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Are hiking shoes really necessary?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by dfoster, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. dfoster Banned Banned

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    I've been on hikes where you have to rent special shoes to tread knee deep in water for miles with huge rocks underneath. They offered great traction and protection. Beside those extreme conditions does one really need to wear hiking shoes on ordinary trail hikes? I went hiking couple of days ago in my running shoes and they felt way better than my hiking shoes. Plenty of support and response, not to mention energy saving due to better ease of walking. What do hiking shoes supposedly offer? What's your experience?
     
  2. Urban Savage Mystic

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    It's not exactly on topic, but I have whites for wildland fires and they're the best hiking boots you can buy. the tread is deep and gets good traction, the elevated heel is actually used for breaking as you go down steep hills, and the construction does a good job keeping weeds and shit out of your shoes.

    That being said, I went hiking through sporadic light snow in addidas sambas a couple weeks back and did just fine.
     
  3. dfoster Banned Banned

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    ^^^ Downhill braking..interesting! May be hiking shoes are designed as compromises for a wide range of conditions? I do remember having to remove the leaves between the socks and the running shoes the other day.
     
  4. Standard Too dumb to learn, too stubborn to quit

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    Hiking shoes just provide more traction as most normal shoes really are not designed to handle the conditions you will encounter hiking, so no they may not be "necessary" depending on the conditions you are in.
     
  5. Bainbridge White Belt

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    There's also a lot of variety within hiking shoes. Some emphasize lateral stability so you don't sprain ankles when moving over large rocks or roots, some have thick/hard soles to protect against punctures, some are made for running/agility, others are made for slow steady pace over rough terrain, some made for actual climbing. And I'm sure the list goes on.
     
  6. pie`n`mash White Belt

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    how about no shoes, i started bare foot walking a few years back, it really strengthens your feet, if your not sure try wearing a swim sock first.
     
  7. JerkWeed Brown Belt

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    Have to agree. I know a lot of people who have converted to running shoes.

    The only thing that worries me is the lack of ankle support. Spraining an ankle deep in the bush would not be good. I sprained an ankle a short hike from town once. (after falling the last fifteen feet down from a free climb - yes, I was that stupid) Getting back was brutal.

    It probably wouldn't hurt to carry a roll of football/hockey tape anyway in case you need to support or splint an injured limb.
     
  8. Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    Or try the Vibram 5 Fingers. I've had mine for a couple of weeks now and they are great. They wouldn't be good with a heavy pack climbing a volcano crossing lava beds, but for short/medium hikes they are great. My toes are getting stronger and I have better posture. Pushing off on the toes seems to strengthen the front part of my shins.

    I bought the KSO.


    site...

    Vibram FiveFingers: KSO
     
  9. Urban Savage Mystic

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    My whites are like 10-14 eyelet leather boots, but honesly, if you are gonna sprain your ankle you're going to sprain your ankle unless you're wearing a brace of some kind. High top leather boots aren't ankle support, they just protect your skin should you accidently graze something IMHO.
     
  10. marr White Belt

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    I work beating in the winter, involves alot of walking through dodgy terrain and that. I can honestly say once you take an incline on rough ground with a good pair of boots; strong ankle support, waterproof, breathable and a good tread you will understand the benefit.
    If you're just walking along made paths hiking rather than dodgy walks then go for something with a lower ankle support, but never go for something bellow your ankle, it's easily sprained.
    I have a pair of Magnum Elite II Leather [8"], I can only recommend them.
     
  11. dfoster Banned Banned

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    I'm pretty conflicted about the ankle support thing. One school of thoughts says that you need all the protection you can get and I can see they do help esp. at the end of the day, your ankles are weak and stepping on a rock the wrong way could ruin your week. Having added support lessens the chance of that happening. Another popular school of thoughts is that the less support you have, the more you force your muscles and tendons to get stronger and the less injuries you have in the long run.
    Remember when all the basketball shoes were high tops because they were thoughts to protect the ankles? but that's not the case any more. I read somewhere that Westerners have weak feet because the footwear never give the muscles the chance to get strong. Play a game of beach volleyball after a long lay off and you'll realize how non-functional your feet and ankles are. Somebody mentioned the five-fingers and even going barefoot, I think that's a pretty neat concept. It's certainly not a radical or extreme idea. I was in South East Asia a few years back and most of the kids including many adults walk around in bare feet. Since it's so hot there, shoes are not practical and sandals often get stuck in the mud and sand. I saw them kids playing soccer barefooted in areas littered with rocks and debris and not one of them seemed to have any kind of foot injuries. So I certainly dig the going-back-to-nature trend, but then again our ancestors invented footwear because they experienced conditions beyond what the feet could just adapt to. I guess I'll just keep an open mind about both approaches.

    Regarding the running shoes, I think the kind of running shoes used in hiking makes a difference as well. I'll just keep hiking with these until something warns me it not safe to do so, hope it won't be too severe :)
     
  12. maoo White Belt

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    Lol I think it was more a case of someone got fedup of cutting thier soles open on sharp rocks etc, so they created shoes for comfort and protection rather than reaching any limit.

    I walk around barefoot almost always at home (and in the garden) the only drawnback I have is cold floors make my nose run and sharp items make me jump in pain, also stubbing my toes on the door etc, after a while it no longer hurts me when I do the above though, it is as if I adapt to the pain and can tollerate it like nothing happened (majority of the time).

    I used to have lots of issues with spraining my ankles, once I was on holiday in Kashmir (northern pakistan) I seen this cool mountain trail and decided to go up it, was getting dark when I came down and didn't want to be around when the snakes came out so bgan to run back to the house I visited. I placed my foot on a branch or something and twisted my ankle, fell to the ground and rolled. Had to limp all the way back and was a bitch in pain.

    Ever since I combined the ankle strengthening advice the hospital gave me with barefoot walking I have yet to sprain my ankle.

    As for hiking boots/shoes over trainers, other than grip and resistance to the terrain, I see no real difference, maybe you will have to replace your trainers more often making it more cost effective to invest in a good running/hiking shoe instead?
     

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