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  1. #1
    Registered User writeronthestorm's Avatar
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    Default A happy medium between lightweight boots and trail runners?

    At first, I loved my Asolo Fugitives but I noticed that after I increased my daily mileage past 10 I started having severe foot pain right behind the toes. I had been thinking about trying out trail runners, and after experiencing so much foot fatigue with my boots I picked up a pair of Nike trail runners. The shoes work great, for the most part. The comfort level compared to boots is just, well, not comparable. My feet feel great. They aren't sweaty, I don't have nearly as much foot fatigue and I just feel lighter on my feet, which has definitely made me a stronger faster hiker.

    But I have to admit that I miss the protection of my boots. Recently I was on a 45 mile trek in the Hell's Canyon Wilderness over some pretty rugged terrain and I found that the soles of my shoes just weren't enough to protect my feet from rocks and other debris on the trail. Some sharper rocks actually caused quite a bit of pain, and I was a little jealous of my boot wearing companions. Also, during brief bouts of rain and stream crossings water was penetrating my shoes and soaking my socks. I found myself trying to dry my shoes on breaks and in camp at night after days in which I encountered water.

    My question is this: Is it possible to get the best of both worlds? A lightweight, breathable shoe that will still protect my feet? I shopped around at REI and it seemed like most footwear is either one or the other. Anyone got any recommendations or ideas about that?

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    There are a variety of trail runners. Some have foot-plates in them, like a Montrail Hard Rock type shoe. I'm not sure that I'd recommend that particular shoe, but it's the only one I can remember offhand that I know has a foot plate. Is that what you're looking for?

    Another idea is to try adding green superfeet to your trail runners

    Another idea is to keep on trucking with the trail runners and try to work on better foot placement--eventually you'll learn to be more careful with your feet, although there will be some pain along the way

    There are gore-tex trail runners and gaiters, but in most cases I think it's easier to just admit that you'll get wet sometimes and try to have shoes that dry out quickly

  3. #3
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    There's the Saucony Progrid Razor. I've never tried the beasts on, but they always seem to jump out at me when I'm in the running store, and they may be something like what you want.

    http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/SCN940/
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    Tried Mountain Gear? They have a number of diffeerent items than REI and helpful staff.
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  5. #5
    Registered User JenHikes's Avatar
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    I tried on a Keen trail "shoe" this weekend that had a lot of rigidity like a boot and a thicker sole. It wasn't for me, as I really like a trail shoe these days, but it seemed to be a happy medium for those who want the best of both worlds. I don't know the model of the shoe and it was a woman's shoe. I'm sure they make a version in men's too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by writeronthestorm View Post
    My question is this: Is it possible to get the best of both worlds?
    Only if you're very lucky. No two feet are the same, not even on the same person. All kinds of trail terrain, hiking styles, and kinesiology. I would never want to repeat the Roller Coaster in my Vasque Low Breeze trail shoes and my Asolo FN85 boots are overkill for the Shenandoah National Park. I have different footwear for different parts of the trail, for different weather conditions. If you can afford it, experiment, return if you can, and sell what you can't.

  7. #7
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    I like my Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX Hiking Boots. Kind of a high-top trail runner.
    http://www.rei.com/product/788395/salomon-3d-fastpacker-mid-gtx-hiking-boots-mens

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    I have a WIDE foot so there are limited options, somewhere I read that "boots" are not what most of us are used to wearing and are therefore a miss when all of a sudden going from our normal lives to the AT for a backpacking trip. My experience, low tops are a TON better, more comfortable, less pain after weeks of hiking and I can hike further as well. My new Vasque "trail runners" are really solid shoes, plenty of support and can handle tough terrain. Stopped taking Crocs or flip flops, just slip these on when I go to the privy, etc. = more weight savings.

    Ski boots - they provide ankle support, hiking boots do not.

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    Forgot to mention, Innov8 has some pretty cool shoes for those with thinner feet, nothing in a wide width available (yet)

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    Default The North Face shoes

    The North Face has several shoes that have Vibram soles and trail runner type uppers. I have the Crestone low top, non goretex and have only been on two day hikes with them but LOVE them compared to my big heavy boots. I also liked the Hedgehog and the GTX one they had both with Vibram uppers. Another bonus is several of their models come in low top and mid top, gore tex and non gore tex so you can mix and match as you see fit.

    Hint...look around for good deals on Alltrec, Moosejaw, endless, zappos, etc. I paid $67 for low top Crestone's, non goretex with no shipping. They runn about $100 and $120 (goretex or non) regular price but should be able to find them cheaper. Also most Dicks Sporting goods carried the Hedgehogs and GTX to try them on.

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    You may also try something like the Merrill Moab. They come in both a mid-boot and low cut shoe, in either "Goretex" or "ventilator." They are heavier than trail runners but lighter than other boots. I am using a pair of mid-boots, but my next shoe will likely be the low shoe rather than a mid-boot.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalo Skipper View Post
    You may also try something like the Merrill Moab.
    +1 on the Moab.
    I had a hard time getting used to them, but now I find them to be the happy medium you're asking for - at least for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffalo Skipper View Post
    You may also try something like the Merrill Moab. They come in both a mid-boot and low cut shoe, in either "Goretex" or "ventilator." They are heavier than trail runners but lighter than other boots. I am using a pair of mid-boots, but my next shoe will likely be the low shoe rather than a mid-boot.
    I love my Moab Ventilators. But be aware that the Goretex and originals may fit quite differently. For me, the originals are great but the Goretex ones were quite painful. YMMV.

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