/ Shoes for long distance walks
My legs/feet seem to be fairly robust for whatever I throw them at as long as it's not sustained and high mileage over multiple days (e.g. WHW in 3 days in Scarpa SLs in summertime). The first sign of fatigue is usually burning sensation in the soles. My leg muscles seem to be fine, I can cope with general tiredness quite well and shoulders/back are first to give if I have a heavier rucksack on.
While I am sure body weight has an effect on it and I am working on it (I know, a pizza and only half a tub of ice cream today!), what type of shoes work best for long distances?
I didn't get on with lightweight boots. At the time I owned them, it felt like the sole was too thin to provide enough support and some easier multi-day hikes were rather painful. I am unsure of trail shoes being any better.
Shall I go for good insoles? More rugged walking shoes yet lighter than leather boots?
I went to Cotswolds the other day and they didn't seem to have many shoes without waterproof lining, which I don't think I need. I had a pair of trail shoes with GTX and in retrospect, they did cope quite well with rocky ground, but didn't stay dry for sure!
Or maybe just need to do some specific training? I do road running and currently back at 25mpw (was peaking at 45mpw last year).
Hoka trail running shoes - lots of underfoot cushioning, light weight, choice of waterproof or non-waterproof versions, and even boot versions of some models.
Something like the Speedgoat 3 for a non-waterproof low-cut would be ideal - what I wear ( well Speedgpat 2, new version out now ) for running ultras on rough ground. Did 42 miles on WHW with brand new shoes straight out the box and feet were fine during and after
Hoka's should have been an obvious hint, thanks! How are they durability/mud wise?
Altra's would be another choice after browsing through runrepeat.com, but never had zero drop shoe myself, so not sure how that plays out for walking.
i'm on my first pair of Speedgoats, but have had 3 other pairs and got 500-600 miles from them all. The outsole is not the most aggressive, it's not a fell shoe, but perfectly fine for muddy trails
Never tried Altras myself. The Salomon Sense Pro Max is maximum cushioned trail shoe which is similar to the Hokas and would I think also be a good walking shoe
The runrepeat review of the Speedgoat 3 is wrong where it describes it as a zero drop shoe - it's not zero drop, it's 5mm
I did the SW coast path (in one go) in a pair of trainers... Much more comfortable than walking boots for multiple days.
I’ve always got on well with Keens. Good cushioning in the sole, good waterproofing and very comfy.
The last pair I had seemed to fall apart quicker than previous ones but I did wear them almost every day.
My opinion, for what it's worth, is that if you are getting is sore soles of your feet you need to get something that breathes really well. I struggle with running shoes and goretex lined boots/shoes for any length of time because the soles of my feet stay permanently damp and they really don't like it*. Thick woollen socks, a pair of leather-lined boots with a tough sole (to reduce the battering from stones underfoot) is, IMHO what you need. Meindl Borneo, I suggest.
*mild version of trench foot. I had it once and have found it tricky ever since.
Trail running shoes. After getting a pair of Inov8s in February I haven't worn boots for anything. Neoprene socks if the going is likely to be wet & cold and standard socks if it's dry or the weather is like it is now and my feet will soon dry.
I think bodyweight is also a factor. Flyweight walkers will not suffer the sole of feet pressure that a more heavyweight walker will.
I find Orange superfeet insoles in my Meindls really help. But they do seem to add quite a bit of volume so socks may need slimming down. .
It totally depends on what you're doing. I love my Teva sandals for general stuff as they breathe and have really nice arch support. Generally if I have anything heavy on my back I wear B2 boots, unless it involves too much on concrete. The B2 stops my arch hyperextending where a normal boot would sag in the middle, so my arch is protected. The downsides is B2's aren't generally so nice for the toes as they tend to be more climbing focused. I've never heard of burning soles, is that a different feeling to the feeling of just walking a long distance in any shoe? The only fatigue I feel, aside from arch pain, is a general ache in the bottom of my feet, and then when you sit down the horrible but great feeling of blood rushing into your feet and the ensuing throbbing.
Hoka Tor Ultras have been by go-to choice of footwear for the last few years - I doubt you'll find a more cushioned boot - I've done 60km in a day in a pair. The same pair are still going strong 18 months later. There are lighter, more running shoes-based versions like Speedgoats Hi but the more pointed toe box can be difficult if descending fast as the upper doesn't lock your foot in as firmly.
For wet, muddy conditions I use hillwalking boots, but for everything else I use Scarpa Vortex GTXs, which are about the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.
I dont wear leather boots for long walks now unless conditions really demand it; if snow isn't an issue it's now usually a pair of fabric boots (currently La Sportiva) and a pair of beach sandals to change into some time after lunch. Putting on the sandals is like switching to slippers for the last few miles, but with a bag on my back and a many miles to go, I would be nervous of problems with my arches if I walked all day in sandals. Proper 'walking' trainers also work for me , I dont bother with goretex for footwear anymore, I want to avoid sweat. If I'm really organised I have been known to put on fresh socks half way through the day.
Is it a general question or do you have a specific target in mind? The shoes I'd recommend for the WHW would be very different to the shoes I'd recommend for the Cuillin, or Pennine Way Vs Pacific Crest Trail.
I like Salomon, and a lot of people swear by the X Ultra 3. I find they are really robust shoes compared to a lot of others. My current cragging shoes are a pair of old Salomon trail running shoes akin to the XA LITE that have lasted ages. Someone had chucked them out but they looked alright so I cleaned them up. 2 years later and a new pair of laces and they're still kickin' it.
I used 2 pairs of Salomon Eskape Aeros for the AT and they did over 1000 miles each before being retired. Others went through 5/6 pairs of shoes over the same distance.
Shoes and foot shapes are so personal though; I don't believe anyone can really give or take a recommendation for long-distance shoes. All you can do is narrow it down to a handful of makes/models based on recommendation and see which are the most comfortable.
I've never needed insoles but people love Superfeet.
"burning sensation in the soles"
Sounds familiar to me, in my case it was a problem with the insoles, not enough support.
I would suggest to get your feet measured properly, Cotswold in Betws- y- coed offer that service.
It helped me loads in finding better shoes for me.
Good (and varied!) suggestions, thanks everyone so far!
> Is it a general question or do you have a specific target in mind? The shoes I'd recommend for the WHW would be very different to the shoes I'd recommend for the Cuillin, or Pennine Way Vs Pacific Crest Trail.
More of a general question. I find it weird that my legs can keep carrying me, soles are usually the ones that do tend to slow me down. I am not sure of a solution for it! I tried Munro bagging in 50 litre rucksack before and that was plain stupid. I had to cut it short and I was feeling very tired, still. Unsurprisingly, packing less made the effort much easier.
I did Fisherfield 6 recently and the last few miles on hard path in leather Scarpa R-Evo Active GTX boots were rather painful! But then those boots, I learnt, are heavier than my winter choice (Scarpa Charmoz OD) which don't seem to cause similar issues. But then 20 miles with 7800 feet of climbing isn't something I do often in winter.
I do have some plans in my mind, but mainly would like to be able to do long and fast days. I'd like to do Cape Wrath Trail in ~7 days next year. I am certain this wouldn't be possible today, but I am looking at this as a reason to get fitter and challenge myself.
What about trying sandals ?? Just no white socks though...........
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