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Your Advice on Day Hiking Boots for Banff Area?

Your Advice on Day Hiking Boots for Banff Area?

Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:41 PM
  #1  
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Your Advice on Day Hiking Boots for Banff Area?

We're getting set for our vacation in Banff the last week in September. We live in Florida, and don't have decent day hiking boots. (Even though we take a vacation somewhere in the mountains each fall, and like to go on short to moderate day hikes, we have neglected our feet to some detriment.) So, this time, I'm shopping for some decent day hiking boots that would be appropriate for this terrain in the fall. The selection online is endless. The selection locally that I can try on is -- well, it's Florida, you understand -- pretty scarce. Does anyone have any favorites that you could recommend? There are some Land's End Waterproof Vibram Hikers for $97 (on sale), and there are some others for around $50 (US) on other sites. Not to mention everything in between, above and below. I am dazed and confused. Probably will end up ordering online and so won't have the opportunity to try them on first. There are so many fodorites who have given great advice on day hikes in the Banff area, I would love to hear from you on this topic as well. (and thanks!)
sludick is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 04:14 PM
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Decent boots are a great idea in the Rockies! That said I cannot imagine buying footwear without a chance to "test drive" first. It is not rare for me to spend half an hour walking around the shop before buying or rejecting a pair. What works for me will not be right for you. If you really cannot find anything in Florida you could certainly buy them when you get to Alberta.
Gavin is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:05 PM
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Any light weight boot with a firm toe, ankle padding and support, and a gripping sole is ok.

There is an old saying that a good business needs location, location, location. A good boot needs fit, fit, and fit. Don't get them too short! And don't get them too heavy. Inexperienced fitters will do that to you.

The lighter the boot, as long as it grips the trail surface and protects the toes and ankles, the better it is in my opinion.
(Unless you are carrying a 45 lb pack.)

I would be careful before jumping into
Goretex. Some people find that the stuff does not breathe all that well, and their feet are sweaty and wet anyhow.

I don't have Goretex boots because I find my expensive Goretex rain jacket to breathe none too well. For that reason I fear I would find the boots stifling to my feet.

If you get fabric boots, spray them with a water repellant treatment. I like fabric panels in my boots because they are flexible and breathable.

Good hunting. And remember, your socks are just as important. I use two pairs at a time: one pair light, moisture-wicking inner socks and one pair of wool inner socks.
Smartwool and Birkenstock are two good brands.

brookwood is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 05:50 AM
  #4  
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Thank you both for the advice, and I will make sure I don't forget those socks. As to the boots, do you have any particular brands that you favor?
sludick is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 07:15 AM
  #5  
 
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I am not a boot expert but I did buy my boots online and have used them for several years---they are Vasque.

My husband has a pair of Columbia boots that he wears a lot.

He forgot to pack his boots last Sept. when we were in the area. We stopped in Banff where there are many outdoor outfitter stores and got a great deal on Solomon boots that he really likes---half price and sales tax was refunded.

Another thing you might want to purchase is a lightweight, waterproof parka with a hood. It snowed and rained on us last year when we were hiking.

I also wore lightweight knit gloves on a couple hikes.

We also like the Smartwool socks--I did find a cheaper brand at TJ Maxx that is also very nice with the wool fleece lining.

I have ordered online from REI and Sierra Outfitters. If I remember one of these sites has customer reviews, which might be helpful to you. I only buy the items on sale and they usually have a good selection of sale items.
LindainOhio is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 02:58 PM
  #6  
 
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I meant outer socks of wool and inner ones of a moisture wicking away material. The inner ones fit tightly and are thin.

I agree on rain protection. Ponchos are no $#@[email protected]##% good. One day a few years ago, I went for a hike out to a lake at the base of Mount Cephren. The route went through the bush. That was fine until the rains came. I had a poncho and by the time I got back, I was as wet as if I had no rain protection at all.

I bought a Goretex jacket and pants shortly after that. But the Goretex can be hot if the temperature is in the seventies despite the rain. The new XCR Gore Tex is expensive as all get out, but it breathes a little better.

The old ranger who worked the trails around Lake O'Hara for many many years did not fool with that stuff in the summer months. He carried an umbrella!
I have seen him using it during a snow storm, in August.
brookwood is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 04:05 AM
  #7  
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Thanks again. I really don't want to buy online, since different shoes can fit so differently. I also want time to break them in, so don't really want to wait until we get there. Perhaps I'll go for an inexpensive pair online and then look for a good pair on sale in Banff. The socks and rain gear, that I can do now. Appreciate the advice.
sludick is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:35 AM
  #8  
 
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I agree. Get those boots on your feet and walk around with the socks you intend to wear with the boots.

Too many of these catalog places offer limited choices in widths, like D and E only. Nothing fits until it has been proven to fit!

I agree with the above contributor who said wear them 30 minutes walking around, up and down stairs if possible.

My wife once bought a pair of boots that were too heavy and too short. They were super miserable! She sold them because they were impossible to wear.

The person who sold them was inexperienced in boot fitting.

She has a pair of Red Wing sports boots that were fitted by a pro. She has had them for years and years.

My Merrils are old, but I keep having them repaired with yellow label vibram
soles. I hate to think of the day when I the uppers are gone and I cannot use them. I keep them for one reason:
They fit very well. No blisters.
brookwood is offline  
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