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Jason Bourne

Hiking Boots/Shoes

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I really enjoy going on cross-country runs and trips, but now I want to go into a couple places that are fairly remote where my running shoes just won't have the protection and traction I need. Is there a particular shoe or boot that you would recommend for heavy, durable outdoor use? It doesn't have to be fancy or have lots of special features; I just want something that will give me stability and traction without giving me blisters. 

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You will absolutely have to go and try some on. They say a good hike isn't ruined by boulders, it's ruined by pebbles [in the boot]. The small things that you my not notice in a poor-fitting boot will accumulate over the course of a long and/or challenging hike, and could leave you hurting when you're farthest from home. 

So try some on, make sure you are wearing the same socks you'd wear on a hike, and even ask if you can return them after a few days of wearing them in your house.

You really want to get a feel for any hotspots or irritating points in the boot before it's too late.

On a more subjective note, I'd recommend boots - not shoes - and also to avoid the most rigid soles.

Good luck!

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There's a whole class now of "approach shoes" which are sturdy running shoes with trail grip.  With the variations in last from manufacturer to manufacturer you absolutely should be trying them on.  Merrell and Inov8 are both good.

 

Boots for hiking; shoes for trail running.  

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Thanks for the help! I don't quite have the funds to go buy a new pair of shoes currently, but I'll work on it over the next few months and make a decision soon, one that is much more well informed, thanks to you guys. :) 

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For heavy outdoor use, I recommend Matterhorn/Corcoran boots.  They're uncomfortable for the first month or so, but then they fit like a glove.  A heavy, heavy glove; these boots probably weigh close to 4 lbs.  Waterproof, non-steel safety toe, electrically grounded.  You pay for what you get with em though: about $200.

 

I also own a pair of Belleville 300 TROP STs for summer time.  They're lighter, moisture wicking, and a bit stiffer than my Matterhorns.  Different boot for different circumstance.  Also less expensive at $120.

 

Definitely try a few different brands and styles before you pick, however.  I have owned several pairs of hiking and work boots, but they never felt right.  Then I joined the military, got my first pair of good combat boots and never looked back.

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Are you looking at something for warm weather or cold? I just bought a new pair of Georgia hunting boots and they really are the dog's bollocks. They have vibram soles, Cordura/Leather upper, breathable waterproofing, and they are really comfy.

 

If you are looking for something in the summer I'd take a look at said "approach shoes." These boots would be far too cumbersome and hot for summer hiking. I personally do most of my summer hiking in a pair of Keen sandals or my Adidas running shoes. I've never been able to be comfortable in shorts and hiking boots.

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boots are a lot like shoes... 

 

every brand is not for every foot.... 

 

 

I personally have keen hiking sandals and merrell hiking boots... and they work well for me... but my oldest son can't wear the merrells... they don't work well with his foot... I can't remember the brand he wears... but we bought it at Dick's sporting goods :)

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As far as hiking boots go, I have a pair of Keens and I love them to death. They are very comfortable, once you break them in a bit, last a heck of a long time ( I have had mine for two years), and hover in the 120-150 range. The pair I have are waterproof and come up to about mid to top of my ankle. I enjoy running in them when I hike, but I am not exactly a professional. Also, If you are in to this kind of stuff, the Five Finger Vibrams have some light hiking/running shoes. I also have a pair of their light weight ones and I love them to DEATH. I wear them everyday.... and they also have cool socks that go with them.... There are plenty of other awesome brands out there, but these are my experiences with shoes of the hiking variety. Happy hunting!

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I have had very good luck with some Keen light hikers, and ASolo and Kayland mid weight boots. 

 

I usually get them from an outfitter, where I can wear a loaded pack, and wear the boots around the store, climbing on their rocks and stuff, to see how they are going to work for me. There are all sorts of good boots out there, but only so many that are good for you. 

 

I usually try and get something that is not all leather upper, and go for a mix of materials on the upper to reduce weight and increase breathability. 

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Columbia makes great hiking boots - mine pulled double duty for hiking and motorcycle rides for about two years before I started working in the real world, and they're still good to go.

 

If you'll be running in them, I've heard good things from USMC friends of mine about Bates Lites - combat boots built for running.  No personal experience. You might be able to find that type of boot at police or surplus supply stores.

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I have been hunting in Vibram 5 fingers for 2 years.  I hunt Elk in the Oregon mountains.  They protect my feet well and dry off quickly.  Most importantly, they are super quiet.  I have walked up on deer, elk, and bears without them having any clue I was there until 20 yards away or less.  I saw 5 bears in 2 days, all under 50 yards, just by walking into the wind.

 

I previously wore many types of boots in the Army (infantry) and years hunting with "high end" hiking boots.  Ankle support is overrated- having strong ankles and sneaky feet is 100X better.

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