Gear · Hiking Gear

New Footwear For The New Year

Over the Christmas break I had noticed my gym shoes were pretty much close to flat n’ dead, worse they were starting to cause pain when on the treadmill, so I knew shoe shopping was in my future. We usually go down the local (OK, OK…2 towns over) Road Runner Sports as they have good customer service. They have good fitters employed as well. I have used their Shoe Dog system in store where they measure how your feet function to give a better idea what style to buy and while I wondered if it was gimmicky, well so far it has been accurate for both Kirk and I. If you have a Road Runner nearby sign up for the VIP program online – it is $1.99 where in person it was around $20! Same benefits so save some cash. We have found the VIP club worth it. That $2 has saved us a lot of money and gets you a very generous return policy.

So onto shoes. I had no idea what to get so I had lots of shoes to try on. After many tries I kept going back to the New Balance 1080:

Thankfully they had the blue and I wasn’t forced to wear the pink version….hah!

In a recent thread on a hiker forum there was the topic of being able to wear generic gear and the one thing many people said no to was shoes. I am one of those people. I cannot wear shoes that are generic for exercise (be it hiking or the gym!) unless I want foot pain quickly. It pains me to have to spend $ on good shoes that I blast through in a couple months but good fitting shoes = no pain = me exercising better and more often. So it is worth it. And the nice thing about the VIP club is I got the shoes for around $29 off (They are $19 cheaper than retail and we had a $10 coupon sent to us). So that helped make buying them easier to the wallet.

As always with New Balance they have many options in D width. I don’t wear a wider width unless I am getting running shoes, hence one reason I have a hard time getting fitted shoes. So far in the past 2 or so weeks I have been putting them to the test, from treadmill to Crossramp to trainer sessions. We shall see how they hold up.

As for hiking boots I have been using Keen Targhee II boots for the past few months:

I caved due to us having a wet winter here in the Pacific Northwest and so far they have worked well. After having Walker my feet had altered enough that I couldn’t wear my trusty old Asolo boots anymore. I tried wearing them last summer and ended up with my only blisters all year. Trash can they went.

They accept my custom insoles quickly. But more so are a very light pair of boots. I would hedge though that some would find these too light. They work well for the trails here (and fit my snowshoe bindings well) but on rockier trail? Who knows yet on that. What I wanted though was a pair of boots with minimal break in and the fit of low cut Keen Voyager shoes:

I have been very happy with Voyagers – they are light, breathable and fit out of the box. With a wide fitting toe box the balls of my feet don’t hurt. Yeah they have the durability of tissue paper (in 9 months time I destroyed one pair – the heel came off! and am on the second pair – of which REI warrantied them for me when they died 3 months in) so I don’t expect anymore durability out of the Targhee. Though I only wear them on water/muddy/snowy conditions. I quit wearing waterproof/breathable boots a couple years ago except for those conditions. Cause I don’t care how good the liner is…..none of them breathe well in heat! Hence why I love the breeze Voyagers. I just decided I can live with replacing them often for the comfort that Keen shoes bring. Because….with good fit I can go farther and have the desire to keep going.

And that is all that matters in shoes really. If your feet don’t hurt you want the trail to be longer!


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