Boots or shoes?

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Boots or shoes?

Trailrunners/approach shoes
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Scott P
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Boots or shoes?

Post by Scott P » Mon May 17, 2021 7:21 pm

Just curious on the numbers. On non-snow climbs on the 13ers and 14ers, do you prefer boots or trailrunners/approach shoes?

As for me, I can't stand boots and avoid them whenever possible.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by Carl_Healy » Mon May 17, 2021 7:28 pm

I have some cheap but capable Merrell hiking boots that have served me very well on my relatively few mountain hikes, including my 2 (2.5?) Class 3 climbs so far.
Haven't tried trail runners or approach shoes yet but I am certainly curious about them.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by ekalina » Mon May 17, 2021 7:39 pm

I've always worn boots, but it's mostly been a matter of frugality: since boots are needed in the winter, relying on them year-round means I don't have to buy both trail runners and boots :-D

That said, I like the extra ankle support, and the weight doesn't bother me much, so it's not like it's a big hardship for me.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by yaktoleft13 » Mon May 17, 2021 7:47 pm

Boots all day. I have an unfortunate propensity for ankle rolls from my basketball days so the support is a lifesaver. Plus a good pair will let you climb low-mid 5th class, so no concerns there
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by k_fergie » Mon May 17, 2021 8:08 pm

I have rocked the same pair of mid-ankle height Merrell boots for the past 8 years and >1500 miles (including all of the 14ers), but they are definitely showing those miles now. I'm now venturing into the approach shoes/trail runners realm, so I'll have to update at the end of the summer once I've had a real chance to compare
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by Conor » Mon May 17, 2021 8:24 pm

I remember being on the arctic circle trail and seeing all the people carrying their gore-tex boots due to be water logged.

I posted in the other "boot" thread, but I think danner may have me venturing out to try a boot based on my experience with them thus far.

But, I love my trail runners so much. I see no reason to change until people objectively start saying boots are the cat's meow. Right now, it's a religious war. But, what is known about trail runner....Lighter, faster, mo' miles, longer days etc. Boots - last longer.

I have no problems with most 5.easy in trail runners.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by nyker » Mon May 17, 2021 9:48 pm

See my post on the other thread, shorter shoes have worked much better for most non snow climbs for me.
the only adjustments I'd make is possibly a short gaiter in sandy/pebbly areas or spikes in icy trail conditions.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by AndrewLyonsGeibel » Mon May 17, 2021 10:18 pm

I just prefer running shoes. I can definitely understand why people like ankle support though. I carry a heavier backpack that supports the weight on the hips even if the pack weighs 2 lbs and I’m carrying 8 total. I just have a wonky shoulder/collarbone/back that I don’t have any desire to irritate.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by TomPierce » Mon May 17, 2021 10:23 pm

If I was hiking on a trail I'd consider trail runners, but the majority of what I like is off trail stuff so I prefer boots. If it's likely to involve tech stuff I strongly prefer my sticky approach boots (5.10 Guide Exum's). IMO trail runners climb like running shoes, ie like crap. Just my opinion.

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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by cfischer » Tue May 18, 2021 1:29 am

I've worked in outdoor retail selling footwear for about 10 years, and I can tell you that there isn't one right answer for everyone. Your trade-offs are generally weight versus the ability to carry a heavier pack.

Since boots have moved away from stiff leather uppers, the high cut no longer really offers ankle support. That's achieved by stiffening the footwear along its long axis so you don't get torque motion from landing on uneven trail transfered to your ankle; taking out high stacks of cushioning, which makes the shoe less tippy; and putting in denser foams in the midsole, so your foot sits on a stable internal platform. All of these things can be achieved with a low cut shoe or a hiking boot. On the other hand, people who are used to high cut boots just may not feel confident, and will therefore be less sure footed, if they switch to a lower cut shoe even if the support is objectively equal. A lot of modern trail running shoes can offer you great options for fast packing, and brands like Salomon and La Sportiva have really carved out niches in that regard.

Personally, I'm a fan of having more structure to my footwear. I have some really poor foot genetics that make me a bad candidate for addressing instability in my feet and legs via strengthening my foot with minimalist footwear. The conversation about minimalist versus structured footwear is another one with no one answer for everyone.

At the end of the day, I always recommend getting what fits the best, whether it's a boot or a shoe. Unless the footwear will clearly be insufficient for your activities, you won't thank yourself for finding lighter shoes if it comes at the cost of blisters, bruised toenails, or plantar fasciitis.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by DArcyS » Tue May 18, 2021 9:16 am

Ah, my strong support for boots once got me a calendar shot because of my bulging calf muscles... \:D/

My position, it depends.

If you're just a summer hiker on 14ers, do whatever you want. If you plan on being an all-season hiker, I say wear boots all the time so that the extra weight of the boot won't be a bummer on winter or international climbs. Recall a guy lost his feet because he tried to climb a peak in the fall in trail runners, got lost, and bad stuff happened.

I'd be interested to see how many accidents or rescues have occurred because of trail runners. The two primary issues being severely twisted ankles and inadequate footwear for snow, including slips and frostbite.

Once you get older, one may be forced to boots to better protect the feet and ankles. And whatever protection trail runners fail to give the feet and ankles, that type of thing might add up over decades.

If you're strong enough, it really doesn't matter what you wear. Boots may slow you up, but I've never found it to be a big deal. Wear heavy boots all the time, that's training, you'll be stronger. It adds up over time.

So, with all that, I think trail runners are fine for the casual, summer 14er hiker who might benefit from a lighter shoe due to a lack of conditioning. Yes, there's an increased risk of an accident, but it probably won't happen to you even though it's certain to occur for some. Also, if you race (e.g., Hardrock 100), wearing the trail runner that you race in for training makes sense.

Other than that, I think there are several variables people should consider before they conclude "lighter is better." But in the end, people can make the choice they want.
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Re: Boots or shoes?

Post by jrs1965 » Tue May 18, 2021 9:33 am

I wore boots for 20 years in the Army. Except for winter, never again!
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