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49

Hmm - more of a tirade than a question, but let's assume you sincerely want to learn. There's a good deal of ground to cover, so please bear with me here... First, technical trail shoes are not "city shoes" If we're going to have an intelligent conversation we need to clear this up from the outset. You describe all types of lightweight footwear as "city ...


21

There seems to be a general trend for people abandoning traditional hiking boots for lighter approach shoes. As I see it there's two driving factors here: Approach shoes have gotten better No need to have a choice between trainers and boots any more. You can get good solid approach shoes that are both light and sturdy enough for use in the outdoors ...


15

The hiking shoe/waterproof trainer style is comfortable for casual strolls on easy trails, in good weather. This "light outdoors" (or fair-weather hiking) market is huge in comparison to serious hiking. The shoes can be made quite cheaply and don't last all that long. That's not a big deal - either you take to it and replace them with something better, ...


13

Why do so many people hike with such light footwear? I can give you a personal perspective: I have hiked in the 2000-3000m altitude (alps) for a long time, using quite tough semi-alpine boots (like the one in your first image, even the same brand). I still do that today if there is snow or ice, especially since I am also snow-shoeing and using ...


12

For certain types of hiking, lightness is key. I can't talk for everyone doing that (some may just be unaware of the consequences of their kit choices) but I really like speed hiking / fell running, and for that I use very lightweight Salomon boots that are almost trainers/sneakers. My wife briefly tried the Vibram Five Fingers and really liked them for ...


11

The problem is, that these are a (comparatively) new type of shoes and a hybrid of other types. Therefore there is no clear definition, not even consistent naming. Trail running shoes These are the closest to "normal" sports shoes. They are however very light. The competition shoes have hardly any fabric on it, but there are of course also more robust ...


6

To some extent, it's a question of marketing etc. However, there are clear design diferences between "trainers/sneakers" and "trail/approach shoes". I think you may find that while "trail shoe" is a commonly used term by people, "approach shoe" is preferred by manufacturers. In practice most trail/approach shoes are effectivley the same as lighter weight ...


5

There is a major advantage to lighter footwear when hiking. Here is a great example: Does a pound on your foot equal 5 pounds on your back? Newer, light weight footwear can be targeted for hiking more then just a regular cross training or basketball shoe. A good example is the Moab. Much more hardcore hikers than I use Merrell's on the PCT, JMT, etc. Heavy ...


4

Trail shoes should be waterproof and the sole should be prepared for mud, remember that you will run on the mountain trails that can be wet, they should also be wider for more stability. Regular sport shoes are mostly made to run on tarmac, where the soil is usually dry and with no mud with less need for stability since tarmac is usually flat. Hiking shoes ...


4

How can I tell a “trail shoe” from a regular sport shoe? Subjective things like fit and comfort aside, I would look at the sole first and foremost. Does it slip on rock, gravel, wood, leaves? If not, then it'd make a pretty good trail shoe, I'd guess.


4

For a long time, there was a trend towards heavier shoes with more support. The logic was that it provided protection for your joints, and your anecdotal evidence suggests that it works. Bear with me for a moment, and permit me to take the argument to an unreasonable extreme. Encase you entire foot in a solid steel block, well up into the calf. Now you ...


3

For me with my almost 130kg (280 lbs) weight the best choice turned out to go "barefoot" ... Five years ago, I walked with my friend across entire Poland (over 850 km) in a month and after the first week my feet were wasted. Had to take a two day break, treat all the bruises and calluses which were caused by the heavier trekking shoes. Some might say as ...


3

I continue to use Gortex lined boots because I hate wet feet. I use a light boot with serious socks for comfort and dryness. Last hike on the AT in the Smokies, all the serious through-hikers were using very lightweight shoes or boots. Discussing it with them, they focused on: Speed over support because they are typically young and healthy Dryness in hot ...


3

This isn't meant for general advice but for hiking, backpacking, and snowshoeing I prefer light, really light -- I use my running shoes...much lighter than what you have pictured as light. I'm reasonably fit and active -- I'm a former competitive endurance athlete. My running shoes provide adequate support for me and I'm much more agile in them than my ...


3

I've owned pairs of both Keen and Ecco sandals, and have been quite happy with both. They each have solid leather construction with comfortable padding on the inside, and they tend to hold up well. The sandals are cut so that water flows out of them quickly. The down side is that this allows gravel and sand into the sandals as well. If you're in the ...


3

Regarding energy expense, there is already a good answer. However, I want to add that when considering "Does a pound on your foot equal 5 pounds on your back?" there are more factors at play than just energy expense. You should also consider the effect on knees and joints. As an example - If I put 5 lb weights on both my feet and went up and down stairs ...


2

This saying appears to be mostly common sense or "homespun" wisdom, but there are some studies that have tried to dig into it: This HowStuffWorks Adventure article mentions Hillary's ascent of Everest, as well as the Army study mentioned in another answer here. The general consensus is that yes, mass on the feet incurs more cost in energy to move than mass ...


2

Merrell make several excellent shoes which are designed to be lightweight running shoes and I believe they would fit your use case neatly. Unlike sandals they offer a fully enclosed toe for greater protection, with synthetic and mesh upper and drainage ports in the sole. They're often designed to be worn sockless and so fit the foot closely to minimise ...


2

Any kayaking shop will have a selection of both shoes and boots designed for this. While you can get them with thin soles, I recommend thicker soles if you're mainly wearing them on rocky river beds and banks. You'll get a range of weights and prices. Neoprene dive boots are also an option though they tend to be heavier. For a (possibly) cheap option, ...


2

Another thing to consider is the height of the heel. I personally think it is actually much easier to roll your ankle whilst wearing the 'proper hike boots' with the higher heels (and I have unfortunately done so quite often especially when carrying a heavy pack) than it is with the (usually) lower heel of the 'lightweight sports shoes'. The amount of ankle ...


2

As you've noted, the purpose of heavy boots is to reduce the likelihood and severity of foot and ankle injuries. I would argue that lighter equipment in general also accomplishes the same thing, reducing the need for heavy boots. You're less likely to place your foot badly, and less likely to be injured if you do, if you're not carrying 100 pounds of gear ...


2

To a large extent, it depends on the climate, terrain, and trail conditions of the part of the US that you are hiking in; your observations are limited to one section of the US. Also, prior answers have not mentioned the advantage of a stiffer sole with a shank for rock and root hopping. Compared to the Eastern or Midwestern sections of the US, the ...


1

Twenty years ago I hiked the Bandiagara Falaise in a pair of trail running shoes. A couple in our party actually wore Tevas. The choice wasn't made out of fashion or ignorance (6 year 82nd Airborne veteran here) but out of what would work best in 121°F (49°C) heat traversing steep canyon hikes and with in the same day long stretches of walking on sandy ...


1

I guess the answer really is It depends As a general purpose solution I normally bring sturdy trekking/hiking sandals on my trips. Something like the models from Teva for example (many pictures on Google). I specifically look for models with have sturdy rubber soles with good profiles, and which come with velcro straps that I can fasten/adjust quickly and ...


1

For the UK in spring where you expect river crossings there is an argument for just using boots which dry fast eg unlined fabric and leather construction as these also have the advantage of being more breathable in general. If that is not to your taste then the traditional canvas and rubber plimsoles are as good as anything for river crossings as the ...


1

It is a common expectation that, like in your daily routine, you can expect to keep your feet nice and dry for an entire multi-day hike. Gear manufacturers contribute to this perception by promoting equipment as waterproof, breathable, etc. The fact is, if it rains, you can't. There are a number of reasons why: Your shoe requires a big hole in it to put ...



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