hiking

Thoughts On Footwear

Yesterday I did my first long hike in full trail running shoes, rather than the low cut hikers I normally wear. I wanted to see how my feet would fair in them – would they work for me? The comfort level of padding is better in the runners than anything else. Yet, my low cuts protect my feet from abuse – they are as stiff as a hiking boot with a 3/4 shank. When I was having plantar fascias this past winter I needed the stiffness.

The trail runners I am using currently are a pair of Nike Women’s Air Alvord VI. I have the 2008 version that is white/grey/baby blue.

nike

They fit well and are quite comfortable. The downside is they are cut a bit narrow in the toe box so I cannot wear Superfeet in them. That is OK though in most cases as these are my gym shoes most of the time. Normally for hiking I wear the Berry version for women.

I wore them yesterday with my normal Injini socks. The fit with the socks was perfect.

Now though I had something occur that I have avoided for over a year. I got blisters. Ugh. But I didn’t get them where I used to always have them. I have one on the bottom of each little toe – due to my little toes being forced under by the narrow foot box. I also received one on the back of each heel, down low and to the outside. A pressure point it seem I don’t have in my low cut hikers. Combined with nearly all downhill for over 17 miles it adds up. The socks did their magic as they do every hike – no blisters on the inside of my big toes, nor on the balls of my feet – where I used to always get them.

So not quite sure where I stand on the runners. Part of me realizes I asked a lot of them and as well they are on the end of their life span. A new pair would have been better. Still, it was an odd feeling to have blisters when it has been so long without any.

The combo of Superfeet/good fitting low cuts and the toed socks has been a life saver for me – I used to get a couple blisters on every hike.

So wearing Chaco sandals this week and letting them heal naturally. I am hoping they are healed by next weekend (dried up that is).

Not quite ready to say no to runners for long trips but I won’t till I get a new pair. I think I will be getting these. And I will definitely put on blister block next time with them. That should stop most of the issues.

Still, I will most likely keep hiking in my heavier low cut’s to avoid foot issues. I was loving not having blisters!

~Sarah

3 thoughts on “Thoughts On Footwear

  1. I am thinking I might try the wide version – which I can get online. Length was OK – just not wide enough toe box. The low cuts I wear have a much wider toe box…sigh!

  2. The search for the ever elusive good fitting shoe!!!

    I did a two day backpacking trip in the Guadalupe Mountains with some very broken-in New Balance trail runners. They are pretty much all I have known in the way of day hiking. I can’t look at boots without thinking of how constricted my feet are going to be in them! But I guess that is what happens when you prefer bare feet and flip flops to shoes! =)

    While doing the descent from the mountain I started to feel really bad knee pain and mostly on the outside of my left knee. That pain still happens after a lot of walking or salsa dancing in high heels (as I found out the other night).

    I am really torn on whether more support is helpful or a hindrance. It could be helpful so my foot won’t splay in weird directions when hiking on scree. It could be a hindrance that I am not able to utilize more foot muscles when they are in a stiff shoe for balance and control. Right now I am doing strength training in the Vibram Five Fingers so I can build up as much strength in my feet (and hopefully knees) as I can but I just bought a pair of Vasque Mantras to try my next big hike in. I will take the Five Fingers for camp shoes since they are so darn comfortable.

    It is hard to know what will work and everyone’s body is truly different. I am going through my trial and error process as well. I can pretty much count on the blisters no matter what though as my feet tend to be a magnet for them.

    Good luck on your shoe quest!

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