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Thread: Slab walkin'

  1. #1
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    Default Slab walkin'

    When recently NOBO on the AT 3+ miles south of the Vista Village blue blaze trail to Greenwood Lake NY I slipped on one of the NY rock slabs, spraining an ankle. Very slowly hobbled to and down the blue blaze and had to cut short a 2-week section hike after only 6 days. I was wearing Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boots because my Altra Olympus trail runners did not give me adequate **ankle support** on a Harpers Ferry ==> Waynesboro section hike last October. Salomons are apparently the OPPOSITE of grippy, despite what the manufacturer claims. I was hiking with my brother, who was also in the same boots, and who also slipped a number of times.

    The lesson I learned was to pay careful attention to *every* foot placement on that type of surface, take small steps, and try to keep at least 3-point contact with my 2 feet and 2 trekking poles.

    My question: What footwear have you successfully used on the slippery surfaces of the AT?

  2. #2
    Registered User Tuxhiker's Avatar
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    If you like the grip of Altras, they make a Lone Peak that is higher with more ankle support. I have the women's version, but haven't been on slippery slabs yet. Works well on algae covered wet bridges.

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    Lowa Renegades

    not oboz
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    I also have the women's Altra Lone Peak 5 and just hiked through some fairly rocky areas with a lot of creek crossings in the pouring rain, and they did great. I got them for trail running, and I will say that the first few times I wore them I did slip some (mainly on the tile in my kitchen). I don't know what that was all about..I guess they were still squeaky clean.

    My husband likes his Salomon Speedcross 5 shoes, and he also had no problems with slipping.

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    Occasionally I get a get a pair of 'slippers' (my term for them) instead of hiking shoes. I need to relegate them to around town service, not worth the risk out there. It's a unfortunate part of hiking.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerZ View Post
    not oboz
    I'm learning that now with a pair of the Obox Sawtooth II shoes I bought at REI. I was initially very happy with them until I went for a walk on a wet sidewalk and darned near fell like a sack of potatoes; even my Asics running shoes have more traction than these.

    I reached out to the company with the issue, but after over two weeks they have yet to respond beyond the automated "ticket received" message.

    I came across a few postings online of people with slippery issues with Oboz shoes; I'm guessing they have chosen sole longevity over wet traction which is just silly in a hiking shoe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnycat View Post
    I'm learning that now with a pair of the Obox Sawtooth II shoes I bought at REI. I was initially very happy with them until I went for a walk on a wet sidewalk and darned near fell like a sack of potatoes; even my Asics running shoes have more traction than these.

    I reached out to the company with the issue, but after over two weeks they have yet to respond beyond the automated "ticket received" message.

    I came across a few postings online of people with slippery issues with Oboz shoes; I'm guessing they have chosen sole longevity over wet traction which is just silly in a hiking shoe.
    My experience with the Oboz Sawtooth shoes is the same. Rugged and durable in the rocks until they get wet, then they are quite slippery.

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    They fit well and felt fine. I’d be afraid of slipping on wet sloping rock slabs, I’m thinking north out of the Mohican Outdoor Center in NJ.

    They maybe fine in the desert. Indiana Jones would be afraid of some of them.
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  9. #9
    Registered User hikermiker's Avatar
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    I used Brooks Cascadias on that section. I slipped several times and finally fell and cracked a rib. I now use La Sportiva Ultraraptors.

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    Traction metrics are not all the same for different conditions. Your boot traction excels on dirt, mixed slop, and in snow with the deep lugs. They were not designed for slabs specifically although like you have learned to recognize and remind yourself "pay careful attention to *every* foot placement on that type of surface, take small steps, and try to keep at least 3-point contact with my 2 feet and 2 trekking poles." As a rare trekking pole user I do better on slabs being more mindful of foot placement and anticipating shifts, by not using trekking poles on sloped slabs.

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    Like I wrote to my engineer friends at the time “what are the coefficients of static and dynamic friction for wet and dry vibram and rock?”
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  12. #12

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    It's getting darn near impossible to find a shoe which with stick to wet ledge, which is a serious problem hiking in the Whites, as we have a lot of wet ledge, and it's often steep.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  13. #13

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    When I used to hike in boots they were Vasque Summit boots. Heavy boots but they would stick like velcro to steep, wet rocks, which was my reason for purchasing them. I wonder if any of the Vasque hiking shoes have a similar kind of grip.

  14. #14

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    FWIW - I purchased a pair of Oboz Sawtooth trail shoes not long ago and have not noticed anymore or less traction than other boots and shoes I have used (outside of perhaps Merrills). I did notice on urban sidewalks, especially near eateries, they are a bit slick, but so have other shoes. Likely due to the rain or dew coating the grease that walks out of these places that is rarely cleaned off sidewalks.

    There will always be areas I look at twice as I move through them, moss/lichen coated smooth rock for example, wet roots (especially those tracking down slope), and wet leaves covering pitched slab rock. Typically when I have a traction failure twice with the same shoe or boot it's because they are worn out and time for replacing.

  15. #15

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    There are many places where ANY kind of shoe/boot is going to slip.

    It ain't the rubber... it's the junk mud, water, moss, algae, lichen between the sole and the rock, and the angle from which force is being applied, that determine whether or not you're going to bust your ass.
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

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    Roots - snake root, slider, tripper, hooker aka snake head
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    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

  17. #17
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    Traction vs durability. Choose either one. All soles have reduced traction on wet rocks, but some much more so than others. I too have had a bad experience with Oboz about 10 years ago. They quickly became weed whacking shoes. I've had better luck with Salomon Ultra 3. Some say they are very slippery on wet rock, but I'd rate them as moderate/average. Some of the stickiest trail shoes I've had were some LL Bean low hikers many years ago. I don't know if they've changed the sole compound though. I remember years ago having boots that stuck to wet rocks really well. There seems to have been a change for the worse regarding wet traction starting about when trail erosion due to lug soles became a talked about issue, and manufacturers started changing lug patterns and such. This coincides with hiking wear/gear starting to become fashionable around town in many circles. I don't know if there is a relationship between the two. Five.Ten and Hanwag seem to get good reviews lately regarding wet rock. Maybe my next pair . . .
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  18. #18

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    My Limmers with the classic Vibram lug soles stuck to everything. Could walk straight up wet ledge. Sadly, my knees can't handle 5 pounds of boots on my feet anymore.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

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    A few years back I tried a couple of different Adidas Terrex shoes. They had outsole made with Continental rubber (the tire company) and Traxion?? rubber. The lugs were aggressive and rubber was really grippy. Unfortunately, I had to move on from them because the shoe caused me horrible blisters. You might try those, they're affordable. YMMV

    I loved the soles but couldn't tolerate the shoe, moved on to Altra...LP, Timp, Olympus.

  20. #20
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    I had a pair of Limmers as well. For traction, nothing since has come close. And for weight, nothing since has come close, lol.

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