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What's your choice in footwear?

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Offline presidio

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I wear low-cut mesh trail runners and so far have had no issues with getting poked, even when off-trail. I do carefully watch where I step.
If you'll be on a trail, you should be fine if you watch where you step. That said, a good pair of tweezers is invaluable for the occasional spine.

Wearing full leather boots apparently is not in vogue anymore, but they sure will protect feet far better than footwear designed for walking around city parks (regardless of how they are marketed as hiking boots or trail runners).
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
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--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline Hang10er

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I found myself stationed overseas on an island in very warm waters.  Being a surfer, I loved it and it was my fist experience surfing over reefs with sharp edges and lots of urchins.  I went and bought some rubber wading booties and found that although they blocked a lot, I would still get urchin thorns in me. 

One day I forgot my booties and found that I was A LOT MORE careful when I fell in making sure I touched bottom as little as possible. When wading out, I made sure I put my foot on flat reef, not down in cracks where the pokey things were.  I would occasionally still get an urchin thorn but it was actually less than when wearing booties.  The booties made me feel invincible and I'd stomp around getting more thorns.

I say this because of the whole boot vs trail shoe conversation.  Those that say they wear trail shoes (I'm one) are quick to point out they are much more careful in watching where they tread. 

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Offline mule ears

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I found myself stationed overseas on an island in very warm waters.  Being a surfer, I loved it and it was my fist experience surfing over reefs with sharp edges and lots of urchins.  I went and bought some rubber wading booties and found that although they blocked a lot, I would still get urchin thorns in me. 

One day I forgot my booties and found that I was A LOT MORE careful when I fell in making sure I touched bottom as little as possible. When wading out, I made sure I put my foot on flat reef, not down in cracks where the pokey things were.  I would occasionally still get an urchin thorn but it was actually less than when wearing booties.  The booties made me feel invincible and I'd stomp around getting more thorns.

I say this because of the whole boot vs trail shoe conversation.  Those that say they wear trail shoes (I'm one) are quick to point out they are much more careful in watching where they tread.

Hang10er what a great analogy.  The first thing I say about footwear is that it is all about fit.  The second is, as in pack weight, don't wear anything heavier than you need for the conditions.  Lots of debate online about shoes vs. boots but, as you indicate, if you are the kind that doesn't watch their step and just bashes through then wear mid or high boots.  If on the other hand you are more careful about where you place your feet then low shoes with the proper under foot stiffness are more than fine in Big Bend's rocky terrain.  I have worked my way down from the most alpine type leather boots (and heaviest)  to fairly light, low cut, walking shoes and find them most suitable for desert environments; cooler, more agile and plenty supportive.  It is a myth that most people need ankle support (some folks do actually have weak ankles or other real foot issues) but they do need good rock plates underneath the foot for really rocky conditions.  As I get older I find a lighter shoe helps in being nimble and move more easily across difficult terrain than a heavy, clumsy and hot boot.  Less foot problems, fewer blisters, happier feet.  I would further say look at the trip reports of folks doing big cross country trips in the park and they are almost all wearing low trail shoes (DRS, eric, brendan, Metalman, and others) but that also comes with experience.  If you really feel that you need something higher get mid height, leather and synthetic shoe like the Merrill Moab Venitilator.  Again fit trumps all.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 05:51:53 AM by mule ears »
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Offline RichardM

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In my case I was walking back to SW4 in the dark. Small cactus ambushed me on the edge of the trail.  :icon_rolleyes:

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Offline Hang10er

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  • "Do what you want before it's too late"
There's been a lot of research and technology put into and advancements made in various types of shoes thanks to the growing popularity of trail running and outdoor adventure races.  I think hikers and backpackers and the type of people who just like to wander off can benefit from that. 

You can get trail shoes that are light and breathable but still have a reinforced or at least "heavy" bottom to help with stepping on rocks.  I've seen shoes that advertise about the special spacing of the lugs or tread on the bottom being designed to not collect mud so you don't get that pancake of mud on the bottom that makes your shoe basically a slick bottom slipper.  They make them with holes to drain water, easily washable, etc. 

At one time I was running a bunch of Warrior Dash and Spartan Races and used such a shoe.  I don't use it for BiBE, but I did get nervous last time out there thinking I hadn't broke in my hiking "boots" enough and did my longest day hikes in running shoes. 

I also remember when I was a little kid and played "Indians" around my house ( in "cowboys & Indians" I always wanted to be the Indian).  I'd try sneaking up on my dad as he worked in the yard or in his shop.  I always imagined the Indians as walking slow, quiet with deliberate steps.  As a teenager, I bow hunted with my father and to and from my blind, stand or area I'd walk the same way.  It's carried over to when I hike.  Maybe not as slow but I do like to watch where I put my feet and move quietly so I can see what I can see animal-wise.  Still trying to see my first bear. 

 


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