Boot advise

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

OldBill

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
115
There was a good discussion on bpbasecamp supporting boots as the preferred option for rough terrain vs the trend of using trail runners even for off-trail "high routes". I'm looking at replacement boots for bigger treks and there's always compromise. My more serious trips are usually the Wind Rivers in mid-to-late September. So, what do you like to use on

4-5 day treks of 30-50 miles
25-30 lb total initial pack weight
30-50% of that off-trail sometimes in rough terrain (scree, boulders, slabs, steep side-hills, downfall, marshy, thick underbrush/willows)
Late season at 10000-11000' in the northern Rockies (ie, cold, potential snow)

I'm returning Salomon Quest 4D's bought last year at REI since a midfoot pressure point on the left foot never "broke in". Right foot was fantastic fit. My 3 yr old Lowa Vantage worked well, though tread is shot and toe seams started breaking (Goretex is weak too, discontinued). Looking at Renegades, but durability especially with this terrain seems to be an issue. Scarpa Kailash were great but outgrew them and right foot always had to be double-socked to stop heel slip. Some say they're now outdated design. I like to protect my ankles and feet, but wouldn't mind a 2-2.5 lb solution (some suggest La Sportiva Nucleo).

Fit failures (mostly lots of heel lift): Vasque Talus Trek, Oboz Wind River III, Scarpa Zodiac+, R-Evo, Asolo Fugitive, Zamberlan vibrant 3d
Yep, hard-to-fit feet.
DSC00323.JPG
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
1,986
So, what do you like to use on

4-5 day treks of 30-50 miles
25-30 lb total initial pack weight
30-50% of that off-trail sometimes in rough terrain (scree, boulders, slabs, steep side-hills, downfall, marshy, thick underbrush/willows)
Late season at 10000-11000' in the northern Rockies (ie, cold, potential snow)
If there's already snow or excessive mud on the ground or it's very likely (like in October), I'll go with my Salomon Quest 4Ds, maybe with gaiters as well. Otherwise, I stick with my La Sportiva Ultra Raptor trail runners. I like that the Ultra Raptors flex with my feet more while still having a pretty sturdy sole; it really seems save me a lot of energy compared to walking in the boots. And they don't get tons of sweat built up in them like waterproof boots do.
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,199
if you don't mind light, I've been loving the Altra Lone Peaks lately, the wide toe box is just super comfortable

for a heavier option would use something like a Sportiva Wildcat 3.0

I've backpacked off-trail using both of these and have been really happy.

for mud+snow I'd go with something like a Saucony Razor Ice+, I love these as well and have used them in very cold conditions, but have not taken them packpacking. they're basically a trail runner + waterproof gaiter.

I ended up not ever wanting hiking boots for anything, and have not owned a pair in over a decade, though I do have mountaineering boots since none of the above options will accept real crampons
 

b.stark

Forever Wandering
.
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
639
For 25-30lb starting pack weight, I'd definitely go for Altra Lone Peaks. They're still trail runners, but I have been really liking them for that kind of weight carry range. For say 35lbs or heavier, I've gone with Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX shoes. Might skip the Gore-Tex version if I did it again (the GoreTex takes a very long time to dry if they get wet and overall I'm just not sold on GoreTex for footwear). The Salomons seem to do better with a 35-40lb load and do seem to hold up better for me on rough off-trail hikes (or just hikes that are very rocky in general). I have to use the wide version of the Salomons to get enough room for my feet. Altras are overall more comfortable, but seem to be less durable. Just my observations over the past 2-3 years.

I think for mid to late September in the Winds, you'd still be better served with more breathable boots and extra sock layers for warmth. If it starts really snowing and getting cold, that may not work the best, but I still haven't found the ideal solution for that myself far as backpacking trips are concerned.

Overall, even for rough off-trail the heaviest footwear I prefer is mid hikers. Full on hiking boots are just not for me, personally, even with a 40lb pack ready for a week in the high Winds. I used the afore-mentioned Salamon X Ultra Mid GTX shoes in Alaska last year and I found myself wondering if Altras would have been better overall (and would probably go with Altras next time).
 

Ben

Member
.
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,844
continuing the trend here, i never liked hiking boots and never use them. always been a little mystified by the boot people. they're heavy, don't breathe, and take forever to dry. the last couple years i've been wearing la sportiva wildcats. they're not perfect, but shoes can be expensive, and i don't have the income for experimenting much. they stopped making a pair of new balances that i really loved. if i end up having to hike in snow, i just put gallon ziploc bags over my socks, and this has worked fine for me, but i don't do this extensively.

regarding the merits of trail runners for longer, heavier, off trailer travel, i wore trail runners on the trip i did in Gates of the Arctic, where there wasn't an inch of trail, with a ~50 pound pack, and had no issues. i further appreciated being able to wear them to ford rivers, and have them be most of the way dry by the end of the day.
 

OldBill

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
115
Thanks to all for the comments. Interesting to see the number that use trail runners even with this terrain and weather. Also, that others use Quest 4Ds. Maybe I can fix the fit with some stretching or rubbing bar.

Tried 2 pairs of Altra LPs on day hikes for weeks and couldn't get either to fit right. My feet are just too narrow and the entire forefoot would slip badly on any side hilling - no torsional stability in my case. Need to try some of these others, especially the Ultra Mids. I do enjoy having ankle/torsional protection and firm protection underfoot for backpacking. YMMV

Completely agree on Goretex,etc. So few options available though for tough to fit folks. I have Raynauds and enjoy having warm feet in the cold mornings tramping through frost,wet grass/brush.

Had GTX fail at wear points after a few 100 miles. They do wet out after a several hours in constant rain (as does the rain jacket). It's been manageable as it's always been on the last or next to last day of the trip! For hotter days - well, the Winds are dry heat and I just air my feet out occasionally. Debating non-GTX + GTX socks (I do bring plastic bags just in case).
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,199
Tried 2 pairs of Altra LPs on day hikes for weeks and couldn't get either to fit right. My feet are just too narrow and the entire forefoot would slip badly on any side hilling - no torsional stability in my case. Need to try some of these others, especially the Ultra Mids. I do enjoy having ankle/torsional protection and firm protection underfoot for backpacking. YMMV
yeah so much of this comes down to individual preference and body type!
 

Brendan S

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
379
Thanks to all for the comments. Interesting to see the number that use trail runners even with this terrain and weather. Also, that others use Quest 4Ds. Maybe I can fix the fit with some stretching or rubbing bar.

Tried 2 pairs of Altra LPs on day hikes for weeks and couldn't get either to fit right. My feet are just too narrow and the entire forefoot would slip badly on any side hilling - no torsional stability in my case. Need to try some of these others, especially the Ultra Mids. I do enjoy having ankle/torsional protection and firm protection underfoot for backpacking. YMMV

Completely agree on Goretex,etc. So few options available though for tough to fit folks. I have Raynauds and enjoy having warm feet in the cold mornings tramping through frost,wet grass/brush.

Had GTX fail at wear points after a few 100 miles. They do wet out after a several hours in constant rain (as does the rain jacket). It's been manageable as it's always been on the last or next to last day of the trip! For hotter days - well, the Winds are dry heat and I just air my feet out occasionally. Debating non-GTX + GTX socks (I do bring plastic bags just in case).
I have relatively narrow feet and love the La Sportiva Bushidos. I’ve also used a lot of the Inov8 line in addition to a few other La Sportivas. The Bushidos have a little stiffer sole than a lot of the Altras. Some of the Solomons might be worth looking at as well.

Gore Tex socks for winter makes shoes a lot more versatile and dry quicker (unless they’re a dedicated snow/shoulder season pair). I’ve used the Rocky brand for a long time and still going strong.

Obviously it comes down to experience and preference but I feel like the more rugged/rocky/technical the terrain is, the advantage of light and nimble footwear becomes even more of an advantage over bigger/stiffer/heavier boots.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
4
Other than deep, constant snow (basically mid-winter), I much prefer trail runners to conventional boots. I personally love the Altra Lone Peaks for most trips - including off-trail and low-grade mountaineering, but there has been some noticeable variation by version. (I never liked the 3.5s.) For less demanding terrain, I normally use Merrell Trail Gloves (which are also my "daily driver").

I really wanted to love the La Sportiva Bushidos - they have everything I want out of a trail runner - but they were too narrow for me. I think for someone w/ a narrower foot they are probably excellent.

Shoes are very personal, but as long as they are: 1) light, 2) not waterproof, and 3) at least fairly aggressive, I'm willing to give them a shot. After that, it's all about fit - which varies wildly.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
CloakedInSmoke Gear 7
TrektheWorld Backpacking 7
westy Gear 0
B General Discussion 1
Mike Jones Gear 6

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top