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What shoes to get?


shanker
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Hey guys, so new to hiking/packing and will soon embark on a few trips. First few will be in upstate NY followed by further trips that will be more difficult. I have tried on a few shoes and while they do differ, they're mostly towards mid weight boots. Out of the following 3, which would be better in terms of use if the fit for all of them are good?

Salomon Comet

Lowa Renegade

Asolo Drifter GV

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  • 2 weeks later...

You should strongly consider decent trail runners instead of mid-weight boots, which are expensive and mediocre at everything they do.  For $100 or less on sale, you should be able to find trail runners with an aggressive tread that will do everything a mid-weight boot can do.

I wrote an article here awhile back on the subject.

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Yeah I second what @seano said - trail runners are the way to go. You can start looking into La Sportiva offer - the shoes I would recommend are La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. Really great shoes with superb, "sticky" soles.

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In addition to @Karo's suggestion of the Ultra Raptor, I would look at various Salomons with a more aggressive tread, e.g. Speedcross 3 or 4 (not Vario!), which will deal better with wet and loose surfaces.

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Of those I would lean toward the Lowa, but shoes are such a personal thing.  I'll throw out a caution about trail runners.  It works for some people, some trails, many situations, but not for all.  There have been people who have truly wrecked their feet requiring doctor's treatment after taking the advice of using runners when it just wasn't a smart choice for their physique.  Your feet are the first most important piece of gear you have when backpacking, so take care of them and be sure they are adequately supported for your level of fitness, the weight you carry, trail surface, etc.  A hiking shoe is another option...something between runners and boots.  I have to say that as a runner myself and having used some with varying levels of support, rock plates, etc, my feet feel much better at the end of a long day of backpacking when I wear shoes instead of runners.  I still do runners on occasion but mostly the shoes.  Try out a few and test them before you use them on a long trip...use what you're comfortable with, whatever it is.  Also keep in mind that runners are short lived, comparatively, so not always a good value compared to shoes or boots using a little more substantial materials in the midsoles and uppers. 

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Worth considering that some of the most serious hikers, walking for months every day, 20 miles or more per day, from Mexico to Canada and from Georgia to Maine on the PCT, CDT and AT frequently and strongly prefer to wear trail runners over heavier footwear.  These people are the most serious and usually most experienced hikers around, carefully packing lightly so as to cover all sorts of terrain including wading across streams and rivers, and often using gaiters to deal with snow, sand and stones.  But they do report that their trail runners wear out, fail completely, and so these hikers are prepared to replace their trail runners after several hundreds of miles.

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I prefer waterproof trail runners for hiking on trails. I also have leather boots for off trail hiking and for doing trail maintenance.

What I would recommend is to buy and try hiking with the shoe that fits best and feels best on your feet. Every hiker has different feet and different opinions about their gear. There a lot of brands and types of hiking shoes because everyone is different. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • Premium Member
Mark Wetherington

If you don't have ankle issues (or any other foot related issues) and typically carry a lightweight pack and hike on trails, I'd suggest trailrunners for 3-season use. 

In my experience, mid-height boots are great if you're not doing long miles and will be in rough terrain and or off-trail.

Trail runners are perfect if you're in good shape foot-wise and will mostly be hiking on trails with a lightweight pack. 

Out of the three brands you mentioned, my experiences with Lowa have been awesome, great with Solomon, and poor with Asolo. The Asolos fell apart quickly and didn't seem built to last. 

I switched to trailrunners for a few hikes this past summer and thought they were great, but the tread on them (Brooks ASR GTX, I think) fell apart in less than 200 miles, although about 50 miles of that was on off-trail and in burned areas (so lots of hiking on downed trees, tree limbs, etc.) or rocky areas, so probably not the ideal conditions for them anyways.

I switched back to mid-height boots for "rougher" hikes, but will definitely be using trailrunners on the easier hikes next summer . . . the on-trail comfort is hard to beat and it really makes a difference at the end of a long day.

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