Light Boots or Hiking Shoes for a Beginner
Hello All My name is Stephen and I am planning to get into tramping starting with day walks. I am most concerned with getting the right footwear for this and want to go in store to try shoes and boot on. I live in Auckland so could I have some suggestions as to the best brands to look for and the best stores at which to try them on. Thanks in advance *by best stores I mean most knowledgeble
"As in what are the aspects of being off-track that make a heavy boot important where a lighter boot or show won't work?" We did a wonderful tramp around the Paske, Rainbow, Clarence. 5 hours of this was going up the southern head of the Rainbow which is a sharp 'v' shaped valley full of smallish, sharp rocks. My good quality fabric boots were trashed - stitching and fabric ripped. I'm sure leather would have been relatively OK. We also lost 3 out of 4 carbide tips off our trecking poles during those 5 hours! (BTW we were pleased we had the poles, even with just the plastic tips left, as they saved us from potentially nasty falls.) I also wouldn't trust fabric boots if having to do many river crossings, again because of rocks - not being able to see them. When fishing I only use heavy duty leather boots for that reason and protection of ankles.
There are some quite heavy grade fabric boots around that are as strong as leather. Often though the biggest difference between the lightweights and heavier boots is in the sole. Lighter boots have softer flexible soles which are magic on a formed trail and very easy to walk in. Heavier boots get a stiff sole a decent rubber sole that is designed in both tread and compound to grip almost anything. The tow will stand up to kicking steps in scree etc and the upper will not be shredded by the odd bit of bush lawyer. Ive been on a few trips where I wished I had lighter boots but only have 3 season leather which do the job but I saw what happened to my old boots in not much over a year in all sorts of conditions.
the strength of fabric boots are made of varies a lot. some take a thrashing, some don't if you're going near rocks you need a decent high wearing rand all the way round the front side and back of the footwear,, approach shoes often have this rand, they are designed to withstand rock.. leather isn't bullet proof, nubuck is pretty soft and doesn't last either. or get hybrid footwear with a mix of leather and synthetic, leather in the high wearing places. rands are often made of rubber.
Cool, thanks for the explanations. I guess my concern with that plaguarised article is that it seems to be very non-specific. It lists footwear as a flat hierarchy from bottom to top, before structuring the outdoors as a similar hierarchy from bottom to top. Then it says "if you visit that part of the outdoors then you need this footwear" as if there's a clean non-crossover one-to-one relationship between the hierarchies which must fit very neatly. It's not even very specific about which features of the footwear are important for which features of the terrain, or even what's meant by "serious". Reading that article you could easily think that all "serious" people need heavy boots, and nobody else ever does.
yeah well the article was written for an online shop. they want to sell you the most expensive stuff.. a lot of people can end up just walking the great walks type tracks wearing expensive heavy boots which are overkill. a lot of people have it in their heads to wear boots, all depends on how rough the track is and how much you're willing to put up with footwear that may have a limited life. some people swear by wearing trail running shoes, and put up with their limited lifespan because they are a lot lighter and you use les energy wearing them and can move faster in them. but you need to get used to lightweight shoes if you're on rough tracks or carrying a lot of weight. your feet aren't as supported and bear more strain and so do your ankles...
It's a shame that this has hijacked the OP's thread, but bradley1's article on survival kits (http://www.tramper.co.nz/14515/wilderness-survival-kits-/) also appears to have been taken with light editing from a much earlier blog post which can be found here: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/featured-wilderness-survival-blog-entries/build-your-own-every-day-carry-edc-survival-tin-featuring-the-rsk-mk5-knife/. A slightly different but still evidently plagerised version appears on his own blog, introduced with the words, "Here is an article I wrote for the NZ Tramping website". The blog post can be found here: http://nzbushadventures.blogspot.co.nz/2014/12/wilderness-survival-kits-what-to-add-to.html?m=1
Original Poster !. If you're staying on tracks & day-hiking, then Hi Tec from Rebel Sport would be adequate. Off-track & scree might be a different matter ?. For day hikes on tracks eg Canterbury foothills, I wear cheap Columbias. Off-track / mountains (Arthurs Pass etc), I wear better Hi Tec's (more rand, sturdier support, more rigid sole). Not really up to scratch for Alpining, but that's not what you're wanting presently. Limas are currently $90, down from $160 http://www.rebelsport.co.nz/productimages/medium/1/44250_142843_78211.jpg Trail blazers are down to $100 from $190 http://www.rebelsport.co.nz/productimages/medium/1/44248_142483_78210.jpg Altitudes are still $240. Maybe next week, then ?. http://www.rebelsport.co.nz/productimages/medium/1/44244_142658_78209.jpg Now, excuse me while I duck for cover ! ;)
I think Hi Tec's are a good cheap first off option. My first pair of boots that I used for well formed tracks were Hi Tec's. I killed them, but that was more to do with wearing them nearly everyday when walking the dog rather than on tracks.
For what it's worth my first two pairs of boots were Hi-Tecs bought from Rebel Sport's standard tramping range. (I'm not sure what RS stocks these days, however.) Not heavy boots by any stretch though they saw their share of off-track bush-bashing, probably the main consequence being that they wore down more rapidly than some other boots might. It's hard to fault them for getting started though, and they'd continue to be adequate beyond that..maybe the soles could have lasted better. I think once you've gotten into tramping for a while you'll have a better idea of what you want for the stuff you want to do. In the end I switched away from the Hi-Tec boots more because I wanted to see what I was missing out on from other brands than because I was dissatisfied.
I have a pair of Hi Tec trail shoes I bought from Rebel four years ago and they're still going strong. I wouldn't wear them tramping (too flexible, sole gets slippy when it's wet), but they're great as walking shoes and have lasted really well.
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