Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Hillis

Are hiking boots necessary?

Recommended Posts

Hillis,

 

In a previous troop, we had a horrible time getting boys to wear the proper footwear on campouts and all we did was car camp with an occasional day hike. We had too many showing up with a single pair of tennis shoes that often got soaked in one way or another. We really prefer that a boy have a boot that provides good footbed support for uneven terrain, good ankle support and is waterproof. We ended up requiring them to show up when we were leaving for a campout with their boots on, or they couldn't go on the campout. They could bring another pair of shoes to wear once they got there, but they had to show up with booys so we knew they had them if they needed them.

 

Barry,

 

Interesting!!! Our troop is taking two crews to Northern Tier this summer and my son will be going. They are required (well, very heavily encouraged) to buy Altima military jungle boots. The troop has made a number of trips to NT and they say anything less will not fall apart by the 2nd or 3rd day and will get sucked off in the moose muck, leaving you shoeless for the rest of the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of different ideas. My two cents worth. NEVER cotton socks. They soak up sweat, are harder to dry and may cause blisters. For long treks go as light as possible. We try to get packs down to 20-25 pounds. Get a pack down that light and then wear 4 lbs of boots doesn't make sense. I won't do leather for about the same reasons as the cotton socks, if they get wet they are hard to dry. Now on the flip side if you are hiking in an area with a lot of rocky slopes you want something that is a little more rugged and ankle high, which will save you ankles some scrapes.

 

Research and BE PREPARED for the area you will be going in to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably obvious thing to do, but its worth mentioning again. We encourage the scouts who grow out of their boots ( and other clothing ) to donate them to the troop so other scouts can use them. And so on, and so on....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>The troop has made a number of trips to NT and they say anything less will not fall apart by the 2nd or 3rd day and will get sucked off in the moose muck, leaving you shoeless for the rest of the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get me wrong, I don't recommend cotton socks to anybody else. The other leaders always shake their heads and can't believe I wear them and don't have problems. They just seem to work fine for me 90% of the time. Have worn them under every conceivable condition - these are high quality cotton socks, not blue-light specials; and not 100% cotton. They are 65%-75% cotton - maybe it's somewhat misleading to say I wear cotton socks. In deep winter, especially in snow, I switch over to Carhartt cold-weather boot socks which are a blend of acrylic, nylon and wool. Inexpensive, but does the job.

 

If you want a good sock designed for hiking/backpacking try a Smartwool or Teko hiking sock, (I prefer the Tekos) not cheap but in my book they're quite good. I've used these occassionally when I know I'll encounter nothing but nasty conditions.

 

SR540Beaver, we've had the same problem. Every year when the newest crossovers come into the troop we tell boys and parents to spend the money for a pair of hiking shoes; some can't seem to get the message until after one miserable experience.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hillis,

 

You and your parents and your fellow Scouts are spending thousands of dollars to go to the premiere Scouting experience. Please don't give me the too expensive story.

 

You have received good advice here.

 

As a former Marine infantry platoon sergeant I think I know first hand a lot about walking. I have observed men in utter misery due to poor(poor fit,unserviceable, wet) footwear. I've even observed a young lad who in the middle of the night hurriedly put his boots on the wrong feet and walked 10 miles before noticing. I would not have believed it if I did not see it first hand.

 

If you're not in shape , get tough now! Your feet will reward you with good performance. Do some ankle strengthening excercises. Walk in the boots you are going to wear!!!!

 

Go to the drug store and buy something called moleskin.

Bring three packages, you will surely give some away.

 

Good luck. Be prepared.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hillis,

 

You and your parents and your fellow Scouts are spending thousands of dollars to go to the premiere Scouting experience. Please don't give me the too expensive story.

 

You have received good advice here.

 

As a former Marine infantry platoon sergeant I think I know first hand a lot about walking. I have observed men in utter misery due to poor(poor fit,unserviceable, wet) footwear. I've even observed a young lad who in the middle of the night hurriedly put his boots on the wrong feet and walked 10 miles before noticing. I would not have believed it if I did not see it first hand.

 

If you're not in shape , get tough now! Your feet will reward you with good performance. Do some ankle strengthening excercises. Walk in the boots you are going to wear!!!!

 

Go to the drug store and buy something called moleskin.

Bring three packages, you will surely give some away.

 

Good luck. Be prepared.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hillis,

 

You and your parents and your fellow Scouts are spending thousands of dollars to go to the premiere Scouting experience. Please don't give me the too expensive story.

 

You have received good advice here.

 

As a former Marine infantry platoon sergeant I think I know first hand a lot about walking. I have observed men in utter misery due to poor(poor fit,unserviceable, wet) footwear. I've even observed a young lad who in the middle of the night hurriedly put his boots on the wrong feet and walked 10 miles before noticing. I would not have believed it if I did not see it first hand.

 

If you're not in shape , get tough now! Your feet will reward you with good performance. Do some ankle strengthening excercises. Walk in the boots you are going to wear!!!!

 

Go to the drug store and buy something called moleskin.

Bring three packages, you will surely give some away.

 

Good luck. Be prepared.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The main difference between a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of hiking boots in the the stiffness of the soles. Hiking boots will have a stiff hard rubber sole that won't let the sharp rocks damage your feet. Most hiking boots have a steel shank in the sole to better take the blow rocks or similar objects.

 

Tennis shoes have no steel shank and have the soft neoprene sole designed to absorbe the shock froma walking on pavement.

 

I think the Sarge is right, either your feet are tough or they ain't. I wear cheep Hi-teks hiking boots and they have served me well for four years of service. During which these boots saw back country trips to Yellow Stone, Appalachian trail and the toughest terrian I have seen the Boundry Waters.

 

I paid $50 for the pair of Hi-teks I bought this week. I would stick to general purpose sports retailers Sports Authority, Dicks maybe even Cabellas but they cane be high. I would stay out of the walmarts, too cheap and away from the REI's, too expensive.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr Uz2bnowl,

 

Thank you for your many years of service to our Nation!

 

Hillis,

 

I'm just an old Army artilleryman ... we did more riding than walking ;) (I listened to Dad's advice from his service... never walk when you can ride ... but that's another story).

 

I can tell you categorically: Read and heed Mr Uz2bnowl recommendations to you. The words are true, and come from wisdom gained the hard way. Your feet are the last place to skimp money on when going into the backcountry!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO Hiking boots are not necessary, BUT, :)

At Philmont last year, I was glad I had boots on because of the streams we crossed and some of the trails with large rocks, I do not think my ankles would have make it without a the ankle support, my ankles hurt after walking on 6 to 12 inch rocks, I called them boulders at the time! We crossed 4 streams my feet stayed dry, they would not have without boots.

I do not believe that there are very many boots make with steel shanks, unless you are over the 150 dollar price and many over that price do not have the steel shank. The steel is suppose to hold up and not bend providing you your arch support, the theory is with your weight and your packs weight the plastic shanks will not hold up. BUT :) today's plastic probably holds up just as well as the steel, especially for scouts weights.

In 2004 at Double H our guide wore a pair of low top columbia shoes, this terrain was a lot rougher than philmonts, he had no problems, BUT :) he knew his body and had his ankles in really good shape.

Just like everyone else has says, knew your body, break in whatever footwear you are going to hike in. Like Eagle74 wearing cotton socks, he knows what works for him, my feet sweat a lot, cotton socks would tear my feet up.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

     Ive done four Philmont treks, two in my prime two when I wasnt. At 20 I carried close to 100 pounds because my Dad suffered what was later diagnosed as a mild heart attack our second day. I had been a competitive swimmer for six years and could have run up and down the trails in moccasins pack and all. At 52 I wouldnt have made it out of base camp with 45 pounds without ankle support. Anyone that has done the crest leading away from base camp from the Tooth may take issue with the well packed trails concept. The bottom line is that One size does not fit all. What works for me may not work for you, that is why you need to train. Carry full weight and find terrain similar to your planned trek. Train with the same style foot wear you plan to use at Philmont. Last time out I had to get a new pair of boots before we left and wore them to work everyday to break them in but they were the same make and model I trained in. As to the guides wearing sandals just remember they are not carrying food or troop gear, they are gone after two or three days, they are in their prime! I carried my Dads gear because I could, who will take up your load of food and troop gear if you have foot problems? Carrying that pack the first day and carrying it on the eighth day are quite different. Can you be certain you wont need additional support as you get further into the trek or higher up in altitude. Test what ever footwear system you choose completely and repeatedly before you have to rely on it.

Is there anyone NOT ready to Hike? Hike ON!

LongHaul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great replies. A few more questions: Do you think waterproofed boots are worth it at Philmont? What are some good specific brands/names of new $50-$120 boots? What retailers are best? And where can I find good liners/ What liner brands are best? I understand that boots and socks are very person-specific, but if anyone can give names for high-quality products that work, regardless of style, please post them.

 

Thanks for all the great responses on this issue.

 

--Hillis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hillis,

You should start your quest for a good boot at a specialty store, one that focuses on mountaineering and hiking. These are owned and staffed by knowledgable people and can fit you into the boot that best meets your needs. They will be more expensive, but their expertise is worth it. Plus you support a local businessman. If the prices are still too steep, you will know what brand, model and size to get. Then go to a discount retailer and pickup your booty or hit the interwebs. The discounters staff their stores with clerks who know nothing about fit. That's why they are cheaper. By all means, avoid the Walmarts and clones. They buy substandard products and really haven't a clue on fit.

On waterproof, look for goretex lined boots. These will breath but provide good protection for stream crossing and hiking in the rain. Avoid rubber and coated nylon products. You might as well wrap your feet in plastic bags. Do not fear leather boots. They breath, can be waterproofed with bees wax and get more confortable every step of the way.

My favorite boot is a light Lowa leather boot with goretex. It has a sheep skin lining that is so soft, even after getting wet. They are at the high end of your price range though. Check out this link to see what Lowa has to offer.

http://www.lowaboots.com/catalog/ShowBoot.cfm?StockNum=3319334533&Category=3&Type=M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

     Again, I say One size does not fit all and Test it out before you go. I wear Kmart work boots in the 8 height. They support my ankles have arch support and most important fit MY feet. My co Leader bought a pair of hiking boots at REI and loved them so much at Philmont that he wears a pair almost every place he goes now. As for liner socks OK guys Im ready for the laughs and ribbing I use a pair of knee high womens nylon stockings ($.99) first, then a pair of Kmart mens nylon dress socks (3@$3.99) followed by a pair of Kmart mens polyester dress socks(3@$3.99). The nylon allows my foot to move slightly and eliminates blisters, for me. The nylon dress socks wick perspiration and the polyester socks cushion to a degree. You can also look for a polyester work sock that claims to have cushion heels, I believe Dickey has a pair of these but I find them too thick. I also advise STAY away from cotton! LongHaul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×