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 Hiking Boot vs. Trail Shoe 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:39 am
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Location: Not Mass 8)
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I've always been skeptical about wearing trail runners. But I decided to pick up a pair of THESE on Sierra Trading Post because I got a great deal. $60 I love them. I wore them on my last hike up Washington with no issues at all. I picked up a pair of gaiters that are designed for trail runner which keep all debris from getting in.
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Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:37 am
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Mountaineer
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I started in boots like most hikers but then I went through this decision in 2000. I hiked most of the AT in New Balance Trail Runners and was happy with them. For the past 14 years since, I've done nearly all my non-snow season hiking in some form of trail runner or low hiker (basically a beefier, stiffer, heavier "trail runner")

I hike all terrain in them and with a fair amount of time hiking in the rocky northern Pressies.

On a loose slide where rocks can hit my ankles, I might prefer a boot but I'm not often on loose scree.

Like many questions regarding gear and clothing options, the answer really depends on many factors. Ankle strength and stability may be a big factor. I am convinced hiking in them increases your ankle strength. That said, if there's reason to need the extra stability to avoid injury, a boot may be the better choice. To be fair, I had relatively strong, flexible ankles when I started hiking which probably made the transition easier. I feel less leg fatigue from trail runners than boots due to the light weight. "A pound on your feet feels like 10 (5?) on your back" as I recall.

Ultimately I have settled on low hikers over runners as I like the extra protection; they are waterproof and with good gaiters there is no worry of getting wet and the traction and wear is better. I like Keens and am now using a pair of Oboz, a newer company I think, and very much like the Keens and also waterproof. I like them. More protection than trail runners, but still fairly light weight.

Regarding wear, I buy a new pair once a year in summer but the old pair is shot by the time I do after maybe 200-300 miles and 40-50 mountains.


Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:15 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
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Location: south of the notches
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Grindboy wrote:
To me, trail shoes are like iced coffee. People like them and that's cool and all, but just seems wrong.


FAVORITE RESPONSE. Couldn't agree more - about the iced coffee. :D

No personal experience, I still wear my Keens most of the time and in winter wear one of my Garmont heavier boots.

This fall I happened to be around a bunch of AT-thru-hikers. Of the 16 or so I chatted with/gave rides to/hiked alongside, only 1 had boots similar to my keens. ALL the others had trail runners. They swear by them. Not all were 20-somethings either.

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Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:42 pm
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Mountain Maestro
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:24 am
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I have a pair of Keen Targhee 2 Mid boots I only wear in the winter now. I wear my Salomon Sense Mantra trail runners for all other hiking. They have good grip, mesh upper to dry quick and the best part for hiking I think is the enclosed toe guard. I wear these with a pair of Darn Tough Wool padded hiking socks and the combo just can't be beat.


Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:55 am
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Leg Burner
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:35 pm
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Has a Foot Doctor ever posted a reply to the boot v no- boot discussions? I have worn sneakers, , Tevas, Fabiano Mountain boots, and Limmer Standards through the years on varying terrain. Nowadays, because of foot problems, the Limmer Standards are the only footwear I can wear for prolonged periods of time and not have any foot pain issues
I wonder what an experienced Physician would say about ankle strenghting with the wear of trail runners/minimalist footwear;and, generally the positives/downsides of various hiking footwear.


Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:12 pm
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Mountaineer
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:58 am
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Location: Boston
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 Re: Hiking Boot vs. Trail Shoe
I know I am very late to the game with this topic but I am in the week-long research of buying new shoes/boots for the summer months.

I got new Vasque Snowburban UltraDry Winter boots (1 lb 9.5 oz) for Xmas and what a dream having them on the trail compared to my old 3-season Garmont high-tops and after wearing them I discovered how much my feet hurt by mile 5 so it is time to upgrade my summer footwear.

I have always been a boot guy and today they make some so light like the Salomon Quest 4D where each boot weighs 1 lb 3.5 oz or the Salomon X Ultra Midd II GTX which is a mid not as supportive but 14.2 oz each boot.

I do like the idea of having even lighter shoes either something waterproof like the Salomon X Ultra Low II GTX Hiking Shoes weighs 10.5 oz per shoe. But with low cuts is waterproof even needed? If not then something like Scarpa Crux weighs 6.3 oz each.

My issue is my left ankle. I tore all the ligaments in that ankle almost 20 years ago and still need an ankle support for any kind of sports activity. There have been numerous times especially with a multi-day pack on my back that the high cuts have saved my ankle.

Can't wait for the REI garage sale this Saturday and I do plan on getting something, just not sure what


Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:45 am
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Fri May 06, 2016 12:15 pm
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 Re: Hiking Boot vs. Trail Shoe
Both are similar when you consider hiking. Trail shoes are used basically walking or running on soft earth and grass. Hiking shoes are also used for same place.

Source: trail shoes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_running

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Tue May 10, 2016 5:15 am
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