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Managing shoe sizes.

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  • jmtorbust
    Hi everyone. I m a bit puzzled about selecting the proper shoe size for my hike. I have heard that it is a good idea to buy shoes that are 1/2 to a full size
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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      Hi everyone. I'm a bit puzzled about selecting the proper shoe size for my hike. I have heard that it is a good idea to buy shoes that are 1/2 to a full size larger than normal in anticipation of foot swelling.Adhering to this advice, I went and tried on some shoes. After making my purchase a size larger than normal, I noticed that my feet slide around a lot in the shoes. I'm concerned that until the foot swelling occurs, I could be pretty miserable. How do other people manage this? Extra socks? Suck it up? I would hate to develop a blister as a result of the bigger shoes.Also, does anyone else have feet that are strangely sized? I have a size and a half difference between my left and right foot. This makes finding a workable pair of shoes almost impossible.Thanks in advance for your help. This forum has provided me so much information and greatly assisted me in my planning.Regards, Rob
    • eric moss
      I know it gets tiring to hear throw money at the problem , but here is a case where it seems like the best deal. A custom pair of Limmer boots (doesn t have
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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        I know it gets tiring to hear "throw money at the problem", but here is a case where it seems like the best deal.  A custom pair of Limmer boots (doesn't have to be Limmer, but they are the most affordable of the customs) would address foot length issues, provide a long-term investment, and save money in the long run over continually trying various half solutions that leave you in a pool of blisters.


        On Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM, jmtorbust@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
         

        Hi everyone. I'm a bit puzzled about selecting the proper shoe size for my hike. I have heard that it is a good idea to buy shoes that are 1/2 to a full size larger than normal in anticipation of foot swelling.Adhering to this advice, I went and tried on some shoes. After making my purchase a size larger than normal, I noticed that my feet slide around a lot in the shoes. I'm concerned that until the foot swelling occurs, I could be pretty miserable. How do other people manage this? Extra socks? Suck it up? I would hate to develop a blister as a result of the bigger shoes.Also, does anyone else have feet that are strangely sized? I have a size and a half difference between my left and right foot. This makes finding a workable pair of shoes almost impossible.Thanks in advance for your help. This forum has provided me so much information and greatly assisted me in my planning.Regards, Rob


      • Ray Rippel
        Good day, Rob, Foot movement inside the shoe or boot will almost guarantee friction, which leads to heat, which leads to blisters. In my opinion, any shoe or
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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          Good day, Rob,

          Foot movement inside the shoe or boot will almost guarantee friction, which leads to heat, which leads to blisters. In my opinion, any shoe or boot that has that much extra space within is a very bad idea.

          What I do is buy (in my case a boot) with enough "leeway" built into the lacing system. I start out with them snug, then loosen the laces as my feet start to swell. I also re-tighten my boots at the tops of passes so that my toes aren't banging into the front of the boot.

          Not all boots and shoes are able to do this. I'm wearing a pair of Ahnu's right now where the fabric of the two flaps (which are tied together with laces) come so far up the foot that there is little flexibility to alter the size of the foot box. These would NOT be a good choice.

          Good hiking, Ray



        • Jmt
          Thanks for he prompt responses Ray and Eric. Unfortunately, I am trying to go with trail runners. I ve not had great experience with boots. I m a bit clumsy
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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            Thanks for he prompt responses Ray and Eric.  Unfortunately, I am trying to go with trail runners.  I've not had great experience with boots.  I'm a bit clumsy and I always end up with a boot full of water.  I need the drying capabilities of trail runners.  

            I do appreciate your advice, though. Custom shoes may provide an answer.  Perhaps I will beg the people at rei to let me mismatch the sizes ;)

            Regards,
            Rob

            Sent from my iPhone

            On Jun 11, 2014, at 9:21 AM, "Ray Rippel ray.rippel@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

             

            Good day, Rob,

            Foot movement inside the shoe or boot will almost guarantee friction, which leads to heat, which leads to blisters. In my opinion, any shoe or boot that has that much extra space within is a very bad idea.

            What I do is buy (in my case a boot) with enough "leeway" built into the lacing system. I start out with them snug, then loosen the laces as my feet start to swell. I also re-tighten my boots at the tops of passes so that my toes aren't banging into the front of the boot.

            Not all boots and shoes are able to do this. I'm wearing a pair of Ahnu's right now where the fabric of the two flaps (which are tied together with laces) come so far up the foot that there is little flexibility to alter the size of the foot box. These would NOT be a good choice.

            Good hiking, Ray



          • longritchie
            I understand the sentiment as tight shoes could be miserable. But I think the advice is bad. You want shoes that will fit, plain and simple. It s a goldilocks
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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              I understand the sentiment as tight shoes could be miserable. But I think the advice is bad. You want shoes that will fit, plain and simple. It's a goldilocks thing. Too big isn't good. Too small isn't good. They need to fit.

              For what it's worth, I wear my normal street size in my hiking shoes. In fact, my normal street shoe is the exact same shoe! It works for me.

              What has your past experience on long hikes taught you about this?
            • Roleigh Martin
              Consider teflon insole pads for the insole (not for your foot) or for the heel or side of the shoe. http://www.tamarackhti.com/friction_management/shearban.asp
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                Consider teflon insole pads for the insole (not for your foot) or for the heel or side of the shoe.


                I know there is another brand out there that is more readily sold but forgot it's name. I have used it in the past and they have helped, particularly  on the heel or ball spot of the insole.

                Also the cost of two off-the-shelf trail runners, differently sized, is cheaper than having custom made shoes made for you.

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              • Jmt
                More good advice. In the past year, I think my feet have grown (apparently unevenly). I ve noticed that a lot of my shoes feel a bit tight where before they
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                  More good advice.  In the past year, I think my feet have grown (apparently unevenly).  I've noticed that a lot of my shoes feel a bit tight where before they were perfect.  It's odd, because I can't explain why and I haven't done anything that may cause them to change.

                  As to my experience, most of it is on sub 5 day trips.  My feet have not swollen much, but the mileage was nowhere near what the JMT offers.

                  What shoes do you wear, longritchie?

                  Sent from my iPhone

                  On Jun 11, 2014, at 9:34 AM, longritchie <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                   

                  I understand the sentiment as tight shoes could be miserable. But I think the advice is bad. You want shoes that will fit, plain and simple. It's a goldilocks thing. Too big isn't good. Too small isn't good. They need to fit.

                  For what it's worth, I wear my normal street size in my hiking shoes. In fact, my normal street shoe is the exact same shoe! It works for me.

                  What has your past experience on long hikes taught you about this?

                • Edwardo Rodriguez
                  I wear a size 7 shoe but my trail runners are a size 8 Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                    I wear a size 7 shoe but my trail runners are a size 8

                    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android



                    From: longritchie <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>;
                    To: <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>;
                    Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Managing shoe sizes.
                    Sent: Wed, Jun 11, 2014 4:34:02 PM

                     

                    I understand the sentiment as tight shoes could be miserable. But I think the advice is bad. You want shoes that will fit, plain and simple. It's a goldilocks thing. Too big isn't good. Too small isn't good. They need to fit.

                    For what it's worth, I wear my normal street size in my hiking shoes. In fact, my normal street shoe is the exact same shoe! It works for me.

                    What has your past experience on long hikes taught you about this?

                  • longritchie
                    Your arches may be falling a little. That s often why feet grow . It sucks if your feet get to be very different in size since you re always compromising one
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                      Your arches may be falling a little. That's often why feet "grow". It sucks if your feet get to be very different in size since you're always compromising one foot or the other or both. I think mine are about 1/4 size difference. I notice this in rock shoes but not as much in regular shoes.

                      Five days walking is long enough to figure it out. It's not like you're climbing to 7000m on the JMT.

                      The shoes I personally wear? Why, the ones that fit me best of course. If all shoes worked for me equally I'd probably go with one of the Solomon trail runners, but unfortunately I can't wear those.
                    • ravi_jmt2013
                      My trail runners are half a size larger than my road running shoes which has definitely helped when it comes to feet swelling on multi-day hikes with moderate
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                        My trail runners are half a size larger than my road running shoes which has definitely helped when it comes to feet swelling on multi-day hikes with moderate to high miles per day.  However, my feet do not slide around in the trail runners even when there is no swelling.  There is just a bit more room available but I can prevent my feet from sliding by adjusting the laces appropriately.  As a hike progresses, I adjust the laces to accommodate any swelling.  I also use thicker socks with my trail runners compared to most hikers (Smartwool Phd Medium) which I think provides more protection.  Going back to my road runners after a hike results in a very tight fit for several days until my feet return to normal size. 
                      • John Ladd
                        I think feet swell on any long hike. If you have bigger shoes, they just swell more. I think it is better to stop the swelling at a normal foot size rather
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                          I think feet swell on any long hike. If you have bigger shoes, they just swell more. I think it is better to stop the swelling at a normal foot size rather than invite a lot of edema in the foot. Some report being happy with a half-size bigger than usual and I wouldn't disagree with that. Going a full size larger I'd be nervous about unless you can try it first on some long hiking days.

                          I'm also a Limmer fan, though mine are a standard size, rather than the customs. You send your Bannock device measurement and a tracing of your foot to Carl Limmer and he seems to find the right size and will work with you if it isn't.  I say this not for the original poster, who apparently likes lighter footwear but for those with other preferences.

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


                          On Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 9:08 AM, jmtorbust@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                           

                          Hi everyone. I'm a bit puzzled about selecting the proper shoe size for my hike. I have heard that it is a good idea to buy shoes that are 1/2 to a full size larger than normal in anticipation of foot swelling.Adhering to this advice, I went and tried on some shoes. After making my purchase a size larger than normal, I noticed that my feet slide around a lot in the shoes. I'm concerned that until the foot swelling occurs, I could be pretty miserable. How do other people manage this? Extra socks? Suck it up? I would hate to develop a blister as a result of the bigger shoes.Also, does anyone else have feet that are strangely sized? I have a size and a half difference between my left and right foot. This makes finding a workable pair of shoes almost impossible.Thanks in advance for your help. This forum has provided me so much information and greatly assisted me in my planning.Regards, Rob


                        • jyeider@ymail.com
                          Ask the store if they will sell you a left shoe from one box and a right from another. Jeff Yeider Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™ III, an AT&T 4G LTE
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                            Ask the store if they will sell you a left shoe from one box and a right from another.
                            Jeff Yeider


                            Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™ III, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone
                          • herbstroh
                            Some ideas about shoe sizes: 1. A hiker I knew had one foot viably larger than the other. He solved the issue by buying a pair of shoes for the big foot and
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                              Some ideas about shoe sizes:

                              1. A hiker I knew had one foot viably larger than the other. He solved the issue by buying a pair of shoes for the 'big foot' and wearing a thicker sock on the 'little foot.'

                              2. I have found success with using a full size larger shoe for running/hiking. I get John's point that this encourages swelling--but they will swell up once you take your shoes off anyway and may or may not go down by the next day. I know from experience my feet will get bigger and the larger size 'fits' well after a day or two.

                              3. Don't forget to fiddle with the lacing. Lacing on boots and runners can make up (some) for foot-to-shoe disparity. Plus it changes the way the shoe rubs on your foot. Keep adjusting shoe lacing just like you do with pack straps.

                              4. Fiddle with the inserts. Getting a blister? Take the insert out for awhile--it will change the strike zone of foot-to-shoe. If you can't stand (no pun intended) having no insert, take a thinner or thicker insert with you to change out during your hike. Minimal weight, but it will change the fit. Sometimes just reducing the repetitive rubbing is all you need to make it to the end of the day.

                              5. Go soak your feet. Drop them in a creek while on a break or at lunch to reduce swelling. Or, elevate them during breaks.

                              6. Change your pace. Again, this impacts how your foot moves in the shoe/boot. Variety will avoid blisters and other foot problems.

                              7. "Vitamin I." When all else fails consider limited use of an anti-inflammatory. 

                              Herb
                            • June Fait
                              Message 14 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                              • ravi_jmt2013
                                Go soak your feet. Drop them in a creek while on a break or at lunch to reduce swelling. Or, elevate them during breaks. This is a very good point. I have
                                Message 15 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                                  Go soak your feet. Drop them in a creek while on a break or at lunch to reduce swelling. Or, elevate them during breaks.

                                  This is a very good point.  I have reason to believe that my feet did not swell as much on the JMT because I would typically soak my feet twice per day.  There are almost always opportunities to do so on the JMT and the water is cold!  In contrast, on my recent hike on the Appalachian Trail, I did not have the same opportunity and it seemed like swelling was much greater, although the other variable was higher miles per day.
                                • cehauser1
                                  I buy my hiking shoes a full size larger (size 11 1/2), then I replace the standard insoles with thick sport gel insoles. My shoes are very comfortable, I am
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                                    I buy my hiking shoes a full size larger (size 11 1/2), then I replace the standard insoles with thick sport gel insoles.  My shoes are very comfortable, I am a full inch above the dirt, and it feels like I'm walking on a cloud.  During a long trip, the insoles wear down a little bit, which probably balances out with my feel swelling.

                                    Chris.


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

                                    Go soak your feet. Drop them in a creek while on a break or at lunch to reduce swelling. Or, elevate them during breaks.

                                    This is a very good point.  I have reason to believe that my feet did not swell as much on the JMT because I would typically soak my feet twice per day.  There are almost always opportunities to do so on the JMT and the water is cold!  In contrast, on my recent hike on the Appalachian Trail, I did not have the same opportunity and it seemed like swelling was much greater, although the other variable was higher miles per day.
                                  • Roleigh Martin
                                    I like Chris s approach. I too size up. I have used the orange superfeet insoles and beneath them I put the thinnest, cheapest odor-eze insoles. Then I wear
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                                      I like Chris's approach.  I too size up.  I have used the orange superfeet insoles and beneath them I put the thinnest, cheapest odor-eze insoles.  Then I wear two super thin layer socks, the inner sock is injini, the outer a super thin liner sock.

                                      I sometimes put a teflon shoe patch on top of the insoles.  I just remembered the brand I use:


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                                    • scoutmaster1006
                                      On that note – I have normal width feet but I get shoes that are wide. This allows my feet to open up within the shoe and it feels as if I am walking
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Jun 11, 2014
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                                        On that note – I have normal width feet but I get shoes that are wide. This allows my feet to open up within the shoe and it feels as if I am walking barefoot and it is incredibly comfortable. I’ve found too many hiking boots that were too narrow for my liking and this helped my feet stay feeling great all day.
                                        Mike
                                         
                                        Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:02 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Managing shoe sizes.
                                         
                                         

                                        I like Chris's approach.  I too size up.  I have used the orange superfeet insoles and beneath them I put the thinnest, cheapest odor-eze insoles.  Then I wear two super thin layer socks, the inner sock is injini, the outer a super thin liner sock.
                                         
                                        I sometimes put a teflon shoe patch on top of the insoles.  I just remembered the brand I use:
                                         
                                         
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                                        Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
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                                      • Jmt
                                        Thank you to everyone for all of the advice. I will definitely plan to soak my feet whenever I get the chance. I played around with the laces a bit. I was
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Jun 12, 2014
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                                          Thank you to everyone for all of the advice.  I will definitely plan to soak my feet whenever I get the chance. 

                                          I played around with the laces a bit.  I was able to get my smaller foot secure enough that I feel confident it won't pose a serious blister issue while still having room for swelling.  However, there is not a ton of space for the larger foot (here's hoping John Ladd is correct about foot swelling) but I think it will be ok.  I've never experienced any noticeable swelling in the past when backpacking or hiking.

                                          I will keep in mind all of the recommendations regarding insoles, orthotics, and other shoe accessories.

                                          At the very least, I can treat the first 6 days as a training for the rest of the trip and make a detour into mammoth once I reach Red's Meadow if necessary.

                                          That's actually the way I have planned my home.  Instead of thinking twenty days I think two three-day trips, one four-day trip, one ten day trip.

                                          Thanks again for your help.  Now I need to finalize good and order my shelter!

                                          Regards,
                                          Rob

                                          Sent from my iPhone

                                          On Jun 11, 2014, at 10:01 PM, "mosack@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                           

                                          On that note – I have normal width feet but I get shoes that are wide. This allows my feet to open up within the shoe and it feels as if I am walking barefoot and it is incredibly comfortable. I’ve found too many hiking boots that were too narrow for my liking and this helped my feet stay feeling great all day.
                                          Mike
                                           
                                          Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:02 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Managing shoe sizes.
                                           
                                           

                                          I like Chris's approach.  I too size up.  I have used the orange superfeet insoles and beneath them I put the thinnest, cheapest odor-eze insoles.  Then I wear two super thin layer socks, the inner sock is injini, the outer a super thin liner sock.
                                           
                                          I sometimes put a teflon shoe patch on top of the insoles.  I just remembered the brand I use:
                                           
                                           
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                                        • Marion Davison
                                          I wear compression socks every day to treat venous insufficiency, so I wore them last week on a 5 day hiking trip. I was very pleased with several things--no
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Jun 17, 2014
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                                            I wear compression socks every day to treat venous insufficiency, so I
                                            wore them last week on a 5 day hiking trip. I was very pleased with
                                            several things--no achy legs at night, my feet dried very fast when I
                                            got wet a couple times, my feet were very slick in my shoes, so no
                                            blister problems. Also I did not find the socks to be too hot and I did
                                            not get any heat rash, even under my neoprene knee brace.
                                            I wear women's size ten street shoes in wide widths. For hiking I wear
                                            men's New Balance trail runners in size 10 1/2, EE or EEE or EEEE,
                                            whatever is on sale. I wear green superfeet insoles. I have very happy
                                            feet and I haven't gotten a blister in a couple of decades with this
                                            combination. Along with the very thin (firm) compression socks I wear a
                                            short synthetic hiking sock, such as Thorlo.
                                          • Cindy Liebeck
                                            Hi - I have found on past hikes that using orthopedic quality compression socks prevents swelling of my feet and ankles and speeds recovery from each dayÆs
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Jun 17, 2014
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                                              Hi - I have found on past hikes that using orthopedic quality compression socks prevents swelling of my feet and ankles and speeds recovery from each day’s miles.

                                              Additionally, I have had little to no blistering since I started wearing wearing compression socks.   

                                              I use Therafirm or Jobst brand.  The link is 30-40 mmHg, but there’s also 20-30 and lighter.  I wear the men’s socks as the women’s socks don’t take trail abuse well.

                                              To eliminate swelling in my hands, I hike in stretch Isotoner gloves.  Isotoner also has true compression gloves, but the leather palm on the driving gloves holds up well on hikes and has plenty of compression for me.  

                                              SOBO from HI starting 7/27… 

                                              C.

                                              On Jun 12, 2014, at 12:14 AM, Jmt jmtorbust@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                                              Thank you to everyone for all of the advice.  I will definitely plan to soak my feet whenever I get the chance. 

                                              I played around with the laces a bit.  I was able to get my smaller foot secure enough that I feel confident it won't pose a serious blister issue while still having room for swelling.  However, there is not a ton of space for the larger foot (here's hoping John Ladd is correct about foot swelling) but I think it will be ok.  I've never experienced any noticeable swelling in the past when backpacking or hiking.

                                              I will keep in mind all of the recommendations regarding insoles, orthotics, and other shoe accessories.

                                              At the very least, I can treat the first 6 days as a training for the rest of the trip and make a detour into mammoth once I reach Red's Meadow if necessary.

                                              That's actually the way I have planned my home.  Instead of thinking twenty days I think two three-day trips, one four-day trip, one ten day trip.

                                              Thanks again for your help.  Now I need to finalize good and order my shelter!

                                              Regards,
                                              Rob

                                              Sent from my iPhone

                                              On Jun 11, 2014, at 10:01 PM, "mosack@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                               

                                              On that note – I have normal width feet but I get shoes that are wide. This allows my feet to open up within the shoe and it feels as if I am walking barefoot and it is incredibly comfortable. I’ve found too many hiking boots that were too narrow for my liking and this helped my feet stay feeling great all day.
                                              Mike
                                               
                                              Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:02 PM
                                              Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Managing shoe sizes.
                                               
                                               

                                              I like Chris's approach.  I too size up.  I have used the orange superfeet insoles and beneath them I put the thinnest, cheapest odor-eze insoles.  Then I wear two super thin layer socks, the inner sock is injini, the outer a super thin liner sock.
                                               
                                              I sometimes put a teflon shoe patch on top of the insoles.  I just remembered the brand I use:
                                               
                                               
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                                              _




                                            • berdomb
                                              You should size up, but you want to only have roomy toes, not a roomy whole shoe.
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Jun 17, 2014
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                                                You should size up, but you want to only have roomy toes, not a roomy whole shoe.
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