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  1. #1

    Default Confirmation on what are considered "trail runner" footwear

    In all the posts about trail runner type footwear, I have become a bit confused. Are these low trail type shoes with or are these sneaker/running shoes? After the conversations about knee problems and some folks moving into "trail runners" and finding relief, I am up for the challenge but would like to know what species of footwear we are talking about.

    Second related question, either here or in Backpacker Magazine I saw some information on tying low top footwear in an unconventional way that would reduce or stop ankle rolling (one of my age old problems). It was a picture diagram with some instruction and had a very unconventional look to it. Anyone recall this?

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    I made the switch a few years back to la sportiva wildcats from boots...very happy with the change ..


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    I begrudgingly made the switch and now won't look back.

    Trail runners typically have sturdier construction and different tread than road running shoes.
    They may have reinforced toe caps and some other features to give stability on broken ground.

    I wear Merrils a lot day-to-day and local short hikes, but on my serious hikes I prefer my Salomons.

    Now you have to choose goretex or non-goretex :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarditi View Post
    I begrudgingly made the switch and now won't look back.

    Trail runners typically have sturdier construction and different tread than road running shoes.
    They may have reinforced toe caps and some other features to give stability on broken ground.

    I wear Merrils a lot day-to-day and local short hikes, but on my serious hikes I prefer my Salomons.

    Now you have to choose goretex or non-goretex :-)
    There was a related thread a few days ago you might want to consult:

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...and-durability

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarditi View Post
    I begrudgingly made the switch and now won't look back.

    Trail runners typically have sturdier construction and different tread than road running shoes.
    They may have reinforced toe caps and some other features to give stability on broken ground.

    I wear Merrils a lot day-to-day and local short hikes, but on my serious hikes I prefer my Salomons.

    Now you have to choose goretex or non-goretex :-)
    Thanks! Having seen a few here say they have reduced or eliminated knee problems going to the low shoe I am willing to give it a try. Though I'd probably stick with the high top Asolo's in real rugged terrain or carrying loads. I see the Merrills are in sale at REI around the corner this weekend too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    Thanks! Having seen a few here say they have reduced or eliminated knee problems going to the low shoe I am willing to give it a try. Though I'd probably stick with the high top Asolo's in real rugged terrain or carrying loads. I see the Merrills are in sale at REI around the corner this weekend too.
    There is a school of thought out there that says high top boots are needed for ankle support because wearing high top boots results in weak ankles. In other words, you may find that after wearing low top hiking shoes for a while, you ankles will be strong enough that you find you don't need the boots any more. This, along with the idea that waterproof boots guarantee that you feet will be wet all the time are two of the more common bits of "unconventional" wisdom out there. As always, YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    There is a school of thought out there that says high top boots are needed for ankle support because wearing high top boots results in weak ankles. In other words, you may find that after wearing low top hiking shoes for a while, you ankles will be strong enough that you find you don't need the boots any more. This, along with the idea that waterproof boots guarantee that you feet will be wet all the time are two of the more common bits of "unconventional" wisdom out there. As always, YMMV.
    I have heard that logic before and agree its anecdotal overall. No medical studies have found that to be true, though I'm sure there is some muscle toning that will happen once the change is made.

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    a used to roll my ankle a lot. podiatrist told me to stop wearing high top boots for work when i could. since i stopped, ankles are stronger, but i was wearing those boots 60 hours a week.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    In trail runners, there are ones that are more geared toward running quickly while on a trail and others that are more geared toward a casual run. The ones aimed at speed will be lighter, made of thinner materials, and generally sacrificing durability for lightness. The ones geared toward the casual run are more what people talk about. You can more or less visually see the difference between the two types (if you go to Salomon's website and look at all of their models you'll be able to see the different varities of shoes under the "trail runner" category). Some examples are the La Sportiva Wildcat mentioned earlier or the Salomon XA. Both are lighter than boots, drain/dry well, but they're heavier than a more racing oriented shoe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    I have heard that logic before and agree its anecdotal overall. No medical studies have found that to be true, though I'm sure there is some muscle toning that will happen once the change is made.
    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    a used to roll my ankle a lot. podiatrist told me to stop wearing high top boots for work when i could. since i stopped, ankles are stronger, but i was wearing those boots 60 hours a week.
    Agree with both. Some people (Karl, e.g.) claim it works, but I don't know of any rigorous study to prove it. I seem to be blessed with good ankles. My knees on the other hand.....

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    Has anyone NOT rolled an ankle while wearing boots? In order to prevent that, you'd need hiking boots that looked like alpine ski boots. And you can go to any ski area and see how comfortable those are to walk in.

    That said, I when I switched from boots to running shoes, I was a little unsure of my footing for a few weeks. I watched the trail surface more carefully, and was more careful with foot placement. After a while, either that became so normal I didn't notice it anymore, or my lower legs strengthened, or maybe a combination. Now, when I hike with old friends who haven't made the switch, it's sometimes apparent that they have the advantage like on snowfields or steep scree. But I'm so far ahead I gotta let 'em catch up sometime. And at the end of the day, I'm ready to do the hike again and they aren't.

    To answer the question, one classic trail runner is the New Balance 8XX series. I don't know where the weight cut-off is, probably around 12 ounces per pair. The big sacrifice I've noticed is lower life expectancy of the upper. When I retire my shoes, typically with 700 to 800 trail miles, the tread is still OK, the midsole is shot (flattened, no "spring" left), and the upper is all torn up with toes sticking out. Heavier walking shoes will still be very serviceable at twice that mileage.

    I've seen and used different ways to tie laces, like relieving heel pain or toe pain (Google that), but never one designed to prevent ankle roll. I don't read Backpacker--sorry, can't help there.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    In all the posts about trail runner type footwear, I have become a bit confused. Are these low trail type shoes with or are these sneaker/running shoes? After the conversations about knee problems and some folks moving into "trail runners" and finding relief, I am up for the challenge but would like to know what species of footwear we are talking about.

    Second related question, either here or in Backpacker Magazine I saw some information on tying low top footwear in an unconventional way that would reduce or stop ankle rolling (one of my age old problems). It was a picture diagram with some instruction and had a very unconventional look to it. Anyone recall this?
    Trail runners are the version of street/paved surface running shoes for trails. Go to any shoe store that sells running shoes both for hard surfaces and for trails. Look at the differences. What I generally notice are more underfoot protection, beefier materials for more protection, different treads, etc with trail runners compared to hard surface running shoes. There's some variety in trail and hard surface shoes made for specific conditions though.


    I'm not going to search for links to all the different lacing techniques but from what I understand tightly lacing the highest eyelet can help with rolling ankles. BUT, I think Nick Gatel on BPL made some excellent pts on reducing ankle rolling or considerations that would be wise to consider in this regard. Rolling an ankle is NOT only about the type of shoe one wears!

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...hread_id=22522

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    http://www.healthontherun.net/runnin...r-shoe-tricks/ There you go AT Traveler. There's supposedly one way to lace running shoes that helps to not roll your ankle but again IMO I think you need to explore other potential issues that increase or decrease the chances of rolling your ankles.

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    Trail runners look like road running shoes but with a different tread, usually much more aggressive and sometimes of sticky rubber.

    I use these. I like them, but they are very light and flexible and unsupportive.
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    obviously trail runners are running shoes. but there are shoes ranging from 7oz to 17 oz each. the heavier ones, arent shoes any real runner i know of would wear to run., they are more like light hikers disguised as shoes.

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    Around here, "trail runners" usually means "low-cut shoes with an aggressive tread, usually a rock plate, and rubber rands for better grip on rock" as opposed to high-top "hiking boots." The fine distinctions tend to get lost: robust hiking shoes and sticky approach shoes get lumped in with flimsy ultralight things that are hardly more than road runners with a lugged sole.

    I find that I have fewer knee problems now that I've switched to trail runners in summer. In winter, I still use either big clunky leather boots or bigger, clunkier pac boots, because those are the minimum you need to attach traction gear. You can wear microspikes with trail runners, but snowshoe and crampon bindings need stiff boots.

    The ones I use are New Balance 400 series, although I'm likely to upgrade to 800's the next time I need a pair.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

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    They are running shoes with a lower heel lift. If you are not used to them and you run on pavement your shins will hurt because the foot is at a different angle than most road shoes.
    There's a huge range in sole patterns, from reasonably smooth in some of the Montrails (meant for easy desert trails) to deep lug; deepest I've seen was a Golite shoe which had ridiculously deep tread. Most are between these extremes. Brooks Cascadias have a pretty tame sole, and I have fallen using them on muddy trails (my wife used them for 200+ miles of Maine, and fell so many times that her shins became infected and she had to leave the trail). So you need to know your surface before you buy.

    We have used trail shoes extensively in more than 45 ultra marathons, many trail runs (Wonderland Trail in 3 days) plus a fair amount of hiking, but we NO LONGER use them for backpacking. It's just too easy to get in over your head IMO. Like most things, hiking is all about building a good foundation, starting with your choice of footware.

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    Isn't a trail runner just someone who runs on the trail?

    [Groan]
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    Gene Espy called me before i left on a hike(2009). I wanted his book before i left, but he called to apologize he didn't get the second print. We talked for a bit and he said the most important thing on a hike is your "Shoes". he said take care of them and get them re-soled often . i found all he said to be true. keep your feet happy. i met him at the NOC days later and first thing he asked is "how's your feet? tell me all about your walk so far"
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    Gene Espy called me before i left on a hike(2009). I wanted his book before i left, but he called to apologize he didn't get the second print. We talked for a bit and he said the most important thing on a hike is your "Shoes". he said take care of them and get them re-soled often . i found all he said to be true. keep your feet happy. i met him at the NOC days later and first thing he asked is "how's your feet? tell me all about your walk so far"
    LOL. He gave me the same talk too. I listened and heeded his well earned advice. In the end, after thanking him for his solid advice, I said to him, "Gene I suppose you don't want to talk in detail about titanium sporks, cuben fiber backpacks, and carbon fiber trekking poles?" Actually he did listen and amazed me how he cordially put things into a more proper perspective for me.

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