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mattyoc20
07-29-2013, 16:53
First post on WB. Thanks to everyone for having me. My question is related to hiking boots. I see a lot of people leave the boots behind and use running shoes because of the weight. I have been thinking about this but am concerned about ankle support. I would think that you would want a high ankle boot for the rocks and roots that are all over the trail. Is this not the case? Thanks for the help

hikerboy57
07-29-2013, 16:55
First post on WB. Thanks to everyone for having me. My question is related to hiking boots. I see a lot of people leave the boots behind and use running shoes because of the weight. I have been thinking about this but am concerned about ankle support. I would think that you would want a high ankle boot for the rocks and roots that are all over the trail. Is this not the case? Thanks for the help welcome to white blaze. I used to think the same thing. then last year on my section hike in Maine the boots did nothing to help my ankles and I sprained my ankle anyway. since then I've been using trail runners and they work just fine. a lot lighter and they dry quicker

DandT40
07-29-2013, 17:07
Welcome to the site! I just bought my first pair of trail runners so I am in the process of the exact conversion you are talking about. I love my boots and they are very comfortable but they weigh a ton and once they get wet they literally take a week to be completely dry again. After a few practice hikes in my trail runners the boots are going to be saved for winter use only. I used to think the boots would save my ankles too, but on my last trip on a very rocky path in Colorado I sprained both ankles in the boots. A lot of good they did me... No one can tell you exactly what will work for you, but you can always try just wearing gym shoes and going for some practice hikes to get an idea what trail runners are like.

The Ace
07-29-2013, 18:58
Thanks to everyone for having me.

#1 You are assuming that everyone here is in agreement with that statement.

#2 If you poke around on WB, you will find reference to a formal study or two, plus a lot of anecdotal information, that shows that having high top footwear is no more preventative of sprained ankles than regular cut footwear and that high tops can give a false sense of security. When the next poster on this thread disagrees, see #1.

bigcranky
07-29-2013, 21:07
Welcome to WB.

I made the switch to trail runners back in 2000, and have used them with loads both heavy and light. I find it easier to step carefully on the trail, and at the end of the day my feet and legs feel significantly better. I've seen no real difference in ankle support -- I've rolled my ankles with both high top all leather boots, and runners.

Of course, plenty of hikers still wear high top boots, so you won't be out of place wearing them.

Another Kevin
07-29-2013, 21:26
I wear trail runners for day trips (and possibly overnighters) in warm weather.

With a heavy pack, or a trip that involves a lot of rock scrambling, I wear big clunky full-leather boots. Otherwise, my toes come back looking like hamburger. Lightweight high-top hiking boots get crowded out in the middle. There just don't seem to be any conditions in which I need a high-top and don't need the full-leather and titanium toe box.

In winter, I wear even clunkier boots with removable felt liners that I can field-dry if I must. I don't have plastic mountaineering boots, which in turn means that neither my crampons nor my snowshoes have step-in bindings.

Horses for courses.

leaftye
07-29-2013, 22:40
With a heavy pack, or a trip that involves a lot of rock scrambling, I wear big clunky full-leather boots. Otherwise, my toes come back looking like hamburger.

That's why I'd use them, although pack weight wouldn't be important. If the ground is so rocky that my feet and ankles are going to slide into rocks and get scraped to hell, I'd like to wear boots to protect them.

On trail I prefer trail runnings shoes, and I'm a heavy guy that's carried very heavy loads while wearing trail running shoes. The only difference heavier weight makes to me is that pointy rocks feel pointier if I step on them with trail running shoes.

The Ace
07-29-2013, 23:07
I know that you are focused on ankle protection. However, there are a number of things that can happen to your feet that I would rate as more likely to happen than a severe sprain. I recommend that you give these potential issues priority in your selection of footwear. If you are indeed in fear of a sprain, you might consider trekking poles. But, hey, you only 27!

MuddyWaters
07-30-2013, 00:44
Before you throw around nebulous terms like "ankle support", please define exactly what it is, and how a boot is going to provide it, and how much it will provide.

The simple truth, is there is no such thing. Any boot stiff enough, and laced tightly enough to provide any significant support to ankles, would inhibit ankle movement and make you clumsy, as well as likely rub you raw.

Boots do generally have a sturdier platform underfoot. But the thick rigid sole that blocks out the rocks, isnt necessarilly good for walking.

What that thick high sole does, is actually make it easier to roll your ankle on a rock.

They do provide increased protection when walking in ankle deep or higher debris. They do keep debris out better without needing gaiters. They have times when they are good, snow , etc. They just arent good for walking 20 miles per day.

q-tip
07-30-2013, 07:57
My ankles are shot--soccer did me in. Outside of Damascus I partially tore some ligaments in my left ankle with hiking boots, shot of Cortisone fixed that. I have found some heavy duty Futuro ankle braces ( http://www.amazon.com/Futuro-Custom-Ankle-Stabilizer-Medium/dp/B0050JGQFO ) I use with Montrail AT Plus hiking shoes-trail runners. This combo solved the boot problem. I started with Asolo leather boots, but once we t never seem to dry and get heavy as heck. This is the best solution for me.

Another Kevin
07-30-2013, 09:00
Before you throw around nebulous terms like "ankle support", please define exactly what it is, and how a boot is going to provide it, and how much it will provide.

The simple truth, is there is no such thing. Any boot stiff enough, and laced tightly enough to provide any significant support to ankles, would inhibit ankle movement and make you clumsy, as well as likely rub you raw.

Boots do generally have a sturdier platform underfoot. But the thick rigid sole that blocks out the rocks, isnt necessarilly good for walking.

What that thick high sole does, is actually make it easier to roll your ankle on a rock.

They do provide increased protection when walking in ankle deep or higher debris. They do keep debris out better without needing gaiters. They have times when they are good, snow , etc. They just arent good for walking 20 miles per day.

That's fine. I don't generally do 20-mile days. In the places where I hike, 20's are pretty hard-core. I imagine it might almost be like doing 20's in the Whites.

I didn't say anything about "ankle support."

Half the year, I'm going to need boots, anyway, because trail runners don't give an adequate platform to secure crampons or snowshoes, and November through April, I just might need one or the other. (The guidebooks say the trails are hikable May through October. I know that I was still wearing microspikes in May this year above about 3500 feet.) The soles on trail runners flex enough that they'll bend into a U shape before I think the bindings are cinched down enough to feel secure.

And in warmer weather, if I wear trail runners I often wind up trashing my toes in the talus. To give you an idea, this picture isn't yet rocky enough to make me switch from trail runners to boots - partly because it's an established and maintained trail. For what it's worth, I think the easiest way up that chute farther up is to hug the left-hand side and toe-jam that crack. My daughter disagrees - she prefers to free-climb that series of holds behind the tree branch. But she's better at bouldering than I am.
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6083/6076730335_2939a3ee5f.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/6076730335/)
Scramble (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/6076730335/) by ke9tv (http://www.flickr.com/people/ke9tv/), on Flickr

If I'm bushwhacking in this sort of country, I wear boots. (About a third of my hikes involve at least some off-trail travel.) Mostly, I wear them for toe protection. Keeping debris out is a plus, I suppose, but I wear gaiters for bushwhacking anyway.

Horses for courses.

bigcranky
07-30-2013, 13:36
Kevin, I suspect Muddy Waters was responding to the original poster, who did mention ankle support. Just btw.

WorldPeaceAndStuff
07-30-2013, 13:50
I wear Salewa Mountain trainer mids most of the year as I live in the high country and trails while extensive they aren't well maintained. I've never had a boot support my ankle like these. I've yet to try the non-goretex low cut shoes but they have the same kevlar ankle system as boots.

peakbagger
07-30-2013, 14:24
Most agencies with responsibility in the whites recommend stiff hiking boots but the recommendations tend to be focused at infrequent hikers. More experienced hikers who hike frequently tend to switch to lighter trail runners. Initially there may be a slight advantage to stiff boots with ankle support but very soon the hiker with trail runners tone up the musculature in the feet and find that they have less ankle issues. I used to have frequent ankle sprains with heavy boots and since switching to trail runners I get far fewer and even when I do, they are far less severe. About the only reason I would use heavy boots now is if I worked in them 5 days a week like a trail crew as boots last longer than trail runners. I live in the Whites and hike frequently in the rocks and rarely do I even miss the lack of rigid shank, although I do admit that my montrail inserts have pretty rigid arch support.

mattyoc20
07-31-2013, 14:05
thanks for all the insight guys. It is much appreciated.