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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Boots v Trainer Shoes Quandary

Author: David Wilman
Posted: Fri 2nd Dec 2011, 8:37
Joined: 2011
Local Group: Norfolk & Suffolk
I've had a few thoughts on this subject over the years. Both as a [part-time !] fell runner and a LDWA member maybe I can see a part of both sides of the trainer/ boots discussion. I always thought that dragging the extra weight of boots up some hill, or over a long distance walk, to be going too far. In fell running, the light weight enables you to keep up speed/distance quite well, over some very coarse terrain. No need for the protection of boots there then.
The main problem for me, I emphasise, is waterproofing; boots are waterproof, trainers are generally not. Even Goretex trainers seem to have such a low rim height that water in the smallest puddle goes straight into your shoe.
I recently acquired a lightweight boot, the Walsh Fellsman. Early days yet, but so far they seem to be an excellent compromise between my heavier boots and my fell shoes. Waterproof with Nikwax, quite light, and a very simple yet effective boot. Haven't tried running any hills in them yet, but feel that they would be very good.
Don't know if this throws any light on the subject !
Posted: Tue 8th Nov 2011, 10:14
Joined: 2011
I'm a very new member so cannot speak for the LDWA but in my experience at events like the Nijmegen 4daagse I have noticed that for me after a certain time/distance walking the padding/elasticity inside is just insufficient with boots. The bottom of my feet just ached. Sure, you can ignore it, but better to reduce it, and even though you can put some gel insoles and artiflex in boots, it doesnt come close to the kind of internal padding you feel in trainers.

Typically boots:
- better grip over rough terrain
- thicker soles with better shock absorption (although trainers with vibram exist, still thinner absorption typically)
- better hold of ankles (matters for me, I'm good at twisting ankles)
>> my choice over rough terrain, in muddy conditions, steep inclines

- lighter (although boots have lightened up a lot)
- better internal cushioning.
- better aeration
- often have better correction
>> my choice if I will walk on hard surfaces, or in hot weather, or for very long duration

That kind of maps with the distinctions above, doesnt it?
Author: Sean Lawson
Posted: Sun 25th Sep 2011, 20:03
Joined: 2009
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Boots everytime!!!!! Think about your ankles. boots walk through anything shoes? picking your way round. Ta.
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Tue 28th Dec 2010, 18:32
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Golly, I never came across a Ramblers Group insisting on boots! that's a bit draconian. I relate to the toe end damage with trainers, difficult to preserve decent feet in them in my experience. Brasher Superlight boots are terrific and so comfortable and give extra protection against wet feet, soles tend to wear quickly but repairable. The next person who tells me they like wet feet in running type trainers, "the water is squeezed out", well I just question their sanity, absurd macho nonsense
Author: Michael Connolly
Posted: Fri 24th Dec 2010, 12:55
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Merseystride
Doing The camino this year had to decide on footwear in advance,couldnt carry both.Decided to go with North face hedgehogs. For the first half thro France they were hopeless not weatherproof and soles did not offer enough protection on rough terrain.For the second half of the trek thro Spain on flatter tracks and in drier weather they were ideal. No blister problems at all just the usual impact damage to ends of toes.
Author: Peter C Matthews
Posted: Fri 17th Dec 2010, 11:24
Joined: 1977
Local Group: Staffordshire
I have been wearing trainers since the early 1980's- ditching boots then. There is nothing to commend boots in my view. For dry feet I use UK gear shoes and they keep my feet dry. I am also a member of the ramblers and I think their addiction to boots is partly historical and partly the dreaded health & safety. Being a charity, some walks leaders are fearful of being sued in case of injury, by specifying boots they cover themselves. In fact some Ramblers groups insist that you wear them on their walks.
Author: John King
Posted: Mon 15th Nov 2010, 13:11
Joined: 2002
Good luck with your boots John.

Maybe I should elaborate a little, the resesarch I have seen regarding Walking boots / running shoes and injury is based around the simple premise that our joints are designed to be flexible (Ankle in this case) remove that flexibiliy and something wiil have to give, hence roll an ankle in a nice supportive boot and then the ankle will give by virtue of the fact that it is weaker than the boot, by the same token when Traversing when wearing boot`s the lack of flexibility in the anlke will cause more strain on the Knees thus creating another hotbed of injury.
Current research seems to be pointing at the footwear and the way it screws up our Bio-mechanics as the biggest creator of injury, and that it is important to maintain as much natural movement when self perambulating as one can.

For my part at least as I have said this all seems to hold true as far as I am concerned, by virtue of the fact that since ditching boots in favour of running shoes lower limb probs are a thing of the past.

But as ever it`s horses for courses and we must all do what is right for ourselves, although I love discussing the what`s and whyfor`s of different folks approache`s to kit etc.
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Mon 15th Nov 2010, 6:40
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Thanks guys for the comments.

I like to keep my feet dry so generally go for boots when I know it's going to be wet underfoot. Dry weather will tempt me into lighter weight trainers. However I'd have thought boots would give more support when turning an ankle, not exacerbate the severity of the "roll."

Author: John King
Posted: Thu 11th Nov 2010, 16:43
Joined: 2002
Hi John
Me again, I wrote the last post based on carrying a 12ltr sac, now if I am wearing say a 60ltr Rucksack chances are I will use lightweight boots on a bit of technical terrain, then substitute them for a cushioned pair of road running shoes over easy terrain.

But the I figure you would have guessed that.

Again good luck
Author: John King
Posted: Thu 11th Nov 2010, 16:31
Joined: 2002
Hi John
For my part I wear off road running shoes (definitly not trainers), the ones I choose are designed to shed water fast and dry quickly.
Several years ago I used Boots but often had issues with blisters and twisted ankles,I think you will find there are more sprained and broken ankles amoungst boot wearers than running shoe wearers over the same terrain , this I think is due to the fact that in running shoes the ankle is allowed to flex, hence role an akle and there is a good chance you will recover it with little if any damage, plus a running shoe will help the ankle strengthen over time, whereas a boot holds the ankle firmly in place, like a splint hence role the ankle and chances are that due to the lack of flexibility the ankle is going to go to far and hey presto a period of RICE, plus the damned things where so cumbersome in comparasion to running shoes they were a hindrance to progress, and on top of that they took forever to dry in fact there were times when I was putting wet boots on for weeks on end..

No such problems since I saw the light and started wearing the running shoes.

I team my running shoes with the Cheap Aldi running socks which I find really work for me no blisters or hotspots over any distances

But then as with all things it is subjective and it is just a case of what suits you and your style of perambulation best

Good Luck
Author: Roy Turner
Posted: Wed 10th Nov 2010, 16:40
Joined: 1988
Local Group: Vermuyden (South Yorks)
Maybe the impression is the" Ramblers "are up market strollers, while "LDWA" are tear-away madmen, thus this defines our choice of footwear.
LDWA are for speed & distance. I myself use mid boots, leather prefered, lightweight soles, fabric ones at times,i like to be waterproof with support.
As i say all a matter of choice,maybe 50/50 Trainers/Boots.
Trainer folks don't seem to mind wet feet, in fact, get them wet instantly to feel comfortable i'm informed.
Whereas Rambler's can stroll in heavier footwear and their feet won't take the same punishment
Funny lot are'nt we.
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Sun 7th Nov 2010, 20:38
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
I walk regularly with both LDWA and Ramblers Groups, being a member of both organisations. What puzzles me is that the Ramblers folks invariably walk in (sometimes highly polished) boots whilst a majority of LDWA walkers adopt the walker trainer type shoes, any insights on this phenomenon? It's not that the Ramblers people are of an older generation, all Groups are equally advanced in years. Are the Ramblers just more upmarket, are they still more attached to the tweed wearing generation of the 30's?

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