Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Hiking Boots vs. Trail Runners
We have gotten many strange looks on the trail when we pass by day hikers who ask, "where are your hiking boots?" I hiked 700 miles in Chacos on the Pacific Crest Trail (I'm not sure I would advise it :) and the remainder of the PCT and the entire Continental Divide Trail in Merrell and Montrail trail shoes. For me, comfort is key when I am hiking an average of 25 miles per day. Hiking boots are hot and heavy in the summer and my feet tend to hurt more at the end of the day when I wear them. I'm not arguing that there is no need for hiking boots, I just think it depends on the season and the terrain (snow, mud, etc.) There are some great trail running shoes that hold up for hundreds of miles with great traction, a stable foot bed to aid in ankle twisting and a wider toe box for when your feet swell. My favorites are Merrell and Montrail brand shoes. You can purchase good shoes in a variety of places both in stores and online. Just remember to give yourself some extra room as your feet will swell if you are hiking a lot and it's not unheard of for your feet to grow a size or two over the course of a thru-hike!