T Nation

Hiking Boots/Shoes


#1

I'm looking for some suggestions or direction as far as buying a pair of shoes or boots for hiking. Mostly looking for something that works well in the pacific northwest, for both on and off-trail hiking through the Cascades.

I don't really know what I'm looking for beyond that, other than all my current footwear options no longer work.

I have a pair of lightweight Bates boots, but the soles fell off. They also had horrible traction when climbing up fairly steep dirt/mud trails. Decent boots otherwise, just not for hiking.

My running shoes were ok. Traction was much better than the boots, and the cushioning was kind of nice. The soles eventually fell off of these too, and they didn't have much for ankle support when going across a hill.

The best shoes I've used were actually a pair of napa leather driving shoes. They were very flexible, and gripped very well. They just sometimes rotated around my foot, and caused my ankle to roll a bit. Eventually the rubber wore through, and now they leak water.

And I have a pair of Mickey Mouse boots, which are great in the snow, but definitely not for hiking any other time.

Given all that, it seems like what I want is something very flexible with minimal cushioning, like the driving shoes, but with the durability and ankle support of boots.

But really, I know basically nothing about hiking boots or shoes, so, suggestions?


#2

I’ve got a set of Merrell Moab Rover Walking shoes that are pretty darn comfy and solid hiking shoes.

Couldn’t tell you if they’d be good in the pacific northwest.


#3

The Bates, and their [lack of] soles:

The Mickey Mouse boots, and their unsuitable for hiking soles:

And the driving shoes that worked really well except for the ankle support:


#4

I’ve read and reread this article a few times and when my current Timberland Chocorua’s wear out, I may replace them with a pair of running shoes. But I’m not entirely convinced. The fact that you liked your driving mocs so much speaks to the author’s point, though.


#5

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I’ve got a set of Merrell Moab Rover Walking shoes that are pretty darn comfy and solid hiking shoes.

Couldn’t tell you if they’d be good in the pacific northwest.[/quote]

I have the Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof boots. Love 'em!
They even look great if you’re wearing shorts.


#6

[quote]CLUNK wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I’ve got a set of Merrell Moab Rover Walking shoes that are pretty darn comfy and solid hiking shoes.

Couldn’t tell you if they’d be good in the pacific northwest.[/quote]

I have the Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof boots. Love 'em!
They even look great if you’re wearing shorts.

[/quote]

Ya man, I even wear mine to work some days.

I was hesitant to get a waterproof version based off some bad reviews. Do you have any issues with the waterproof (like breath-ability)?


#7

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]CLUNK wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I’ve got a set of Merrell Moab Rover Walking shoes that are pretty darn comfy and solid hiking shoes.

Couldn’t tell you if they’d be good in the pacific northwest.[/quote]

I have the Merrell Phoenix Mid Waterproof boots. Love 'em!
They even look great if you’re wearing shorts.

[/quote]

Ya man, I even wear mine to work some days.

I was hesitant to get a waterproof version based off some bad reviews. Do you have any issues with the waterproof (like breath-ability)? [/quote]

They are certainly hotter. I only wear mine in fall/winter.

I am a big fan of merrells and have several pairs.

Currently using trail runners and I just put a bunch of miles in around Las Vegas. I use a 4mm drop because the zero drops tear up my achilles fwiw.


#8

Interesting, thanks Testy.


#9

Danner Combat Hikers.

My favourite boot ever, and I’ve worn a lot of them. Used them in urban areas, desert, mountain and jungle, and they’ve been exemplary in all of them. Light enough that you can still run if you need to, waterproof unless you’re in water deeper than the boots are high (duh), and extremely comfortable after many, many, many miles.

I did change out the insoles for a pair of Superfeet inserts, which really made a difference. Also, I always wear a thin silk sock under my wool hiking socks to reduce friction, ergo no blisters.

As with anything, of course, your mileage may vary, but these are the boots I would trust my life to.


#10

For deep woods hiking/backpacking/hunting I have worn the Merrell “Wilderness” boot for many decades. Very rugged and sturdy, waterproof, and comfortable.


#11

Speaking of Danner, they’re having a sale right now. Search for hitthebreakroom.com

They have a derivation of the Combat Hiker called the Crater Rim (in green) for only $120.

Just providing the link as a courtesy.


#12

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#13

I just bought some Asolo Fugitive GTX. Haven’t worn them in the hills yet but found out they are/were popular with American military in Afghanistan.

Probably your best bet thought is to go to an outdoors store with staff who know what they’re talking about and try a few pairs on. Boots can be an individual thing.


#14

Thanks everyone. That helps quite a bit.

It’s interesting that despite the huge variety of boots and shoes that show up on the various “boots we like this season” lists, in actual forum discussions on hiking sites, most people seem pretty happy with Merrell’s, specifically variations of the Merrell Moab.

Danner is just down the street from me, so I’ll check them out in person. In the more “military” forums, people seem to like their boots a lot.

Also looks like there’s a dealer that sells Kenetrek around here, so I’ll check those out.


#15

If I recall correctly I wore my Rockies while in washington state and they worked quite well. They ARE NOT a good desert boot as the sole is too soft. Ruined a perfectly good pair of boots on one hike on Utahs Capital reef.


#16

I hike and climb A LOT. And it just depends on what you are doing and your foot.

There is a big distinction between a boot or shoe for wet or dry areas and for rocky/steep or flat. Also depends on how heavy a pack you carry.

Depending on the terrain, I will sometimes pack two sets (and a pair of mocs for the camp).

Given it is the PNW, I’d opt for a synthetic shoe since they would dry out overnight/faster.

Buy local at a real hiking store (NOT a big box store) and they will have something for the area.


#17

Waiting for SexMachine to show up and tell us all how unfashionable we are.


#18

I work in the shoe department for a sporting goods store. We sell merrel, keen, timberland, Vasque, Solomon as our main trail shoes.

Of those, people love Keens and merrell. Keen runs wider in the toe box, which for some people is awesome for some makes it unwearable.

Merrel Moabs are great, lightweight hikers but they might have more cushion than you’re wanting. They’re significantly more “soft” when compared to the Keens. Not a bad thing, but not ideal if you’re doing heavy backpacking for days on end.

As thethirdruffian mentioned, your activities, location, length of trip, and if/how heavy a backpack you’re carrying make a difference.

And a heads up for waterproof: gortex waterproof is much more breathable than most companies standard waterproof they put in. That’s why they usually cost $10 more for the same exact shoe just with gortex brand waterproof.

People really do love merrells and Keens though. The Moab ventilator and the waterproof version might be our most popular seller for the new hiker and for people looking for a good everyday wintertime shoe or boot.

A generality to keep in mind: typically, the more “heavy duty” of hiking you’re doing (rougher terrain, heavier backpacks) the more stiff/rigid you want the sole to be.


#19

I like Merrell a lot, but went for Propet in the end. I have only seen them a few times, but for me it is the perfect combo of durability and light weight.


#20

Regular hiking boots are whack and induce blisters quickly. See, Vivobarefoot “minimalist hiking boots” - super light and comfortable.

And an article about them:

http://sectionhiker.com/vivobarefoot-minimalist-barefoot-hiking-boots/

I have a limp. I’m kind of a gimp after I’ve been running or walking for a bit. These are much better than any other boots I’ve ever worn. These are also good(not as good):

http://www.palladiumboots.com/our-story

The French Foreign Legion used them for a long time. You can get “tactical” or camouflage colours; sand or olive drab etc. Very useful for marching out of Indochina, Algeria, Morocco etc apparently.