimp on shoes and buy good socks, they are what will take you many a mile, good luck.

Thanks for the input. I also use trekking poles and that should be my first defense against sprains (the second being to just fall down).

vamelungeon
06-24-2011, 14:58
When I was growing up I didn't have hiking boots, just my Keds or whatever brand tennis shoes I had, and never had a problem rambling the hills with or without carrying any gear. My bet is that a lot of you did too, and that more miles in the woods have been logged with canvas rubber soled shoes than any boots. I don't find that boots help my ankles and they are heavier, and slower to dry out when wet, and more difficult to take off and put on. The trail shoes now have much better tread for slippery places and much better cushioning for my feet. Anybody can sprain an ankle by stepping into an unexpected hole or a log that roles underfoot while wearing boots.

House of Payne
06-24-2011, 16:36
I dont really think boots give you much more ankle support, but I still prefer them to protect my ankles for scrapes and abraions., and they certainly keep the duff out easier than trail runners,

Fly,
I'm learning as I go here as well. Old school boy here, always had boots since I was 14 and started this high adventure stuff. Even today I will wear my Kaylands for 2 or 3 days weekends. That said and understanding how my older body now works (it's not 19 anymore) I have come to realize that weight on my feet (2-2.5 pds per boot) has got to get lighter. I wear my Merrels all the time around town, at the house and day hikes with the dogs. I'm sticking with them when I do my thru-hike in a couple years. I have also had some success with Keens, until one pair blew out with only like 50 miles on them.

Anyways, do some research on the lighter trail shoes and save yourself some weight.

finskie
06-24-2011, 17:47
For me, the minor loss in support is worth the loss in weight and gain in comfort. Montrail makes some pretty strong soled and toed trail runners, such as the mountain masochist. Also, I feel that rolling your ankle, or getting injured in general has more to do with awareness than gear IMO.

skinewmexico
06-24-2011, 17:53
A pound on the feet is like 7 on the back. And lightening your pack helps with ankle sprains too. If you really need ankle support, ankle braces give about a 1000 times more ankle support than boots. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the ankle support of boots is the #1 urban myth of hiking. Having said that, I did order the first pair of hiking boots I will have had in years. STP had Innov-8 240s on sale for $39, had to try them.

Nutbrown
06-24-2011, 18:01
I'll let you know how it works for me. I have just switched from Asolo boots to the Salomon xa pro. I think the weight alone will be worth the switch. I am off to hike for 4 days next week, so I'll let you know how my feet feel about the change...

PennyPincher
06-24-2011, 18:05
The thing you need to realize is that if you are going to a minimalist shoe (trail runner, running flat, VFF) your feet will need time to adjust especially when carrying a pack. get your feet used to spending long hours in whatever you are planning to use on the trail before you put on a pack.

10-K
06-24-2011, 18:27
A pound on the feet is like 7 on the back. And lightening your pack helps with ankle sprains too. If you really need ankle support, ankle braces give about a 1000 times more ankle support than boots. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the ankle support of boots is the #1 urban myth of hiking. Having said that, I did order the first pair of hiking boots I will have had in years. STP had Innov-8 240s on sale for $39, had to try them.

Yep.... I wear trail runners and wear one of these on my left ankle due to an old injury. The elastic brace provides about 1000x more support than boots ever did.


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sbhikes
06-24-2011, 19:33
You know why people who wear boots swear they protect them from ankle sprains every trip they go on? It's because whenever they are wearing boots, they roll their ankles pretty badly.

Next time you are walking behind someone wearing boots, watch how often they ram into giant rocks or roll their ankle or basically pay absolutely no attention to what they are walking on. Then walk behind someone in running shoes and watch how smooth and cleanly they walk, how they don't roll their ankles or ram into big rocks. It's because when you wear the boots, it makes you clumsy and clunky. Shoes are so much better than boots. You want ankle abrasion protection and to keep the stuff out, get some Dirty Girl gaiters or get some high tops.

Deadeye
06-24-2011, 19:37
I switched from boots years ago. I now wear trail runners, low hikers, whatever... the actual name or style is less important than good fit. The comfort and weight savings are worth getting a bit more dirt in your shoes.

In my completely unprofessional, untrained, uninformed, but practical experience and opinion that you can take or leave, a boot that will actually immobilize your ankle enough to prevent sprains will prevent you from walking, too. Think of a downhill ski boot. Years ago, when ski boots started getting higher and stiffer, the injuries moved further up as well... instead of broken/sprained ankles, blown out knees became the usual skiing injury.

FlyPaper
06-24-2011, 19:44
Fly,
I'm learning as I go here as well. Old school boy here, always had boots since I was 14 and started this high adventure stuff. Even today I will wear my Kaylands for 2 or 3 days weekends. That said and understanding how my older body now works (it's not 19 anymore) I have come to realize that weight on my feet (2-2.5 pds per boot) has got to get lighter. I wear my Merrels all the time around town, at the house and day hikes with the dogs. I'm sticking with them when I do my thru-hike in a couple years. I have also had some success with Keens, until one pair blew out with only like 50 miles on them.

Anyways, do some research on the lighter trail shoes and save yourself some weight.

Thanks for the input. Looks like you're about the same age I am. I wore boots for a 12 mile walk along roadsides recently to just get myself more used to them. My feet were absolutely aching by the time I was done. Much worse than they were after 14.5 miles on the AT with running shoes (and that counted Dragon's Tooth).

SouthMark
06-24-2011, 19:47
My orthopedist told me that I was better off with trail runners than boots. He said that the ankle is a multi-directional joint and boots restrict the proper motion causing knee, hip and back problems.

FlyPaper
06-24-2011, 19:47
I'll let you know how it works for me. I have just switched from Asolo boots to the Salomon xa pro. I think the weight alone will be worth the switch. I am off to hike for 4 days next week, so I'll let you know how my feet feel about the change...

Make sure you send me an update. My next AT hike, probably 4 nights, will probably be September. I hope to have some sort of trail shoe by then.

Skid.
06-24-2011, 21:38
I was afraid that my toes would not have as much protection against getting stubbed on rocks and roots. What I found after switching to trail running shoes was that due to the lighter weight, I wasn't stubbing my toes nearly as much as with heavier boots. I might go back to hiking boots for hiking over long stretches of sharp rocks, to protect the soles of my feet, but otherwise, I'm sold on trail runners.

Sarcasm the elf
06-25-2011, 00:02
I just made the switch to trail runners this spring, having found a pair of vasque velocities on clearance. I added the green superfeet I already had and after breaking them in, used them backpacking for the first time on a 150 mile section hike. I'm by no means an ultralight hiker, average total pack weight for the trip was 35-40 pounds, long story short, my review is: "where have you been all my life?" The trip included all of the typical terrain in the northeast from moderate trails to mountains, swamps to boulder scrambles and exposed ridgeline and included several decent river crossings. The two most surprising advantages I found were 1) I had far more dexterity than I have had in my previous boots (vasque and scarpa goretex models) which actually resulted in less rolled ankles and knee problems and 2) the trail runners dried out so much faster that they seemed better in the rain and through rivers than the heavier boots ever did. I still have my heavy pair of scarpas which I intend to use in winter and late shoulder seasons, but I'm sticking with trail runners for 2-3 season use.

MuddyWaters
06-25-2011, 08:55
Ankle support is somewhat of a myth. IF you lace a high-top boot up all the way and tightly, yes it could help, but it would be uncomfortable too. A mid boot offers nothing but ankle protection, and a little less debris inside the shoe. I carry only 15-30 lbs , trail shoes work great. Get the lightest ones you can that fit well, you probably want a rock plate in the sole. the big benefits of lightweight trail runners are 1) light weight and 2) quick drying. Wear wool socks and walk right thru water, will dry in an hour or so without a lot of internal padding to soak up the water, and while it is wet the wool socks do their job. Also lightweight and comfortable enough you dont need water shoes or camp shoes. More weight savings.

garlic08
06-25-2011, 08:56
I think it's a sign of change that there have been 20+ posts on this topic in support of running shoes. Ten years ago probably would have seen a different response. I have definitely changed my mind in ten years. I keep an old pair of boots around for wet snow and trail work, otherwise I never wear them for walking. My walking has increased ten-fold with a tenth of the problems and pain.

It's not a guarantee that running shoes will improve your hiking, but it's a pretty good bet. It's fun trying it. My first hikes with running shoes were careful affairs, but after a hundred miles or so I was sold on them. I'll back up what Piper says, that even watching someone hike in boots is painful--it doesn't even look like walking.

One caveat--it took me nearly 2000 miles on a thru hike to find the exact right pair for me, which are the NB8XX series (they come in three widths). The EE size is perfect for me and none others I've tried are absolutely painless like these are. A few are lucky enough to find the right fit right away, but don't give up if you don't.

BigToe
06-25-2011, 12:01
I went through the same evolution from boots to trail runners to sandals (Chacos). I'm 56 and a section hiker, and have 300+ AT miles in my sandals. I had the same feelings about ankle support that you had but found the lighter footwear was immeasurably more comfortable and light, letting me hike further every day. To your concern of stubbing toes, one of the responders mentioned that you walk differently - yes, you do adopt a style of walking that is more "directed". I've only had one bad experience in my sandals where I caught a loose root in between my sandal and foot, and down I went. For me, sandals are the most comfortable hiking footwear I've ever used. I think you do have to be careful with your pack weight though - I carry about a 35 pound pack.

Ever watch Cody Lundin's Dual Survival? He's a barefooter and often talks about the different walking style you adopt. Although his buddy frequently complains about his slowness!

q-tip
06-25-2011, 12:21
I recvently bought a pair of Salomon mid hiking boots. They are 11 oz. per shoe, and I have very weak ankles. After trying many boot-runner alternatives, I have settled on using the Salomon with ankle braces. Still much lighter than my Asolo boot-which by the way never dry out once they ge twet....

mrcatpaws
06-25-2011, 18:26
Ankle support is somewhat of a myth. IF you lace a high-top boot up all the way and tightly, yes it could help, but it would be uncomfortable too. A mid boot offers nothing but ankle protection, and a little less debris inside the shoe. I carry only 15-30 lbs , trail shoes work great. Get the lightest ones you can that fit well, you probably want a rock plate in the sole. the big benefits of lightweight trail runners are 1) light weight and 2) quick drying. Wear wool socks and walk right thru water, will dry in an hour or so without a lot of internal padding to soak up the water, and while it is wet the wool socks do their job. Also lightweight and comfortable enough you dont need water shoes or camp shoes. More weight savings.

MuddyWaters, I'm curious as to what kind of shoe you wear. I'm making a list of all the recommendations in this thread and gonna try them out at REI or order them at Endless or Zappos.

Everyone else, if I'm going on a 5 to 10 day hike after not having hiked regularly, would you still recommend trail runners? The overwhelming majority seems to prefer trail runners over boots, but I'm wondering if this majority is a group of through hikers that has put in the miles and buffed up their ankles. I for one am not a through hiker (one day, God willing) and have not buffed up my ankles, so I'm wondering if it's wise for me to go with trail runners.

I guess one solution I've picked up from this thread is to stick with the trail runners and use ankle braces and gaiters. If so, what's a trail runner with a rigid outsole?

Deadeye
06-25-2011, 18:39
If you're going on a 5 to 10 day hike after not having hiked regularly, then a shoe wins over a boot even more. Wear your boots for ten days after not having worn them much, and blisters and other problems are practically guaranteed. No guaranty that you won't have problems with shoes, either, but I'll bet the problems will be fewer and less severe.

sbhikes
06-25-2011, 19:08
BigToe, I've also switched from trail runners to Chaco sandals. I have backpacked more than 300 miles in them and day hiked many times. I've surprised myself in being able to hike portions of the John Muir Trail and PCT, weather than included snow and rain, trail that had leftover snow on it, roly-poly potato-sized rocks, and a couple of almost 30 mile days.

I'd recommend trail running shoes to anyone new or returning to hiking/backpacking after a long time away way before I'd ever recommend boots. The only thing you need boots for is winter and snow/ice hiking where you need real crampons. As for brands, I'd worry less about brand names and just get some that have a wider toebox than you are used to. You'll probably have to try a few different brands or models before you find the right ones, but make sure to start out at least a size larger than you are used to. Don't overlook street running shoes, either. Many of them have an adequate tread for forest trail hiking and if there's enough "stuff" (plastic? leather? rubber?) around the edges of the shoe, they'll last as long as most trail running shoes. I completed the PCT from Snoqualmie Pass to Canada wearing street running shoes and had no trouble.

SassyWindsor
06-25-2011, 19:14
If it's a myth that boots don't really protect against ankle sprains then maybe the ski industry will change over to ski-shoes.:D

LDog
06-25-2011, 19:32
Downhill ski boots are all about edge control. Being able to shift your knees and having that action transmitted directly to the skis, setting them on edge to affect a turn. And no one likes walking in them! OTOH, cross country skiers do use a variety of boots that offer minimal ankle support, including low cut shoes.

longroad853
06-25-2011, 19:35
I have had issues with rolling my ankle after back surgery for a major disc herniation 18 months ago, I would roll my ankle for no reason while walking on flat ground. After rolling my ankle multiple times while snowshoeing this past winter my Physical Therapist suggested I purchase a solid ankle brace with plastic stays supporting the ankle. I was able to order the Darco Web Brace for a decent price, I love it and would not be able to hike a simple hike without it. The brace is easy on easy off and extremely comfortable. My ankle rolls are due to a neurological deficit effecting my left leg. I wear trail runners with the brace and I have had no issues. Impossible to roll the ankle with the plastic stays in place. For people with weak ankles a low key brace will make all the difference providing total confidence.

Plodderman
06-25-2011, 21:48
I used boots for my first two section hikes but after switching to New Balance 479 trail shoes I have neveer regretted it. This will be my forth seciton hike in NB trail shoes and I will never go back.

ChinMusic
06-25-2011, 22:01
Switched from boots....to mids....to trail runners. Wish I had sooner.

Des
06-25-2011, 22:38
One caveat to all this is make sure the shoe fits. A good fitting boot is better than the nicest trailrunner that doesn't fit.
I have yet to find a trailrunner that fits me as well as my Asolos (despite trying on shoes at every outfitter from Neel's Gap to HF this year). For all the comments at the start that I would have horrible boot injuries (blisters, sprained ankles, etc), I didn't have a single shoe related injury while many of the boot-haters were covering their blistered feet in wads of duct tape by the time we hit the Smokies. This isn't to say that boots are better than trailrunners; just make sure whatever you get fits and fits WELL.

restless
06-26-2011, 10:12
Switched from trail runners to boots...got tired of spending all that money replacing shoes every 6-12 months

SassyWindsor
06-26-2011, 10:47
Switched from trail runners to boots...got tired of spending all that money replacing shoes every 6-12 months

I estimate the cost to be at least 2x that of wearing boots. I like to use trail shoes on day hikes, but prefer boots on actual backpacking trips.

chelko
06-27-2011, 18:43
One thing that no one has mentioned here is what kind of load you are putting on your feet. Not just pack weight but body weight as well. Most running shoes are engineered for people of about 180lbs or less. For this reason I wear my Kayland contact revs in a 14. Yes people have come over from Cuba in things smaller than that but it works for me. I am 6'3"" and weigh in at about 300lbs give or take a biscuit or two. With a 30 -35lb pack that is a lot of mass on the feet. I run in trail runners only about 3 miles 3 times a week and tend to wear them out pretty quick. I would be afraid of trying an extended backpacking trip with them. The most important thing mentioned is fit find a shoe or boot that fits and can handle the load.

bigcranky
06-27-2011, 21:09
If it's a myth that boots don't really protect against ankle sprains then maybe the ski industry will change over to ski-shoes.:D

Ever try walking in downhill ski boots? They are calf-height plastic with no flexibility at all. Sure, they protect your ankles -- but skiers blow out their knees instead. Sheesh.

To the OP: I switched from heavy solid leather boots to trail runners in April, 2000. I was still carrying 40 pounds back then, and it worked just fine. The difference in how I felt at the end of the day was indescribable. No more leaden feeling in my quads and calves. A spring in my step after 12 miles of hiking. Now I carry more like 25 pounds on any given hike, and wear really light mesh trail runners (Salomon XA Comp), and I'm totally happy. Won't ever wear boots again.

Worth a try.

LDog
06-27-2011, 23:51
Ever try walking in downhill ski boots? They are calf-height plastic with no flexibility at all. Sure, they protect your ankles -- but skiers blow out their knees instead. Sheesh.

In Ski Patrol, we see a lot of boot-top fractures of both the fibula and tibula (yeeesh)

TIDE-HSV
06-28-2011, 01:12
I think the turning point for me came on a hike about 25 years ago that turned into a total washout, weather-wise. I had my regular pair of Vasques, I think, but, being a kayaker, I'd thrown in a pair of plastic river sandals for wet camping. Well, the rain never stopped and I ended up tying the boots to my pack and hiking only in the the gummi-sandals. It was in the Slickrock-Citico Wilderness area, for those of you who know where I'm talking about, and the trails were pretty rough. When I got back home, I started a thought process. I'd never had weak ankles, but I was wearing footwear as if I did. Trailrunners, as such, didn't exist at that time, so I ended up with a succession of gym shoes, some of which were pretty good and some were bummers. I got laughed at a lot by friends who had boots weighing 2+lbs per foot. Today's fast-drying trail runners are a delight in contrast. Boots have their place, but it's a much smaller slice of the overall pie than most of us thought when we got into backpacking...

garlic08
06-28-2011, 08:38
Switched from trail runners to boots...got tired of spending all that money replacing shoes every 6-12 months

This is a good point and I agree with Sassy Windsor that wearing high-quality running shoes will at least double the footwear cost of a long hike. But that's a cost I willingly pay, because for me it spells the difference between hiking and not hiking. My knees/IT band simply will not handle more than a day or two of wearing my old boots. I suppose I could save a lot of money and not go hiking at all.

Shoes also use up more non-reusable or -recyclable resources. It bothers me to throw shoes away after only 750 miles or so, probably more than the cost does.

We each have to decide which costs we can justify and how much benefit we get. I met some AT hikers spending more money on slackpacking shuttles and extra hostel nights than I did on shoes. Others spent far more on bar bills. I couldn't justify those costs, for instance.

sbhikes
06-28-2011, 09:36
I've found some $40 running shoes that fit and feel better than their $100 cousins. I think shoe pricing is a scam and you are paying for marketing and fancy colors.

pyroman53
06-28-2011, 11:07
In these discussions, I usually like to suggest a middle ground...something a bit sturdier than a trailrunner (especually the midsole and sole) but not as heavy as a boot. Something like this: http://www.rei.com/product/803486/merrell-refuge-core-cross-training-shoes-mens

I switched to something similar for a few years and have really enjoyed them. Good stability but still light and well ventillated. For what its worth, I think my next shoe will be a trailrunner, but still with attention to a sturdy midsole.

LDog
06-28-2011, 12:27
In these discussions, I usually like to suggest a middle ground...something a bit sturdier than a trailrunner (especually the midsole and sole) but not as heavy as a boot.

Mary and I got some of these which we think oughta be just right for starting out in the cold, wet, early days when we're still getting our legs and ankles under us. And maybe later when we're tackling the mountains up north:

http://www.rei.com/product/788395/salomon-3d-fastpacker-mid-gtx-hiking-boots-mens

(http://www.rei.com/product/788395/salomon-3d-fastpacker-mid-gtx-hiking-boots-mens)Kind of a high-top trail runner ... The gore tex liner is a mixed blessing, but we plan to switch to lower-cut Salomons as snow gives way to rain and muck.

topshelf
06-28-2011, 13:21
I hike in New Balance 625's. I can get them cheap. A major selling point for me is the weight of the shoes compared to boots. Shoe weight: 11 oz a pair. My Keen Klamath's: 26 oz a pair. That's almost a 1 pound difference. Which is made greater if the boots get wet. Lifting 1/2 a pound with each leg thousands of times a day adds up to the smaller muscles in your lower leg. Trail running shoes also dry much quicker, and keep your feet dryer which reduces any chance of a blister.


...but I have also played soccer all my life and have some of the strongest ankles imaginable. My girlfriend has very weak ankles and she hikes in trail runners and has never had a problem. She is sure to always step carefully

topshelf
06-28-2011, 13:36
and some food for thought you can think about some ankle strengthening exercises which is good for anyone who runs or hikes and moves around on uneven terrain. youtubing ankle strengthening exercises will give you many different exercises. As in my last post I mentioned I have strong ankles but I still do these to help stretch my ankles before hiking.

~Luna~
06-28-2011, 13:52
Hands down to the sandals in the summertime. With most of my hikes in the GSMNP and the numerous stream crossings provided, it's the best way to travel. Not once have I stubbed a toe or rolled an ankle in my sandals. (I knock on wood now) Plus if you're hiking alone, you have a better chance of walking up on some black bears and other wildlife without them hearing you. :)

EJC
06-29-2011, 15:50
I just switched from boots to trail runners. After breaking in my boots (Merrell Moabs) I went on a section hike for 2 days. My feet had horrible blisters from just that short trip. I got home and found that they made my favorite running shoes in a trail runner (Brooks ASR). Just got back from another section hike yesterday over the rocks in PA. No blisters! My feet felt great the entire time and still do. Trail runners are definately worth looking in to. I agree that trekking poles will help prevent rolled ankles if you decide to use trail runners.

hikerboy57
06-29-2011, 16:24
You know its funny, when I first started hiking, I wore sneakers. when I climbed katahdin with my cousins I wore sneakers, while they had expensive all leather Italian hiking boots, and I was better on the rocks than they were. But I was almost embarassed to be wearing sneakers, and envied their boots.Ive been wearing boots ever since.I think some of this is just pychology, that you're not a "real hiker" if you're not wearing boots.Anyway, planning for my section next year, I bought a pair of Merrill Moab ventialtors, they seem comfortable enough, plan on taking them to the whites in August. If they work out ok, Ill be happy to lose another pound on my feet.

AKBOb
06-29-2011, 19:21
Shoes and sandles are fine for people that have good mechanics however;

#1) stating that boots do offer ankle support is a flat out falsehood. If you suffer from pronation or any other malady that causes you're gait to be less than optimal a high-top boot properly fitted with orthotics will offer much more support than a shoes any day. In fact, it will likely be a necessity.

#2) telling some one that wearing an ankle brace is a solution for long distance hiking, well...

Lot of bs being slung around on these boards. Wow!

AKBOb
06-29-2011, 19:22
rofl - edit #1) stating that boots DO NOT

TIDE-HSV
06-29-2011, 20:08
Shoes and sandles are fine for people that have good mechanics however;

#1) stating that boots do offer ankle support is a flat out falsehood. If you suffer from pronation or any other malady that causes you're gait to be less than optimal a high-top boot properly fitted with orthotics will offer much more support than a shoes any day. In fact, it will likely be a necessity.

#2) telling some one that wearing an ankle brace is a solution for long distance hiking, well...

Lot of bs being slung around on these boards. Wow!

Thanks for letting us know from your perch, Bob...

AKBOb
06-29-2011, 21:06
Thanks for letting us know from your perch, Bob...

Good try on the troll post - lmao

ChinMusic
06-29-2011, 21:37
Good try on the troll post - lmao

8 total posts with 2 claiming others are trolling...............:rolleyes:

Halliho
06-29-2011, 22:29
This is my first post and I have gotten so much information from others, I wanted to share in case someone can benefit. For starters, I don't have enough natural padding on the bottoms of my feet, which I just read AWOL had the same problem. (AWOL on the AT) by David Miller.

I own a pair of the Solomon XA Comps trail runners, and they look great, but after 5 miles just walking the greenway, my feet hurt a lot.
I have to wear the softest innersole in all my shoes for my feet to be happy. Superfeet make my feet hurt terribly. I also cannot wear Gor-Tex boots because they are too hot. (Several salespeople told me the Gor-tex is just a way to tack on $30 to the shoe price, and once wet, they stay wet.) It's very difficult to find non Gor-Tex boots.

Most boots I tried feel like I'm wearing the box. After wearing out my last Montrails, it took 2 years to find my present shoe which works great for me.
It is the Patagonia "Release" mid ankle boot, as lightweight as trail runners. (Just found another pair on sale at Sierra Trading Post)
I tried the low-cut hiking shoes, but my foot kept slipping and sliding inside the shoe, even tho it was my correct size. It's not so much about ankle support.
In the Patagonia boot, my foot is cradled but stable, and I feel sure-footed because of the Vibram soles and the good fit of the shoe.
You might give this a try if you have my issues, hope you find the perfect hiking shoe for you.

TIDE-HSV
06-29-2011, 23:39
8 total posts with 2 claiming others are trolling...............:rolleyes:

I know. I started to reply and decided he wasn't worth it...

Mr. Clean
06-30-2011, 05:23
I've always worn the mid-height hiker boots, leather and fabric, and wear them daily. I recently got a pair of low sneaker-type boots and went for a hike in them. I don't know, but here in the rocky State of Maine, I may switch back to the mid-height boots. I rolled my ankles a few times on loose rocks and felt the shoe tops rubbing quite a bit.
I'll try them more, but am doubtful of keeping them for hiking. I'll try some ankle strengthening excercises, but don't believe my ankles are very weak.

AKBOb
06-30-2011, 10:09
8 total posts with 2 claiming others are trolling...............:rolleyes:

AKBob <----- falls asleep with boredom. You'll have to try harder than that.

peakbagger
06-30-2011, 10:41
I hike in the white moutains most weekends and there is plenty of rocky ankle twisting hiking. Since I switched from heavy boots to trail runners, I have far less ankle problems. I did about 3/4 of the AT (in sections) with trail runners and wouldnt ever consider going back to heavier boots.

One thing I do is always have a second pair of trail runners in stock and ready to hike with as when they do start wearing out, they go quick. I get about 600 to 1000 miles per pair.

ChinMusic
06-30-2011, 10:58
AKBob <----- falls asleep with boredom.

Too bad your trail name isn't Rip Van Winkle.......

AKBOb
06-30-2011, 10:59
I know. I started to reply and decided he wasn't worth it...

AKBob <--- zzzzzzzz

AKBOb
06-30-2011, 11:06
Too bad your trail name isn't Rip Van Winkle.......

Ooh, a literary reference. Not quite sure I get the derogatory connotation here (if that was the intent) however, it may be because I like that idea.

ChinMusic
06-30-2011, 11:10
One thing I do is always have a second pair of trail runners in stock and ready to hike with as when they do start wearing out, they go quick. I get about 600 to 1000 miles per pair.

In my thru plans I have several pairs of the same trail runners (New Balance 806) in que ready to go. Nice thing about the trail runners is that it only takes maybe a day to break em in. At most I have had to tape my achilles under they stretch a bit. At my age I do not think my feet will change much on the trail, time and gravity have already had their effect.

Morning Glory
06-30-2011, 11:21
I recently bought a pair of Oboz Sawtooths. They are by far, the most comfortable shoes I've ever hiked in. They are lightweight, very breathable, have nice thick cushy soles with great traction, and great ankle support. I highly recommend!

Pixelgator
06-30-2011, 13:17
I never even had to break them in and have about 150 miles on them so far.

delaford321
06-30-2011, 17:03
I'm all about my new balance trail shoes. Not only for weight, but for comfort too.

sbhikes
07-01-2011, 16:53
I just made a pair of sandals and will try them out this weekend. I couldn't find any commercial brands that don't chafe my bare feet. So far my homemade ones don't chafe at all. We'll see how they work. I'm bringing socks anyway just in case.

skinewmexico
07-01-2011, 17:27
Stolen from BPL -

Thacker SB, et al. (1999). The prevention of ankle sprains in sports. A systematic review of the literature. Am J Sports Med, 27, 753-60.

Apgar, B. (2000). Methods of Preventing Ankle Sprains in Athletes. American Family Physician. May 15, 2000.

dlittle
07-01-2011, 18:38
Just did 15 neat Max Pstch. This was a first timecwith hoes for me and think it will be a regular process. Feet feel fine and no anke ptoblms.

TIDE-HSV
07-01-2011, 19:41
Just did 15 neat Max Pstch. This was a first timecwith hoes for me and think it will be a regular process. Feet feel fine and no anke ptoblms.
Are you sending with an abacus? :D

Nutbrown
07-12-2011, 22:45
So I did my short 4 day hike after switching to the Salomon xa Pros. LOVE EM. The boots were nice and I willkeep them for camping, but won't go back to them on the trail. My achilles did strain a bit, but not enough to change. It was more from being out of hiking shape. No blisters or even hot spots.

Snoring Sarge
07-13-2011, 01:26
Going back to boots. I am 230 lbs, my pack runs 32-40 lbs, The flex in the sole of trail runners is killing me on the rocks in PA. The trail shoes have not held up more than 150 miles before the soles/heels start braking down.

If I was 165 lbs and my pack was 35 lbs then may be they would work better. With 270 lbs on the feet I need strong footwear to carry the load.