Hiking Boots vs Running Shoes
When researching what the best footwear for tramping is, regular running shoes with good traction kept coming up, the main reasons are that they're breathable, dry fast, comfortable, and light, while hiking boots can be too heavy, dry slow and, aren't as breathable. I was planning on buying hiking boots and taking both but my pack is getting heavy and would prefer to only have one pair on me. Surely the boot that's specially designed for hiking is what would be best right? I've never worn one so I wouldn't know, either way. Has anyone had experience hiking with both?
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I've almost exclusively used full leather boots with a pack, for no particular reason other than that is what I was told to do when I started multi-day hiking many moons ago. I'm actually keen to try some trail runners once my boots wear out, especially since you see so many people on difficult trails using them successfully. Without a pack, I rarely use boots, even opting for Jandals on my local well groomed trails. What I love about boots - they take an enormous amount of abuse, year after year, with minimal or no impact on performance. - the midsole is stiff. The last thing I want in technical terrain is a soft midsole rolling off a small edge. - I don't feel all of the terrain under foot. I find that I get less foot fatigue if it is not constantly conforming to the terrain. I know a lot of people would see this 'disconnect from the terrain' as a negative, but I find the opposite - my toes (I have Morton's toe) suffer less abuse in a boot, most likely because the ankle is held more firmly by the high cut and laces. What I hate about boots - They are hot. On a hot day in the sun with gaiters, my feet can be wrinkled from sweat after just a few hours - They take ages to dry out. I especially despise that this is exacerbated by the Gore-Tex lining that is inflicted upon me by manufacturers. That's about it. I don't really notice the extra ankle support, or the weight of a boot. Breaking in a new pair is not much of an issue with modern midsoles. Cost is fine because of the longevity of a boot 'v' a what I would anticipate from a trail runner (based on my experience with running shoes). Cheers, Moh.
theres no one answer if you're getting into snow much, you'll eventually need boots. shoes cant cope in a lot of extensive snow conditions and esp in steep country and ice, your feet will freeze in shoes, you need the stability and better warmth of boots and use them with crampons in some cases. there are plenty of caes cases of people who have slipped and fallen to their deaths or serious injury on snow and ice because they chose running shoes when they needed boots and crampons... in situations without snow and ice, depends on your ankle stability. shoes are for experienced people who have decent ankle strength... boots provide more stability, you're less likely to roll your ankle and it won't be as bad an ankle roll if you do in boots. also depends on how rough and steep the country and the weight of your pack, rough steep country esp off trail, boots are often better... hunters go for boots because they are standing around on steep slopes and the boots provide better stability. shop around the brands, certain brands tend to suit certain shaped feet. some brands are narrow and a lot of kiwis have wider feet from running around barefoot as kids.
I use trail runners most of the time. Light and quick to dry. I make sure they have a rock plate in them for protection. If there's a lot of snow then I use a pair of full grain leather boots.
1 deleted post from Jessicatrump77
"Without a pack, I rarely use boots, even opting for Jandals on my local well groomed trails." Glad to know Im not alone although I have been known to ignore the well groomed bit
I watched a guy (Julian Sykes) wearing jandals, carrying a heavy pack full of climbing gear, travelling up the Tasman Glacier to climb Aiguilles Rouges. He was faster than anyone else and had to be seen to be believed. As a sandal-wearer, I'm a bit mystified by the necessity for some to wear boots. I've been on the roughest tracks and routes imaginable, carrying 12 day packs e.g. south/north traverse of Stewart Is, and twice up the Waitaha in sandals. I guess it's because so many feet had functionally atrophied. Incan message-bearers were forbidden (on pain of death) to wear footwear for this very reason. They instead wore greaves to protect their shins. I do find though that when I wear boots, I can rely on them to protect the foot so I can be more cavalier. With sandals, you do have to take more care with your foot placements. However sandals enable me to be more nimble. It's good to have different options e.g. on a seriously hot day, carrying a heavy pack up a hill, or wanting to start on a chilly morning with dry footwear, I'll often choose sandals over boots. It feels like cheating! For me boots are preferable for scree runs and places where the scrub hides visibility for foot placements, frosty grass as it's very cold and for snow travel of course.
@Honora. Curious to know what sandals do you use.
I've tried sandals but generally don't like them when carrying heavy packs or when descending scree slopes. Lots of places if you have just a light pack they are fine. The ones I mainly use at the moment are Ahnu brand. They are carried in addition to boots and are hut/camp shoes (with or without socks depending on conditions) plus sometimes day trip footware or used for one off river crossings to keep boots dry. They are also sometimes used in hot weather on easy going when carrying a heavy pack however I prefer boots for rough going. (note I wouldn't bother swapping boots for sandals if there were going to be several river crossings)
The best brand I've found were the Source Sandal. They are made in Israel and one in three Israelis has a pair. I couldn't tell you what brand would be my second choice except maybe Chacos but they're heavy and expensive. The Source sandals are hard-wearing and the 3D honeycomb tread pattern was brilliant, including walking on dry slippery tussock. I bought a pair of Tevas recently that had attemped a 2D copy of it. The Tevas are light to the point of being a menace as they can fold over! However in lieu of having anything else (as the Source tread is finally worn smooth and the straps are untrustworthy due to extreme wear and tear) I've been wearing the Tevas into the backcountry and been alright so far but they will not last long, I suspect.
Some older forum threads that discussed the same topic: https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/9014 https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/8816 https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/7098 https://tramper.nz/forums/thread/7084
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