Apart from “don’t!” Anyone got any views on best footwear for the PW?
I’d rather go fairly lightweight but don’t fancy sodden feet day in day out.
Probably try and wild camp a few nights in a row with the occasional B&B regulations etc permitting.
They may look weird but the Hoka Hoka One Sky Kaha are what I'd wear. In fact I wore them doing the Montane virtual Spine Challenger in January which was half the Pennine Way round footpaths, tracks and pavements in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. They're a great combination of under-foot trainer-like comfort and lightness with a higher cuff to keep feet drier.
But then they fit me and suit my feet very well! Something like them that fit would be worth considering.
Inov8 fell shoes and a choice of ordinary and waterproof socks.
You'll find lots of discussions about footwear on the Pennine Way walkers Facebook group. Preferences range from goretex boots (like Scarpas) to lightweight goretex mid boots (like Innov8) to trail running shoes (like Altra Olympus, with or without goretex socks). One school of thought is that your feet will get wet anyway, so just splosh through the bogs and streams, and so non goretex is better as they dry quicker, and even if they're not dry in the morning they'll soon get wet again (just make sure your feet are dry overnight). At the other extreme there are those who do everything possible to keep their boots dry, wearing gaiters and being super careful. For what it's worth, I use my trusty goretex boots as I like the thick sole and I try to keep them dry. To be honest I don;t notice the weight on my feet (they're pretty light anyway). I camp along the way so if my boots do get wet then they get a trip to the pub in the evening to dry out as much as possible. Trail running shoes and goretex socks might be the answer for you.
When are you planning on doing it and what is your base weight?
Heavy bag = heavy boots
Light bag = light shoes
Just got back from a run to Black Hill. Noted a couple of walkers well laden on the Pennine Way. Both wearing Invo8 Rocklites and Neoprene socks. That would be my choice.
Just back from Garragill / Gregg’s Hut and return.
Lightweight North Face walking boots.
Dead comfy but my feet got soaked ( had a the luxury of a bath when I got home though)
Wouldn't neoprene socks for that many hours on repeated days lead to foot fungus? Genuine question.
As others have said, depends when you're doing it. I last did it the June before the pandemic, when you might expect the most clement conditions possible - but it was a constant soaking from Edale to Ponden, and even hailed on Standedge. I wore a pair of Meindl goretex mid boots and merino socks, and barely even got my feet wet until past Knarsdale. I wouldn't worry about it too much if you're doing it mid-year. Unless you're going to go grough-diving on Kinder or Black Hill or Blackstone Edge, you're unlikely to go even ankle-deep in anything wet until you reach Wark Forest.
When considering your options, it's also worth bearing in mind that a surprisingly high milage is on solid paving slabs. I did it in June and remember the hard going underfoot being more wearing than the wet bits.
Thanks everyone - still open to ideas but time to dust off the inov8s
I backpacked it during May, about 4 years ago, carrying a fairly heavy pack. I took Chris Townsend's advice, and opted for a pair of Inov-8 Terrocs.
I was certainly glad of the lightweight shoes, although I was very lucky with the weather - only had to don the waterproof for 30 minutes, over Great Shunner Fell, during the 19-day trip - and it would have been a very different story if subjected to incessant rain and bogs.
I started the trip with new shoes, and had thoroughly trashed them by the time that I got to park my arse on a barstool in the Border Hotel.
Ha, the only place I got properly soaked when I did it was Great Shunner Fell too. The paths were like rivers.
What do you walk in at the moment ? I found that on long distance paths, boot/sock comfort and minimised blisters were so important. I certainly wouldn't look to change my tried and trusted system just before an undertaking like the PW.
I did it in 1979 in a pair of leather Hawkins 'the scafell' heavy boots. Served me well and kept my feet nice and dry as I dubbined them every night when we set up camp. Red socks IIRC.
Innov8 get a lot of recommendations including mine. Personally I would avoid GTX versions as they take longer to dry and waterproof socks offer the option to go waterproof or normal socks.
Sadly Innov8 have discontinued the Terroc 345 and my shoe of choice, the Terroc 330.
Sportsshoes.com are good for Innov8 bargains.
Varies from day to day : trainers / inov8s for Rocky welsh hills or currently wearing out a very smelly pair of Salomon x-lab boots if expecting wetter terrain (it says gore tex on the boot but I can’t see how they’re breathable or waterproof).
For what it's worth (and this experience dates from the late 70s), over a 10 to 14 day walk, dry feet were entirely a matter of luck. Gaiters helped, but mainly to ensure bits of peat and heather didn't work their way into your socks, causing rubs. Lighting weight plain leather boots is what I swore by, treated as and when conditions allowed.
Anyway, PW certainly was a great walk when I did it and agree that a mixture of wild camping and catered accommodation is the best way to stay flexible.
I'd add my vote to the lightweight footwear option.
Mind you I did it during the stunning summer of 2018 so sweat and sunburn was a much bigger problem than rain and mud.
I do heartily recommend packing more than one pair of underpants