Loc: Low Country of SC
Reading about BP on the internet after a long time away from it one gets the impression the younger hikers have switched in large part from boots to shoes. Since I need to buy new footware I am curious if the older hikers have done the same.
If any of you old timers have switched to shoes, have you gone to hiking shoes or to trail runners; and why one over the other?
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I switched to trail runners at age 73 and never wore the boots again! Admittedly, the shoes I switched to have anti-pronation and motion control. I also remove the factory insoles and use green Superfeet (which work fine for me, but not for everyone!).
Admittedly, this change was part of a shift to lightweight backpacking. They say one pound on the feet is like five pounds on the back, and I found this to be true. In addition, I have not had a blister since I switched! Nor have I turned an ankle (which used to happen frequently in boots).
Edited by OregonMouse (08/30/1802:59 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: Portland, OR
I qualify as an old timer. I'm 63 and took my first hike at age 3 according to my parents. I switched first from all-leather hiking boots to lightweight mid-height boots with mesh uppers and found this was a great improvement in terms of keeping my feet from blistering and lessening fatigue. Then I tried out trail-running shoes and liked them even better. I wear trail shoes exclusively now.
I avoid buying shoes that have "waterproof breathable" linings. This works best for me. The breathable liners don't breathe nearly as well as plain mesh. Plain mesh dries out *much* faster, for example when I wear my shoes during stream crossings. If prolonged rain is a possibility I bring waterproof neoprene socks I can wear inside my shoes.
The main problem with open mesh uppers is the dust filtering into my shoes, so that I must wash my feet every afternoon when I reach camp. The mesh also doesn't last as long as leather boots. I accept that in return for *no blisters* and much less weight on my feet at every step. That seems like a fair trade-off to me.
I’m 68 and switched to trail shoes about 10 years ago, when I reduced my pack weight to less than 25 pounds (it runs 15-20 nowadays.) I had been using Vasque Sundowner boots before that. The trail shoes are more comfortable than boots ever were(I don’t even think about taking “camp shoes” any more.) Right now, I’m using some Oboz (I forget the model.)
When I made the switch, I also quit using two pairs of socks; I’ve never had a blister with shoes, and haven’t had even a hot spot in the last 7 years. I use mostly synthetic socks (there’s less than 10% wool in the ones I’m using right now. They dry easily overnight, even in the 80% humidity of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky summers, which also may contribute to the lack of blisters.
I’ve always used waterproof breathable linings in my shoes, and never had any real problems with them. I don’t let them get soaked inside when I cross streams; I carry a pair of sandals if I know I’ll be wading deeper than my shoe tops.
I concur with everyone here. The move to shoes needs to follow pack weight reduction.
I learned that my new shoes needed to have good rock protection, either with a stone guard plate or just thick soles, here in the Rocky Mountains. So, my old trail runners didn't work for the additional weight of a pack.
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