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[John Muir Trail] Re: Waterproof or non-waterproof boots

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  • John
    I too thought the initial statistics were skewed. Seems like there might be a fine line distinction between low top hiking shoes and running shoes though.
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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      I too thought the initial statistics were skewed. Seems like there might be a fine line distinction between "low top hiking shoes" and running shoes though.

      John

    • Robert
      Interesting survey! The ratios come fairly close to what I have been seen over the last few years, with probably a little higher ratio of boots along just the
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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        Interesting survey! The ratios come fairly close to what I have been seen over the last few years, with probably a little higher ratio of boots along just the JMT. A lot of your long distance ( over 500 miles ), hikers have definitely trended towards lighter packs and footwear. Most people only doing the 220 miles of the JMT are generally a little more limited in their overall hiking time and tend to pack less for speed and putting in miles and more for their overall enjoyment and safety concerns than a PCT or AT through hiker. There is definitely something to learn from the through hikers techniques even on shorter hikes like the JMT, but everyone has to decide what is right for them in the end.

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
        >
        > On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 7:43 PM, k2poohtri <k2pooh15@...> wrote:
        >
        > > The shoes I saw being used on the trail were probably 90% trail runners
        > > (including Cascadias) 9.9% boots and .1% sandels..
        >
        >
        > It's certainly my impression that for the last 10 years plus there are way
        > fewer hiking boots than lighter styles of footwear. However, of people who
        > actually completed at least 500 miles of the PCT and AT there was a pretty
        > high proportion of boots.
        >
        > The 2006 survey of hikers who arrived at the northern end of the PCT and
        > the Appalachian Trail and who had covered at least 500 miles (most had
        > covered more) the footwear distribution was
        >
        > [image: Inline image 1]
        >
        > (In case graphic doesn't appear, roughly 35% wore hiking boots, 60% hiking
        > or running shoes, 5% sandals.)
        >
        > See: The Impact of Footwear and Packweight on Injury and Illness Among
        > Long-Distance Hikers, Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 20, 250–256
        > (2009)
        >
        > http://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(09)70129-2/fulltext
        >
        > The result of the study showed that increasing packweights were --
        > unsurprisingly -- associated with increasing paresthesias (defined as "a
        > sensation of tingling, pricking, or numbness of a person's skin with no
        > apparent long-term physical effect" per Wikipedia "and usually associated
        > with injury or irritation of a sensory nerve or nerve root" per
        > Mirriam-Webster).
        >
        > Footwear style was not associated with paresthesias after controlling for
        > pack weight. (The boot wearers tended to have heavier packs.)
        >
        > Neither packweight not footwear style were significantly associated with
        > musculoskeletal injuries other than paresthesias. I.e., no increase in
        > joint sprains, chronic pain or muscle injuries.
        >
        > John Curran Ladd
        > 1616 Castro Street
        > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
        > 415-648-9279
        >
      • John Ladd
        One added item worth mentioning. in this study 86% of the hikers had experienced blisters along the route. They seem not to have analyzed whether there was an
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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          One added item worth mentioning. in this study 86% of the hikers had experienced blisters along the route. They seem not to have analyzed whether there was an association of blisters with packweight or footwear.


        • Robert
          I suspect the blisters were from pushing too far, too fast, too early before getting the feet toughened up regardless of the shoes or pack weight. The pull to
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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            I suspect the blisters were from pushing too far, too fast, too early before getting the feet toughened up regardless of the shoes or pack weight. The pull to not get too far behind early on and the heat of S. Cal plays a big role in blisters on the PCT anyways.

            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
            >
            > One added item worth mentioning. in this study 86% of the hikers had
            > experienced blisters along the route. They seem not to have analyzed
            > whether there was an association of blisters with packweight or footwear.
            >
            >
            > >
            >
          • John
            After 500 to 2500 miles I m a little surprised the blister rate isn t 100%, whether it be from sand, wet, not being able to change socks 4 times a day etc.
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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              After 500 to 2500 miles I'm a little surprised the blister rate isn't 100%, whether it be from sand, wet, not being able to change socks 4 times a day etc. Even the 14% may have had some sort of blister early on, to minor to report at the end.

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <rnperky@...> wrote:
              >
              > I suspect the blisters were from pushing too far, too fast, too early before getting the feet toughened up regardless of the shoes or pack weight. The pull to not get too far behind early on and the heat of S. Cal plays a big role in blisters on the PCT anyways.
              >
              > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
              > >
              > > One added item worth mentioning. in this study 86% of the hikers had
              > > experienced blisters along the route. They seem not to have analyzed
              > > whether there was an association of blisters with packweight or footwear.
              > >
              > >
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • cjoslyn99
              I bought Vasque Breeze and used them on the JMT in snow and wet trails in mid-July 2011 (as far as I got) and 2012 in no snow/wet conditions in mid-July.
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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                I bought Vasque Breeze and used them on the JMT in snow and wet trails
                in mid-July 2011 (as far as I got) and 2012 in no snow/wet conditions in
                mid-July. Generally good experience w/ them. Very little break in
                needed and very comfortable for general hiking and short backpacking
                trips.

                On the JMT in the wet snow, they didn't keep my feet totally dry but
                enough not to be an issue. They were perfect in 2012. Did had to hike
                in some rain/hail, but they kept my feet dry and dried out fairly
                quickly when wet. After 2 weeks of constant pounding on the granite, I
                found I wanted to have the stiffer last of a true backpacking boot sole.
                Never had an issue w/ blisters etc., but my feet were definitely sore at
                the end of the day.

                I also found they don't provide a lot of ankle support. I rolled my
                anke in 2011 and ending up having to exit @VVR...probably nothing the
                boot would have prevented on the initial injury (which was a little bit
                of a freak accident), but as I had to hike out the last 5-6 miles, I
                rolled it another 4-5 times which really hurt and probably made it a lot
                worse.




                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Darryl" wrote:
                >
                > Part 1: I went to see my podiatrist today and discovered that I have
                to replace my waterproof Vasque hiking boots, which I have been very
                happy with. We got into a discussion about whether I should take
                waterproof or non-waterproof boots on the JMT. I told him that I have
                New Balance Minimus Trail Running shoes for water crossings, but I don't
                know how much rain is going to be a factor when I where boots. I have
                read in the group that waterproof hiking boots cause moisture build-up
                because they do not breathe well, and this increases the propensity for
                blisters. I'd appreciate your thoughts on which side of the scale the
                benefits and trade-off between waterproof and non-waterproof boots is
                most favorable.
                > Part 2: I'd be grateful for opinions on Vasque Breeze boots.
                > Please note, that wearing only trail runners is not an option for me
                because "I have the flattest feet in the West."
                > Thanks,
                > Darryl
                >
              • Frank D
                Not 100%. In 3 PCT chunk hikes ranging from 500 to 1700 miles for a total of 3000 miles I never got a single blister. I got some in training before the hikes
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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                  Not 100%. In 3 PCT chunk hikes ranging from 500 to 1700 miles for a total of 3000 miles I never got a single blister. I got some in training before the hikes when experimenting with footwear but none during the hikes. My feet were filthy in the SoCal sand and wet every day for 3 weeks in the Sierra snow melt.
                  I think I am just lucky that I don't tend to get blisters and I found a footwear system that works for me.
                   
                  Snap
                   


                  On Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 11:35 AM, John <johndittli@...> wrote:
                   


                  After 500 to 2500 miles I'm a little surprised the blister rate isn't 100%, whether it be from sand, wet, not being able to change socks 4 times a day etc. Even the 14% may have had some sort of blister early on, to minor to report at the end.



                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <rnperky@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I suspect the blisters were from pushing too far, too fast, too early before getting the feet toughened up regardless of the shoes or pack weight. The pull to not get too far behind early on and the heat of S. Cal plays a big role in blisters on the PCT anyways.
                  >
                  > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > One added item worth mentioning. in this study 86% of the hikers had
                  > > experienced blisters along the route. They seem not to have analyzed
                  > > whether there was an association of blisters with packweight or footwear.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  >


                • Frank D
                  I should mention that the Vasque Breeze comes in both goretex lined waterproof and non-waterproof versions. I have only used the non-waterproof version. I
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 15, 2013
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                    I should mention that the Vasque Breeze comes in both goretex lined waterproof and non-waterproof versions.
                     
                    I have only used the non-waterproof version.
                     
                    I don't see the purpose of getting ventilated boot with a waterproof liner.
                     
                    Snap


                    On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 8:54 PM, Frank D <nccctsd.groups@...> wrote:
                    I have used the older style Vasque Breeze extensively on long PCT hikes and elsewhere. They would last me about 1000 miles. I have a hard time finding a good fit and they fit me well with my arch supports. I thought they provided a good mix of sole protection and comfort. Unfortunately they have changed the boot this year and I've just started testing the new style.
                     
                    I prefer a ventilated boot like the Breeze in the Sierra. I don't tend to get blisters so the sand and water don't bother me that much. My water crossing style is to just walk through and then walk my feet dry. I make sure I dry my feet in the sun at stops and clean them well at least once a day.
                     
                    I take a couple of plastic bags to line my boots in case it gets cold and wet but I hardly ever use them except on those middle of the night excursions.
                     
                    Snap
                     
                     


                    On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 9:24 AM, Darryl <dabrahms@...> wrote:
                     

                    Part 1: I went to see my podiatrist today and discovered that I have to replace my waterproof Vasque hiking boots, which I have been very happy with. We got into a discussion about whether I should take waterproof or non-waterproof boots on the JMT. I told him that I have New Balance Minimus Trail Running shoes for water crossings, but I don't know how much rain is going to be a factor when I where boots. I have read in the group that waterproof hiking boots cause moisture build-up because they do not breathe well, and this increases the propensity for blisters. I'd appreciate your thoughts on which side of the scale the benefits and trade-off between waterproof and non-waterproof boots is most favorable.
                    Part 2: I'd be grateful for opinions on Vasque Breeze boots.
                    Please note, that wearing only trail runners is not an option for me because "I have the flattest feet in the West."
                    Thanks,
                    Darryl



                  • Ned Tibbits
                    I’d like to add a little info from our end being a wilderness school that has trained a lot of hikers over the years... - over the last 31 years of
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 16, 2013
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                      I’d like to add a little info from our end being a wilderness school that has trained a lot of hikers over the years...
                       
                      - over the last 31 years of operation, I have never gotten a blister. Prior to that, I never got one on my two thrus of the PCT and CDT.
                       
                      - I’ve always worn “heavy leather,” traditional-styled boots and carried pack weights between 55 and 80 pounds on our skills instructional courses lasting up to 3 weeks on-trail.
                       
                      - almost to the person over the years, every one got blisters on their feet. Most hiked in non-traditional footwear ranging from low-tops, to street hikers, to trailrunners, to mid-weight composite boots. Almost all had done pre-course hikes to get in shape for the course.
                       
                      - I always opt for a dry creek crossing route if I can find a safe one. When I have to wade through a whitewater creek during the spring sierra thaw, I take my socks off, put my boots back on, and wade across, only to change socks a few times over the rest of the morning.
                       
                      - pretty much all the time I’ve got some sort of gaiter over the top of my boots to keep stray debris and water from getting in. Sweat and moisture has never been a problem as it seems to evaporate out the top of the boot via the socks. My feet are always dry and clean.
                       
                      - those students wearing Gore-tex in their shoes usually had wet feet, especially when we were often walking over snow and in trail-creeks in the spring. The membrane gets dirt in its pores and wicks water into the foot, we figure.
                       
                      - I have often stepped on a small rock or root that caused my ankle to suddenly rock over laterally (I can feel my ankle hit the side of my boot). If I hadn’t been wearing thick leather boots, I would have most certainly twisted my ankles on each of our trips! I don’t know how backpackers don’t injure their ankles because I’m cautious about where I step, too!
                       
                      - a light shoe that can dry very quickly usually offers less protection for the foot from lateral boulders, forward toe impacts, and plantar pounding (stepping on rocks that you can feel right through the sole of the shoe). Yes, they dry fast and they are light, but they let dirt and water in and wear out fast, too. Our students say they last about 400 to 500 miles, where after they have to replace them, but my boots last about 5 years of year ‘round service before I have to have the soles replaced.
                       
                      - occasionally, over the course of a week or two of wet-trail or snow-trail use, my leather boots begin to allow a little water in. I find this out at night when I take the boots off. (The socks dry out over night in the footbox of my down bag.) When this happens, I just apply a little “boot oil” and all is fine for another week or two.
                       
                      These notes are about what we have had or seen in our experience. Yours may vary...
                       
                       
                      Ned Tibbits, Director
                      Mountain Education
                      www.mountaineducation.org
                       
                      From: John
                      Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 11:35 AM
                      Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Waterproof or non-waterproof boots
                       
                       


                      After 500 to 2500 miles I'm a little surprised the blister rate isn't 100%, whether it be from sand, wet, not being able to change socks 4 times a day etc. Even the 14% may have had some sort of blister early on, to minor to report at the end.

                      --- In mailto:johnmuirtrail%40yahoogroups.com, "Robert" <rnperky@...> wrote:

                      >
                      > I suspect the blisters were
                      from pushing too far, too fast, too early before getting the feet toughened up regardless of the shoes or pack weight. The pull to not get too far behind early on and the heat of S. Cal plays a big role in blisters on the PCT anyways.
                      >
                      > --- In
                      href="mailto:johnmuirtrail%40yahoogroups.com">mailto:johnmuirtrail%40yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > One added item
                      worth mentioning. in this study 86% of the hikers had
                      > > experienced
                      blisters along the route. They seem not to have analyzed
                      > > whether
                      there was an association of blisters with packweight or footwear.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >

                    • ptoddf
                      Ned says heavy leather, 55 to 80 lbs on long trails with feet always dry. Works for him but if I tried it I d be in for feet transplants. My feet run very hot,
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 16, 2013
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                        Ned says heavy leather, 55 to 80 lbs on long trails with feet always dry. Works for him but if I tried it I'd be in for feet transplants. My feet run very hot, so even higher topped, scree cuffed light hikers are too hot. Waterproof or Goretex lined is impossibly hot for me.

                        I started with New Balance running shoes, they were running a little wider then. I noticed that their tops amounted to a network of punched out straps with fabric underneath covering openings between "straps." I realized that if I cut out the fabric underneath across the openings in the upper l would have....sandals, the coolest possible footwear.

                        I'm now on my 4th pair of Chaco Z-1's with aggressive Vibram sole. This is what works for my feet, proving that one type of footwear truly does not fit all. And no, never a blister and feet are cool and dry. 



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