Trail Sandals?

john.maldaner

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Apr 7, 2018
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My hiking needs are much more modest than most folks here. I'm usually hiking around my farm or in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest. Day hikes. Light pack or no pack. I need a wide toe box and have hiked in Keens for years. This summer has been especially hot and humid. I am investigating trail sandals for the first time. Does anyone here have experiences they can offer about trail sandals? Not sure where to start looking. Thanks!

PS - attached picture is from the Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois.
 

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wsp_scott

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Great photo, I hear you about the heat, Lexington has been terrible for the last month.

I've seen people hiking in sandals, but it always seemed uncomfortable to me. I'd think something like Tevas or Chacos would be a good starting point.
 

john.maldaner

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Thank you! I do quite a bit of hiking on asphalt paved roads in the country around our place. I should mention that because I need a sole that can hole up to that. I have found that Keen makes some with closed toes. They look interesting, but I'm concerned I'll have blister problems if it's not a wide enough toe box. The Chaco Z/2 Classics look nice, if the sole can handle the pavement.
 

zionsky

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Dec 23, 2018
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For what it's worth, I have have hiked in the keen newports (leather) for years. I use them for slickrock because they have a great grip and a large toe box keep my toes from getting crunched. I haven't had problems with blisters (so far) I hear the synthetic ones aren't as durable so I would stick with leather.
 

john.maldaner

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For what it's worth, I have have hiked in the keen newports (leather) for years. I use them for slickrock because they have a great grip and a large toe box keep my toes from getting crunched. I haven't had problems with blisters (so far) I hear the synthetic ones aren't as durable so I would stick with leather.

Thank you! That is one that I’ve been looking at. I was afraid the leather would not be as cool. Has that been an issue for you?
 

regehr

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I used to do pretty long hikes in Tevas, this worked fine but sometimes grit would get between one of the straps and my foot, and eventually abrade away the skin in places. Also you need really good ankle strength for difficult terrain. I like Tevas since they're pretty flat, Chacos have way too much arch support for my flat feet. Obviously this is individual preference.

regarding cool, very light shoes with a wide toe box, a lot of us here like these: https://www.altrarunning.com/shop/mens-shoes-trail/mens-lone-peak-45-al0a4pe5
 

regehr

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love the Illinois pic, it's easy to stereotype states like Illinois and Indiana from their northern, glacier-scoured parts, forgetting how nice the southern areas are
 

john.maldaner

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Apr 7, 2018
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Okay, I have ordered a pair of Altra Lone Peak 4.5 and a pair of Teva Hurricane XLT2. I will see which feels the best and return the other. Thanks for the advice!
 

Miya

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I see you already ordered trail runners haha, but just for the future. I have two sets of trail runners, Altra and Xero, BUT I do the majority of my hikes in sandals, desert, mountain hiking, whatever. I just put my sandals on and deal with the conditions as they come. LOL I really love them but could see why they aren't for everyone.

I am obsessed with my Xero sandals, they have varying styles of super minimalist and then more rugged if you prefer. I use the Z-trail

 

Ugly

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I see you already ordered trail runners haha, but just for the future. I have two sets of trail runners, Altra and Xero, BUT I do the majority of my hikes in sandals, desert, mountain hiking, whatever. I just put my sandals on and deal with the conditions as they come. LOL I really love them but could see why they aren't for everyone.

I am obsessed with my Xero sandals, they have varying styles of super minimalist and then more rugged if you prefer. I use the Z-trail


I am also a Xero fan. I have the DIY ones, and use them for a lot of hiking near home. But I am just not careful enough and bash my toes. I also feel that the traction is not as grippy on loose gravel or steep gravel, so I do not like them for backpacking.
My friend had a pair of the Z-Trek model he really liked and was using, but the plastic part that holds the strap broke on him when we were down in Bryce. Seems the only place besides pulling the toe strap out of the bottom that will break and we were able to use a little caribiner for the rest of the day. Something failing like that while backpacking could mean a true barefoot experience.

I like the minimalist part of Xero, and for trails near home it keeps me from just pounding my feet and getting bad walking and running habits. I also like the pure enthusiasm of the company.

I also have a pair of Chacos. They are comfortable, but compared to the Xero it is like tying on something quadruple the size. As well, the models of Chacos with the toe strap I did not like. I returned and got it without the toe strap. I did not like that when doing mileage it seemed the toe part of the strap would get tighter and tighter. (Z2 vs Z I believe)

(For backpacking it is trail runners all the way. Lately that has been Altras. I am not sure about others issues, but on my current Lone Peaks I am well past 700 miles (first pair of Altras got over 1k), and except for the normal separation of the toe tread at the tip, I still have a lot of tread and wear left to go. They just stink...)
 

Miya

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I am also a Xero fan. I have the DIY ones, and use them for a lot of hiking near home. But I am just not careful enough and bash my toes. I also feel that the traction is not as grippy on loose gravel or steep gravel, so I do not like them for backpacking.
My friend had a pair of the Z-Trek model he really liked and was using, but the plastic part that holds the strap broke on him when we were down in Bryce. Seems the only place besides pulling the toe strap out of the bottom that will break and we were able to use a little caribiner for the rest of the day. Something failing like that while backpacking could mean a true barefoot experience.

I like the minimalist part of Xero, and for trails near home it keeps me from just pounding my feet and getting bad walking and running habits. I also like the pure enthusiasm of the company.

Luckily, I haven't experienced a failure with them yet! I always bring my small role of duct tape with the thought that they might break though haha. I am actually surprised they haven't. Especially on my last trip, the descent was so steep I was sure the straps would snap! I have put them through all kinds of heck, including leaving them too close to the fire and part of it melted! I agree they are not that grippy, but I hike slower with them on, which is good for me because I roll my ankles when I am in trail runners because I don't pay enough attention.

As for the toes, if I didn't buy the larger size I would absolutely have smashed my toes soooo many times. The sandal ended up being pretty darn big, so when I smash the front of the shoe, my toes aren't near the rock or stick or ground LOL.

I think the only thing I don't like is that my feet are really thin, so the excess strap after tightening is laughable (I will have to take a photo hah). I figured out a method of tucking it in though. Also, the velcro on the strap around my heel comes undone pretty often, again, because of my foot size, less than half of the velcro actually meets and adheres.
 
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