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  1. #1
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    Default Shoes for the Hayduke Trail / Long Desert Trails

    I'm planning a Hayduke Trail thru-hike in spring 2021 and not sure how to handle footwear. Traditionally, I hike in mesh trail runners, but much of the info I have read online says to steer clear of mesh due to the amount of sand hiking on the route. However, I'm not so sure about Goretex because I also want my feet to breathe and to dry out quickly from the many river crossings.

    Any advice would be helpful!!

  2. #2

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    Can't comment on the Hayduke trail, but I do a lot of hiking in the southwest in desert like areas. You want to keep your feet as cool as possible. The temperature within a few inches of the ground can easily exceed 100F when the ambient air temperature is under 90 so your feet will bake. The only time I get blisters in recent years is when hiking on a hot day in sandy desert areas where your feet stay soaked even if you change out your socks 15 minutes earlier. Goretex is the last thing you'll want.

    I normally use mesh trail runners. I know some like to wear dirty girl style gators to help keep stuff out, but I never bothered. If hiking in loose sand, it will normally get in your shoes no matter what your wearing. You just have to stop occasionally and dump it out. If you were warned away from shoes with a lot of mesh on the Hayduke, maybe try something with mess mesh but definitely not Goretex.

  3. #3

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    I've used trail runners during desert hiking for years - CA, AZ, NM. I also use gaiters which helps a lot. I had one issue due to sand, on the PCT in CA. I was wearing a pair of Asic trail runners that had very porous mesh. I switched to a tighter mesh upper (Salomon's) and had no more issues. I now use HOKA Challengers in the desert, also with no issues with sand.

  4. #4
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    Thanks!! I’ve been looking into Hokas and the mesh seems well placed for sand...

  5. #5
    Garlic
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    Another desert hiker in trail runners here. I've also never bothered with gaiters. I always wear long trousers, and maybe the longer cuffs help keep the loose stuff out of the shoes.

    I think some hikers are more sensitive to dirt and debris in shoes and will go to greater lengths to prevent that from happening. I'm fine if I stop every hour or two and dump the crap out.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  6. #6
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Another vote for those tight-mesh trail runners, like the Solomon's. I sometimes bring along DG gaiters , but they really don't do much. Your feet will get sandy, your socks constantly filthy. No shoe will prevent that.

    As far as heat goes, hopefully cold will be more of an issue when you attempt the Heyduke than heat! I think for most, it is. Enjoy! Not that I've done a larger percentage of the HD route or anything, but I have hiked extensively all over the area for a couple decades. Can't get enough of the UT (and N. AZ) canyon country.

  7. #7
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    On the contrary, for my desert hikes I'm using military desert boots designed for UN missions in the Middle East.
    Its the model in the middle of the pic.
    We have the manufacturer just around the corner and I love those boots so much that I'm using them for everyhing now, from yard work to local mountain hikes.

    Biggest advantage is that never anyhing falls into the boots.
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