hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

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azdesertfather
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hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by azdesertfather » Apr 04 2009 9:54 am

Thought I'd start a thread that we can post to over time and give people recommendations on good hiking shoes/boots/sandals (whatever). I had a couple of pair that lasted me for a really long time, I guess I got spoiled. But I've had some bad luck with hiking boots my last three tries, maybe you've had similar experiences.

Finally in frustration I started digging around online for recommendations, and found a site called consumersearch that combines reviews from Backpacker Magazine, Cabelas, Buzzillions, GearReview, Zappos, REI, and others. Here's what the recommended:

• Lightweight hiking shoes: Hi-Tec V-Lite Radar II Event Low
• Mid-cut hiking shoes for more ankle support: Keen Targhee II Mid
• Lightweight hiking boots: Timberland Cadion Waterproof Mid Gore-Tex XCR
• Heavy-duty leather backpacking boots: Kayland Vertigo High
• Women's hiking boots: Lowa Banff Lady

Have been looking online for some Keen Targhee IIs, and OUCH! LITTLE pricey...

Thinking at this point to go Teva, which still aren't on the cheaper side, but I understand will be a good investment?
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te_wa
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by te_wa » Apr 04 2009 10:04 am

I dont know how they compile the evidence, but imho the companies Timberland and Hi-Tec (and Merrell, owned by Wolverine) dont make what I would call cutting edge. Mediocre, maybe If i can be so harsh...

for lifelong boots - Danner, Zamberlain, la sportiva
for superlight trail shoes - Montrail, Scarpa, Vasque, inov8
for heavy duty trail shoes - Keen, Garmont, Lowa
for Joe - teva sandals

i have an average, but on the "low volume" side of foot. Montrail in almost any style fit right out of the box. Far better track record for me compared to any other brand, and I can buy them online in full confidence that they will be true to sizing. Montrails in some styles have a "cult following" of sorts (think Vitesse)
montrail is a sister company of Columbia outdoor products.

shop sierra trading post for footwear deals. the specials on the site vary sometimes day-to-day and you can find online coupons for 20% additional savings and/or free shipping, etc..
my last pair of Montrail Ventana shoes were $35 shipped ;)
Last edited by te_wa on Apr 06 2009 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
:D

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by big_load » Apr 04 2009 12:51 pm

I currently wear some lightweight Danners, the EXO Edge mid. They're very light, but theyr'e tougher than anything else I've found in that weight range. I have super high-volume feet and wear custom orthotics.

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by writelots » Apr 06 2009 9:43 am

I just purchased a new pair of the hiking shoes I've been using for the last year: Merrell Chameleon Arc Gore-Tex XCR Cross-Training Shoes. Say that 3 times fast. I've got mixed feelings about them, however. First, I've got a low volume, WIDE, girly foot with bad arches and toes that splay out like a duck's web. Needless to say fitting me with hiking shoes to fit me is akin to finding the golden fleece (there are SO many fewer optins for girls...). After trying on dozens of different shoes, I found the Merrells, which fit perfectly and are extremely comfortable. The first pair went on their virigin hike for 5 days backpacking in the GC with no break-in problems at all. However, after 1 year, they are completely caput - the sole is worn smooth, the support is gone and the leather is coming from together (waterproffness left months ago). I would have hoped to get more than 250 miles out of a $120 pair of shoes. But, I bought another pair. Why? Well, fit was the first concern. Second was the thought that maye I got a bad pair last time - you know, just bad luck. Well...seems that it wasn't bad luck. Took the new pair on my overnight this weekend and after only 1 hike I'm already missing a lug off of each sole and there's other weird damage to the toe. I mean, these are supposed to be hiking shoes, right? Not 'damn, they look good on the pavement' shoes...

I'll probably have to start finding a new pair. That really stinks. I get SO tired of shoe shopping.
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by RedRoxx44 » Apr 06 2009 10:05 am

Summit Hut guys hate to see me. I have a problem foot to fit and it usually takes the "senior" guy to try to get it. I wear orthotics. I'll destroy any Hi-Tec/Salomon shoe in less than 3 months. That said I have had two pairs of mens Salomens boots to wear specifically for my long distance water hikes. I get them on sale somewhere and when they die from the water and abrasion it's no big deal.
I like Merrels for caving. Again I get them on sale. They are not too heavy and have a reasonably sticky sole. I go through them if I am caving a lot however, have glued one pair now several places.
Right now my good backpacking boot is a Scarpa, but I also like Raichle. Pricey---but worth it to not have your feet hurt. I like Lowa but the newer incarnations are nice and soft but lack toughness for off trail I find.
Keens are good but again seem to get a little too soft with harsh wear. I have a pair of insulated boots from them that are great for cold weather.
Sales, shop Amazon, ebay, whereever and you can find some deals, returns at Summit Hut, etc.

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by BobP » Apr 06 2009 10:08 am

I just bought a pair of Keen's( I think Laguana H2) the closed toe sandals.They were a discontinued item at sierra trading post. I had previously shopped around and the best I saw was $80. I ended up getting these for $47 after savings and coupon. Plus, I think shipping was $7. I hiked with them yesterday and so far they are awesome.
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by Xiled1 » Apr 06 2009 4:41 pm

I'm struggling with this issue right now. So far I've been going with a hiking shoe. Merrels I bought were their heaviest duty shoe with the entire length shank and rubber coming halfway up the sides. It had one of those 10 word names. Anyway, I got about 6 months and maybe 75 miles before I started ripping the lugs off. I nursed them on for another month or two with JB weld pathes, but then it was over.

Next Ipicked up a pair of Keens. I've got 6 months and less than 100 miles on them. Lugs are ripping off and I think they killed my knees on the last trip out - so the soles are wearing. I'm going with a heavy duty boot this time because the shoes just don't last. Not going to be as comfortable, but support and longevity should be big improvements.

This leads me to ask, where should I shop? REI has a really limitted selection. Suggestions of stores with knowledgable sales staff would be great.

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by dysfunction » Apr 06 2009 5:42 pm

I have a high volume forefoot, high (and long) arches, and it's all wide ta boot. Right now I have a 20+ year old pair of Scarpa Mantas (just really too heavy IMO these days for 99% of what I do anymore), a pair of Asolo Fugitives that I like (I had to have them modded in the end to fit right, have a pair of superfeet in them and the soles are wearing fast at about 160miles on them or so). Other than that mostly I'm wearing running shoes these days, I wore out a pair of cheap NB 473's that I still wear as casual shoes because they're so comfy and replaced them with a pair of Montrail Streaks I've been pleased with so far (as long as I skip a eyelet midfoot to keep circulation to the toes going happily)
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 06 2009 7:16 pm

I'm just thrilled if the dang things fit me. I have some NB light hiking boots, and several pairs of Vasque boots that are too heavy but they are very narrow and low volume so they fit me. They don't make very many boots in ladies size 10 and a half AA Narrow, I can tell you from experience. Hi tecs and Merrells NEVER fit me.

Tevas--I own four pairs. I live in Tevas. They always fit me. Keens are waaaaaaaaaay too wide, and look ridiculous on me besides, since I am 5'2 and have these long feet. The NB's I bought off Zappos and wish now I had bought 3 pairs. If you are one who can never find shoes that fit it is like Christmas when you actually do find them.
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by PaleoRob » Apr 06 2009 7:48 pm

In order of utility and durability:
Vasque: I bought a pair of these in late April/early May of 2003. Every trip I've posted between 2003 and 2006 (and some after then) were in those boots. In fact they are still in use with me today, despite some peeling in the sole, the lugs are still there and some leather separation.
Merrell: These boots I bought in 2008. Almost immediately I had one lug rip partway off, but remain attached. A few months later, on the other foot, the same thing happened. However, the Gore-Tex is holding strong, and my feet remain nice and warm under most circumstances. I think that on one foot the arch support is starting to go, I was starting to notice a little jolt in my foot during our GG hike.
Timberland: Junk. Junk. Junk. Junk. I can't really begin to qualify all the negatives. The boot began coming apart about two weeks after I bought it. The damn thing lasted barely a year, and that was stretching it only because I couldn't afford a new pair and I started using my old Vasques again at the end of 2007. Stitching fell apart, whole giant chunks of the Vibram sole peeled off, the insole was crap. Don't waste your money.

As for sandals, I've got a pair of Chaco Z/2s I love and a pair of Chaco flips that I love even more. I used to wear a pair of old Tevas that didn't wear out, but were not as comfortable, plus they started stinking really easy. I haven't had that problem with Chacos. I might look into a pair of their hiking shoes/boots for my next footwear purchase, I am quite pleased with all their products I've tried.
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by aa7jc » May 25 2009 9:36 am

I have found the fit of the Merrell Chameleon Wrap Mids to be just right for me. The first pair I wore way longer than I should have and they started to fall apart (after about a year) but I was so happy with the fit that I bought another pair on-line last year to replace them.

I am not sure what boot I will try next.. I am liking the breathability and fit of the Chameleon Wrap Mids (Gore-Tex) but I am thinking that maybe I could use a little more of a sturdy boot for dealing with crazy rocky terrain.. So I too am studying the market .. Merrill boots fit so well that I am looking at their "Perimeter" and their "Sawtooth" boot... They both have pretty good reviews and are close to the same weight as the Chameleons. If I had to make a decision today I would probably want to try on the Perimeters first.. but who knows what my feet will tell me!

FWIW, I had a pair of Raichle mountaineering boots years ago and my feet absolutely loved them .. Never a bad day in the Raichles... but I think now that they were on the heavy side for the average AZ hike and they were definately pretty pricey

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by fairweather8588 » May 25 2009 11:01 am

Inov-8s and Montrails work best for me as far as trail runners go, for boots I've got some old Montrail Torre GTXs that ill use for camping, snow, and things like that (not for hiking though)
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by PaleoRob » May 25 2009 11:10 am

Updation: I did purchase a pair of Chaco Redrocks with mesh sides. Yum yum yum. I'm using them as my work shoe/boot. Great breathability and arch support. My feet stay comfortable all day!
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by --- » May 26 2009 8:34 am

For me, the trend has been to go ever lighter in recent years. On any kind of maintained trail, it is running shoes all the way. These days, I am wearing a pair of Asics Gel-Kahana 2's. I wore them on a 2-nite GC backpacking trip last month, and they were great! I don't know how I would feel about them on a 20+ dayhike. I used to do at least one R2R hike a year, but haven't for a few years because none of my current hiking companions are that serious. I want to do one this fall, and it will be in running shoes.

Back in the "old days", I wore heavy boots like most people. I still do occasionally if I anticipate extreme conditions. I used to swear by Raichle's, but then they started getting harder to find. Around 2001/2002, I bought a pair of Asolo Cerro Torre GTX's. In 2003, when they were starting to show some wear, I decided I liked them enough to get another pair. Unfortunately, they had been discontinued, but I finally found some online, in the right size and on clearance from Peter Glenn. They only had 2 pairs left, so I bought both. I only just now pulled the last pair out of the box, still new. I still have the original pair - the soles are almost smooth, and are worn clear through at the toes, but they are still in one piece and I have used them on occasion for heavy yard work. I think it is time to retire them for good, demote pair #2 to yard work, and start wearing pair #3 for hiking when conditions call for them.

For sandals, I used to wear Teva's, but now have a pair of Keen's with the enclosed toes. I like them OK, but use them only occasionally, mostly around water (like Aravaipa).

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by Jeffshadows » May 26 2009 8:42 am

Merrel Moab Ventilators, mid-cut. Replaced every 8-12 months. Add black Superfeet and I'll never buy anything else as long as Merrel keeps making the line.
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by BobP » May 26 2009 9:05 am

Jeff MacE wrote:Merrel Moab Ventilators
+! The only problem with these is when I kick cactus( I gotta stop doing that).
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by janderso » May 29 2009 11:34 am

Any recommendations for type of boot to hike Grand Canyon. I have Merrells that I love, but think I want more ankle support.

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by fairweather8588 » May 29 2009 11:47 am

Which trail, I've done the main trails (Bright Angel, N&S Kaibab) in Inov-8s and Montrail trail runners
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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by JimmyLyding » Dec 10 2009 12:22 am

I'm about wrapping up my use of a pair of Vasque Switchback GTX's, and they've been the best hiking boots I've ever owned by a wide margin. I have small, narrow feet with relatively small heels (I'm 6'4" and wear size 11.5), and Vasques seem to work quite well. However, REI doesn't carry them any more (I was planning on getting another pair), so it was time for a pair of Asolo TPS 520 GV :D . Good Lord, Asolo is proud of these boots, and I now know why. Awesome awesome boots. I haven't hiked in them yet as I plan on breaking them in for at least 2 weeks because high-end all-leather boots will last years, they will also make you semi-suicidal if you hike in them before they're broken-in.
My recommendation is to painstakingly find a boot that works well for you, and stick with the brand. My other recommendation is to buy the best boots you can afford. You won't regret it.

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Re: hiking shoe/boot/sandal recommendations thread

Post by azbackpackr » Dec 10 2009 6:10 am

I have narrow feet and have been doing internet searches for my size. It comes up with only one brand: New Balance. I emailed Vasque, got a prompt response. They no longer manufacture narrow sizes, and their current "Sundowner" is on a different last, not as narrow in the medium width as it used to be, but more true to size.

I read a bunch of customer reviews thoroughly dissing the new "Classic Sundowner," anyway. The people said they are not as well made as when they were made in Italy. They are now made in China. Vasque also told me that people's feet are getting wider, so that is why so few manufacturers no longer offer narrow sizes. I saw women's Lowa mountaineering boots in a narrow, but only up to size 10, and I wear 10 and a half, very narrow. I can put insoles in there, but that does not fix the loose heels.

I did find some Vasque Velocity trailrunners in my size (probably overstock) online. If there are any left after Xmas, I'll try a pair. But I'm sticking with the New Balance light hiking boots for now, plan to buy a couple more pairs in case they stop making them. They would not hold up on a thru-hike, though. You'd have to have 10 pairs.
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