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What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 09 2010 7:46 am
by BurnEm
Hi all, i was wondering what kind of footwear everyone prefers for hiking? Any recommended brands of hiking boots? I ask because my boots aren'y doing the trick. I have a pair of Wolverine hiking boots, and they seem allright if i keep the hike under 5 or 6 miles. But if i go on say a 10 or 12 mile hike, my feet get thrashed. Usually end up with 2 - 6 blisters on each foot, and can barely walk at all for the next day. My last hike i tried buying a decent pair of gel insoles to put in them but that didn't seem to help at all. Not to mention the boots seem kind of low cut for my preferance so i end up twisting my ankles alot while hiking on rocks, and if i go off trail they end up filled with burrs and other plant materal that stab my ankles constantly. It gets quite obnoxious having to pull all the burrs and things off my socks or completely remove my boots to clean them out every 10 minutes or so. So i need some suggestions of a good pair of hiking boots, something that laces tight at the very top. And preferably comfortable too. Thanks...

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 1:30 pm
by sirena
I would suggest two things: First, read the book Fixing Your Feet, the information in that book is invaluable. Second, when you go to REI to look at boots, they should be able to determine whether you need insoles- Superfeet are a good brand.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 1:47 pm
by writelots
sirena wrote:Second, when you go to REI to look at boots, they should be able to determine whether you need insoles- Superfeet are a good brand.
They're definitely worth the small amount of extra output! I live in mine practically...
BurnEm wrote:They look like they'd be hot and uncomfortable
You seem to be very concerned with how hot socks are - but when you're encasing your feet in thick leather boots with heavy, black, rubber soles - well, there isn't much more a sock can do than just be a cushion. Now, there are those ultra-thick mountaineering socks with special thermal properties... But if you stick with mid to lightweight wool, bamboo or synthetics, you won't be any hotter than you would be with bare feet in those shoes.

That is unless you pull them up to your knees when you're wearing shorts...And then you may be hot, but you'd also be HOT :wlift: :lol:

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 5:50 pm
by azbackpackr
Spenco insoles are cushier.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 6:02 pm
by trekkin_gecko
i wear salomon trail runners for hiking and trail running
they are comfortable right out of the box
can't say as they hold up real well, though
for strictly hiking, i wouldn't mind finding some lightweight mid cuts
at one time i had some montrail mid cuts that were pretty nice
i have to try things on, rather than order on line
the salomons just work for me so i stick with them
i'm not too picky about socks, but i hate anything that lets my foot slide around

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 6:07 pm
by kevinweitzel75
writelots wrote:That is unless you pull them up to your knees when you're wearing shorts...And then you may be hot, but you'd also be HOT
The visual... :sl:

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 6:08 pm
by kevinweitzel75
Short shorts . and the socks are grey with a big fat red stripe at the top. :sl:

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 6:54 pm
by tahosa
Boots are like cars, some like them fast, some like them slow, some like the maker. This is one subject that there is no correct answer. I swear by vasque, and use liners with wool socks. The boots I have now are vasque and they are the lighter kind. I've got a good 400 miles on them and they are getting like me, a little older but not worn out. My next pair I'll go back to the heavier boots, which is my real preference.
But as some others have stated to go a store that specilizes in hiking equipment etc.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 10 2010 6:57 pm
by tahosa
writelots wrote:
That is unless you pull them up to your knees when you're wearing shorts...And then you may be hot, but you'd also be HOT :wlift: :lol:
Wear a KILT it will keep you cooler, but be careful where you sit. ;)

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 11 2010 12:24 pm
by Tough_Boots
For me, the socks have been my magic ticket. I really like my boots. They are REI brand and retailed for around $100 but I got them at one of their garage sales last year for about $20. Even if you're not one of the folks lined up at 5am, the garage sale is always overflowing with footwear for dirt cheap. I also got some really nice Teva's that same day for $15. Wool hiking socks are an absolute must and I've found that if you get good ones at REI, even the really thick ones don't overheat my feet and they give really nice extra padding and pull that moisture away. This weekend when I went hiking, I hadn't done laundry all week and was stuck wearing a cheap pair of wool socks that I usually don't use and now I have a huge nasty blister on my heel. As far as the boots go, I like the ankle support but I find that the real defense against rolling or hurting your ankles is in how you actually walk. I find that going downhill if I walk a little duck-footed I rarely roll my ankles and I get better over all traction. I've also learned to bypass the instinct to tense up and stop myself when I feel my footing going and just step or hop through the moment. That also seems to save me a lot of unnecessary impact-- whether it be my feet or my face! :o

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 11 2010 2:40 pm
by JimmyLyding
Asolo TPS 520 GV. All-leather big daddies. I love the support. Thick, stiff, durable sole. Burly leather upper. These boots make me feel like Godzilla.
As for the Injinji toe-socks, I sometimes use them. I recommend using them either underneath light hiking socks or as the primary socks for light footwear.
Recommendations:
1) Get aftermarket insoles. You will thank yourself.
2) Get aftermarket laces. I've had terrible luck with factory laces, and I would hate to have a lace get shredded while I'm hiking out in the boonies.
3) Get SmartWool socks. Actually, that's not a recommendation. That's an order! You will thank yourself.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 10:03 am
by heyyou
I recently started wearing cheap ($2), all polyester toe socks as liner socks, and they resolved my under-the-toes blister problems. They are one size fits all and may be found in the women's socks. Mine are the plain white ones, most were highly decorated.

As others mentioned, protect the blister area before the blister has formed. Tape something slick over the bad spots before heading out.

If and when you find a brand and model of boot that fits, shop for the next pair lightly used on ebay and backpackinglight gear swap forum. There are a lot of didn't-fit-me boots for sale.

Practice helps. Your blisters are telling you that your workday walking is not enough to toughen your soles for your playday walking. Log out and go for a walk in your boots in the evenings.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 12:14 pm
by RickVincent
Trail runners are my primary choice. (Adidas Kanadia) Very light weight. Mesh sides dry out quickly if in and out of water. Boots are nice for heavy off trail exploring in the desert. They will protect you better from all the prickly and poisonous stuff. I've stuck with my Adidas for Flatiron, Supe Ridgeline, the Jug, Ice House Canyon, West Clear Creek, Coyote Buttes, Wind Cave, Pass Mtn, Bassett Peak, etc. I also have sealskins socks and Merrell watershoes that worked out very well for Aravaipa Canyon. Everyone else was hurtin with their sopping wet boots or from picking gravel out of their Teva's. Has anyone chimed in about their experience with Vibram Five Finger KSO Treks?

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 12:19 pm
by RickVincent
And what's up with Teva's. One of my hiking partners talks up his Teva's like they are the greatest thing. However, on multiple occasions I've seen him suffering through blisters, gravel in the sole, and gerneral discomfort. In one instance he even walked 3/4 mile back to the vehicle to make a shoe change before rejoining the group.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 12:36 pm
by te_wa
ok, here goes: from the multiple forum discussions on this subject, boot/vs/shoe, I have found that the overall consensus is this - the human ankle is formed to move - and i believe it is the second most versatile joint, only to the shoulder ball/cup.
your ankles are designed to move with your every step. the thing is you have to strengthen your ankles. boots that prevent too much ankle movement create a "revenge effect" on your legs, weakening your joints, tendons, and muscles.
I would not step right into a pair of five fingers, but rather a set of low cut and light trail runners to begin your strength training.
If i may direct your attention to a very observable, eyewitness style of proving this boot/vs/shoe debate where shoes are the clear winner, look no further than the sports of tennis/soccer/skateboarding, etc.. to see that low tops are worn despite the aggressive and sometimes brutal stresses put on the ankles. the ankle is designed to move. you must strengthen it. then you can say goodbye to the myth of "ankle support"
my 2ยข

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 12:42 pm
by joebartels
Rick Vincent wrote:or from picking gravel out of their Teva's
Wear wool socks, tighten the straps after immersion and press down on your toes (creates arch tension) on the up-steps in gravel areas. I'm not recommending it, just saying it's doable.
And what's up with Teva's. One of my hiking partners talks up his Teva's like they are the greatest thing. However, on multiple occasions I've seen him suffering through blisters, gravel in the sole, and gerneral discomfort. In one instance he even walked 3/4 mile back to the vehicle to make a shoe change before rejoining the group.
They aren't for everyone. However they are the most versatile footwear I've worn. From Humphrieys to Mother Lode to Superstition Ridgeline and through gravely sections of WCC and Tonto Creek. Awesome for the jagged schists on Squaw yet remain flexible enough to grip. They last about 3-4 times longer than any shoe/boot too.

I have also suffered some rather bad episode when not prepared too. Raw feet in Tonto Creek because I forgot socks and the most excruciating pain imaginable going through snow on Romero cause I was too stubborn to put on my seal skinz. The later felt as if I'd been submerged in a freon bath and whipped with each step. Neither of which were the fault of the sandals, try wearing boots without socks and you'll be sorry too.

bart01 has me sold on foot gloves, someday I'll try them out

I agree with te-wa in ankle freedom/strengthening.

Also in relation to bicycling, spinning weight is the most important weight to keep down. In hiking that's your feet. Ounces less equals tons overs long distant hikes.


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At any rate I don't recommend anything, too many variations in how people hike and tolerate pain. Suffer and learn the hard way and you'll be a believer in whatever results you come up with.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 12:50 pm
by te_wa
Joe, you may find the vibrams a very great choice in your collection. i love mine, but cannot hike in places like the Supes for more than a few miles, still need to toughen up my girlie feet. find them on sale like i did for $50 and youll wear them every chance you get. (i have the "sprint" model)

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 12:54 pm
by dysfunction
I want a pair of VFF's... I figure I'll start out walking in them locally.. then trail running.. then I'll bring em hiking.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 1:31 pm
by azbackpackr
Al_HikesAZ wrote: Looks like Vasque no longer makes the non-GoreTex Breeze (and I didn't get a lot of miles out of a pair) so I've gone back to the Lowa Desert Zephyr mid.
I noticed that Campmor has women's narrow sizes of the Vasque Breeze available again. Friday is payday, and I am ordering a pair, to see if I like them better than the NBs or Wasatches. This time if I don't like them after a day of walking around the house in them, I am sending them back. It is too good to pass up, that they have actual narrow sizes available.

Not sure why you don't like Goretex?? I am constantly wading and getting into wet marshes, wading creeks, etc. I like Goretex in my boots and wouldn't buy any without it. With the gaiters on over them, I can wade something that is deeper than the tops of my boots, and not get very wet at all.

Incidentally I decided the next pair of gaiters I'm getting are the tan REI desert ones. Campmor and REI no longer carry tan colored O.R. ones. And I generally dislike black fabric (although I ended up with a black backpack, on clearance. Oh, well.) Same price, $25. I should just make some, but don't want to bother.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 1:35 pm
by dysfunction
I don't like goretex because it keeps water in just as well as it keeps it out.. mesh dries faster. Of course, being a running shoe wearer.. this is far more of a concern than in boots.

Re: What Do You Wear On Your Feet?

Posted: May 12 2010 1:41 pm
by Al_HikesAZ
azbackpackr wrote:Not sure why you don't like Goretex?? I am constantly wading and getting into wet marshes, wading creeks, etc. I like Goretex in my boots and wouldn't buy any without it. With the gaiters on over them, I can wade something that is deeper than the tops of my boots, and not get very wet at all.
I love GoreTex for some kinds of hikes. I have a pair of Vasque Breeze GoreTex. I don't wear them to wade in creeks - just for some occasional wetness. I don't want GoreTex for summer desert hikes - GoreTex is hotter. Different tools for different jobs. Not every problem is solved by a hammer.