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Shoe type to buy

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It all depends on the type of caches you plan to hunt and the terrain in your area. If you're going to stick with caches in local parks, tennis shoes, or trail runners are fine.


If you plan on taking on tougher caches in rugged, or semi rugged terrain, or that require bushwacking, a good pair of mid-duty hiking boots are the best choice.


The key to selecting a hiking boot is fit. Different brands have different styles of fit, so don't let anybody tell you "XYZ boots are the best". They might be the best for that person but inappropriate for you. If your boots don't fit properly, you're asking for blisters, bruised toes and other problems.


Next, select a boot from a quality boot manufacturer. Some that come to mind are Vasque, Danner, LL Bean, La Sportiva, Merrell, Lowa, Raichle, Salomon, One Sport, ECCO and Asolo.


Finally, you have to decide if you want an all leather boot (better support, abrasion resistance), or a fabric/leather combo (lighter weight, shorter break-in period).


Gore Tex linings are good to have, esp. if you don't choose an all leather boot. They'll help keep your feet dry.


"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm


[This message was edited by BrianSnat on October 17, 2003 at 05:11 AM.]

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I have always bought Hi-Tec's.

They are very rugged and really hold up well. I have a pair that I am still using that are 10 years old! I don't use them for heavy duty caching anymore, but they are still good for general caching.


I agree with BS that you need to try alot of differnt types and see what fits you the best and you feel most comfortable in.


Free your mind and the rest will follow 30296_400.gif

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When I bought my boots, i tried on a pair of Columbia's and a pair of montrails. The montrails fit my feet perfectly. I didn't even take time to break them in, the very next day i wore them to the Polly Takes a Plunge cache, and they gave me no problems, no blisters. They have that GoreTex liner, which I love when i hit creeks. Except if the creek is too deep. What I don't like about them is the tread.


I used to cache in skechers and I still believe there is no better tread than skechers to hike in. I waited tables in a bar that was outside in the sand on a beach in my Skechers for 2 years before i cached in them, and the tread was still holding up VERY well, barely looked worn, and it hugs those boulders better than my Montrails. The bad thing about Skeckers is the actual shoe doesn't have much support which isn't good when you go on a long hike. I haven't checked if Skechers makes a hiking shoe, maybe they do.


As for the Columbia brand shoe i tried on, the only good thing was they were cute. THey offered no support, uncomfortable, and were not for me. But they may be good for someone else.


Most shops will let you buy a pair of hiking shoes and wear them around your house for a few days and if you don't like em, they let you return them as long as you haven't scuffed the tread or wore them outside.


I agree with Team 155, go with the Smart wool socks, well worth it.


"The more I study nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator."

- Louis Pasteur

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I'm partial to Vasque and Merrell. They average about 10 years a pair in rotation. I wear my Vasque hiking boots nearly every day.


I also recommend Trekking Biwell(sp?) for care and waterproofing of hiking boots.




If you are not failing now and again, it's a sign you're playing it safe. - Woody Allen

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My two cent rambling...


I have a nice pair of Merrell boots that I bought about three four ago for just hiking and fishing (I'm a geonewb.) They were a $130 pair of boots that I ended up getting for just $60 off of the 'net. Great deal, since at the time, they were way more than I even needed. I absolutely love them. Like somebody said earlier, though, every brand fits different. In fact, even though the Merrell boots fit me perfectly, I can't seem to wear any of their trail shoes - all their shoes seem to have no toe room for me - my big toe jams up against the front of the shoe icon_frown.gif


Previous to the Merrells, I owned a pair of HiTechs. They turned out to be very uncomfortable on me giving me too little arch support and causing me lots of blisters. I used to put bandaids on my feet on known hotspots *before* I put on the boots. Luckily, they didn't hold up all that well.


I also have a pair of Columbia trail shoes that I bought last year orignally just for wearing about. They're very comfortable on me (a previous poster said Columbias were uncomfortable on them - further proof that not every brand is for every wearer and vica versa). I tend to wear them caching even more than the Merrells. These shoes have taken quite a beating; they're holding up pretty well, too, which I didn't expect. Tread is getting a little low, though.


One thing I don't like is that neither my Merrells nor the Columbia shoes are waterproof. The Merrell's can 'hold their own' for at least a while, but the the Columbias are horrible with water. Besides getting caught in the rain, it seems like I often encounter some sort of mud that I end up putting my foot into. Next time, I think I'll get footwear that has has a traditional smooth leather exterior (no nubuck, no suede) for easier cleanup, and also gortex lining.


Some other things that come to mind:


My boots have a nice hard sole and nice 'lugged' tread. That along with the boot's ankel support is great for getting traction for climbing a hill, and great for not slipping coming down a hill. But, the sole is a very hard rubber making the boot fairly inflexible: they're not the greatest for scrambling over boulders & rocks as they don't flex enough, and the hard sole rubber doesn't 'grip' too well to the hard rock surface.


The shoes, though, are more soft soled, yet also have good tread pattern. The rubber is much softer, too, making them nice for climing over rocks as they grip the rock surface really well. But I lose the ankle support of the boots making me more prone to twisted ankles (I've come close, but not yet.)


Both the boots and the shoes have a rubber "toe bumper" which I wouldn't do without for the areas I hike in... besides protecting the boot from getting scuffed up, they also give a tiny bit of waterproofing when walking through wet grass or splashing into the occassional puddle.


Finally, as somebody else said: socks really matter. If I wear regular cotton socks, I'll get blisters no matter what the footwear on just a half day hike. Some sort of synthetic sock is the best as synthetics are 'slippery' so cause less friction. I prefer WigWam's "Ultimax" socks. "Thorlo" seems to be another brand all the stores have but I think they're way overpriced.

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Of all the brands mentioned so far, the only ones I have been really impressed with overall are Vasque and Asolo.


Some of you guys must be a lot easier on boots than I am. icon_confused.gif


I have seen premature failure in Raichle ($200 boots, no less), Hi-Tec and recent Merrells.

Danners should fit better, for what they charge, and so should Columbia (although I like Columbia's light snow hikers).

The Salomon and One Sport stuff looks good, but I haven't done more than try them in the store.

Haven't tried LLBean, La Sportiva, Lowa, or Ecco.


I've spent a lot of time looking at hiking shoes (and wearing them), and IMO, the biggest bang for the buck in medium weight hikers that I can find locally is almost always Vasque or Asolo.


BTW, if you are counting on a Goretex liner to keep your feet dry, don't expect it to work after the shoes are a couple of years old - that is, if they see much hard use.


"...clear as mud?"

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I am wearing a pair of Lowe's right now. Best pair of boots for my weird foot. I have a short wide foot with weird toe alignment. I also own a pair of Red Wings. I can destroy a pair of soles in about 8 to 12 months on everyday wear. These two shoes seem to have held up. Give you an idea of how hard I am on soles. I can burn through a pair of Vibram replacement heels on cowboy boots in 8 months of occasional wear.


I have a local shop that gives me a discount on shoes that I purchase from him. He fits my foot and if it does not feel good, he just sends them back. No restocking fee, no special order fee, just good customer service.


As I mentioned in another thread about computers, check out the local shop, they may not be able to beat the price from the internet or mall stores, but you will get what you are after.


See the happy moron

He doesn't give a da**

I wish I were a moron

My God, perhaps I am

Author Unknown

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The trick is to find a good shoe or outdoor equipment store where the guy who would sell you the shoe knows what he is talking about from experience. I guess that's pretty much the same with everything. If you want new skis or ski boots, you better talk to somebody who actually skis himself. If you want a mountain bike, go to a bike shop where the employees are also mountain bikers, etc, etc, etc. You would normally pay more at these store compared to Walmart, but their "knowledge" is well worth it.

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I have several pairs of boots. I have the Law Enforcement issue Hi-tecs, some Law enforcement thoroghgoods(sp?), a pair or Timberlands and a pair from Sears called Elkwoods. The Elkwoods are about 5 years old and are in great shape. I think they are the most comfortable. Most of the caching here where we live out is on the incline and requires bushwacking for the most part. Some people where their tennis shoes, I did this past sunday which was a mistake (rainy). I've learned that it is better for me to cache around here wearing jeans and a pair of boots. The Elkwoods are probably the most comfortable , the cheapast and the oldest. If they get thrashed, then I won't get upset about it. Go with comfort. You don't have to spend the big bucks to get a good boot.





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Originally posted by Doc-Dean:

I have always bought http://www.hi-tec.com.

They are very rugged and really hold up well. I have a pair that I am still using that are 10 years old! I don't use them for heavy duty caching anymore, but they are still good for general caching.


I agree with BS that you need to try alot of differnt types and see what fits you the best and you feel most comfortable in.


Free your mind and the rest will follow http://img.Groundspeak.com/user/30296_400.gif


I'd also go with Hi-Tec Alpine Lite. I have a pair and they are great.


Consider a pair of lightweight trail shoes too.


The key is to look at the terrain -- if you are goind to hike in an area with rocks, you need boots for ankle protection. Ditto if you are going to carry a heavy pack, and perhaps hit some caches on the trail.


However for typical trails, I really like to go lightweight. Of course I'm in Florida, which makes a big difference.


Edit added later --


MOST IMPORTANT -- try them on with the socks you will wear when hiking, and get them at a place where the sales person knows how to fit boots. This is more important that what kind you buy.

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