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The Best Hiking Shoes

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
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The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby dwemp6 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:17 am

Earlier this spring I bought a pair of North Face hiking shoes. They were a low cut, well ventilated, light weight hiking shoe; they also had a vibram sole of which I am a fan. They were great, however after one season of moderate use they started to fall apart. Luckily, I bought them at Sierra Trading Post and the have the best return policy ever.

What are the best pair of hiking shoes out there? I am looking for another pair of light weight, low cut shoe, maybe waterproof this time, and durable so it will last a couple seasons.

Thanks

Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby Bean » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:21 am

TNF shoes fall apart. It took me a couple pair before I learned my lesson.

For typical hiking, especially somewhere dry like Colorado, you don't want waterproof. Your feet will be more damp because of sweat being unable to escape through the "breathable" membrane.

I got a pair of La Sportiva Vertical Ks this year that I've really enjoyed. I've done more running than hiking in them, but they seem well-built and have a pretty sticky sole.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby CO Native » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:23 am

After a lot of boots I've become a huge fan of La Sportiva as well.
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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby michaelgrundy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:37 am

I have had some great luck with my Merrell Moab Ventilators. I will warn you that they wear out a little fast (I have done 12 - 15 14ers in mine and they are getting to the end of their useful life).

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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby Duffus Kentucky Climber » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:57 am

I like my La Sportiva Trangos for 14ers (don't love them because of the slight instability of narrow heels) and I agree about the comfort of the Merrell Moab Ventilators, although I wear them for less demanding activities than mgrundy. The Trangos are Goretex lined, so, like Bean said, not great for summer hikes.
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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby Dave B » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:59 am

dwemp6 wrote:What are the best pair of hiking shoes out there?


The kind that fits your foot and is the most comfortable. While you'll get a list of everyone's favorites, it really comes down to foot shape and personal preference.

Each shoe company bases their shoes off of a last that they feel is the ideal representation of the human foot, but each manufacturer has a different ideal of what the human foot is.

I have a wide foot and find Vasque to be ideal for boots. While La Sportiva has a reputation as fitting more narrow feet, I've been incredibly happy with their Boulder X approach shoe and Wildcat trail runners. I did 18 miles this weekend with a 35 pound pack in the Wildcats and felt great the whole way. Glad I wasn't wearing my boots.
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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby fahixson » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:05 am

I have La Sportiva Boulder X and satisfied thus far (~20 hikes/climbs). I know they're probably overkill for most 14ers, but I've gotten used to approach shoes and really like the grippy feel, even if it's just in my head.

Has anyone tried Salewa Alp Trainer Hiking Shoe? I saw them on SAC a few weeks ago and almost bought them. Product description calls these shoes a hybrid between approach and hiking shoe. Sounds interesting . . .

SAC wrote:The Salewa Men's Alp Trainer Hiking Shoe combines the technical features usually found in approach footwear with the light weight and support of a hiking shoe to create a unique hybrid shoe. So whether you're walking, hiking, scrambling, or bushwhacking, the Alp Trainer help you get to your destination in comfort.
• 3F heel system uses a steel cord to transfer lace support around your feet, giving you exceptional support and fit without hampering movement
• EVA midsole and PU shock absorber cushion your foot on descents, and the Multi-Fit Footbed allows you to adjust the volume of the footbed in the shoe for a perfect fit
• KEVLAR® rands give you durable protection from abrasive rocks and increase your grip when your hike starts to look more like a climb
• Extended climbing lacing towards the front allows you to dial in your fit
• Vibram Hike Approach soles gives your feet great traction even on slippery surfaces

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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby lackerstef » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:06 am


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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby Voodoo302 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:19 am

I really support approach shoes with sticky rubber for almost all non-snow 14er outings. I have a pair of La Sportiva Exum Pros that are getting old and I'd replace them with a new pair in a second if they still made them. I've always had good results from La Sportiva; I haven't tried the XPlorer but they look like a promising replacement to the Exum (anyone have these?).

Obviously you have to go with what fits your foot and your needs but a good pair of approach shoes can handle 99% of what you'll find on 14ers and I wouldn't even consider something without sticky rubber. You'll lose a bit of longevity (though not much) and you'll gain so much in the way of traction and confidence.

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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby gdthomas » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:24 am

dwemp6 wrote:Earlier this spring I bought a pair of North Face hiking shoes. They were a low cut, well ventilated, light weight hiking shoe; they also had a vibram sole of which I am a fan. They were great, however after one season of moderate use they started to fall apart. Luckily, I bought them at Sierra Trading Post and the have the best return policy ever.

What are the best pair of hiking shoes out there? I am looking for another pair of light weight, low cut shoe, maybe waterproof this time, and durable so it will last a couple seasons.

Thanks


Hiking shoes/boots are all about fit. What works for some may not work for others. Try on several makes and models before buying. So far the Salomon Comet 3D GTX (boot) and TNF Hedgehog GTX XCR III (shoes) I bought about a month ago are working out well. Both are light and dry. I haven't put enough miles on them to attest to their durability but Salomon products have never let me down. TNF shoe fit my foot better than any other. Both pair performed better than expected on some long hikes in the Flattops and Gore Range. I prefer gortex in my footwear - dry feet are happy feet. I'll be putting both pair through their paces next month to test their durability.

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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby MtHurd » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:50 am

Go with what Homie wears, the Hoka Stinsons. I wore Hoka Mafates recently in the Sierra (got them for $119, otherwise I would have purchased the Stinsons). Very comfortable. No rocks jabbing you through the soles and surprisingly stable. The terrain was pretty hard on the soft cushion on the outside of the shoes though. Did not affect the performance at all.

http://www.boulderrunningcompany.com/hoka-one-one-stinson-b-evo-men.html

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Re: The Best Hiking Shoes

Postby steelfrog » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:55 am

Homie?

I have the Mafate 2s, and may use those on a one-day hike of Big Bend's Outer Mountain Loop (30 miles and 10k gain) in November.

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