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  1. #1
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    Default Hiking Boot/Shoe Recommendations

    I've spent more than 20 years mostly trail running in Salomon XA Pro 3D trail running shoes. I am now thinking about getting a real hiking boot/shoe for use on the AT for a section hike. The feature I'm most interested in is under foot protection. Next I'm looking for non-goretex so they "dry" quick.

    I don't really care if the thing is low-cut or a mid. It seems everyone and their mother doing AT thru hikes are using trail running shoes and not "real" hiking shoes. Maybe I'm delusional, but I got to think your feet will feel relatively better after a 16-mile day (planned average on my hike) wearing a hiking shoe versus a trail runner.

  2. #2
    Leonidas
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    Personally, I use trail runners and my feet feel fine. Now if I wear the runners with less cushion and push over 25 mpd then yes, my feet can get achy but are fine the next morning. Just got a pair with more stack height(cushion) to push 40 mpd.

    You might want to look at the Vasque Breeze or something similar if you want a walking shoe. My wife really liked them until she tried the Altra LP 3.0s.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  3. #3
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Investigate the Lowa Leather Lined Renegade. I think they are available in low and mid heights. You’re probably going to have to buy directly from Lowa.
    Finding good non Gore-Tex shoes is becoming almost impossible.
    Good luck!
    Wayne

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    Keene has non-gortex hiking shoes and boots. I prefer them to Vasque Breeze because of a wider toe bed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by spfleisig View Post
    Maybe I'm delusional, but I got to think your feet will feel relatively better after a 16-mile day (planned average on my hike) wearing a hiking shoe versus a trail runner.
    Maybe so, but there are other factors. If I go all the way to a real leather hiking boot, the extra weight means my legs are trashed by the end of the day, lifting an extra pound or more for 30K steps per day (also true for some heavier hiking shoes.) On the other hand, I wore very light and flexible trail runners on a Long Trail thru, and they didn't have any support at all. Ended up with some ankle problems when we got home. So I think there is a happy medium in there somewhere -- for me it's the La Sportiva Wildcats, which are mesh trail runners with a fairly high torsional rigidity and some good cushioning. Now I wear them every day at work, too, along with Sole insoles.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6

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    What works for me or someone else is simply not relevant to you choice. Go to stores with a large selection of outdoor footwear and try on as many pairs as you can stand to. Ask for the sales person's hiking resume' if they offer advice. Bring a loaded pack and walk around the store, up and down stairs for 1/2 hour or more with each likely contender. Keep at it until the shoe fits you. Then wear it. If your store takes returns on shoes that have been used outside, do a real hike and either keep your choice or start over.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    What works for me or someone else is simply not relevant to you choice. Go to stores with a large selection of outdoor footwear and try on as many pairs as you can stand to. Ask for the sales person's hiking resume' if they offer advice. Bring a loaded pack and walk around the store, up and down stairs for 1/2 hour or more with each likely contender. Keep at it until the shoe fits you. Then wear it. If your store takes returns on shoes that have been used outside, do a real hike and either keep your choice or start over.
    Thanks; great advice.

  8. #8
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    What works for me or someone else is simply not relevant to you choice. Go to stores with a large selection of outdoor footwear and try on as many pairs as you can stand to. Ask for the sales person's hiking resume' if they offer advice. Bring a loaded pack and walk around the store, up and down stairs for 1/2 hour or more with each likely contender. Keep at it until the shoe fits you. Then wear it. If your store takes returns on shoes that have been used outside, do a real hike and either keep your choice or start over.
    I bought the first pair of Ultra Raptors at an REI store in February. I thought that I had gotten the correct size.
    The following September, after real backpacking on and near the CDT in southern Colorado, I lost a couple toe nails. I boxed the shoes up and exchanged them for a half size larger. Another trip to Colorado and Wyoming confirmed that I had the correct size.
    Thanks REI!
    Wayne

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by spfleisig View Post
    I've spent more than 20 years mostly trail running in Salomon XA Pro 3D trail running shoes. I am now thinking about getting a real hiking boot/shoe for use on the AT for a section hike. The feature I'm most interested in is under foot protection. Next I'm looking for non-goretex so they "dry" quick.

    I don't really care if the thing is low-cut or a mid. It seems everyone and their mother doing AT thru hikes are using trail running shoes and not "real" hiking shoes. Maybe I'm delusional, but I got to think your feet will feel relatively better after a 16-mile day (planned average on my hike) wearing a hiking shoe versus a trail runner.
    Since you didn't ask any questions
    Seems like you posted to say you were going to buy shoes

    Your feet get used to whatever you wear.

    I like to feel every rock under my feet. It makes me more aware of trail and nimble than if I'm walking with boards under my feet. A sole that conforms to a rock also doesnt tend to roll off of it as much. The stiffer the sole, the more clunky the walking.

    But to each his own. Try 25 mpd in each and then decide.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-08-2018 at 03:38.

  10. #10
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    I actually use what I think is a mi cut of the Salomon XA Pro 3D that you have been using and I like them. I have another pair I use for work, too. I'm a fan of the quick laces and how fast they dry out if they get wet. Like everyone has said, though, it is really what is right for YOUR feet.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by spfleisig View Post
    I've spent more than 20 years mostly trail running in Salomon XA Pro 3D trail running shoes. I am now thinking about getting a real hiking boot/shoe for use on the AT for a section hike. The feature I'm most interested in is under foot protection. Next I'm looking for non-goretex so they "dry" quick.

    I don't really care if the thing is low-cut or a mid. It seems everyone and their mother doing AT thru hikes are using trail running shoes and not "real" hiking shoes. Maybe I'm delusional, but I got to think your feet will feel relatively better after a 16-mile day (planned average on my hike) wearing a hiking shoe versus a trail runner.
    If a shoe offers enough underfoot protection for trail running, it is likely enough for hiking.

    If you've never had any problems with the Salomon trail running shoes it would make sense to stick with those for hiking, or maybe get some other Salomon model such as the Wildcats.

    Totally revamping footwear right before a big hike is a total crap shoot. At least take Muddy's advice and get some miles on them before committing... personally, at a minimum I'd put 100 mi on them on a variety of trails (esp steep/rocky) to expose any problems. IME, steep downhill and side-hill/off-camber trails are the best for revealing weaknesses.
    Last edited by cmoulder; 05-08-2018 at 06:27.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  12. #12

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    I'd recommend real support for quality footwear, you don't want to take your feet for granted as so many problems that develop later may originate in bad foot care and hygiene earlier. Asolo boots are usually ready to use out of the box, such as the Fugitive and lighter lines. I have two pairs of Limmer regulars too. It doesn't hurt to have a pair of Nike or other quality sneakers for lighter days, use Superfeet inserts and Merino socks.


  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by spfleisig View Post
    I've spent more than 20 years mostly trail running in Salomon XA Pro 3D trail running shoes. I am now thinking about getting a real hiking boot/shoe for use on the AT for a section hike. The feature I'm most interested in is under foot protection. Next I'm looking for non-goretex so they "dry" quick.

    I don't really care if the thing is low-cut or a mid. It seems everyone and their mother doing AT thru hikes are using trail running shoes and not "real" hiking shoes. Maybe I'm delusional, but I got to think your feet will feel relatively better after a 16-mile day (planned average on my hike) wearing a hiking shoe versus a trail runner.
    Sounds very much like a solution looking for a problem.

    As others mentioned... you have a shoe you like and you've been trail running for 20 years.
    That's 3/4 of the battle.

    Are you planning on hauling a heavy load?
    Are you planning daily mileage much longer than your current runs?

    Do you have a problem?

    As muddy pointed out... having more cush doesn't necessarily mean better performance on trail or after.
    If you already step lightly and well... then adding some cushion can extend your day.
    If you walk hard... more cush just means you'll walk harder... not necessarily longer.

    I'd shoulder a pack and take a long hike (or ideally two back to back decent days) and see if you have a problem.
    The shoes you mentioned are listed as moderate cushion https://www.salomon.com/us/product/xa-pro-3d-1.html

    I don't wear solomans so hard for me to say off hand... but is there another shoe in that family with a bit more cushion?
    Reducing the heel drop to a mid drop (4-8mm) is something that even runners who like a 12 mm heel find helps with longer days of walking. (though you will need an adjustment period.)

    I'd play around within the family of shoe you already know and trust.
    That is if it turns out the shoe itself you already know and trust actually has a problem.

    There is no such thing as a hiking shoe.
    The Altra Lone peak is about the closest universally lauded hiking shoe but that is by accident rather than intent of the designer. It is a trail running shoe that turned out to work really good for long distance hiking.

    A road running shoe gets a more aggressive outsole and gets marketed as a 'trail runner'.
    A trail runner gets the colors toned down from bold running/aggressive color palates and into earth tones with a Vibram rubber stamp and gets marketed as a 'Hiking shoe'.

    They are just shoes- the names are just marketing.
    There really isn't much of a market for 'hiking shoes' so anyone who doesn't fit well or like one of the few brands that sells them has to look to trail runners to find a good one that fits.
    Merrell and Vasque have 'hiking shoes' and the Merrell Moab is a long standing popular line... https://www.merrell.com/US/en/moab-2...hiking&start=1

    But really isn't any different at it's heart than what you have now.

    You also may come to find that the old adage (since tested by the military) that 'one pound on the foot is 5lbs on the back' will result in more fatigue overall than the exact amount of cushion you choose.
    If anything that clunky, heavy boot may simply do it's job by getting you all tuckered out so you don't stay on trail longer and cover enough miles to get footsore.

  14. #14
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I'd stick with what is working for you now.why create a problem when you've already found the solution?

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