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Footwear choices

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Footwear choices

Postby ryanmicj » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:52 am

Hi everyone - I'll be attempting my first 14er later this summer (any suggestions are more than welcome!) and was wondering what people reccomend for footwear. Since I imagine I'll be doing nothing more than a class 2, is it neccesary to go for full hiking boots, or would a pair of trail running shoes be good enough? I was looking at the following, and thinking they might be a good compromise between the protection of hiking boots and the lightweight/comfort of running shoes.

http://www.zappos.com/salomon-xa-pro-3d-ultra-2-black-black-autobahn

Any other suggestions? Thanks!

PS - This site is amazing! I've never hiked a 14er, but I'm already hooked just from reading everything here and looking at your pictures.

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Re: Footwear choices

Postby habaceeba » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:58 am

I prefer boots because I tend to roll my ankles in shoes. Boots are usually better at keeping my feet dry when I encounter snow or creek crossings. If your planned routes will be dry, shoes may work just fine for you. My suggestion is to wait for some cheap boots or shoes to pop up on steepandcheap.com (with the link from the 14ers.com homepage of course) and grab them. If they don't work for you, S&C has a very straightforward and simple return policy.

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Re: Footwear choices

Postby Indigomountain » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:04 pm

My two cents...... I have had two pairs of Salomon's and loved them! They are way comfortable BUT I have had issues with the laces not holding up very well and consequently struggled putting the new lacing system in. (Soalomon's have a unique system) A regular shoe string will work but it wasn't quite the same.

I hiked Handies in them and it was great having on a lightweight shoe but I found on my descent that I didn't have quite enough support. Everyone's feet are different so it may not bother you but my feet were wishing for something that wasn't so flexible. I have worn a pair of North Face trail runners before and loved them as well but they had more support......would definitely prefer shoes over boots but Habaceeba makes some good points...
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Re: Footwear choices

Postby winmag4582001 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:30 pm

Footware is a tough thing to recommend for people because feet/ankles are all so different.
But, IMO, I prefer a boot with a stiff sole for long hikes up mountains. I use shoes on dirt trails that dont have alot of rocks.
I just bought a pair of Merrell Sawtooth boots as a inexpensive pair for short rocky ascents and for me these are awesome. I was very surprised at the comfort and the support for the price. If they had something like "out dry" on them I would compare them to a $200+ pair of Asolo boots. I took these boots on a six mile RT snowshoe to Chinns Lake and they performed great in the snow and the extra stiff soles worked great in snowshoes.
Overall I would recommend trying on as many pairs as possible to find what your feet like the best. Good fitting comfortable shoes will last you longer and wear better than shoes that your feet dont like.

http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/7987M/0/Mens/Sawtooth?dimensions=0
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Re: Footwear choices

Postby Monster5 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:40 pm

Trail runners. Lighter, faster, conforms to angled talus, and far more comfortable. Learn how to lace them (heel locks, etc). The Salomon's you posted are okay for general hiking. I had slight durability issues (though I put them through a lot), and the lacing system was annoying/paltry, the toe box was a bit wide, and the sole flexed too much. Some of those are only really issues if you do a lot of scrambling with longer days. Otherwise, they'd be great for general hiking. Do not wear any trail runners excessively on pavement, else goodbye shoes.
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Re: Footwear choices

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:49 pm

Footware is a tough thing to recommend for people because feet/ankles are all so different.


+1 on that advice. I think I'd probably recommend that you try your first climb in the boots you have on hand, hopefully a pair you've got experience in on rough trails. Then, after your first 14er, you'll know better what you want more of/less of in a boot. Me, I always need something with good ankle support and good foot padding. For my brother-in-law (and climbing partner), low-cut and less is better. I've seen some folks climb in Teva's and do just fine! Kinda hard to say.
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Re: Footwear choices

Postby Trudger » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:22 pm

ryanmicj wrote:Hi everyone - I'll be attempting my first 14er later this summer (any suggestions are more than welcome!) and was wondering what people reccomend for footwear. Since I imagine I'll be doing nothing more than a class 2, is it neccesary to go for full hiking boots, or would a pair of trail running shoes be good enough? I was looking at the following, and thinking they might be a good compromise between the protection of hiking boots and the lightweight/comfort of running shoes.

http://www.zappos.com/salomon-xa-pro-3d-ultra-2-black-black-autobahn


FYI, those shoes are $90 at Amazon. I was shopping for price on those a couple weeks ago. Just bought a pair, but I'm still breaking them in at home, so no review.

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Re: Footwear choices

Postby rockchalker » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:36 pm

I prefer trail runners over boots and find them more than adequate for Class 2/3 type climbs. For years we use to wear regular running shoes and did fine with them as well on Class 2 type trails.
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Re: Footwear choices

Postby Incline Fanatic » Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:12 pm

I've done six 14ers since Jan, four of them in trail shoes, but this really is a huge matter of preference with other things factored in. Even my hiking boots are a very light version of the real thing, I like to travel as light and as possible using my trips as a long training run where possible and like to "feel" where I'm steppinng for traction. Having said that, I learned weather can also play a huge part in your footware decision for a given Mt on a given day. Ran Bierstadt with 45-50 winds which dropped the wind chill much more than I expected,,, ended up with discolored toes that still hurt--and that trip was in Jan. Whatever your preference, check the weather often during your trip prep and as close to the hike date as possible,,, weather changes quick and, wet cold feet are not good.

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Re: Footwear choices

Postby Kiefer » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:53 am

I prefer to go with something a bit more 'baggins-ish'.

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Re: Footwear choices

Postby BobbyFinn » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:09 am

I prefer trailrunners, unless I know the trail will be very wet or muddy. Even then, I'll sometimes use trailrunners anyway. I used to wear boots on every hike, but I found I prefer something lighter. Neither is wrong. It took me several pairs of boots and shoes until I found my preference. One thing about runners - try to fine a pair without a lot of stitching all over. As you drag/slip/move/etc over rock, you'll cut/rip the stitching and then your shoe will fall apart pretty quick (I had that happen a couple of times).
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Re: Footwear choices

Postby thebeave7 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:29 am

Another vote for trail runners/light hikers. The more weight on your feet the quicker you'll tire out. Lighter shoes are also more agile (in my exp) and give you a better feel while scrambling, if you are. I've taken standard trail running shoes up anything from class 1 trail to 5.easy rock, its all comfort and experience level.
As mentioned above though, it's personal preference. Try on a bunch of stuff, see what fits, what you like and go from there. Personally I don't like the new Salomon lines (changed them 3years ago), but that's me. I use equivalent Brooks Adrenaline ASR, Inov8 295. One reason to go for something stiffer in my opinion is if you need to strap on crampons and front point (low angle is fine in trail runners). Wet feet is just a comfort thing, I've had wet feet for 12h+ and other than the squishy feeling it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to me.

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