Hiking boots or trail runners?
Which is better or best?
The debate about footwear is one that most backpackers/hikers become very passionate about. Defending their reason, chosen brand, style and so on. While there is no best or correct choice, I am on the team of trail runners, 100% of the time.
There are three reasons why they work the best for me.
1. Light weight. My shoe of choice is about 8oz per shoe, which is about one pound (per shoe) lighter than most boot options. In a 1984 study by the U.S. Army Research Institute, they found that it takes up to 6.4 times as much energy to move at a given pace when weight is carried in the footwear as opposed to the torso. This means that each additional pound of weight in footwear is equal to about five pounds of weight on your backpack. In my case, this is ten pounds of weight in my pack!
Simply put, your legs won't have to lift the extra pound for each step. The point is really driven home when you do the math. The average mile has over 2,000 steps which equals lifting an extra ton of weight for each mile you walk.
2. Fast drying. Regardless of your footwear, your feet will get wet. Whether it be crossing a stream, rain, or dew, your feet will get wet. Mesh trail runners dry really quickly. The heat from your foot will have your shoes dry shortly after being soaked. An added benefit is the breathability of the mesh, as your feet won't sweat nearly as much. Dry shoes are the first part to healthier, blister free feet.
3. Better fit. Trail runners are flexible, and there are so many options that it is easy to find a pair that will fit you great. I look for two things when purchasing trail runners for hiking long distance.
I am not sure how my three reasons would play into your decision making, but these are the keys as to why I love my trail runners.
If you chose to go with trail runners, find a small, niche running shoe store in your area to get sized properly. Typically, these small stores are owned by running enthusiasts who have a higher level of experience and knowledge when it comes to proper shoe fit and selection.
What is your footwear of choice?
What are your reasons?
Also, check out my blog on Foot Care where I share a tip using climbers salve that is a part of my "good foot" care plan.
I hope to see you on the trail,
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