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#166371 - 06/01/12 12:16 PM Considering the move to trail-runners.....
Fasttimes Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/02
Posts: 43
Loc: Miami, FL
Hello all, it's been years since I've been to this site and out backpacking. My last hike was in '07, so it's been a while. I'm now gearing up to take the gf on her first backcountry hike and as I help her get her gear it's got me itching to switch out some of my older heavier stuff.

I'm debating on switching over to some trail-runners from my trusted old-heavier Vasque Sundowners. But I have a few questions. I'm sure it's up to each individual, but around what weight are we talking about on your back that it seems like you'll be ok with some trail sneakers? When shopping for trail-runners do you just forgoe the GTX option since they are so low cut? Any specific models and brands to look at? Thanks!!

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#166372 - 06/01/12 12:40 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I use trail runners for loads up to 40 lbs. You couldn't't pay me to use GTX.
Good trail runners have enough support in the sole to protect the feet. When needed I use shortie or full gaiters.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#166374 - 06/01/12 01:15 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I switched to trail runners about eight years ago, on my second pair of Montrail Hardrock's (discontinued) currently. I've been around a 30 lb. pack the last 8-9 years, doing some off trail on bp trips also in the Sierra, SEKI. No foot issues or sprains etc. My pack has sustained more damage from being drug over rocks than I have.
Duane

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#166376 - 06/01/12 02:13 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I switched to trail shoes at about 25 pounds; now I rarely hike with more than 20 pound loads. I wouldn't switch back below 30.

I do like the GTX option - much of the time, it seems I'm on muddy trails, with perhaps one or two inch deep standing water. The GTX option keeps my feet drier, since I tend not to detour around such obstacles. It doesn't keep my feet appreciably drier in the rain, since water runs down into the shoes from my legs (no different than it did with ankle-high boots.)If I were sure I'd always be in drier areas, I'd forego GTX.

I've always been a Vasque partisan - Sundowners were my boot until I switched to the Breeze shoes; naturally, they no longer make the Breeze shoes. I tried on a couple of the models that allegedly replaced it in their line, but found the heel too loose. I just bought a pair of Patagonia drifters (GTX), which have felt fine on a couple of 3-mile dayhikes with a 5 pound load. Haven't worn them on an actual backpack trip yet, but they are comfortable.

However, don't be misled by what I like. The ONLY criteria for boots is how they feel on your feet. They must fit YOU, not me.

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#166379 - 06/01/12 02:48 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6521
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I switched three years ago. I had been a holdout for years, but I had become disenchanted with Goretex (like having my feet in a sauna, and it took 3 days for the boots to dry after water got inside). It's almost impossible to find women's hiking boots that do not have Goretex liners, and what I found didn't fit.

I tried Montrail Hardrocks and never looked back. In fact, I have never worn the boots since and they are going to Goodwill. I bought several pair of the Hardrocks, which was a good thing because Columbia Sportswear first bought them out and kept making the last poorer and then discontinued the Hardrocks altogether. I still have a pair that I recently started wearing and have one more brand new pair before I have to start looking all over again. (Moral--once you find the perfect shoe, buy several pair before the manufacturer changes the model.)

I used to have quite a few ankle-turning sessions with the boots (I have severe pronation problems) and was really apprehensive about the trail runners. When I first got them, I tried to turn my ankles on purpose and couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried! Not just IMHO but per the reports of others who know more about this than I do, it's the footbed of the shoe that keeps the foot and ankles stable, not a piece of leather around your ankles.

My son #3 has carried up to 45 lbs. wearing trail runners. In defense of the load, he was sherpa-ing for two young children and also hauling a heavy wet suit and his surfboard to the Olympic NP wilderness coast.

Of course everyone's feet are different, so you'll have to try them for yourself. As long as they fit properly, if you decide they don't work on the trail they will still be good for at-home, casual and exercise wear.

And welcome back to the forum!

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#166380 - 06/01/12 02:50 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Glenn]
Fasttimes Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/02
Posts: 43
Loc: Miami, FL
Well, I'm eyeing the Vasque Velocity 2.0 shoes right now. No place in town to try on, so I have to order and hope I don't have to do an exchange. I'm debating between the GTX option. It's about $45 more.

Vasque Velocity 2.0 GTX

Vasque Velocity 2.0 standard

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#166382 - 06/01/12 03:01 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6521
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Order them from one of the online shoe outfits that gives you free return shipping! Put on your loaded pack and take a long hike around the house (so they're still returnable) before you decide to keep them.

Do you have some running shoe stores in your area? That would be a better place to find what you need and get a proper fit.

Unless your feet never sweat, I don't recommend the GTX option. Your shoes will dry much faster (and they will get wet, believe me) without the Goretex. I just splash through fords and walk my shoes dry, although the process can be speeded by wringing out socks afterwards.


Edited by OregonMouse (06/01/12 03:06 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#166384 - 06/01/12 03:15 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: OregonMouse]
Fasttimes Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/02
Posts: 43
Loc: Miami, FL
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
Order them from one of the online shoe outfits that gives you free return shipping! Put on your loaded pack and take a long hike around the house (so they're still returnable) before you decide to keep them.

Do you have some running shoe stores in your area? That would be a better place to find what you need and get a proper fit.

Unless your feet never sweat, I don't recommend the GTX option. Your shoes will dry much faster (and they will get wet, believe me) without the Goretex. I just splash through fords and walk my shoes dry, although the process can be speeded by wringing out socks afterwards.




I went ahead and ordered the non-GTX version from Zappos which has free shipping both ways. Hopefully they work out. Thanks for the help!! thanks

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#166385 - 06/01/12 03:18 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Goretex is okay for winter and the shoulder seasons, but I'd skip it in summer for the added ventilation of the standard model--especially if you're hiking in Florida.

Give 'em a try. So long as the fit is good, the support is good and the soles are grippy, hiking in low-tops is usually fine.

Mine never last long (whatever the brand) so over time there's no cost savings, but a good-fitting light pair of shoes well matched to the trail genuinely means less fatigue and more miles.

My "ideal" trail sneakers are light, well-ventilated and ankle-height, because I find they let in less debris, sans gaiters, and keep me from bashing my ankles. Such shoes are very hard to find, however, as most mid-heights tend to also have GT or some other WPB.

Good luck,

Originally Posted By Fasttimes
Well, I'm eyeing the Vasque Velocity 2.0 shoes right now. No place in town to try on, so I have to order and hope I don't have to do an exchange. I'm debating between the GTX option. It's about $45 more.

Vasque Velocity 2.0 GTX

Vasque Velocity 2.0 standard
_________________________
--Rick

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#166410 - 06/02/12 12:36 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
bigsac Offline
member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 83
Loc: Sacramento CA
Hi fasttimes. I have an old pair of Vasque Sundowners that are made in Italy. That shows you how far back I go.

I switched to trail runners about 10 years ago and they have worked for me. Oh my friends would see me with my backpack and trail runners and tell me I was going to snap my skinny ankles for sure. I hike mostly, but not always, in the Sierra of Northern California and encounter some pretty rugged, rocky trails. My pack weight is below 25 lb. I haven't snapped those bird legs yet.

I'm partial to Montrail and loved the old discontinued Hardrock. I still have a pair of Hardrock wides, but they have seen better days. I recently bought a pair of Montrail AT Plus's, which have a slightly different feel than the Hardrock's, but seem to work OK. They don't come in wide, but the regular seems to fit my slightly wide foot all right.

I don't like GTX, but will wear it reluctantly in winter or the shoulder seasons. I have a pair of North Face Hedge Hog GTX's that work for me. Some other non GTX shoes that I have liked are the Merrell Moab Ventilators, and the Brooks Cascadia series. The Montrails seem to be a little stiffer with a better rockplate however.

I have size 10 1/2 D width men's feet. I am what they call a supinator or under pronator which is just fancy talk for slightly high arches and wearing out the outside of the heel first. I sometimes use replacement insoles for added arch support. If your feet are not like mine, the above shoes may not work for you. Fit is a personal thing.

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#166419 - 06/03/12 08:42 AM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3583
Loc: Texas
I switched about 10 years ago, and also have some Vasque Sundowners. This appears to be a "gateway boot". grin I still wear the Sundowners locally if there is snow, or I'm doing trail maintenance, but never hiking anymore. They are great boots. I hike in New Balance (whatever is on sale) and don't really pay much attention if they are called "trail runners". I can't tell much difference between running shoes and 'all terrain' that New Balance puts on the labels. I play disc golf which has me in all kinds of terrain and running shoes work best. When backpacking, I rarely carry as much as 25 lbs. with water and all, and trail runners have 1) increased my mileage 2) drastically reduced blisters and fatigue. Only a few times have I had a thorn punch through but they never made it to my foot. That happens with boots too.

I have had hiking shoe soles come 'un-glued', including my first pair of Vasque Sundowners (the old rounded heal version). Texas heat tends to soften sole glue in the rocks, so I inspect that part of the shoe well before buying/hiking. I also learned to carry light weight sandals in my pack as 'spare tires' which combined with the trail runners still weigh less than boots. I've seen shoe soles laying in the scree, miles from any help and I don't want to end up like that. wink


_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#166420 - 06/03/12 10:46 AM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Dryer]
sandia Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/12
Posts: 68
Question of "weight on your back," when considering footwear is less relevant than nature of the travel surface.

One can happily backpack in sandals on a well-groomed trail. Kicking steps in snow is best done in sturdy boots.

Other scenarios as applicable.


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#166421 - 06/03/12 07:07 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: sandia]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Good point about surfaces and seasons. I think we all assumed "normal" trail conditions in three seasons - off-trail, winter, heavy talus - all could change the answer.

I'm lucky - here in Ohio, even winter (or at least the winter I'll go hiking in) is only a couple of inches of snow, so the GTX trail shoes work for me all year around.

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#166422 - 06/03/12 09:49 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Dryer]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Yet another Sundowner here, primarily because it was the official NPS heavy uniform boot when I was working, and I could obtain them essentially free. I actually wore out one pair and made sure I had a couple of pairs stashed away when I retired - but I mostly hike in trail runners or approach shoes these days.

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#166428 - 06/04/12 08:17 AM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: oldranger]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I wear what I feel is necessary for the "task". Sometimes trail runners and other times something else. Fit is number one though, and sometimes it takes some mileage to show that something will work for me. I would love to wear approach shoes for a number of my little adventures, but good luck finding them in a comfortable 14 eeee.

The Zappos option for online purchasing seems to work very well. Just keep track of the returns and let them know ASAP if they short you. They seem good about correcting errors as well.

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#166434 - 06/04/12 12:08 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: sandia]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3583
Loc: Texas
Quote:
Kicking steps in snow is best done in sturdy boots.



Oh, no doubt, conditions dictate everything, not just footwear.

I know what I WON'T be doing again and that's hiking in sandals as primary treads. I tried it for a year, and more than once jammed a stick under/over/into my toes which cut me. The last thing I want in the bush is a ground level, dusty cut on my feet. I decided the added ounces of real shoes and socks was well worth the weight. I want my feet clean, dry, and protected. Live and learn.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#166436 - 06/04/12 01:48 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I use New Balance shoes, whatever is on sale and in my size. I have to have 4Es, and New Balance is one of the few with shoes my width. A couple of weeks ago, I left REI again, empty handed, because they didn't have a shoe that was wide enough. Anyways, last week I spent a good couple hours kick stepping in snow to get to the summit of Ben Lomond. I had on my non-waterproof New Balance's. My feet were soaked 90% of the hike, no blisters.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#166439 - 06/04/12 02:58 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: finallyME]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6521
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Quote:
A couple of weeks ago, I left REI again, empty handed, because they didn't have a shoe that was wide enough.


Try a good running shoe store instead!


Edited by OregonMouse (06/04/12 02:59 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#166440 - 06/04/12 03:01 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: finallyME]
sandia Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/12
Posts: 68
If you hiked in sandals for an entire year, perhaps you avoided (or failed to avoid) varied conditions.

On a number of trips one might spend a day walking in sandals, a couple of days in mountaineering boots, and then back to the sandals for some or all of the walk out.

It may be best to have several types of footwear for various sorts of trips, while scrupulously avoiding dogmatic views of what one supposedly MUST or must NEVER wear.

I generally bring along sandals, and may or may not hike much in them and or bring other footwear.

One of their great and obvious advantages is in fording streams -- and even (for me recently) in using streams as trails.

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#166452 - 06/04/12 05:09 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: sandia]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3583
Loc: Texas
Quote:
If you hiked in sandals for an entire year, perhaps you avoided (or failed to avoid) varied conditions.



Not new at this game, sandia. I run a nature preserve and hike a lot, just to sweep the trails at days end. Hike in sandals enough and something will find it's way in.
I do carry them as 'spare tires' though...cheap insurance.
When I first started the ultralight thing, 15 years ago, I'd read of die-hards that hiked only in sandals, so I gave it a shot. I bet those die-hards don't hike exclusively in them either, anymore. grin
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#166455 - 06/04/12 06:12 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Dryer]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6521
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Quote:
When I first started the ultralight thing, 15 years ago, I'd read of die-hards that hiked only in sandals, so I gave it a shot. I bet those die-hards don't hike exclusively in them either, anymore.


My daughter still hikes in sandals and has been doing so for over 10 years. I think she's nuts! But what does Mom know?
lol
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#166460 - 06/04/12 10:03 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Eventually, they admit that Mom knows something (and maybe even Dad did, too.)

Our first granddaughter just turned eleven, and is entering her pre-teens, which means that she is beginning to test the parent-set limits and question their overall intelligence.

Accordingly, at least once a month, the weekly phone call includes a question from our daughter: "Have I remembered to apologize to you for my teen years?" Brings a tear to old Dad's eye, and joy to his heart. ("Grandkids are my best revenge.") smile

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#166465 - 06/04/12 11:25 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6521
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Unfortunately, my daughter is 42 and no kids....
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#166516 - 06/06/12 03:42 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: bigsac]
Fasttimes Offline
member

Registered: 05/31/02
Posts: 43
Loc: Miami, FL
Received my new trail runners and they seem to be the right size which is a relief. I've worn them for a day so far and seem pretty comfy. Of course I'll have to give them a go with a load on.

Question, with trail runners do you feel the need for a sock liner to prevent blisters?

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#166528 - 06/06/12 06:09 PM Re: Considering the move to trail-runners..... [Re: Fasttimes]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6521
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I just use a single pair of socks, Smartwool Light Hikers. They are rather cushy, which I like. Some prefer a very thin sock. And of course there is the Wright sock which is a double sock. Your Mileage May Vary. You can always try out various combinations.

One word of warning: You'll find that, especially when you sit down, your ankles are quite vulnerable to mosquitoes. (I found that out the hard way!) You can wear socks with a relatively high cuff and spray the cuffs with permethrin, or you can wear low gaiters. Some low gaiters, like Dirty Girl, are specifically made to keep the trash out of your shoes but not to be waterproof. You can spray those with permethrin and (unless you wash them a lot) it will last a whole mosquito season. I'm still debating the anti-mosquito issue, but since I probably won't be hiking until mosquito season is over, it's probably a moot point for me for this year.

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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