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  1. #1
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    Default Who has gone back to the heavier leather boots?

    With the fad of hiking with very light weight shoes starting to fade into history, who has found they really needed to go back to those thick, heavy leather boots for the foot/ankle support? One guy swears that the comfort and support his offers is well worth the weight penalty at the end of the day. Im thinking, 'blisters..soaked through leather... but then again, if you find something that really works, I actually damaged my left foot hiking 1/2 the AT in light weight shoes, and that with a 17lb pack load.

  2. #2
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    I’m confused by the premise of your statement. Where do you see evidence of “the fad of hiking with very light weight shoes starting to fade into history?” Among long distance hikers I see more trail runners and less leather boots every year on trail.
    Last edited by Sarcasm the elf; 03-24-2018 at 21:57.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  3. #3
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Why would anyone want to hike in heavy boots after hiking in trail runners? Your ankle is a mobility joint. Its designed to move and flex. Restricting the mobility in your ankle transfers that stress to your knees. Your knees are a stability joint. Its not made to move all around.

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    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Damaged your left foot how? What shoes? How many miles on the shoes?
    I haven’t gone back to my all leather Pivetta 5s, but I still have them.
    I also didn’t “go” to light and flipping & flopping shoes either. I’m enjoying 2 pair of off trail La Sportiva Ultra Raptors. Sturdy with a capital S. It took awhile to sort out the La Sportiva sizing. Once I found the correct size, I’m a happy hiker.
    Good luck in your search.
    Wayne

  5. #5
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    Default Who has gone back to the heavier leather boots?

    I'm a stubborn old geezer. I like my heavy old Oboz. So what!? ?

  6. #6

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    I like my boots too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    I’m confused by the premise of your statement. Where do you see evidence of “the fad of hiking with very light weight shoes starting to fade into history?” Among long distance hikers I see more trail runners and less leather boots every year on trail.
    Yeah, seriously. What "fad"? Maybe the OP thinks computers, the Internet and cell phones are "fads" as well. Bad analogies, in retrospect.... since all three of those things could ultimately be bad for us.... How about indoor plumbing and the electric light bulb or even fire?

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    Depends on the terrain and weather. For well used trails, runners are a great option. However, for backcountry bushwhacking or for scrambling, I still prefer higher ankles.

    Wearing a boot doesn’t necessarily translate into “heavy leather boots” as even full military combat boots have changed significantly over the past 20 years. Light and flexible while maintaining a level of support at extreme flexation are now the norm.

  9. #9

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    I assumed the OP meant minimalist shoes, not trail runners.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ncmtns View Post
    With the fad of hiking with very light weight shoes starting to fade into history, who has found they really needed to go back to those thick, heavy leather boots for the foot/ankle support? One guy swears that the comfort and support his offers is well worth the weight penalty at the end of the day. Im thinking, 'blisters..soaked through leather... but then again, if you find something that really works, I actually damaged my left foot hiking 1/2 the AT in light weight shoes, and that with a 17lb pack load.
    Finally, someone that gets it

    Boots are the only thing worth wearing
    And the heaviest, stiffest you can find as well
    Many report the additional protection of steel toes is something they wouldnt consider hiking without.
    Do lumberhacks wear running shoes? No.
    There you have it.
    If you cant trust professionals, who can you trust?
    These pansies hiking 15-25 miles per day in shoes are missing out on what backpacking is supposed to be about.

    5-7 miles per day affords you time to stop and smell the rhododendron

    And blisters? They are natures gel-soles
    Embrace them.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-25-2018 at 05:05.

  11. #11

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    I have been on the fad for 25 years. I used to have far more issues with heavy leather custom boots. I used to sprain my ankle far more often with leather boots and when I did the sprains were far more severe. The only down side is I replace them more often.

  12. #12

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    It really depends on the user and conditions of use. I use both trail shoes and heavy boots depending on terrain and season. My light footwear is fine for many trails and are my preferred footwear, but I prefer the stability of heavier boots for winter use or at higher altitudes where rocky terrain is more common, especially carrying loads that low walking shoes don't provide me.

    I have had more blister problems associated with trail runners and trail shoes than I have leather boots, but those are physiological circumstances everyone must work around or through. I see mostly lighter weight shoes on trails these days, though the tall, leather boots are still around and not always on the "old timers".

  13. #13

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    Hiking in boots is more a heel to toe type action, minimalist shoes ya gotta walk like your in ladies high heel shoes, on your toes.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Hiking in boots is more a heel to toe type action, minimalist shoes ya gotta walk like your in ladies high heel shoes, on your toes.
    I am afraid to ask how you came to know that analogy

  15. #15
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    When I started backpacking in the 70's the common wisdom was you had to wear heavy stiff leather boots. My first pair was some Galibier's that weighed about 5 pounds. And my pack weighed about 50 pounds. They were a pain to get on when wet. And I would snow seal them about once a week on the trail to try to keep them somewhat waterproof and to maintain the leather. I hiked about 1900 miles of the AT in them. For last section I hiked to complete the trail I went lighter and carried about a 30 pound pack and wore Nike running shoes. I couldn't believe the difference. This was back in 1980.
    More walking, less talking.

  16. #16
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    I would suggest that the heavy weight leather boots was more a fad and that choosing lighter shoes for trail walking is more people becoming aware of what works better.

    I remember back in the day (probably about 1965) before one of our earliest multi-day family backpacking, my mom had spent lots of time shopping with us kids to find good sturdy hiking boots, meaning work boots. My mom and dad met in the high Sierras on some Seattle Mountaineers singles group outing thing, so our family was "serious" about backpacking. On this trip, my older sister brought her best friend who's family probably did more backpacking than we did. She was wearing what were some pre-Nike type running shoes. What a scandal. How could she, with her parents' blessing, walk in shoes that were comfortable instead of supportive on the rugged trails of the Three Sister's Wilderness in Oregon? She didn't think anything of it, thought our heavy boots were overkill, and out hiked us all.

    For what it's worth, I think backpacking footwear has evolved, as has the sport.

    Back in the day we didn't so much separate backpacking and mountaineering. And, this long distance backpacking thing didn't really exist. It used to be that if you were going long distance backpacking you would be spending significant time off trail either climbing peaks or just getting from one trail system to the next, or just exploring areas where there weren't developed trails. For that type of walking heavier boots make all the sense in the world, as light trail runners suck in rugged terrain compared to light hiking shoes/boots, which don't cut it for technical mountaineering.

    Even back in the day, the wise girl wore her light shoes for trail walking, because the trails weren't really all that rugged. And wise loggers still wore higher leather boots for durability and ankle support off trail. But the fad for backpacking was these mid-high hiking boots that the mountaineers used and in one form or another still use today. As a backpacking culture, we seem to have evolved into figuring out what works best. And for people without foot and/or ankle issues or super heavy packs that dictate more support, lighter shoes work better for walking all day on established trails. I think that's pretty much it.

    As backpackers, we have also moved away from carrying 2 lb hunting knives as well. Another fad of the past giving way to common sense.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  17. #17
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    Default Who has gone back to the heavier leather boots?

    This is a serious problem and its tearing our community apart. If we can't agree on one footwear solution soon, I'm afraid we'll have no choice but to abandon hiking all together.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  18. #18
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    Default Who has gone back to the heavier leather boots?

    fwiw, I don't think you're more likely to get blisters in hiking boots than trail runners. If you're getting blisters, you're footwear might be too small. Maybe too narrow.
    I started out with 11s. went to 11.5. went to 12. went to 12 wide. FINALLY!!! No more blisters!

  19. #19

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    I've always been sort of baffled by the idea that you need boots to support your ankles. I've never needed that and have never injured an ankle. But apparently some people do twist or roll their ankle. Is this a function of them not wearing shoes with ankle support or do these fools just not know how to walk without falling over and hurting themselves? I've hiked a few thousand miles and never hurt an ankle and most of those miles have been in either trail runners or sandals. Anybody else think this idea that you need ankle support is ridiculous?

  20. #20
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    I've never injured an ankle either, but they can easily occur especially in rocky terrain.

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