WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23
  1. #1

    Default do every thru-hikers change their shoes every 500 miles or so?

    Hi,
    I am looking forward to my thru-hike this Spring! (late April)
    I had an impression that many of people frequently buy a new pair of shoes every 500 miles or so.
    Is this trend? Or necessity? If so, why?
    Since I have week ankle, I would rather go for a heavy duty pair such as KEEN Oregon PCT, 20 oz http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...o_cart_title_1
    or Salomon Quest 4D, also 20 oz http://www.amazon.com/Salomon-Womens...n+hiking+boots
    (Even though the toe part of Salomon Quest 4D will fall apart pretty easily)
    Are they still needed to be replaced every 500 miles or so?
    I see people say the insoles are made of EVA which flattens within 300 - 500 miles.
    Why can't I just replace the insoles?

    The thru-hike is still lots of expenses for me, and I don't think I can afford to buy 4,5 100$ shoes.
    If you have thru-hiked with just one pair of shoes, let me know what you have worn
    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default

    well I mean, the toe part of Salomon SEEMS to fall apart easily

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-31-2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Age
    44
    Posts
    4,276
    Images
    17

    Default

    I change my shoes closer to 300 miles than to 500. They get changed when my feet start to hurt again or my shoes start to feel funny.

    If you have strong feet and tough feet, you could get shoes without a midsole at all. Two examples are the Altra Adam and Xero Shoes. Inov-8 also makes some shoes without midsoles. The lifespan of these shoes is determined by when they fall apart or have holes worn through the bottom. Your feet won't be ready to thru hike in this kind of shoe by April though. This is the least expensive way to go, but you'll need at least another year of conditioning before your feet and ankle are ready.

    Quote Originally Posted by hahni1274 View Post
    I see people say the insoles are made of EVA which flattens within 300 - 500 miles.
    Why can't I just replace the insoles?
    It's the midsole that's EVA and provides the bulk of the cushioning.

    If you want a boot that may last your entire hike, then you should be looking for boots with PU (polyurethane) midsoles. These boots usually cost at least $200. You still might have to replace them during the hike when the tread wears out.

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-20-2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Age
    66
    Posts
    4,540
    Images
    3

    Default

    I'm hoping to do a tad better than that, I don't keep accurate records, but maybe 700 miles per pair of my Merrells... we'll see. I have weird feet that tend to blow out stitching, no matter what shoes/boots/trail runners I try. That's my only criteria, when they fall apart, not any particular mileage. My soles always outlast the bodies.

    I have two new pairs at the ready, pre-broken in (worn a couple times each), just have to call the wife and have her ship to wherever.

  5. #5
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-13-2010
    Location
    Gadsden, AL
    Age
    73
    Posts
    3,187

    Default

    Change them when they wear out.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-09-2012
    Location
    Kirkridge Shelter, Pa
    Age
    34
    Posts
    45

    Default

    I used 3 pairs of my Tevas.. and kept all 3 pairs. The soles would just compress some, everything else about the shoes are fully functional.

    I actually just bought my 4th pair last week because I'd been wearing the 3rd pair since Katahdin. I finally realized that maybe the grungy look isn't great for work, the gym, etc..
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO
    Age
    65
    Posts
    5,549
    Images
    2

    Default

    I got closer to 750 out of my New Balance shoes on the AT--made it with four pair and some leftover. I've worn them out faster than that on other trails--sand really seems to eat them up, sometimes from the inside out.
    "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

  8. #8

    Default

    Some people can handle shoes with little support, some people need more support. If you need more support, you will probably want to change your shoes more often, since sometimes the wear isn't obvious, but you will start getting physical problems (knees, ankles, feet.)

    On my first AT thruhike, I used heavy leather boots that lasted the whole way. They wore out on the inside, thanks to all the rain, and gave me bad blisters, but I continued to wear them until Katahdin. On my second hike I wore a midweight boot (Sundowner) that wore out after about 1200 miles. The soles came off them, so it was obvious they needed to be replaced. On my last CDT hike, I wore running shoes, which lasted about 500-700 miles. I did wear light boots in the snow though. I knew they needed to be replaced when my feet started hurting all the time.

    One problem with buying shoes ahead of time is that if your feet spread, your replacement pairs may not fit. My husband bought three pairs of a light boot. When the second pair arrived, his feet didn't fit into them, though they fit fine before he started. They went home and he was able to wear them again once his feet had stopped swelling with the heat and long miles.

  9. #9

    Default

    The 500 mile change out is typical for trail runners. I get about one season in the whites on them. If you go with heavier hiking boots and get a good brand you may be able to do the entire trip. LLBean does have a lifetime guarantee and will honor it if you wear out a set of their boots. Usually boots dont wear out, they usually fail due to poor treatment, design flaw or an odd foot size. Many folks ruin their gear early on in the hike by trying to dry them out in front of a fire. Many shoes these days use a lot of glue to hold them together and overheating that glue just once can reduce the life consderably.

    If you want to go all the way its hard to beat Limmer boots but be aware they are heavy http://www.limmerboot.com/Lightweight.html and not cheap

  10. #10

    Default

    I have done the AT three times and it takes two pairs of trail runners or one really good pair of boots to do the entire AT.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-16-2011
    Location
    On the trail
    Posts
    3,790
    Images
    3

    Default

    Trail runners will breakdown in about 500 miles. Many will wear them long after that. You may be able to but you could start experiencing lower leg or foot pains. I hiked with a guy that put over a thousand miles on a pair of trail runners. There was nothing left of them. Miraculously, some of his foot pain went away with his old shoes.

  12. #12
    Registered User weary's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-15-2003
    Location
    Phippsburg, Maine, United States
    Posts
    10,115
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    Those of us who find this throw a way society repugnant, buy sturdy boots that will last at least one or two thru hikes or equally rough trails. Others may differ.

  13. #13

    Default

    Does every thru-hiker change their shoes every 500 miles or so?

    Without exception, every single one.

  14. #14

    Default

    I was sarcastic in my first post. Sorry. I should be hiking right now or working but instead waiting because of more delays. Now, I have a local dentist appt I have to wait around for before I can do either.

    Welcome to WB Hani.

    More direct to your question, the duration of usable trail shoes depends on many factors too numerous to start going into detail here. I will say, as some others have said, there are trail shoes that are typically more durable. IMO, the Keens and Solomons you cite are classified as very durable so may last a whole thru-hike. These are not trail runners which are less durable. Your listed shoe considerations are beefier and more durable hence I would guess they will last at least 500 miles. And, YES, you can refresh, to some degree, with new insoles in older/used trail shoes. I've done it many times with some of my more protective, heavier, and more durable trail shoes like my Men's Keen Voyager Mid-cuts, Voyager low cuts, and with my Keen Targhee low cuts as well as a few of my Solomon trail runners.

    You also don't need to spend $100 a shot on trail shoes. For example, since I hike a lot, am a gear hound who does wear through shoes/gear a lot, and who's always seeking bargains, I stock up on shoes THAT FIT MY FEET AND MY INTENDED USE, when finances allow. I just bought two prs of Solomon Mission trail runners on a closeout at REI for $73 each.

    I will warn you though, like a great many things in life, particular trail shoes can have their pros and cons. The two models you are considering are somewhat heavy, which you may begin to notice on a thru-hike, are higher cut so may be hotter, quite possibly making your feet sweaty, especially during the summer, and they are both WP, which will make them even less breathable and possibly take more time to fully dry out when they get soaked, AND they will get totally soaked on a AT thru-hike. The Solomons are getting pricey too, so might affect that tight budget you say you have. For example, you could possibly get TWO PRS of a Women's Solomon's model trail runner comparable to the Men's Solomon Mission trail runner I just picked up at REI for about the same price as the Solomons you cited in your opening statement. I only listed some of the cons of your considerations because you may not have thought about it the way I did. Now, take the new bits of info others and myself have offered and weigh them against the pros of why you considered these shoes in the first place. Hope that helps a bit. Have a GREAT journey.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-27-2006
    Location
    Southern WEST VIRGINIA
    Posts
    444
    Images
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Does every thru-hiker change their shoes every 500 miles or so?

    Without exception, every single one.

    drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
    He leads me beside still waters !!
    Happy Trails..... BrotherAL

  16. #16

    Join Date
    05-05-2011
    Location
    state of confusion
    Posts
    9,866
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    How long before replacing shoes depends on a few factors
    The trail, the hiker, and the shoe, for starters

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-06-2007
    Location
    Bellevue, WA
    Age
    66
    Posts
    2,000

    Default

    I see this about the same way that gg-man does. Depending indeed to SOME degree on trail quality/type, heat, sunspots, whatever, shoes might wear out a bit faster along some parts of a trail than on others. But the cushioning does break down over time, and indeed some folks seem to do okay wearing their shoes much longer than I do. I would have near zero chance of being able to buy replacement shoes that work for me in trail towns along the way (okay MAYBE on the AT, but still), so I buy my shoes ahead of time and mail them out based on a mileage schedule. I shoot for 500 - 600 miles per pair.

    One reason I've not considered swerving from this was that I had foot surgery after hiking the PCT, and the cause boiled down to too much repetitive impact on the ball of my foot (Morton's Neuroma). Periodically my other foot gets somewhat sore in exactly the same manner and location, but I've not needed surgery there. Surgery was both expensive and a real PITA --- left me laid up for months, which in turn caused me to start the AT overweight and softer/weaker than I would have liked. In that context, replacing shoes on a scheduled basis seems like pretty cheap insurance; I can't know for certain that it reduces the odds of new foot problems, but it "feels" like it does, and that's enough for me.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

  18. #18
    2013 Alleged Thru-Hiker Chuckie V's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-01-2013
    Location
    No Fixed Address (Though usually found in CO)
    Posts
    125

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hahni1274 View Post
    The thru-hike is still lots of expenses for me, and I don't think I can afford to buy 4,5 100$ shoes.
    You probably don't need $100 pairs of shoes. Here's my entire shoe collection for the trail, worth $112 in all, courtesy of Wally World...

    IMG_2118.jpg

  19. #19

    Default Footwear replacements depend on the person - and the shoe

    With few exceptions, the only shoes I'm aware of that can make the entire length of the trail are heavy-weight boots. The mid-sole holds up better than lightweight shoes. But, they'll probably set you back a few hundred dollars to start with. Unfortunately, they might not work anyway. Most hikers' feet change along the trail. Feet spread, get longer, and get flatter. A pair of boots that fit at the start of the trail may not fit as your feet change and then you'll need another pair - of much more expensive boots than those trail shoes you avoided at the beginning of your hike. (Also, a good reason to buy replacements along the way, not before you start the trail.)

    How often your shoes need replacing is largely dependent on you... Are you carrying a heavy backpack? Are you a large person? How much are your feet going to change along the way? Do you place your feet carefully on the trail or kick rocks along the way? Do you wear your boots to cross rivers and streams? How often will your feet get wet from rain or even sweat? Will you take the time to pull out your insoles each night so they can dry overnight and dump out accumulating dirt and sand?

    All of these things can contribute to the accelerated demise of your shoes or lengthen the time your boots will last. You have control over some of these elements and no control over others.

    You may want to read my footwear page at: http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor/footwear.html

    I also have more footwear related pages on my gear page at: http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor/gear.html
    Visit my Travels and Trails site: http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor

  20. #20

    Join Date
    05-05-2011
    Location
    state of confusion
    Posts
    9,866
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    People have walked the trail in heavy boots
    in tennis shoes,
    in trail runners,
    in lightweight boots,
    in sandals,
    and even mostly barefoot.

    It obviously doesnt make that big of a difference. You are basically just walking.
    My son put about 150 miles on a cheap pair of Nike trail shoes that were $39, without a single complaint before he outgrew them.

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

Posting Permissions

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