Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hiking Boots vs. Trail Runners: Which is the best footwear for the backcountry?














Ever hear that an extra pound on your feet is equivalent to 5 pounds on your back? Whether or not that oft-quoted piece of backcountry wisdom is exactly right, one thing is definitely true: Hiking requires less effort in lightweight footwear. And therein lies the allure of wearing trail running shoes instead of heavier hiking boots. But is it really safe to do so?…

This column originally appeared in the May/June edition of AMC Outdoors. You can read the full story here.

 “Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

 (Photograph by Ryan Smith)

3 comments:

Chris Cawley said...

Tall ankle collars and stiff midsoles make me feel like I'm wearing casts on my feet when I'm in hiking boots. In running shoes I have better balance, more control over ankle articulation, and much better traction, because the flexibility of my footwear allows me to smear my feet on uneven surfaces.

Boots are great for the winter, but when the trails are snow-free, try out carrying lighter/less "stuff." It'll save your back, save your knees, and it might open your eyes to the possibility of moving a little faster in the mountains, which is a key element of safe backcountry travel.

Eric Bowden said...

I used to always wear a low hiking shoe, but this year im switching to a "Mountain Running" shoe because I love to run on my hikes.

I always pack as light as possible, so having a shoe with a ton of support isn't really needed. If I'm doing a multi-day hike, then I'll break out the hiking boots. Like Chris said though, the running shoes have more flexibility and most times better traction because you can smear your foot. I found that I was rolling my ankle a lot because of the lack of flexibility to the boot.

Something else I would suggest too, is to go with a running shoe that doesn't have gore-tex. You always want to have dry feet, but because the shoes are usually a low cut, they're going to get wet, with or without the gore-tex. The only problem with the gore-tex is that when they do get wet inside, they take a long time to dry where a non insulated one is breathable and will dry as you go.

Abdul Bari Chanessra said...

Ever hear that an extra pound on your feet is equivalent to 5 pounds on your back? Whether or not that oft-quoted piece of backcountry wisdom is exactly right, one thing is definitely true: Hiking requires less effort in lightweight footwear. Ultra Runner, Trail Runner

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