Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-06-2015
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    7

    Default Shoes... Pre-buy & mail drop? Or buy along the way?

    Hi Everyone! First time posting but I've been visiting the forums for a while.......

    I'm planning to thru-hike the AT in 2016 and I was wondering what people typically do about new shoes. Generally before I go out hiking in a new pair of shoes, I like to wear them around town for a couple of weeks to break them in.

    I've read that one should expect to replace shoes every 500 miles or so, which would mean 4 pairs of shoes for the thru-hike.

    My thought is that it might make sense to buy several pairs in advance and break each pair in for a couple of weeks. (Well, I'd buy a single pair and break them in to make sure they are the right ones for my feet, then buy the extra pairs and break them in, all before starting the hike.) I would then mail drop them to the appropriate spots along the trail.

    I also have a wide foot and always have a hard time finding a proper fitting shoe, so i also have some concern about being able to find the right size along the way.

    So... what do people tend to do when thru-hiking? Do you pre-buy and mail drop? Do you buy along the way? And how long do your shoes tend to last you?

  2. #2
    Registered User Jedeye's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-11-2010
    Location
    Peachtree City, GA
    Age
    36
    Posts
    82
    Images
    1

    Default

    I had somebody I know mail them to me as I needed them - that way I didn't have to worry about finding a particular model/size along the trail. 500 miles for trail runners is about right, but it could probably swing 200 miles either way depending on terrain, style, and pack weight.
    T-Shirts for hikers: www.trailthread.com

  3. #3
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO or Scottsdale AZ
    Age
    61
    Posts
    5,311
    Images
    2

    Default

    Are you absolutely positive those are THE shoes? Have you used them on a multi-month hike yet? If there's any doubt, don't buy the shoes yet. Identify an on-line source and get them shipped as you hike. I pre-bought mine and had someone mail mine to me as I hiked, but that didn't happen until my second long hike. It took about 2000 miles to dial in the brand, size and width.

    I got 700 to 800 miles out of my NB trail runners on the AT. I had two pairs mail dropped, along with socks and guidebook sections.
    "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

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    3,966

    Default

    You can save considerable money buying ahead of time and having new shoes shipped to the trail vs. buying as you go (most likely at full price at an outfitter or from Zappos). But you have to know your feet well enough to be sure that they won't change over a very long hike. The longest hike I've been on was the Colorado Trail. But I'm comfortable enough with Cascadias and how my feet reacted to 500 miles to have purchased all of my shoes for the PCT ahead of time. The average price I paid for the shoes was around $90, or $30 less than retail price. Also, I wanted to send myself some other things (maps, vitamins, Starbucks Via, etc) once per month so I was going to send a package anyway.

    If for some weird reason, my feet change and I can't use what I purchased, I'll just buy as I go along and sell the brand new Cascadias when I return. As for break in ... none is required on the Cascadias.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  5. #5
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-21-2007
    Location
    Swedesboro, NJ
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,338
    Images
    25

    Default

    i started size 13, now wear 14. has this happen to anyone else after 1000 miles?
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-29-2013
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Age
    48
    Posts
    127

    Default

    I have read many times over that your feet will become larger...wider for sure and longer most times due to flattening from walking many miles daily.


    Life is full of ups and downs! Hike on!

  7. #7

    Default

    Yes, I highly recommend that you get your 2nd, pair a size bigger.
    And just go with 2 for now.
    Don't put all that money out for more without knowing how big your feet are going to be, or what you find out to be a better shoe when you find out more. (like your shoes falling apart way before others, or are too slippery on rocks compared to others or similar.
    Don't over-think all of this.
    Just go out and do some hiking and be ready with a light load.
    If you do that, you'll already be ahead of the game.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  8. #8
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-29-2010
    Location
    Chillicothe, OH
    Age
    64
    Posts
    436

    Default

    My feet got wider and longer. Started with 10.5 and finished with 11.5.
    More walking, less talking.

  9. #9
    Registered User brancher's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-16-2004
    Location
    Wilmington/Leland, NC
    Posts
    314

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    i started size 13, now wear 14. has this happen to anyone else after 1000 miles?
    Yeah. Me.

    Started with 12's years ago, now 13's with big toe box or 14s with typical (inadequate) toe boxes. Universal unanswered question: Why haven't most shoe companies (save for a small number of forward-thinkers) figured out you need a big tow box if you're a distance walker???

  10. #10
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-13-2010
    Location
    Kingsville, Texas
    Age
    72
    Posts
    2,270

    Default

    Depends. I can't walk into most shoe stores and buy shoes, 10 1/2 B. My feet didn't grow but I did notice that with all the downhill I needed a longer shoe to keep my toenails happy. I went though a pair of running shoes every 500 miles or so. I bought one pair at the PX at West Point but had the rest mailed to me. I don't think I would stockpile a bunch of shoes until I saw how they worked out on the trail.

  11. #11
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO or Scottsdale AZ
    Age
    61
    Posts
    5,311
    Images
    2

    Default

    Mine definitely got bigger, at least a half size, and wider. And stayed that way. When I got home none of my other shoes or boots fit. Bummer.
    "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

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-06-2015
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Very helpful info everyone. Thank you!

    For all who said their feet got larger... Did they eventually go back down in size?

  13. #13
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-03-2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,437

    Default

    My feet grew 1/2 size when I started running and another 1/2 size when I did a 3-month AT section hike. They've never gone down, but thankfully they didn't grow any more when I did the PCT or CDT.

    Echoing the above, DO NOT buy your shoes ahead of time. Worst case scenario is that your feet don't grow, and you end up buying the same size shoes your started with. Better to waste a little money on buying shoes last minute on the trail and having them shipped overnight than to be stuck with a bunch of shoes that don't fit.

    I buy all my shoes at Zappos. They have super-fast shipping and a good return policy and have been very reliable. I usually order my shoes in one town and pick them up in the next.

  14. #14

    Default

    I went up a full size but no width issues, as I use trail runners I bought them online and have them shipped to my next stopover and just got them as needed. The foot beds sort of lost their spring before the soles or uppers would start to die. This was my signal to replace them so I would Google them, find the best price with shipping and click and ship them just a little ahead.

  15. #15
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    56
    Posts
    7,820
    Images
    296

    Default

    I can get about 6 weeks from a pair of trail runners with aftermarket Sole insoles. At this point I know what I like, and I'm pretty sure of the size even after a month on the trail, so I might be okay buying ahead, but even so I would probably buy as I went just for the flexibility to change my shoe or size if needed.

    You can order online in one town and have them shipped to the next, or keep REI on speed dial
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-23-2015
    Location
    South Portland, Maine
    Age
    30
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Just out of curiosity. Would it make any difference for someone who works in a warehouse on concrete all day vs someone who work at a desk? Would the latter have their feet grow more. I have walked about 10-15 miles a day at work on concrete for the last 7 years. Just wondering if I can expect the same

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-21-2013
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    452

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tonyjackson View Post
    Just out of curiosity. Would it make any difference for someone who works in a warehouse on concrete all day vs someone who work at a desk? Would the latter have their feet grow more. I have walked about 10-15 miles a day at work on concrete for the last 7 years. Just wondering if I can expect the same
    I would say no if you also walk around all day with an extra 30lbs strapped to your back. Otherwise, hard to say.

  18. #18

    Default

    I went from a 13 wide to extra wide 13 EEEE. I don't find that trail runners really need a break in as long as I swap in my Montrail insoles

  19. #19
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-21-2007
    Location
    Swedesboro, NJ
    Age
    63
    Posts
    5,338
    Images
    25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigphoto View Post
    Very helpful info everyone. Thank you!

    For all who said their feet got larger... Did they eventually go back down in size?
    not in 6 years
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  20. #20
    Son Driven
    Join Date
    12-15-2012
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Age
    62
    Posts
    287
    Journal Entries
    5

    Default

    Planning my 2013 hike I bought a pair of Niki running shoes, convinced that light weight shoes was the way to go. I went on several test hikes in Minneapolis in freezing temprutures. Spent one day going up and down a river bank immulating the trail the best I could. Convinced that the light weight shoes would allow me to carry a second pair, and I could air my feet out and change into my other pair half way through the day. So I went and bought 3 more pairs. When the first 2 pairs broke down I would have the other 2 pair that were broken in sent to me. Everything was going just as I planned until my toes began to swell up and spread out after about 500 miles. My toes simply ran out of room and got so blistered that it about ended my hike. While at the Woods Hole hostel, letting my feet recover I noticed a triple crown hiker wearing Altra trail running shoes with a large toe box. I went online and had 2 pairs sent to Dalesville, and finished my hike wearing Altra Lone Peaks. For me it is worth the weight to carry a second pair of shoes to change into half way through the day. However if you go the trail runner route you better figure on 5-6 pairs to complete the AT. Light weight shoes tend to break down faster. Whatever you choose give your toes some swelling space.
    03/07/13 - 10/07/13 Flip flop AT thru hike "It is well with my soul"

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •