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  1. #21

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    Try them both on in a good outfitter shop. Walk around the store with your backpack (fully loaded) for a while with each boot. If you find a toe rubbing or any sort of discomfort, eliminate that boot as a possibility.

    I was told that fit / comfort is paramount in not getting blisters. Second is keeping your feet dry. It doesn't matter how many people swear by this boot brand or that boot brand.

    Buy what fits YOUR feet.

    For my feet, the Keen Targhee 2 mid fit the best. 500 miles on them before the first blister - and it was from my feet being wet and the seam of my sock twisted around the side of my big toe.
    Delamination is an issue with Keens, so either replace them when they start to come apart or keep a tube of shoo goo around to glue them back together.
    I have been impressed with their grip on everything but ice.

  2. #22

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    To the OP, over time I have used the three major types of footwear, high top leather boots (Asolo, Vasque), high top synthetic boots (Merrill, Vasque), low cut trail shoes (Moab Ventilator among others), and trail runners (Solomon and New Balance). For most all of this footwear I have walked terrain similar to what one would find along the AT with some exceptions for the Asolo 520 boots that have been in some pretty extreme neighborhoods and continue to surprise me with their durability.

    Long ago I started logging every hike on a spreadsheet even if its just a mile off the road to see something. I note the date, weather conditions, time, duration of the walk, footwear, pack, food, and assorted other things that I have an interest in keeping track of. That way I can literally track the life of my gear (in this instance footwear) pretty much from the time it comes out of the box to the moment they lose their mojo signaling replacement.

    My experience with footwear is I will get from 1,600 to 2,000 miles out of high top leather boots, about 800 miles out of the high top synthetic boots, about 400 - 500 miles out of the trail shoes, and about 300 - 400 miles (really stretching it) out of the trail runners. I would say most of those I talk to and have seen post in this forum fall inside these ranges overall, with a few exceptions here and there of a few miles less or more, some with creative use of duct tape and zip ties.

    Given the mileage one can reasonably expect from footgear, replacment of footwear on a long distance hike is pretty common, which will require some budgeting. Using the rough scale above you can get a pretty good idea of what is likely going to be needed for each type of boot/shoe.

    Like Slo-go'en points out, if indestructible is what you are looking for, you will need to look at the high end of the high top leather boot market, which can carry price tags from about $350 to over $700 a pair, much more if you go into a custom made boot. These are much heavier than synthetic high tops and/or shoes and require some care along the way, but are more likely to go the full AT distance than anything else. Heavy boots are not everyone's favorite, ultra-lighters have strong issues with them for example. So, presuming you don't want to get into higher end leather boots of about 4 to 6 lbs a pair, I would use the following to base budgeting on:

    Mid-level hightop hiking boots (synthetic) range greatly in their longevity, but as a general rule will run out of walk at about the 800 mile area. That translates to two replacement pairs necessary to complete the AT if started with a pair having about 400 miles on them. Prices on these mid-level boots run from $130 to $200 a pair, so I would budget about $150.00 for each replacement pair and $150 for the starting pair, for a total budget of $450.00 from first to last step.

    Trail shoes will probably need to be replaced about every 500 miles, which translates to starting a thru with a new pair and purchasing three more pairs along the way (presuming each pair lasts the full 500 miles which is a gamble). Prices on these range from $70 or so on sale to about $100 a pair, so I would budget at the higher end at 4- pairs for a total of $400.00.

    Trail runners will probably need to be replaced every 300 miles (400 if you want to stretch them to the point of discomfort). That translates to about 6 pairs total if you start with a new pair. Pricing on these range from about $70.00 (dirt cheap and look it too) to about $175.00 a pair, so I would use a budget figure of about $130.00 per pair and budget about $780.00.

    These are pretty rough budget numbers and may be a little low given the rigors of a long distance hike and damaging terrain and weather conditions that can tear up footgear, never mind the potential for replacement after 50 miles and you find the shoe doesn't work for you and another pair is needed.. However, it should give you an idea of what to expect.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Traveler; 01-19-2017 at 08:38.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by higuy111 View Post
    Hi, Thank you for reply! What do you mean by SV5? I tried to search on google but didn't find anything.
    Sorry it was supposed to be S2V lol
    Not sure what happened.

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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    ...
    My experience with footwear is I will get from 1,600 to 2,000 miles out of high top leather boots, about 800 miles out of the high top synthetic boots, about 400 - 500 miles out of the trail shoes, and about 300 - 400 miles (really stretching it) out of the trail runners.
    ...
    Thank you for sharing your experience, while I don't have any concrete numbers myself I still would fully agree with your statistics.

    I had come a long way from old-style leather hiking boots to trail shoes to trail runners and now I'm back towards high-top leather boots, mainly because I dislike the short lifespan of trail runners.
    Only difference to your numbers I find in the prices, while we here in Austria have to pay a lot more than you do for the worldwide known Salomons etc., I am lucky enough to have a small very traditional manufacturer of leather boots here in the vicinity, where I can get most models for the same price as Salomons.

  5. #25
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    Had a pair of Keens blow a seem while hiking in Oregon a few years ago. Comfy, but I don't trust them. I'm in Altras now, and much prefer them in every way, probably because the fit my feet so well.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  6. #26
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    Get some Hanwag boots

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  7. #27
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    So they are only for a dry weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    Mostly, yes. They aren't designed to get wet and dry out.

  8. #28
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    But north face chilkat 400 wouldn't be suitable for hot weather I believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by sethd513 View Post
    Moab mid ventilators or gtx will last. Last year I started wearing la sportiva trail runners and could see how burly the Moab's really were. I wear north face chilkat 400 when winter camping and every time I pull them out of the closet I wish Merrell made something comparable to it with a removable liner based around the Moab.


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  9. #29
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    But I've noticed that there is a tendency in stores to tell you that the shoes are going to "stretch" after some time and it's normal to feel a bit of rubbing. Are you saying that's not entirely true?

    Quote Originally Posted by MtDoraDave View Post
    Try them both on in a good outfitter shop. Walk around the store with your backpack (fully loaded) for a while with each boot. If you find a toe rubbing or any sort of discomfort, eliminate that boot as a possibility.

    I was told that fit / comfort is paramount in not getting blisters. Second is keeping your feet dry. It doesn't matter how many people swear by this boot brand or that boot brand.

    Buy what fits YOUR feet.

    For my feet, the Keen Targhee 2 mid fit the best. 500 miles on them before the first blister - and it was from my feet being wet and the seam of my sock twisted around the side of my big toe.
    Delamination is an issue with Keens, so either replace them when they start to come apart or keep a tube of shoo goo around to glue them back together.
    I have been impressed with their grip on everything but ice.

  10. #30

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    I suggest Salomon XA Pro 3D trail running shoes. The fit all your main requirements and have served me well on all my section hikes. My foot is narrow, however, so these fit perfectly. May not worker for wider feet.

  11. #31
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    Thank you Traveler,

    That's really detailed.

    I never thought that it could be that expensive to get ready for AT..

    May I ask, do you still have your first pair of hiking boots?

    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    To the OP, over time I have used the three major types of footwear, high top leather boots (Asolo, Vasque), high top synthetic boots (Merrill, Vasque), low cut trail shoes (Moab Ventilator among others), and trail runners (Solomon and New Balance). For most all of this footwear I have walked terrain similar to what one would find along the AT with some exceptions for the Asolo 520 boots that have been in some pretty extreme neighborhoods and continue to surprise me with their durability.

    Long ago I started logging every hike on a spreadsheet even if its just a mile off the road to see something. I note the date, weather conditions, time, duration of the walk, footwear, pack, food, and assorted other things that I have an interest in keeping track of. That way I can literally track the life of my gear (in this instance footwear) pretty much from the time it comes out of the box to the moment they lose their mojo signaling replacement.

    My experience with footwear is I will get from 1,600 to 2,000 miles out of high top leather boots, about 800 miles out of the high top synthetic boots, about 400 - 500 miles out of the trail shoes, and about 300 - 400 miles (really stretching it) out of the trail runners. I would say most of those I talk to and have seen post in this forum fall inside these ranges overall, with a few exceptions here and there of a few miles less or more, some with creative use of duct tape and zip ties.

    Given the mileage one can reasonably expect from footgear, replacment of footwear on a long distance hike is pretty common, which will require some budgeting. Using the rough scale above you can get a pretty good idea of what is likely going to be needed for each type of boot/shoe.

    Like Slo-go'en points out, if indestructible is what you are looking for, you will need to look at the high end of the high top leather boot market, which can carry price tags from about $350 to over $700 a pair, much more if you go into a custom made boot. These are much heavier than synthetic high tops and/or shoes and require some care along the way, but are more likely to go the full AT distance than anything else. Heavy boots are not everyone's favorite, ultra-lighters have strong issues with them for example. So, presuming you don't want to get into higher end leather boots of about 4 to 6 lbs a pair, I would use the following to base budgeting on:

    Mid-level hightop hiking boots (synthetic) range greatly in their longevity, but as a general rule will run out of walk at about the 800 mile area. That translates to two replacement pairs necessary to complete the AT if started with a pair having about 400 miles on them. Prices on these mid-level boots run from $130 to $200 a pair, so I would budget about $150.00 for each replacement pair and $150 for the starting pair, for a total budget of $450.00 from first to last step.

    Trail shoes will probably need to be replaced about every 500 miles, which translates to starting a thru with a new pair and purchasing three more pairs along the way (presuming each pair lasts the full 500 miles which is a gamble). Prices on these range from $70 or so on sale to about $100 a pair, so I would budget at the higher end at 4- pairs for a total of $400.00.

    Trail runners will probably need to be replaced every 300 miles (400 if you want to stretch them to the point of discomfort). That translates to about 6 pairs total if you start with a new pair. Pricing on these range from about $70.00 (dirt cheap and look it too) to about $175.00 a pair, so I would use a budget figure of about $130.00 per pair and budget about $780.00.

    These are pretty rough budget numbers and may be a little low given the rigors of a long distance hike and damaging terrain and weather conditions that can tear up footgear, never mind the potential for replacement after 50 miles and you find the shoe doesn't work for you and another pair is needed.. However, it should give you an idea of what to expect.

    Good luck!

  12. #32

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    I have a quiver of shoes for hiking; some very durable and some really light weight and a bunch in between. Good luck with your search, this is what I can tell you:

    My Merrells (low tops) are super comfy for "day to day" use but a little too squishy hiking for me... kinda wide.

    Northface (low tops) *3rd pair, pretty light and great fit with a decent "shank" for rocky terrain but this is my 3rd pair and usually only use them for day hikes

    Lasportiva (mids) insanely light, so comfortable. I wanna wear thees almost everyday during the week. Not what I would use again on super rocky terrain as the sole does not have a very structured shank so foot placement on sharp edged rocks is not so good but doable if careful

    Saloman (low tops) eh, a little too narrow for me and not real light; bought em on a whim as they were on sale for super cheap... Not my preference

    LaSportiva Omega GTX (high tops) Love em, awesome support but my second heaviest boot. Support galore, near bomber build, fit my feet great.

    Asolo 520 (high tops) *3rd pair but I barely wear this pair since finding lighter boots. Bomber, bomber, bomber and you will feel the strength of this all leather boot with each step... it feels like you have ankle weights on after finding a lighter boot.

    Just because 100 people say "yadda" boot is the best does not mean that is the one for your foot or hiking style. Find what is comfortable for you with your usual pack weight and enjoy... they are gonna wear out.

    shoes.jpg

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by higuy111 View Post
    But north face chilkat 400 wouldn't be suitable for hot weather I believe?
    Absolutely not haha. I just like the size and cut of my moabs. Wish Merrell made a boot that was as warm because I'd buy it for winter. Check Amazon and sierra trading post. You could get Merrells fairly cheap. They aren't all the same though. I'd never hike out of the moabs.


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  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by higuy111 View Post
    But I've noticed that there is a tendency in stores to tell you that the shoes are going to "stretch" after some time and it's normal to feel a bit of rubbing. Are you saying that's not entirely true?
    Yes.
    Here's what many stores wont tell you. After hiking up and down mountains, your feet will grow or swell, making snug boots even tighter.
    A bit of rubbing in the store will be a blister on the trail. A blister makes for a miserable trip.

    My last section hike I did, 85ish miles in VA, I wore my trusty Nike's on the drive up, hiked all week in my boots, then put the Nike's on for the drive home. They were downright uncomfortably tight on the way home.

    So while it's possible a boot will stretch with your foot, if there's a rub on your little toe in the store, how much is that going to hurt when your feet grow or swell?

    On an overnight trip here in FL, a woman showed up in camp with blisters on her feet... "Everyone says these Merrill's are great shoes..." Yeah, well, they're not so great for YOUR feet.

    My hiking partner spent over $200 on a pair of Solomon boots. Less than 10 miles into his first overnight hike with them, blisters. The next week he bought another pair of boots... $250 Lowa's.

    You can get hundreds of such stories if you wish.

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by higuy111 View Post
    Thank you Traveler,

    That's really detailed.

    I never thought that it could be that expensive to get ready for AT..

    May I ask, do you still have your first pair of hiking boots?
    My first pair of hiking boots were purchased in 1967, so no. I only hang on to the last worn pair and pitch the older ones. Once the boot/shoe looses its mojo (I define this as loss of its ability to grip surfaces predictably) I no longer take them out into the woods but they are handy for doing various things in the yard.

  16. #36

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    I have used moabs for about 7 years (with some trail runner and boots for winter mixed in).
    I have gone through about 6 pairs.
    I agree with the 500 miles or so. When they start to degrade they aren't ideal but have a bit of life left in them, and I shift them to being biking/town/light hiking shoes (usually with a new in sole though)

    I use them because the fit is fantastic for me, and contrary to some, I can do 13 hour days and NEVER

  17. #37

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    I somehow posted that early by mistake.Was saying:

    I use them because the fit is fantastic for me, and contrary to some, I can do 13 hour days and NEVER get sore feet in these (20-25lb pack typically)

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by higuy111 View Post
    But I've noticed that there is a tendency in stores to tell you that the shoes are going to "stretch" after some time and it's normal to feel a bit of rubbing. Are you saying that's not entirely true?
    no, if anything, your feet will swell...

    I grew up being told I needed "sturdy" leather hiking boots to protect my ankles and to lace them tight to "stabilize" my feet. at the end of the day my feet would throb and looked like they'd been through the mill. not to mention my legs would feel like lead...

    I transitioned to mostly low hiking "shoes" in a size, or TWO, larger than my normal street shoes and I barely tighten the laces; I can easily slip them off without untying. the change was wonderful but the leather (Nubuck) retains water and they don't dry off very quickly.

    now I'm looking at using trail runners, something that's completely synthetic and mesh. I'm wearing a pair of Hoka One One Stinson3 Trail Runners and they are literally the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn.

    they are less than a pound for the pair. the sole is big and puffy so it takes a bit of getting used to walking in them but for someone who battles plantar fasciitis, the comfort is amazing!..

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    No modern boot lasts more then about 500 miles on the AT. Pennsylvania's rocks really chew up boots. The only indestructible boots I've owned are all Leather Limmer boots, but they weigh nearly 3 pounds a piece!
    This. Modern fabric boots are cheap and comfy but not durable. Back in the old days we wore heavy leather boots (eg. Limmers) and our feet suffered for it.

    Somewhere in the middle were lightweight leather boots (eg. Fabiano Trionics) but by the time I realized how fine and unique they were, they were out of production.

    Conclusion: durability in modern boots is a lost cause. Go for what's cheap and comfortable, expect to replace them after a few hundred miles. There's really no "breaking in" required. Not like the old days.

  20. #40

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    I am very limited on shoe size as I wear a size 13 EEEE . Luckily New Balance makes several models in that width. They generally fit well once I replace the insoles with heat moldable Montrails inserts. I too had custom Limmers years ago and wore through one set of soles in about 3 years as I used them a lot in the whites (my backyard). I had ankle issues for as long as I used heavy boots. I switched to trail runners when they first came out about 20 years ago with one of the original New Balance 801ATs they were "the footwear" to use on the AT for about two seasons and pretty well established that trail runners were a good match for thru hikers. Sadly New Balance rarely keep the same models every year so they would come up with new AT model every year or so. Some were good some were bad. The overall trend was lighter weight construction and durability has suffered. I used to wear out soles, now I wear out uppers. In the last 5 or 6 years, the New Balance trail runners have switched over to service ultra trail runners, super light but the trade off is lousy durability. New Balance does still make some good light weight trailshoes that are durable but the you cant go by the 800 series anymore. If you look around on their website look for shoes with AT soles and that usually gets you close.

    With respect to heavy boots and ankle issues, its sound completely counterintuitive that low cut boots would be better than high cut heavy boots but in my and several others experience its the truth. Tall heavy boots transfer the loads away from the muscular in the foot and load up the ankle when on uneven terrain. Using low cut shoes the bottom of the foot matches the angle of the terrain and most important this musculature gets developed. With my low cut trail runners, I may roll an foot on occasion but its just momentary "on cr*p" and I keep hiking. When I used to roll a foot with heavy boots I would be limping for a week.

    By the way, I always keep a new pair in reserve. I don't break them in they really don't need it. I have taken new pairs to go hiking and backpacking at Baxter Stare Park in maine and they have no issue.

    Limmer does make mid and lightweight version of their boots. They are still much heavier than train runners but are far more durable. They dont make my width so I haven't tried them.

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