Monday, June 26, 2017

I Prefer Hiking Boots Over Trail Shoes

Call me old school, an old fuddy-duddy, or just old because I prefer hiking boots over trail shoes. Not only do I prefer hiking boots, I prefer all leather boots.

My first hiking boots were Fabiano all leather uppers. The leather held up so well that I eventually had the boots resoled with new Vibram soles. When the uppers finally wore out I purchased a second pair just like the first and they too lasted for years. Those two pair hiked and backpacked with me on Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, through West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness, across the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, and through the Wind Rivers range. Unfortunately, I do not remember what ever happened to that second pair. That was all back in the day before there was even anything like a trail shoe.

Solomon XA Pro 3Ds, Merrell Wilderness. & Garmont Nagevis
I now day hike and backpack wearing a pair of Merrell Wilderness classic all weather boots. Yes, they are heavy. But they are also sturdy, generally keep my feet dry, and keep my feet warm when hiking snow covered trails in single digit temperatures. They do, however, get a little warm, and my feet perspire when I wear them in warm weather.

I own and have tried trail shoes. I have worn my pair of Garmont Nagevi while hiking some wet trails in New York’s Shawangunks and in West Virginia’s Otter Creek Wilderness. They didn’t keep my feet warm or dry while day hiking over trails with frost and light snow.

I have worn my Solomon XA Pro 3Ds while day hiking in Western Pennsylvania’s Raccoon Creek State Park and a four day three night backpacking trip on Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. They performed no better or no worse than the Garmonts. When hiking through the rain on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, my feet got wet when Merrell boots would probably have kept my feet dry.

When I am heading out for a day hike and expect the weather to be warm and dry, I may still wear my Garmont or Solomon hiking shoes because they are lighter than my Merrell boots and my feet stay a little cooler and dryer in them. For wetter or cooler weather, however, I will always opt for my old fashion all leather hiking boots.

This is a slightly edited version of a post that originally appeared on The Trek.

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