Hiking shoes

8:41 p.m. on December 10, 2011 (EST)
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I would like to find a hiking shoe that is similar to the Zamberlain Vioz or Asolo boots.  A shoe that has the support and ruggedness of backpacking boots is the idea.

8:51 p.m. on December 10, 2011 (EST)
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There is a difference in regards to the boots you mention and a hiking shoe. Are you going to be toting loads on your back and if so how much weight are you looking at hauling?

The reason I ask is under foot protection(shank, stability plate, etc.)

Lowa's Renegade low comes to mind:

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/lowa/renegade-gtx-lo/

Its really hard to recommend footwear being fit is very personal. Then you take into consideration that the lasts(mold of the foot) the footwear is built around varies from company to company. 

9:05 p.m. on December 10, 2011 (EST)
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I am hiking Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness next year.  I expect to have a load of about forty pounds.  There are a considerable number of water crossings.  There are also a lot of rocks and rough terrain.  I would like to be able to remove the shoes a little quicker than the boots. Thanks.

9:39 p.m. on December 10, 2011 (EST)
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I actually just purchased these.

Lowa Argon GTX
Lowa-Argon-GTX-006.jpg

There is definitely a significant difference in the aspect of underfoot protection when compared to my burlier footwear. 

Maybe a Merrell may do the trick for ya?

http://www.trailspace.com/gear/merrell/chameleon4-ventilator-gore-tex/

Its kinda hard to get the burliness of a boot in a low cut shoe.

...at least from my experiences. 


10:53 a.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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Happy,

I think you should examine all of the elements of the environment you will face rather than just the time a few hooks take to lace. ME wilderness will offer:

  • Lots of slippery and/or moss-covered rocks
  • Lots of mud
  • Ankle-twisting rock falls
  • Stepping over blowdowns into sharp broken branches
  • Small streams too narrow to merit removing boots, but too wide to jump across
  • Heat
  • Boggy areas from expanded beaver ponds
  • More mud
  • Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and/or black flies, moose flies, deer flies, horse flies. Maine is very proud of the size and ferocity of its insect population. This relates to shoes in the matter of thinking you might quietly sit by the stream taking off, and putting back on, your boots. 

It is a given that you will get your boots wet and covered in mud. A goretex-type lining will take longer to dry and will be hotter to walk in than a good leather lining. You will wade through small streams in your boots for reasons noted above. If you carry extra thick socks and dry the wet socks on your pack as you walk, you should be comfortable in high boots. And high boots will offer better sole and ankle protection. JMO

2:02 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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I really like my Zamberlan Trekker RRs, if you like zamberlan i suggest taking a look at them. My favorite hiking boot ever.

3:07 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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I hiked in the Gila Wilderness with thirty river crossings in one day.  I gave up and just walked through the river in my boots.  It was pretty miserable having wet boots and feet.  Thirty crossings in one day is a record number of crossings for me. 

I see the wisdom in thinking about the entire trip and terrain.  I am willing to carry a few extra pounds as we plan to hike sixty to seventy miles and not several hundred.

Sugestions about footwear are very welcome.

 

4:35 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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Happy Feet said:

There are also a lot of rocks and rough terrain.

 I am thinking hard on this one and I have to say if it were me I would take the inconvenience of having to take my boots off and know I have less of a chance popping an ankle mid trail due to my ankle is supported by a boot as compared to taking a few minutes longer to yank them off to cross a stream.

Now there are those that will say that the ankle support provided by a boot is over-rated. My personal take on it that is that it is all dependent on the design of the boot as well as a few other contributing factors(height, lacing techniques, etc.) I can tell you from quite a few different occasions of when I was ascending/descending rocky terrain where my boots saved me from rolling and quite possibly breaking my ankle.

As you know this could put one in a real bad spot on the trail.  

As with anything there are considerable trade offs here.

For instance, Hiking shoes and backpacking boots are 2 totally different animals in the aspect of underfoot protection. 

Hiking shoes are generally not intended by the manufacturer to support more weight than maybe a daypack. The reason for this is they flex more due to the lack of a 3/4-full shank or stability plate.

The other problem is this. Being there is a lack of the above mentioned there is also substantially less underfoot protection. 

With 40lbs on your back plus your body weight you may find after 30 miles or so that everytime ya step on a small stone, etc on the trail that it feels like someone is beating you in the bottom of the feet with a ballpein hammer.

Then there are the stress fractures that can occur. 

I am not trying to unnerve you in regards to your choice here. I just want to make sure you are aware of the potential consequences. 

I do these types of trips all the time, year round solo. As I said on another thread self preservation is a beautiful thing.

Oh, just wanted to mention, if you are going to go the low cut route get gaiters, you are going to probably need them more so than if you were going with a boot. 

OR Salamanders have worked well for me being they also protect the forefoot as well. They are intended for wet, sloppy weather. They are a no-go on snow because snow can build up under the material that covers the fore foot. 

Heres a few pics:

DSCI1273.jpg
SL-w-Gaiters-003.jpg

The reason I am strongly making this suggestion is not only for slop, but to keep from having to empty trail crud from your shoes on a regular basis.  

5:25 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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Integral designs makes excellent low eVent gaiters.

40 pounds, I would choose a boot with a firm midsole and ankle high.

7:04 a.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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I find it annoying when, hiking across a bog, my boot slips off a tussock and I find my leg 14" deep in the mud and water. However, when I pull my foot out, my boot comes with it. A shoe would come off the foot and be lost in this situation.

Here are a few quotes about the trail you have chosen:

Before I left, Dawn, the innkeeper, gave me a short, serious talk about some of the dangers ahead. She warned me that the rock in Maine is made out of slate and is very slippery when wet. In addition, she warned me about fording rivers, something I’d never done, and the fact that the streams were all running higher than normal from the 2 inches of rain we received the day before. Finally, she explained that they’d be happy to come pick me up if I got into trouble and I was near one of the logging roads that cross the trail, and that the best cell reception, if any, would be from mountain tops.

and on that hiker's first day...

The trail was pretty muddy, but I managed to keep my boots dry for 2 hours. After that I fell off an un-anchored log bridge into a muddy bog up to my waist! That was special and pretty much set the tone for the next 6 days. Having hiked the Long Trail in Vermont last year, I thought that the Green Kingdom had the worst mud in New England, but I can assure you that Maine’s mud is far worse and there’s a lot more of it, despite the excellent trail maintenance work performed by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Maine Conservation Corps.

from http://sectionhiker.com/at-section-hike-100-mile-wilderness/

Solid, one-piece FGL uppers with a leather lining are excellent in these conditions. The leather lining is key; because it is smooth-out, it is waterproof -- once you dump the water out and change your socks, it dries quickly. At least that has been my experience. If I get across a stream quickly enough, I have had instances when the thick sock above the scree collar actually prevented water from getting into the boot.

9:48 a.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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I am definitely thinking about the options that have been given.   Gore Tex boots do not seem to be a very good idea for the Hundred Mile Wilderness.  I have never worn gaiters.  It is time to purchase a pair.  The mud problem seems to be a bigger problem than I knew.  The input is certainly appreciated. 

3:42 a.m. on February 22, 2012 (EST)
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What did you buy? Just out of interest ... and how did they go? 

6:11 p.m. on February 22, 2012 (EST)
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Salomon at REI

4:57 p.m. on March 21, 2012 (EDT)
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After reading Rick's remarks I decided to stay with my regular hiking boots and add gaiters.

7:50 a.m. on March 22, 2012 (EDT)
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You have to really look at where your going and what your doing, day hikes i wear everyday gym shoes, yes you heard me right. I have hike most of the mountains in NH and Katahdin in Maine in just gym shoes for the day hikes. I use trekking poles also but i am very well footed and balanced and have no problem hopping rocks or walking a downed tree (I do yoga). For anything else than a day hike i wear full high top boots, as Rick pointed out when you put 40 pounds on your back you need the boots to give support and comfort of the extra weight. Note this is spring, summer and fall, for winter always boots.   

4:42 p.m. on March 22, 2012 (EDT)
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So the idea of needing boots because you have 40 pounds on your back is interesting. Let’s say someone once weighed 80 lbs more than they do now and they were hiking in tennis shoes and sandals at their higher weight with no issues. So now they are 80 lbs lighter in body weight and hit the trail with a 40 lb pack. Is the rationale that because the weight is distributed differently that this person now should wear boots? Just curious….

8:24 a.m. on March 23, 2012 (EDT)
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one way to look at it when you put a 40lb pack on your back your now very top heavy and if you slip, some body part is going to give. From my own experience knees and ankles are the first to go, so i use treking poles to help the knees and high boots for the ankles. On a day hike i carry around 18 pounds and most of that is water and food so it drops off as the day goes by, for me it doesn't feel tipsy but if i put another 10lbs on it now it feels tipsy and the boots go on. One thing i learn about wearing gym shoes, carry a tube of super glue and some duck tape incase of a blow out or tread rip out; a sharp rock could make the day more interesting. Everyone has to find what they are confortable with and know there limits; I have seen people 15 miles back on a really rocky trail wearing nothing but flip flops and hauling a large pack. my 2 cents

3:52 p.m. on March 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman said:

So the idea of needing boots because you have 40 pounds on your back is interesting. Let’s say someone once weighed 80 lbs more than they do now and they were hiking in tennis shoes and sandals at their higher weight with no issues. So now they are 80 lbs lighter in body weight and hit the trail with a 40 lb pack. Is the rationale that because the weight is distributed differently that this person now should wear boots? Just curious….

I think that when a person is over weight and get's some sort over exercise that challenges the legs knees and ankles that there legs, knees, ankles become accustom to the body weight that they are carrying. If you were to put a 60 lb backpack on their back then there legs, ankles, knees would not be able to necessary handle the added weight just as if a fit person puts on an 60lb pack that persons weight very well may not be up to the task of the extra weight. I think that even when a fit person exercises at what ever exercising regiment trips their fancy that most do not do it with a 60 lb pack on there back. The body will generally build up to the amount of exercise it is doing along with the amount of weight that it is doing that exercise at, hence the reason people run with ankle weights and weights in there hands. Besides the fact that anyone can twist and ankle no matter how good of shape your in it's does seem to me to be good preventive measure to where heavy boots and use a pole or trekking poles while hiking with a large amount of weight on ones back especially if one is a novice at this game. I know that if I can ever hike, backpack again I will be wearing good boots and have the appropriate hiking pole/stick or trekking poles with me to help and aid in my ability to become fit and not injure myself.

4:42 p.m. on March 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman said:

So the idea of needing boots because you have 40 pounds on your back is interesting. Let’s say someone once weighed 80 lbs more than they do now and they were hiking in tennis shoes and sandals at their higher weight with no issues. So now they are 80 lbs lighter in body weight and hit the trail with a 40 lb pack. Is the rationale that because the weight is distributed differently that this person now should wear boots? Just curious….

A good point Pat, which brings me to chime in.  Many an intrepid mountaineer do long approaches to their climb wearing light weight walking shoes, shouldering a Tipi Walter heavy weight pack , while negotiating crude trails or no trail at all.  (I suspect Tipi is part cyborg, with steel cables for achilles and ham string tendons, and clevis joints for knees and ankles)  But these guys are highly conditioned.  The rest of us are relative week end warriors, if that, and lack the conditioning required to consider such options. 

Do not be fooled that you can come by this strength with a gym workout, running, cycling, or come by it vis-à-vis losing a bunch of weight.  About the only way to have ankles that won't be prone to twist under such conditions is lots and lots of training over uneven ground, or spending most of your life schlepping heavy loads over trail.  Hence most of us should resort to real, purpose intended, boots when we backpack.

Ed

6:17 p.m. on March 23, 2012 (EDT)
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I wore full leather Asolo boots with wool socks while trekking in New Zealand many years ago. I never took my boots off to cross a river or stream. The riverbeds there are mostly sharp rocks, so going barefoot or in some kind of slipper would be an invitation to cut feet, torn up ankles and falling over. I would take them off once I crossed, wring out the socks and put them back on. They dried out soon enough and this was usually in cold weather. I also wore the gaiters you see in my picture-same ones. I have no use for low gaiters, I don't see the point except maybe on really sandy ground.

I wear running shoes daily, but for hiking, if I was carrying anything more than a day pack, I would want boots for ankle support.

9:36 p.m. on March 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm a relative newcomer to backpacking and when I started I read all the lightweight information - Ray Jardine's books and so on - and only recently - four years in - have bought my first pair of boots and I love them and don't think I'll go back to wearing low-cut shoes when carrying a pack! I was really relying on the trekking poles before to help prevent falling when I turned an ankle! - not always reliable as once I fell and broke a trekking pole.  I agree with what "Whomeworry" said. Most of the books I read when starting out were written by semi professional hikers who had done long distance trails (Appalachian trail etc) and were supremely conditioned athletes with very strong legs and feet, who had transitioned from boots to lightweight shoes as they became able. There are people who hike barefoot with heavy loads and Sherpas who haul enormous weights wearing sandals. But just because they can do it doesn't mean I can!!  Of course there are pros and cons, I do feel more clumsy and trip more often in the boots and my feet get hot, but overall I feel much safer in my boots. 

3:31 p.m. on March 26, 2012 (EDT)
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For what it's worth, you can turn your ankle even wearing high-topped boots. I rolled an ankle on a slippery rock a couple of years ago at the top of a 750 metre ascent. Instead of breaking the ankle, the boot transmitted the lateral force up my leg to the muscles higher up around the knee. I gimped it all the way back to the TH, and I was walking like a duck by the time I got to the bottom, but I managed to get back down all by myself. Without the boots, the ankle probably would have broken.

One advantage of boots is the heavier sole. On a scree slope, you;ll be able to feel the sharp rocks poking through the soles if you're wearing runners. A 3/4" sole smooths out the trail.

11:41 a.m. on June 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I wrote those quotes, and I'll never ever hike in the 100 mile wilderness with leather boots again. I've gone back since then wearing non-waterproofed mesh trail runners and recommend that you do the same. 

7:23 p.m. on June 18, 2012 (EDT)
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HI Philip I guess you mean the Appalachian Trail quotes? I'm hoping there won't be too much (well, any really!) mud on the JMT in August! Horses for courses, eh? As I say, I've tried both, and am still loving the ankle support my Zamberlan boots give me as compared with the trail shoes I used to wear. The only concern for me is that my feet will get hot. But nothing is perfect! Hot feet vs. twisted ankles and falls. My choice is made! I think runners are fine with lower weights than I'll be carrying. Cheers.

7:29 p.m. on June 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Oh - ha ha (embarrassed laugh) - I just got a notification re. this thread and reading back realized it IS about the 100 mile wilderness and not a response to a question I had asked, sorry.  Anyways, still horses for courses, and the horses includes the wearer of the footwear... Sounds like Happy Feet has made her/his choice, probably out in the wilderness right now!!!

8:07 p.m. on June 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Merrill GTX (or non-GTX) Mid boots

I love my Merrill GTX Mid Boots. They make it W/O GTX in the Mid Ventilator. I have the low Ventilator for a lot of desert day hiking and it's the same show  as my boots but lower.

I have wider feet and Merrill makes wider widths. As I recall I special ordered them from REI B/C REI didn't normally carry the wider boots. Great, durable boots and shoes. Merrill's lightest as far as I know.

 

 

 

12:52 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

For what it's worth, you can turn your ankle even wearing high-topped boots. 

That's for sure.  I've rolled my ankles more times than I can recall while wearing regular hiking boots.  I just purchased a pair of Vasque Scree 2.0 hiking shoes for my upcoming John Muir Trail trip.  They also have a mid-height style.  I selected the low-cut model because they're a little lighter, yet they seem to have the same construction in the lower section.  They've got Vibram soles and feel good and solid underfoot.  I considered trail runners, but they seem to have too little underfoot support.  Regular boots seem big and clunky.  While the lighter weight would be nice, I prefer solid support when carrying a 40+ lb pack.

I can't say this is what you should buy, as they're brand new to me.  It's just an idea for something you might check out.

7:23 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Peter when are you headed onto the JMT ? If in August you might see me lugging my boots along and complaining about hot feet ha ha!

10:43 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Donna said:

Hey Peter when are you headed onto the JMT ? If in August you might see me lugging my boots along and complaining about hot feet ha ha!

@Donna, I don't think Peter is heading onto the JMT, I am.  I decided late, and still have lots of prep to do, so at this point it is looking like a mid-late July start from Happy Isles.  I aim to take 4 weeks if I can pack enough food for the stretch between MTR and WP to do it that way.

So I'll be on the trail for part of August :).

11:08 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Oh yes, I'm very muddle headed on this thread!! Well, might see you on the way. Look out for my awful mauve sunhat as per picture! We might pass you heading the opposite way between Shadow Lake and Mammoth... depending when you go!

12:03 a.m. on June 24, 2012 (EDT)
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LOL, no prob :).  I'll be heading SoBo in mid (or probably late) July, hoping for a 4-week trip :).  I'll be (compared to so many JMT'ers) the "old guy" and I'll be carrying a green Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 (woo hoo! my first foray into these new fangled internal frame packs :).  Then Kelty frame pack is awaiting shipment for refurbishing.

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