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  1. #1

    Default Who is the best shoe fitter?

    I will be starting my thru hike in early March and I need to get my shoes now. I have been reading older posts as to which outfitters and individuals are most highly recommended in helping to properly fit shoes. Is Outdoor 76 in Franklin, NC still the best place to go? is Rob still there and is he the best person to work with? I have big feet, wide forefeet, narrow heels, high arches and about at least a 1/2 size difference between my feet; I want to be sure I get this right! All suggestions and advice is welcomed and will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    GAME 06
    Join Date
    10-15-2004
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    Prescott, Arizona
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    66
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    Hmm...in my opinion you already know this person....it is you.

    No one can figure this out better than the person who has been walking on those feet for 60 years. You know how tender your feet are, where you tend to get blisters, where or if your feet tend to hurt a lot, if you have tight achilles tendons, etc.

    Hopefully you have a lot of hiking under your belt by now. If not you are just going to have to experiment a bit. To be honest if you are leaving in March you should already have worn out at least 1 pair of the shoe you have found which works best for you. That does not seem to be the case by your note. If you have little to no hiking experience then you really need to get to training and finding out what kind of shoe works best for you. Especially at your age (we are about the same) you must be very careful with new shoes and really take your time conditioning your self or bad things are likely to happen.

    So. Head down to the local hiking store and try on about 10 different shoes and see what you can find which you like. If your feet are that different in size then you will have to find a way to deal with the shoe which is too large (do not by a pair where 1 fits well and the other shoe is way too small). You can adjust how the larger shoe fits by trying different socks and shoe tying techniques (I would probably avoid any additional inserts as this will raise one foot and could lead to bad problems). Then start using them and see what happens.

    Do not buy a shoe and just take off and put big miles in in them even if you walk a pretty fair amount as your body has to adjust to everything new. Small miles the first few times you wear them. Wear them around the house and on trips to the store. Pretty much only wear hiking shoes for the rest of the time until you leave. Once you get up to fairly reasonable mileage with your chosen shoes you have to decide if they really work for you or not. If the answer is 'not' go back to the store and repeat the process.

    Once you find something that works well for you try to stick with that shoe and model for your whole hike - unless you start having problems. Changing shoe models and makes mid-hike is really asking for problems to crop up. If you do have to do this cut your mileage back for at least a few days to allow your body to adjust to the new mechanics which each different shoe requires of you.

    Good luck.

  3. #3

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    Rob is absolutely the best in GA and NC along the AT.

    While I agree with Wyoming that only you can know what feels best to you, there are a lot of other things that a good shoe fitter knows that the average person does not, and can save you a ton of time by eliminating trial and error. Rob, for example, helped me find excellent shoes for my oddball feet after 2 years of trying to fix things on my own. He was able to figure out what worked for me, my unique foot situation, and correct the core issue without trying to find a shoe that felt good without fixing the issue. Rob trained for over a year with a foot specialist before going into business so he knows a lot of things about the mechanics of a foot that 99% of your box store shoe fitters won't have the first clue about.

    Go to Outdoor 76 and you won't be disappointed.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    05-05-2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    Hmm...in my opinion you already know this person....it is you.
    .

    +

    No one knows what a shoe feels like on your foot..but you.
    YOU YOU YOU need to learn what to look for
    You develop this by trying on lots and lots and lots of shoes and wearing them for a while.

    It is very difficult to find a place with wide selection, all sizes and actually try on and compare shoes while wearing around for 30 min and lacing different ways

    In your home, and by mail order from somewhere with free shipping and return shipping is best. With whatever insoles you will use too.

    And it can take 6 months or more ordering 4 pr at a time.

    You should have started this middle of last year...seriously. And already hiked 100 miles or so in them to confirm no problems. And bought multiple pair of winners.

    All Im saying is now...your going to rush a purchase that is YOUR MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF GEAR.

    Sorry for the yelling. Its OK. Most do the exact same thing. Of course, many get blisters before they are out of GA.

    you might be fortunate and hit a grandslam with first pair. Lets hope.

    And just because something works for 10mpd, doenst mean it will work for 20.
    And if it works with 20 lb pack, doesnt mean it will work with 30 either.

    I have a bit of a peeve about people that want to just wear what others wear as well. No wonder so many have blisters. A common question is"Whats a good shoe" The answer is any shoe that works well for you.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 01-09-2017 at 20:57.

  5. #5

    Default

    Another vote for Rob in Franklin. Two years ago I walked in wearing tattered boots and left in a pair of trail runners that fit well. I'm still using them. I was really happy I got my feet evaluated.

  6. #6

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    Rolled into Outdoor76 after a couple of long days on the trail. They take a lot of pride in doing everything they can to ensure you have the proper footwear. I was surprised to hear them say nobody can just come in and buy a pair of shoes without getting fitted.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-18-2015
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    36
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    If you can make it to Franklin, Outdoor 76 is definitely the way to go. Their customer service and attention to detail blows my mind. Once you buy shoes from them, they will keep all of your shoe/insole information so when you wear out a pair of shoes all you have to do is give them a call and they'll ship you a new pair anywhere on the trail for free. I can't say enough good things about Outdoor 76, they're great guys! And I've never heard a single complaint from anyone who has gone through them to purchase new shoes.

  8. #8
    Registered User Elder's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-08-2004
    Location
    Oakwood, GA
    Age
    69
    Posts
    588

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    Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap is by far the best and most experienced in Georgia.
    They do not require an appointment, hours of time or insist on insoles. They fix a lot of hikers feet at the 30.8 mile marker on the AT.

    Insoles are wonderful fit correctly. Anything that requires multiple days to adjust to is wrong. Do not change your feet. Fit your feet.
    "You don't have to think fast if you move slow" Red Green

  9. #9

    Default

    Tom at the NOC is really good. He's been at it for over 20 years, and he is kinda like Jerry Garcia. Helped me out when me feet grew too big for my boots and put me through all the paces and observated my feet and walking style. Placed me in some really good trail runners and I was very satisifed.

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