View Full Version : AT Footwear...Not sure what to do...

09-22-2012, 06:08
Everytime I post a question I get a ton of information! Thanks everyone! So here is the next question about footwear. My goal is to do a NOBO AT Thru Hike in 2014, if all works out. Currently I am working on shaving some weight off of my pack and spending as much time on the trails as I can. Next summer I am spending three weeks section hiking the northern end of the AT, 100 Mile Wilderness and then some. I want to replace my current Asolo boots with the same footwear I will wear on the AT. The problem is that my left ankle is weak due to an injury from when I was younger and in the Army. Due to this old injury and a weak ankle I am not sure if I should use trail sneakers or a mid to hi cut light weight boot. I know I want to stay away from leather and Gore-Tex, but not sure where to start. Can anyone recommend some good trail sneakers and some good mid to high boots that are light? Thanks so much everyone!

09-22-2012, 06:29
There are so many good shoes. Inov Roclite 315 & 295, New Balance MT series, Altra Lone Peak and again, so many more. Check out the shoes for features and specs that you like, go try some one, and then buy the one that fits best.

As far as your ankle goes, can you strengthen it? There are ankle strengthening exercises. Walking and hiking helps of course, but the exercises can help you between trips. Even if you end up relying on boots during your hike, stronger healthier ankles will allow you to depend on those boots less.

09-22-2012, 07:06
I recently purchased the Inov8-terroc-330 and sectioned Greenwood Lake towards Bear Mountain. I found these shoes to be light and "sticky" but felt every nook and cranny of every rock I stepped on. I left the trail thinking this would be great a shoe if the rocks were not so abundant on the trail. Though I am not giving up on them, I will be looking for a mid-ankle boot with a heartier sole.

09-22-2012, 07:18
Im a huge fan of the Garmont T8 boot. Ive hiked hundreds of miles on various Arizona trails and did a nearly 600 mile section hike on the AT wearing a pair. Ive had zero foot/ankle issues.

The Old Boot
09-22-2012, 08:06
Instead of trying to find a boot/shoe that will give you sufficient ankle support maybe you should instead be looking at an ankle brace for the 'bad' ankle.

I say this as a person who daren't step outside my door without both ankles in braces. The orthopedic surgeon who put the last ankle back together suggested politely that I should avoid activities that could cause another fall. Since I did it stepping off a 6" step, I wasn't quite prepared to quit walking let alone all the stuff I do...sigh.

I wear a pair of Active Ankle T2 support braces but they may be way more support than you require. These guys let me do anything I want to do - including rock scrambles. I don't do rock face climbing but then I never did want into that - I'll find an easier way up the hill TYVM...lol.

There are multiple choices from a very lightweight support to the ones' I use. This would allow you to continue using whatever shoes fit most comfortably and have the features you want. Just make sure that you check the fit of the shoes WITH the brace on.

09-22-2012, 08:14
It's really all about individual fit. You are already on the right track staying away from heavy boots, leather, and goretex or other waterproofing for the AT. Regarding the weak ankle, I have come full circle to the opinion that a higher cut boot really does not help. I have rolled my ankles many times in heavy leather boots over the years. A lighter, lower cut hiking shoe appears to give me better control and flexibility to avoid it. You can always add an ankle brace if you must.

My son did his thru this year with Merrell Moab Ventilators (not goretex), green Superfeet insoles, with goretex socks that he broke out occasionally for snow and cold rain. He probably went through five pairs of the shoes, but was very happy with them. Incidentally, he had some serious ankle sprains as an accomplished wrestler, and wore ankle braces wrestling, but did not take them on the trail and did great without them.

09-22-2012, 12:47
Thanks Jeffmeh! I have been tossing around the idea of get a good top shelf pair of trail sneakers and giving them a try when I go to Baxter State Park this fall. I am planning a four night hike through the northern end of Baxter Park and then next summer I want to hike the 100 Mile Wilderness. That should be enough miles to see if I will like them or not.

09-22-2012, 17:12
i agree with jeffmeh and old boot. ive been wearing keen targhee mids for the past few years for my section hikes and was always happy with them until this past august. i sectioned maine sobo, and 4th day in slipped and banged my shin on a fallen log right above the ankle, bruising the bone right on the muscle. i took it easy for a day but pushed on through the 100 mile, and eventually the bruise turned into a full blown sprain as my feet twisted and turned throughout the 100 mile to accomodate the terrain.almost the entire at in maine is a seiries of rocks,roots and bogs, and the keen targhees did nothing to prevent my ankle from rolling.
a few weeks back i bought a pair of la sportiva wildcat mountain runners, hiked 14 miles in the gunks with them, and i am officially converted, less than half the weight, secure grip even on slickrock, and about the same support the keens gave me. as old boot stasted if youre that concerned about turning an ankle again, youre better off with ankle braces. the boots give you some psychological support, but not much more.

09-22-2012, 18:12
I'll also add that I bought myself a pair of the Moab Ventilators and green Superfeet. I did a bunch of easy hikes to get used to the Superfeet, then did Mt. Bierstadt in CO with them and was very happy.