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  1. #1
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    Default Help me find the right footwear please!

    I'm looking to purchase some shoes/boots for my first long distance backpacking trip. I'm brand new to the hiking scene so I would love some feedback from you seasoned veterans.

    Will be hiking the Superior Hiking Trail in MN mid may, so thinking something waterproof. It will be around 200 miles long and we are hoping to cover this distance in about 11/12 days.

    Ankle mobility: With the help of a friend, who works as physical fitness trainer, we've been able to kind of self diagnosis that I have less than desirable ankle mobility. Gets tight around my lower calf/Achilles area when I run on roads or sidewalks. I believe it has to do with the lack of support from a pair of Nike frees I usually wear. So I believe I'm looking for a shoe with more structure and support...?

    I'd appreciate your input!

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    Also, is there a good place to get fitted? Or would it be advisable to get my "foot analysis"? have heard a little about this.

  3. #3

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    Unfortunately, there is not one answer to the question you are asking. Footwear seems to be a preference that is based on individual comfort (many on this site will tell you the same thing). What may work for one, may not work for you. I think you will have to try on different pairs of shoes to see what you find will work for you. I think in general, waterproof shoes for long distance hiking really don't work all that well. Your foot ends up being moist all day as the sweat stays inside, leading to blisters. They also don't dry all that fast. That is generally agreed on by most. Additionally, pack weight is a big concern based on the shoe you choose. A lighter pack with lighter gear allows you to use a less supportive lighter shoe, such as a trail runner. More weight leads people to wear a more supportive hiking boot. I like trail runners because I find them comfortable, they dry fast, and they are light. That may not be what you prefer, however. I found reading people's trail journals and reviewing their gear lists has helped me with my footwear selections. It gave me a starting point of various brands to try on. For the record, I settled on New Balance AT810v2's and I love them. Best of luck on your hike.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  4. #4
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    A lot of factors to consider. You're young so you may not need any ankle support. More & more long distant hikers who don't need ankle support, myself included, are going to light weight trail runners. They're light, dry fast, you can walk through streams with them & nit worry about it, you dont need a "camp shoe" I wear these trail runners below, they have a great strong toe box & are nice & wide. Also I hear if you can google "sierra trading post coupons" you can get even more off & buy them for @ $50 which is a steal. Good Luck!!

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/bro...colorFamily=03
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  5. #5
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    It sounds like you run, so you might be most happy with trail runners or a flexible, low hiking shoe. If you do go with a boot I liked the Merrell Moab but not the waterproof one--it was fairly light and flexible but with some ankle support. I'm wondering, if your ankles caused you problems running on hard surfaces like the road, maybe they won't be as bad on trail. The road is such an impact, even when you're not running. My footwear: for short winter trips I wear a Merrell Moab waterproof boot; I also have a Moab non-waterproof low which I have worn on a couple overnights but had blister issues--it may be the socks (I also wear these for daily use in winter for errands and stuff); BUT, I have a pair of Asics Gel Scout trail runners I have been wearing on the treadmill all winter in anticipation of wearing them on a 2 week section this summer as well as spring-fall overnights. Asics has a wide variety of trail runners and you can choose based on your level of pronation. I think there is also stuff you can do to strengthen your ankles. Have a wonderful hike!


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wornoutboots View Post
    A lot of factors to consider. You're young so you may not need any ankle support. More & more long distant hikers who don't need ankle support, myself included, are going to light weight trail runners. They're light, dry fast, you can walk through streams with them & nit worry about it, you dont need a "camp shoe" I wear these trail runners below, they have a great strong toe box & are nice & wide. Also I hear if you can google "sierra trading post coupons" you can get even more off & buy them for @ $50 which is a steal. Good Luck!!

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/bro...colorFamily=03
    I just pulled the trigger on a pair & with the coupon & @ $10 shipping they were $73
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  7. #7
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip2myLucas View Post
    I'm looking to purchase some shoes/boots for my first long distance backpacking trip. I'm brand new to the hiking scene so I would love some feedback from you seasoned veterans.

    Will be hiking the Superior Hiking Trail in MN mid may, so thinking something waterproof. It will be around 200 miles long and we are hoping to cover this distance in about 11/12 days.

    Ankle mobility: With the help of a friend, who works as physical fitness trainer, we've been able to kind of self diagnosis that I have less than desirable ankle mobility. Gets tight around my lower calf/Achilles area when I run on roads or sidewalks. I believe it has to do with the lack of support from a pair of Nike frees I usually wear. So I believe I'm looking for a shoe with more structure and support...?

    I'd appreciate your input!
    Lucas-
    Two things-
    Thing 1-head over to Just for Kicks in Palos and talk to Mel (127th and harlem). He is an excellent resource for expert fittings and solving footwear problems. They put on several local marathons a year and service most of the local runners. While his hiking selection is poor and his prices $5-10 higher than some- his time is worth the money if you have issues. He carries several brands of Trail runners which it sounds like you'd be better off with. I wouldn't worry as much about Gore-tex shoes- they are overpriced and no matter what there's always a puddle deeper than your shoe or sweat/rain running down your leg. In colder weather you can simply wear water proof socks or a few plastic bags if you want to be cheap. He's not a big minimalist fan, but coupled with your PT diagnosis and your analysis he may make a recommendation that makes more sense.

    Thing 2- I was also diagnosed with the same ankle issue as you this past year. I also prefer minimalist shoes and blamed them. Turns out the culprit for me, and likely for you, is Chicago. Due to our vast lack of options, I do most of my training on the local bike paths like the tinley loop in the forest preserve. This repetitive motion on pavement, often with one foot on a slight downhill due to the crown on the pavement produces the over training injury and low ankle mobility. Switching sides of the street or bike path helps some- but when all your miles are on flatland... You never know, but since we both do the same thing in the same town we probably have the same issue- flat ground means no ankle work needed= poor ankle mobility.

    Physical therapist gave me some basic exercises to do, but I started doing loop days at Swallow Cliff at least once per week and went to Georgia for a trip and next thing I knew- problem solved. Even if you just run in the grass it would be a massive improvement.

    I still use minimalist shoes- merrell's bare access is typical for training (merrell outlet in Aurora, IL) and Altra Lone Peak or Torin for hiking depending on conditions.

  8. #8
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  9. #9

    Default Help me find the right footwear please!

    If you're looking for non-waterproof shoes, then look at the Keen Mckenzie. As far as I know, they are only available on Keen's website.

    The McKenzie is a totally enclosed sandal, no lining on the inside walls, has the removable footbed so you can put in your own, still had the stiff protective toe box.

    I just bought them and will wear them on my 40 day Springer to Damscus section this spring. Weight is 12 oz per shoe. These should be super fast drying as there is little to hold water.

    Last edited by Deacon; 02-11-2014 at 07:32.

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