Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reader Question for the Community: Trail Shoes/ Light Hikers

 Reader Question for the Community:
My wife and I plan to do some light hiking this spring and summer.  Nothing serious, just some day hikes. We were wondering what people's experiences with various trail shoes have been.    Merrill seems to dominate but it is a bit overwhelming as there are so many options.  There is the question of not only which brand but also do you need an ankle-high or will the low option suffice?
Women's Merrells



Men's Merrells



20 comments:

  1. Merrell seems to have returned to their focus to the outdoors after a few years of trying to be more fashion-oriented. (That may have to do with the expiration of the licensing arrangement with Patagonia, and Patagonia exiting the footwear business the second time.)

    The Moab Ventilator you have pictured is a great shoe. You might also consider Keen, specifically the Targhee low or mid. The fits are slightly different, and depending on your foot, may fit better.

    For the type of hiking you describe, the choice of low or mid comes down to personal choice. Most companies' light hikers are flexible enough in their mid versions so the effect of the higher collar is more protective than supportive.

    Online shopping is incredibly popular, but if there is an outdoor shop nearby with a knowledgable staff who will measure and analyze your feet - for length, width, shape, and VOLUME - take advantage of them. And if you decide on a shoe there, please buy it from them.

    There are few things on the trail worse than unhappy feet. Good luck and enjoy your hikes!

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  2. Definitely agree on Keith's point about shopping at a local outdoor shop. I went into the shop by me intending on buying the Keen Targhee but the salesman persuaded me to try a pair of Oboz Firebrand which fit my feet better. They even had a simulated rock pile to try the shoes on varying angles. My feet slid forward in the Targhees but stayed put in the Firebrands. Hope this helps!

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  3. Fitting that Chewonki travel mug is shown, "one popped" today; a twofer' salt and pepper as seen on the Amazing Lamb Cam-
    http://lambcam.chewonki.org/

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  4. I would not buy any shoe on-line unless it is an exact replacement for something you have been wearing. You need to go to an outdoor store (e.g. REI) to try multiple pairs on for the best fit. An ill-fitting shoe/boot while hiking is an open call for blisters. Not fun when you are miles away from the car. Merrell shoes tend to wear prematurely for me. I have tried several other brands with varying success. My latest pair is the Durand from Keen. Very pleased – Good grip on wet rocks and fits extremely well. I replaced the insoles with Superfeet for a little more support and a snugger fit. Self-cleaning lugs if hiking in wet weather.

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  5. Another vote for store buying. Out of the first five things to consider, "fit" are three of them. Good idea to also pick out "dedicated" socks.

    I recommend ankle height to avoid both sprains and bruises, as well as keeping more detritus out

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  6. Terrain like that is why God made horses! Much to be preferred over Shank's Mare, however well-shod. Our choice is EasyBoot Glove! ;-)

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  7. As long as they are not defective, Merrells should be fine. I hear good things. I bought a pair that gave out after 2 wearings of raking leaves and 1 hike. I tried to resolve the issue at the store where I purchased to no avail. I turned to corporate customer service and got nowhere fast there.
    I now have boots that I cannot use but I hate to toss after paying so much for them.

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  8. Topsiders. Hike in 'em. Camp in 'em. Hunted in 'em (quiet). Live in 'em. Golf in 'em too. Sailed in 'em when I still sailed. Good enough for the Indians ... If you need more protection than they give you shouldn't put your foot there.

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    Replies
    1. I like the way you think! Except for golf, I wear different topsiders for most outdoor activities. I did take a spontaneous 2 mile rough terrain hike with the grandchildren in a pair of gold and turquoise Jacks a few years ago, surprisingly they held up very well and other than getting dirty, so did my feet! cheers!

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  9. I have a pair of leather Merrell mid-height hiking boots and a pair of Timberland low-tops. Both are waterproof, comfortable, fairly lightweight, required minimal breaking in, and are wearing well. Unfortunately, I don't remember the model names. I usually wear the Merrells, though, for the extra ankle support and protection, as mentioned by Keith Baker in his comment. When I replace the low-tops, I will go with another pair of mid-height for that reason. Of course, since I wear the Merrell's the most, they will probably need replacing first.

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  10. I've had a pair of Merrell Moabs (mid-high) for some years in the Gore-Tex version and have found nothing I like better. But do try them in person or order where shipping both ways is built into the pricing.

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  11. Bought a pair of (womens)Solomans at REI for light hiking in New Zealand. Loved them, very light, waterPROOF! Loved NZ as well!

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  12. The french firm Salomon makes the x ultra 2 gtx. They feature a Gore-Tex-membrane which means dry (not wet from outside water) feet, be it a constant drizzle or even the occasional downpour. Nevertheless, they can be worn with light woolen socks. Dedicated hiking socks made from synthetic fibre or a mix of wool and synthetics (e.g. from the german firm Falke) would be optimal though. The Salomons also have a quick-lace-system which works like a dream and can be stowed away in the tongue of the shoe. Neatly.

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  13. Agree with all the good suggestions, esp. going to store. You need to try them on and better, go to a couple of stores carrying different brands until your feet (as well as the store clerk) tells you it's the one. From my experience, some brands cut wider than others. Length as well as width is important, and address any particular issues e.g., pronation, arches, etc. Serious hiking = ankle support = high tops. The lighter the shoe the better - good sports stores will list weight next to each shoe on display. But be sure to get all the bells & whistles in high performance design & materials. This is were you make a serious investment; wear your shoes before the trip to acclimate. If it doesn't feel like your feet are happy, return them. Happy secure feet means happy hiking and glorious adventures vs. how much further is it? Have a great time!

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  14. Big fan of Salomon - I have their low hikers, mid hikers, alpine and nordic boots. I also have Brooks Gore-tex sneakers, which I wear on walking paths. Definitely agree with the suggestion to try different brands in a store.

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  15. Not a big fan of technical gear unless you are a real enthusiast. You tend to look like Tony in that Seinfeld episode. A decent pair of ranger or blucher mocs is sufficient and more versatile.

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  16. I have a pair of Merrell Moab, and have had Salomon as well,but since I purchased my first pair of Oboz I have never looked back. comfortable out of the box, no break in. Can not say enough about the difference they have made in my daily routine.I will die in these boots

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  17. I purchased a pair of Merrell Moab boots to hike the Highlands of Scotland last spring. Fantastic pair of boots--easy break in, waterproof, and incredibly stable on uneven terrain. They don't breathe incredibly well--my feet smelled pretty bad when I took them off in the evenings! Overall, though, I think they're a fantastic pair of hiking boots and would recommend them to anyone with a normal width foot looking to do moderate hiking.

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