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RangerDanger

Hiking in Running Shoes

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So after lugging lots of unnecessary weight on my feet for years, I've ditched the heavy hiking boots and do most of my hiking in my old running shoes, which are holding up great. I've mostly been doing short day hikes, though, and I'm not sure about using the running shoes for multi-day hikes. Mostly because of wet grass on early morning starts. (Or not so early, depending on conditions.) I hate wet feet with a passion. Most other backpacking forums I look at, people say running shoes dry out "quickly enough" but that's kind of a subjective term and hasn't been my experience. 

 

Here are the solutions to this problem I'm currently pondering:

 

1. Just Change Socks

As any avid hiker will tell you, there's not much that can't be fixed with a clean pair of socks. So if I hike until the dew lifts then change socks, that might be all it takes.

 

2. Trail Shoes

Instead of using old running shoes, I could spend the money on some waterproof trail shoes. I'm kind of hesitant to do this though, because in my experience the waterproofing breaks down kind of quickly. Any recommendations on shoes that have held up in wet conditions?

 

3. Get A Second Pair of Shoes

Running shoes are light enough, I could probably throw a second pair in my pack to switch out as they get wet and still be saving weight from ditching the heavy boots. Or I could get something like the Keen close-toed sandals and go even lighter. Just not sure Keens will make the best hiking shoe for me since I'm usually in fairly heavy woods where there are lots of twigs that would probably love to poke into all those little vents.

 

So there's my current footwear dilemma. What advice do my fellow Rangers have for me?

 

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Waterproofing shoes is relatively easy these days, there's equipment out there to waterseal pretty much anything.

 

There's a difference between trail runners and road runners though, the impact absorption and makeup of the sole is different.  My road runners do me fine for day hikes, but I wouldn't want to use them for multi-day or thru hikes.  Look into something that's designed for trails, personal opinion.  The cost difference and weight difference is pretty negligible, and you can waterproof them if they're not already.

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In addition to Archer Black's pointers: 

 

Generally speaking buying shoes online is a lot cheaper than in the stores, especially since you can get the previous year(s) model of the same shoe discounted. 

 

My thoughts are to go to the store and look at and try on some waterproof trail shoes to see what feels lighter and fits well and then scope it out online. 

 

Definitely don't just use running shoes because they will be wet in the morning in two seconds. 

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That's about what I was thinking. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks road running shoes make bad multi day backpacking footwear. Some backpackers have put hundreds of miles in with road runners and I don't see how. I step off my front porch in the morning with my asics and my feet are soaked.

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33 minutes ago, RangerDanger said:

That's about what I was thinking. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks road running shoes make bad multi day backpacking footwear. Some backpackers have put hundreds of miles in with road runners and I don't see how. I step off my front porch in the morning with my asics and my feet are soaked.

 

Seriously. Even just for regular camping (not backpacking) trips I bring waterproof shoes for the morning because I hate when I go to pee and my feet get soaked! 

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10 hours ago, RangerDanger said:

That's about what I was thinking. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks road running shoes make bad multi day backpacking footwear. Some backpackers have put hundreds of miles in with road runners and I don't see how. I step off my front porch in the morning with my asics and my feet are soaked.

 

Honestly I mostly find that they're inflexible and absorb too much impact.  I wrenched my knee bad enough that I'm back down to rebuilding from 5000 steps a day upwards because I just couldn't feel the terrain properly and stepped wrong.  They make my ankles ache too if I'm not actually on a road.

 

I take crocs for in camp and fording :P durable, waterproof, breathable and easy to clean.

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On 9/25/2017 at 11:06 PM, Archer Black said:

I take crocs for in camp and fording :P durable, waterproof, breathable and easy to clean.

 

Crocs are my go to campsite, shower, dog hasta pee/heard a noise at 2 am shoe. They do dry out in about 10 min. 

 

When hiking, I generally prefer a good boot even if its just a simple day hike (haven't worked up to multi-days).

 

I like the added support around my ankles, its also a good way to keep blood suckers away from my thin skinned/haired ankles

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7 hours ago, farflight said:

 

Crocs are my go to campsite, shower, dog hasta pee/heard a noise at 2 am shoe. They do dry out in about 10 min. 

 

When hiking, I generally prefer a good boot even if its just a simple day hike (haven't worked up to multi-days).

 

I like the added support around my ankles, its also a good way to keep blood suckers away from my thin skinned/haired ankles

 

boot vs runners/shoes is a bit personal preference, for sure.  I tend to end up with shin splints if I use boots, my ankles like the free movement better and my step has always been a little bit twisted so it's more comfortable on my posture all round.  Plus I use gaiters all the way up to my knees, so I don't fuss much about ankle protection :P  helps keep the snake fangs outta your skin in Australia.

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I used to hike in Chucks (I know, I know!) and the water would run back out of the holes in the instep (and the holes that would quickly develop in the sole). This was when I usually hiked in the heat (90+ degrees) and wet feet were nice. I'd actually step in water on purpose. Strip and hang the laces, flip the tongue and sides inside out, they were mostly dry by morning, but it usually took two days to get them fully dry, depending on ambient humidity. I loved hiking in them, but they lacked grip (obviously) and you really felt the ground (which I sometimes liked and sometimes did not).

 

I switched to hiking in army surplus jungle combat boots for a lot of years, and so far they are my favorite: lighter than hiking boots, tough enough for rocks, and designed to dry out quickly. But not nice if it's cold outside. However, they didn't last long, I had to buy a new pair every 1-2 years. 

 

The last several years I've had Nike hiking boots. I wear them laced tight on the foot and loose around the ankle, and they allow for plenty of movement. They are sturdy and heavy, and my knees aren't a huge fan of them, but it's nice to have dry feet and feel like I can walk through absolutely anything without worrying about pokes and jabs and bugs and water.  After years of wearing light shoes, I feel like I have some weird, uncomfortable superpower. I keep waiting for them to wear out, and after many years they are still sturdy as heck and almost like new so at least they are cost effective!  I'm not sure what I'll try next, although it's possible my current boots will live longer than I do at this rate. 

 

I have gone hiking in Tevas, and yes, you do get poked, but they are comfortable for shorter hikes. Stinky, though. 

 

I've also gone hiking (for 2-3 hours) barefoot. It was not smart as I was in a wild area with lots of biters. But it was also really fun and luckily nothing bad happened. Although there was a lot of looking down and carefully picking out a trail.

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I've tried hiking in running shoes, trail runners, and hiking shoes (of different varieties), and my preference is lightweight hikers. I recently ditched my mid to heavy weight hiking boots I got for backpacking. I just hated all the extra weight. Then I tried hiking in trail runners, but they were weird - the didn't flex in the right spots and then simultaneously didn't offer the right support where I needed it. This last winter I bought some Vasque lightweight hikers (Breeze 3.0) and LOVE THEM. They had no break in period and while they have a little weight, they are not heavy by any means. They are perfectly waterproof (have hiked in wet areas with 3" of water on the trail) and give me needed ankle support. As I was walking out of REI to buy them I had 3 women stop me to tell me they had those and they were amazing. So, obviously, to each their own and I know plenty of people that swear by running shoes, I really like these boots, if you might want something in between a tennis shoe/running shoe and a heavy hiking boot. 

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I've done multi day hikes in trail running shoes. I prefer it to hiking boots. I've used gaiters over them when it's wet. Easy enough to take off when I'm ready and stash in my pack. I get blisters really quickly when my feet are wet. When I've tried just changing socks, usually the new socks are wet immediately from the moisture in the wet shoes. 

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