Noob to hiking shoes

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Noob to hiking shoes

Postby David W » Fri May 30, 2014 8:09 am

I've always worn my work boots out hiking around and am wanting to get some good, durable, breathable hiking shoes for hot weather. I also have somewhat odd shaped feet. Skinny ankles and heels, wide across the base of my toes, and my toes are kinda big, and if I have any shoe contact with my big toenail, I get an ingrown nail.

I also have the problem with there may be no solution for of thin, unpadded boots or socks hurting my feet and padded ones making them too hot...

The outfitter in IDY suggested SuperFeet insoles...?

Any suggestions welcomed, thank you!
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Postby David W » Fri May 30, 2014 8:14 am

I live down in the desert and do a lot of off-trail rockhopping and exploring.
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Postby zippetydude » Fri May 30, 2014 9:35 am

I've never been able to tolerate the heat and weight of boots. Some good trailrunning shoes, my favorite being Montrail, make the whole experience better. They're almost exactly as you described - fitted in the heel, ample in the toe box, tough but light, with a mesh fabric that lets the heat out and the air in. My favorites are the Rockridge, though they have lots to choose from. Other brands I've had success with have been Vasque (not quite wide enough in the toebox for some models), New Balance (extremely comfortable light weight models as long as it's fairly smooth terrain) and Inov8 (amazingly light but they offer less protection). Hope all that helps. I bet you'll find success if you just look a bit!

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Fri May 30, 2014 10:05 am

My feet sound vaguely similar. I can't tell you how many toe nails I've lost due to hiking. Salomon brand trail shoes have been working well for me lately.

The main thing I'd suggest would be go to a REI or Sport Chalet or similar and just start trying 'em on.

Super feet are fine, but they weren't a cure all, at least for me.

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Postby David W » Fri May 30, 2014 12:01 pm

A lot of the reason I've worn boots is for protection...I'm a tenderfoot and tend to get into rough stuff. Can't have both lightweight, cool, and protection I reckon.

I tried some Converse zippered desert military boots vs my normal leather Caterpillar Zipper was nice to get on and off but too hot and the boots were probably too big and the sides folded in and pinched my ankle bone "knobs" on both sides, ouch.

Closest big city (2hrs) is Insane Diego...recommendations for a good store to try there?

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Postby Ellen » Fri May 30, 2014 12:56 pm

Howdy David :)

I have very bizarre feet and need a wide toe box.

For summer hikes and trekking/backpacking, I use Keen Voyagers (hiking) and Vasque Breeze (trekking, backpacking). Like you, I need good foot support and padding, so trail runners haven't worked.

I also use Smart Wool light hiking or Trekking socks. They're very cushy and last a long time.

Sally also needs a large toe box and loves her Charmeleon Ventilator mid boots. I just bought a pair and will try them out soon.

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Postby Sally » Fri May 30, 2014 1:09 pm

Ellen, you have combined two different boots that I have worn: The Chameleon Stretch and the Moab Ventilator, both made by Merrell. If they made a Chameleon Ventilator, it would rock!

David, the Moab Ventilator, my favorite, is really comfy and breathes well. Although I don't have a problem with durability, I've heard some guys say they don't hold up really well. I wear them with Superfeet insoles.
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Postby Florian » Fri May 30, 2014 4:27 pm

I second Sally's suggestion re Moab Ventilator by Merrell. I'm on about my 5th pair. I've always worn the mid height but might try the low top next time.

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Postby Myth » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:07 am

My feet are wide across the toes, and I have terribly skinny little ankles.

My desert off-roading and boulder hopping gets done in a pair of Keen Alamosa mid-level boots - not WP. ( They don't make 'em anymore, though! I bought up a couple extra from places that still stock them. )

I like the sturdy soles with rock plates for foot protection, and I love the top two eyelets - the hooks. I tighten the lower one across the top of my foot so my feet won't slip forward when butt scooting down a boulder and can then keep the rest of the lacing as loose as I like. The newer boots only have the very top eyelet as a hook, which is silly.

I second the thought to go try on a wide variety and see which fits you best. I love Keens - I slip them on and they fit like I'm barefoot. Perfect fit for my feet. I also have some Moab Ventilators - they feel great, breathe something wonderful, too - but they are a lot looser around the ankle, which is a problem with my little toothpick ankles. I mostly wear them in town.

I've tried Montrails and Brooks Cascadia and in my case neither made it home with me. I couldn't get a comfortable fit around ... my ankles, of course! By the time my tootsies have wriggle room and my freakishly long second toe doesn't hit the front, my little ankles are swimming, and those bones on the sides of the ankle are getting bumped by the shoe folding back in. I've always had that problem with shoes, actually - my ankle bumps or even the back of my heel gets irritated by a lot of shoes. Mid-level boots solve that issue for me since the footwear ends above the problem spots - nothing to bump and rub them.

So basically - since people have widely varied feet, you have to find a brand that fits you well - it might not be the very lightest, sadly, but you need something that fits your particular hooves well!
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Postby David W » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:17 am

Myth, sounds to me like you and I have the same feet!

Thanks very much for your input.
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