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Shoes and Socks

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  • Jason Luban
    Hey y all. I m in the process of figuring out footwear and had a few questions. I like wearing trail runners (usually Brooks Cascadia 7s). I found that my
    Message 1 of 18 , May 21, 2014
      Hey y'all.  I'm in the process of figuring out footwear and had a few questions.  I like wearing trail runners (usually Brooks Cascadia 7s). I found that my feet swell a bit and just got a pair of Cascadia 8s 1/2 size larger than I am accustomed to, along with some new DeFeet Wooleators which are size large (I'm on the bottom end of the spectrum of their large socks) and thinner than socks I used to use.  The new shoes and socks feel...roomy.  So my question:  Should one err on the side of slightly too large or "just right?"  "Just right" was fine for running, but sometimes cramped my toes backpacking and created blisters, even with the larger toe boxes in Cascadias. I'm thinking that a tiny bit large would be better for backpacking.  Any thoughts?

      Best,

      Jason
    • eric moss
      Because of point #2 below, I d get them at least 1/2 size long, IF that doesn t put the shoe s arch too far forward for you or prevent you from using your
      Message 2 of 18 , May 21, 2014
        Because of point #2 below, I'd get them at least 1/2 size long, IF that doesn't put the shoe's arch too far forward for you or prevent you from using your favorite orthotic.

        It has been my experience that trail runners, as light and cushy and awesome as they are (I *love* Cascadias), have a few downsides, especially if one is carrying more than the minimum weight:

          1. They collapse and don't support my arch, leading to exhausted, broken feet.
          2. They let my feet slide forward when going down anything more than a slight
              slope, pushing my toes into the ends and leading to blisters, jammed toes,
              nerve pinches, broken nails and all sorts of mayhem.
          3. They don't protect my ankles, from either sprains or scrapes or poisonous
              plants and animals near the ground.
          4. If I step on a nail, it's a 1 week course of antibiotics for bacteria that seem
              to thrive in the synthetics used in that kind of shoe (personal experience).
              It took 3 months to regain digestive health after that.  Long shot, but still a
              possibility.

        But to answer your question directly, I'd get them long if that doesn't mess with arch placement.


        On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 8:48 PM, Jason Luban jaluban@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote

        Hey y'all.  I'm in the process of figuring out footwear and had a few questions.  I like wearing trail runners (usually Brooks Cascadia 7s). I found that my feet swell a bit and just got a pair of Cascadia 8s 1/2 size larger than I am accustomed to, along with some new DeFeet Wooleators which are size large (I'm on the bottom end of the spectrum of their large socks) and thinner than socks I used to use.  The new shoes and socks feel...roomy.  So my question:  Should one err on the side of slightly too large or "just right?"  "Just right" was fine for running, but sometimes cramped my toes backpacking and created blisters, even with the larger toe boxes in Cascadias. I'm thinking that a tiny bit large would be better for backpacking.  Any thoughts?
      • ravi_jmt2013
        I go up a half size on my Brooks Cascadias - size 12 vs the size 11.5 Brooks Adrenaline shoes I use for running. On the JMT, the size 12 Cascadia 7s felt roomy
        Message 3 of 18 , May 21, 2014
          I go up a half size on my Brooks Cascadias - size 12 vs the size 11.5 Brooks Adrenaline shoes I use for running.  

          On the JMT, the size 12 Cascadia 7s felt roomy but comfortable and I did not notice that much swelling.  My running shoes were fine when I returned from the hike.  However, on a recent AT section hike with much higher miles per day compared to the JMT, my feet did swell and the size 12 Cascadia 8s got tighter as the hike progressed (although still fine). When I returned from the hike, my running shoes felt tight for about a week until my feet returned to normal size. I think that going up a half size from normal running shoes makes sense. 


        • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
          A touch big. Your feet will definitely swell. I find that I just have to lace my shoes up a bit tighter the first few days and then loosen them as the swelling
          Message 4 of 18 , May 21, 2014
            A touch big. Your feet will definitely swell. I find that I just have to lace my shoes up a bit tighter the first few days and then loosen them as the swelling kicks in. Brooks Cascadias are great for backpacking if you can keep your overall weight down in your pack. Have a great hike!
          • John Ladd
            Jason: I like wearing trail runners (usually Brooks Cascadia 7s). I found that my feet swell a bit and just got a pair of Cascadia 8s 1/2 size larger than I
            Message 5 of 18 , May 21, 2014
              Jason: "I like wearing trail runners (usually Brooks Cascadia 7s). I found that my feet swell a bit and just got a pair of Cascadia 8s 1/2 size larger than I am accustomed to,"

              If your feet swell in 7's, they will swell more in 8s. (Couldn't tell if you were going up a full or half size) As they swell they get a lot of edema which makes blisters more likely. In general, feet will swell until the shoe size limits the swelling. 

              While I don't think you should get shoes that are too small, I generally think oversize shoes just lead to more fluid accumulation over a long day's hike. 

              I'm no podiatrist, so take this opinion with a grain of salt.

              At a minimum, I'd take them on an 8 hour hike before assuming that they will reduce the problem -- as they may make it worse and you do't want to learn that part way into your hike with no good alternatives. 

              You could start with the 8 but mail yourself 7s or 7 1/2s to Tuolumne Meadows and then mail back whichever one you don't like. Or take both sizes for the first few days and mail back the ones you like least.

              On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 5:48 PM, Jason Luban jaluban@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
               I like wearing trail runners (usually Brooks Cascadia 7s). I found that my feet swell a bit and just got a pair of Cascadia 8s 1/2 size larger than I am accustomed to,



              John Curran Ladd
              1616 Castro Street
              San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
              415-648-9279
            • Inga Aksamit
              My feet have been so much happier since I (accidentally at first) started backpacking in shoes 1/2 size larger than normal. I also wear the Injinji toe socks
              Message 6 of 18 , May 21, 2014
                My feet have been so much happier since I (accidentally at first) started backpacking in shoes 1/2 size larger than normal. I also wear the Injinji toe socks and the combination has reduced my propensity to blister significantly. 

                Inga Aksamit 
                Mobile: 415-470-1812
                Email: Iaksamit@...
                Twitter.com/IngaAksamit
              • Jason Luban
                Wow, what great responses. Thank you all so much for your insights. This group rocks. I ll try the 1/2 size too big for now (I still have until Sept before
                Message 7 of 18 , May 21, 2014
                  Wow, what great responses.  Thank you all so much for your insights.  This group rocks.  I'll try the 1/2 size too big for now (I still have until Sept before I go). The wooleators socks also felt a bit too large, but I'll see how they are over a full day hike.  I do plan to go 40 lbs or less incl water and food (I hope to weigh 150 lbs by the time I go, w/o pack), and just traded in my Arc'teryx Alta 65 monster pack for a ULA Catalyst. 

                  Shoe-wise, I am also hoping to test the La Sportiva Electron. I normally wear size 9 1/2, but got 10s and my feet barely fit, so I just ordered 11s and hope to see/feel how those work.  I love the Cascadias, but the tread sucks when it's wet.  Did Upper Yosemite Falls Trail and Mist Trail last week and was slipping and sliding.

                  Thank you all again for your input.  Keep it coming!

                  -Jason

                • eric moss
                  My preference for socks in trail shoes are either Darn Tough quarter socks with a cool-max quarter-length liner sock, or double-layer coolmax socks. I ve never
                  Message 8 of 18 , May 21, 2014
                    My preference for socks in trail shoes are either Darn Tough quarter socks with a cool-max quarter-length liner sock, or double-layer coolmax socks.  I've never had a blister with them.  Does anyone else go with two layers?


                    On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:11 AM, Jason Luban jaluban@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                     

                    Wow, what great responses.  Thank you all so much for your insights.  This group rocks.  I'll try the 1/2 size too big for now (I still have until Sept before I go). The wooleators socks also felt a bit too large, but I'll see how they are over a full day hike.  

                  • bjroach
                    Agreed. Double layer Wrightsocks. A holdover from my marathoning days. Never had a problem. Wrightsock — blister free, hiking sock, double layer sock
                    Message 9 of 18 , May 21, 2014
                      Agreed.  Double layer Wrightsocks.  A holdover from my marathoning days.  Never had a problem.  

                      Wrightsock — blister free, hiking sock, double layer sock

                       



                    • debrabrownbear
                      Inga, I changed to that exact combo - Injinji toe socks and boots half a size larger with a roomy toe box (Keens), after my experience last year. So far so
                      Message 10 of 18 , May 22, 2014
                        Inga, I changed to that exact combo - Injinji toe socks and boots half a size larger with a roomy toe box (Keens), after my experience last year. So far so good! Debra
                      • cehauser1
                        I hike in shoes a FULL size larger than normal. ... Wow, what great responses. Thank you all so much for your insights. This group rocks. I ll try the 1/2
                        Message 11 of 18 , May 22, 2014
                          I hike in shoes a FULL size larger than normal.

                          ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <jaluban@...> wrote :

                          Wow, what great responses.  Thank you all so much for your insights.  This group rocks.  I'll try the 1/2 size too big for now (I still have until Sept before I go). The wooleators socks also felt a bit too large, but I'll see how they are over a full day hike.  I do plan to go 40 lbs or less incl water and food (I hope to weigh 150 lbs by the time I go, w/o pack), and just traded in my Arc'teryx Alta 65 monster pack for a ULA Catalyst. 

                          Shoe-wise, I am also hoping to test the La Sportiva Electron. I normally wear size 9 1/2, but got 10s and my feet barely fit, so I just ordered 11s and hope to see/feel how those work.  I love the Cascadias, but the tread sucks when it's wet.  Did Upper Yosemite Falls Trail and Mist Trail last week and was slipping and sliding.

                          Thank you all again for your input.  Keep it coming!

                          -Jason

                        • John Ladd
                          I agree that a half size up, esp. if worn with more sock thickness than you are used to, will probably cause no significant edema issues. Going up more
                          Message 12 of 18 , May 22, 2014
                            I agree that a half size up, esp. if worn with more sock thickness than you are used to, will probably cause no significant edema issues. Going up more aggressively might (or might not) cause problems. It is very individual and clearly many people report that a larger shoe size works for them.

                            Intuitively, its probably more of a issue for older than younger hikers.

                             I'm mostly just advising giving any  footwear change a full days hike before you decide on them as the edema issue gets worse with hours hiked.

                            John Curran Ladd
                            1616 Castro Street
                            San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                            415-648-9279


                            On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:11 PM, Jason Luban jaluban@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                             

                            Wow, what great responses.  Thank you all so much for your insights.  This group rocks.  I'll try the 1/2 size too big for now (I still have until Sept before I go). The wooleators socks also felt a bit too large, but I'll see how they are over a full day hike.  I do plan to go 40 lbs or less incl water and food (I hope to weigh 150 lbs by the time I go, w/o pack), and just traded in my Arc'teryx Alta 65 monster pack for a ULA Catalyst. 

                            Shoe-wise, I am also hoping to test the La Sportiva Electron. I normally wear size 9 1/2, but got 10s and my feet barely fit, so I just ordered 11s and hope to see/feel how those work.  I love the Cascadias, but the tread sucks when it's wet.  Did Upper Yosemite Falls Trail and Mist Trail last week and was slipping and sliding.

                            Thank you all again for your input.  Keep it coming!

                            -Jason


                          • mrbschultz
                            I also go a full size up and am currently deciding on Cascadia 8 s or 9 s for the JMT this year. I wear Smartwool phd toe socks (find them nicer then the
                            Message 13 of 18 , May 22, 2014
                              I also go a full size up and am currently deciding on Cascadia 8's or 9's for the JMT this year. I wear Smartwool phd toe socks (find them nicer then the injini ones) and Icebreaker medium weight hiking socks over them. No blisters and feet feel great.
                            • Frank Dumville
                              I use sock liners. My preference is a mid-weight wool blend sock with a thin liner. With this combination I have hiked thousands of blister free miles in
                              Message 14 of 18 , May 22, 2014
                                I use sock liners. My preference is a mid-weight wool blend sock with a thin liner. With this combination I have hiked thousands of blister free miles in conditions from gritty desert sand to constant wet feet.

                                Regarding shoe sizing. It has become common for people to recommend getting a shoe size 1/2 or full size larger for hiking without stating what the base size is. Is it compared to the size of a street shoe, a boot, sandal? What about the sock thickness? Shoe fitters often recommend a snug fit for street shoes. This doesn't work well for most when hiking many miles and may be the source of the 1 size larger recommendations. 

                                Footwear is a system and each person has to spend the time and money to find the right combination of shoes, insoles, socks and possibly gaiters that work for them. 

                                Personally, I try to find shoes or boots with a loose fit in the forefoot so it isn't squeezed, and that are long enough that my toes don't hit going down hill. The heel shouldn't slip, but I find a little is OK. I haven't had much problem with my feet growing during hikes, but they have gotten larger with age.


                                Frank







                                On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:16 PM, eric moss eric.p.moss@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                 

                                My preference for socks in trail shoes are either Darn Tough quarter socks with a cool-max quarter-length liner sock, or double-layer coolmax socks.  I've never had a blister with them.  Does anyone else go with two layers?



                              • eric moss
                                I talked with Karl Limmer (www.limmerboot.com) about sizing a pair of mid-weights. IIRC (that s a big if , so don t blame him for any errors), what he said
                                Message 15 of 18 , May 22, 2014
                                  I talked with Karl Limmer (www.limmerboot.com) about sizing a pair of mid-weights.  IIRC (that's a big 'if', so don't blame him for any errors), what he said was that there are three sizes:

                                  1. the size that the Brannock device from the shoe store says your feet are.
                                  2. street shoe size (Brannock + 1/2 US size in length)
                                  3. hiking boot size (Brannock + 1 US size in length)

                                  He typically sizes 1/2 size up from the Brannock size for street shoes so your toes have wiggle room.  The street shoe is *supposed* to be shaped so the heel doesn't slip (after break-in -- new shoes slip in the heel), and the arch is in the right place wrt your heel, but the toe box is made roomier.  Hiking boots are *supposed* to be the same wrt the heel and arch, but even roomier in the toe box to give more toe room when going down hills.  I have no idea if boot makers really follow that or not, but it seems reasonable to me.


                                  On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 12:13 AM, Frank Dumville frankdpct@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                  Regarding shoe sizing. It has become common for people to recommend getting a shoe size 1/2 or full size larger for hiking without stating what the base size is. Is it compared to the size of a street shoe, a boot, sandal? What about the sock thickness? Shoe fitters often recommend a snug fit for street shoes. This doesn't work well for most when hiking many miles and may be the source of the 1 size larger recommendations.
                                  __,_._,__
                                • John Ladd
                                  Whatever Karl says is gospel to me. I love my Limmers mid-weights! John Curran Ladd 1616 Castro Street San Francisco, CA 94114-3707 415-648-9279 On Thu, May
                                  Message 16 of 18 , May 23, 2014
                                    Whatever Karl says is gospel to me. I love my Limmers mid-weights!

                                    John Curran Ladd
                                    1616 Castro Street
                                    San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                                    415-648-9279


                                    On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 9:52 PM, eric moss eric.p.moss@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                     

                                    I talked with Karl Limmer (www.limmerboot.com) about sizing a pair of mid-weights.  IIRC (that's a big 'if', so don't blame him for any errors), what he said was that there are three sizes:

                                    1. the size that the Brannock device from the shoe store says your feet are.
                                    2. street shoe size (Brannock + 1/2 US size in length)
                                    3. hiking boot size (Brannock + 1 US size in length)

                                    He typically sizes 1/2 size up from the Brannock size for street shoes so your toes have wiggle room.  The street shoe is *supposed* to be shaped so the heel doesn't slip (after break-in -- new shoes slip in the heel), and the arch is in the right place wrt your heel, but the toe box is made roomier.  Hiking boots are *supposed* to be the same wrt the heel and arch, but even roomier in the toe box to give more toe room when going down hills.  I have no idea if boot makers really follow that or not, but it seems reasonable to me.


                                    On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 12:13 AM, Frank Dumville frankdpct@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                    Regarding shoe sizing. It has become common for people to recommend getting a shoe size 1/2 or full size larger for hiking without stating what the base size is. Is it compared to the size of a street shoe, a boot, sandal? What about the sock thickness? Shoe fitters often recommend a snug fit for street shoes. This doesn't work well for most when hiking many miles and may be the source of the 1 size larger recommendations.
                                    __,_._,__


                                  • Inga Aksamit
                                    The whole shoe/sock thing is definitely personal and takes some time to refine depending on what your issues are so I ll elaborate on my individual situation.
                                    Message 17 of 18 , May 23, 2014
                                      The whole shoe/sock thing is definitely personal and takes some time to refine depending on what your issues are so I'll elaborate on my individual situation. I used to get terrible blisters, rarely on the back of the heel and mostly along the sides of my heels, outside of big toes and between my toes. On one of my first long-ish distance hikes, 33 miles on the Chilkoot trail, my feet would burn and I felt like my bones hurt. I carried an extensive blister kit and had every product mentioned here and known to man to  prevent and treat blisters: Glide, powder, moleskin, all kinds of special bandages, etc. I tried sock liners, thin socks, thick socks and nothing seemed to help except taping all ten toes with thick adhesive tape for the whole trip--this worked for the blisters but my feet still hurt. This went on for years, with different experiments until I accidentally got a 1/2 size larger boot and it was miraculous. I have always worn a size 9 foot--nothing odd, wide or narrow about my feet, just a solid, middle of the road 9 in everything from sandals to heels to hiking boots. I still do day hikes in my size 9 boots (I call them my city boots) but now I get 9 1/2 for my high top Merrell Moabs and Injinji socks help with the toe blisters. It has dramatically reduced my blistering but I still have to watch for hot spots on my toes. I concluded that my feet swell a lot so on the long distance hikes I simply need more room. For others different combinations of products may work better for them. 

                                      Inga Aksamit 
                                      Mobile: 415-470-1812
                                      Email: Iaksamit@...
                                      Twitter.com/IngaAksamit
                                    • dj_ayers
                                      One caution for folks buying longer shoes. The Brannock Device (http://www.brannock.com/cgi-bin/start.cgi/brannock/instructions.html) has a sliding tab that
                                      Message 18 of 18 , May 23, 2014
                                        One caution for folks buying longer shoes.  The Brannock Device (http://www.brannock.com/cgi-bin/start.cgi/brannock/instructions.html) has a sliding tab that separately measures heel-to-ball length.  Shoes often have a break on the sole pattern that allows for more flexion.  You want the flexing ball of the foot to line up with the flexion features of the shoe.  So if you foot measures 11, your heel-to-ball measures 10, and you go to a size 12 shoe you can expect problems.  Make sure to check the alignment of the shoe flexion features with the ball position.
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