Hiking shoe help needed!

May 26th, 2007, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 395
I have never had any problems with the Timberland hikers and I have done some fairly impressive hikes and walks through the years.

I have seen people on some of these rugged trails wearing sneakers and new comers to this area should not attempt to do some of these hikes without the good hiking shoes or boots.

So these types of discussions and threads are informative and helpful!

sunstar is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I should have said this in my first posting.

I think the important features for boots are fit, comfort, and protection.
(Weight I am assuming comes under comfort.)

When you try on the boots for size, ALWAYS have on the socks you intend to wear. I use a liner sock of polypropelne and an outer sock of high quality wool. Right now my two best outer socks are made by Smart Wool and Birkenstock.

Fit is very important: Regardless of brand or construction, get footwear that is large enough in the toe area. This feature is essential if you are going to do any steep downhill walking because the toes get jammed into the toe of the boot. Therefore always have on your hiking socks and press hard on the toe to make sure you have sufficient room.

Breaking-in is very necessary if the boots are stiff.

I have had my old boots resoled more than once because they have been comfortable. Usually they don't cause blisters, which is essential. However, two years ago we were in Canada descending a very steep trail and I ended up with the dreaded black toe disease. So even tested boots can cause a problem.

Also, if the boots are all leather, make sure you buy some of the recommended shoe dressing to keep them pliable. For example my wife has had a pair of Red Wing Irish Setter hunting boots for years. She douses them frequently with boot oil to make sure they continue to mold to her foot and bend with her movements.

You make your best choice and go from there. However, let me emphasize that room in the toe is for most people essential.

bob_brown is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,285
Hi bob_brown, I know this has nothing to do with Europe but... what is this black toe disease you speak of? Even in my most broken in comfy hiking boots I occasionally will have my small toenail on one foot turn blue and fall off soon after a trip. Not painful, just ugly. This usually occurs on very steep ascent & descent trips. What goes up must come down afterall. Do you know how to avoid it? Lacing the boots up tighter so my foot can't move forward seems to help but anything else? I just have never been able to get an answer from anyone so knowledgeable about hiking. Thank you!
michele_d is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
You have identified the black toe disease perfectly. I suffered it for the first time two years ago at age 72 descending from Waterfall Vally in Yoho NP in Canada.

I never had that kind of problem before.
I think what caused this one was an alteration in my walking because of a new hip - titanium type.

In the past I have been able to avoid it, even when carrying a pack. Why? Lucky I suppose.

Other than room in the toe and lacing up tighter on the downhill, I really don't know.

My wife had a pair of boots that were too short and she had bad blisters and callouses but no black toe.

I wish I had an answer.

I will say this, I tend to come down poorly because my heel tends to strike first, even on a steep descent. Perhaps my awkward walk in years past has saved me. I also have tended to turn a little sideways. My son sears by hiking poles which he uses.

I had hiking poles in Yoho, but the descent was so steep that I could not use them; the poles were too short even when fully extended.

Yep, it was that steep.
bob_brown is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,285
Thanks bob, I guess a toenail is just a small price we pay for being privledged enough to be physically able to venture into places few will ever get to see in their lifetime. Take care
michele_d is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I did not appreciate myself all I could do until hip replacement. Then I overextended myself in Canada. I did not have the strength in the leg of the replacement to do much.

I remember standing there at the base of a steep ascent to Lake McArthur and just about having a two-year old temper tantrum in frustration.

The following year, I got out there!! But slower than before!!

So yes, by all means appreciate what you can do now because you will miss it when you can no longer do it.

I have some of it back, but age is playing tricks on me!!
bob_brown is offline  

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