Hiking boot/shoe fitment question

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  1. #1

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    Hiking boot/shoe fitment question

    For whatever reason(s), toe jamming when stepping on steeply declined surfaces has become an issue for me in recent years' hikes. I'm shopping for new hiking shoes now (for day hiking not extended backpacking) and wondering what're people's opinions on a few questions:

    Does a well-fitted hiking shoe/boot imply absolutely zero jamming of toes into the toe of the shoe, or just minimal jamming (where "minimal" means you don't exceed your pain tolerance or lose toenails)?

    What aspect of hiking boot/shoe fitment actually prevents toe jamming? Here's what I've been told sofar:
    a) The shoe wrapping around your instep. The instep is like a wedge, so if the shoe wraps snugly around the instep, then the wedge (foot) can't slide forward.
    b) Arch support of the insole. The insole's arch becomes a bump that the heel doesn't slide over easily, which holds the foot back.

    If a & b are true, either separately or collectively, then I may be hosed. My feet are basically pancakes.



    c) The upper part of a mid- or full- height boot holds your ankle & lower calf back, preventing your foot from sliding forward.
    This seems plausible to me but I've only ever hiked in low cut shoes. (I prefer full ankle movement and I've never rolled an ankle.)

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    JimG.'s Avatar
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    Keep all of your toenails as short as you can.

    Invest in trekking poles. The downhike of any trip is the part that wipes you out and having the poles really helps for that third or even fourth point of contact. It takes an amazing amount of pressure off of your feet.

    You may want to consider getting orthotics also.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JimG. View Post
    Keep all of your toenails as short as you can.

    Invest in trekking poles. The downhike of any trip is the part that wipes you out and having the poles really helps for that third or even fourth point of contact. It takes an amazing amount of pressure off of your feet.

    You may want to consider getting orthotics also.
    Totally agree. If you don't want to get custom orthotics, look into Pinnacle Powerstep-- over the counter inserts. There's a variety to choose from, and they work great.
    Think Snow!

  4. #4
    I had this problem when hiking steep terrain last year. I ended up with black and blue toenails on my middle toes. I think my boots had just stretched out as to not hold my foot firmly enough. I had no issues when they were newer. Or, maybe I lost weight in my feet. I started wearing two pair of socks, a thin sock with a heavier sock over that. It did help some. Going to get some new boots this year, hopefully that'll solve my problem.

    I think poles are a great idea, my ski poles helped big time on the down hike from Tuck's a few years back. They weren't adjustable though, so they were useless on the climb. If I ever go again, I'll definitely bring adjustables.
    Leave no turn unstoned!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JimG. View Post
    Keep all of your toenails as short as you can.

    Invest in trekking poles. The downhike of any trip is the part that wipes you out and having the poles really helps for that third or even fourth point of contact. It takes an amazing amount of pressure off of your feet.

    You may want to consider getting orthotics also.
    need to get some trekking poles - have any of you hiked with knee braces? Anything that can be done about sweating and chaffing with them?

  6. #6
    JimG.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiRay View Post
    need to get some trekking poles - have any of you hiked with knee braces? Anything that can be done about sweating and chaffing with them?
    I don't wear my knee brace in the summer for this very reason; I'm not aware of any real solution.

    Just got my poles a few weeks ago; they also make for faster ascents.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SkiRay View Post
    need to get some trekking poles - have any of you hiked with knee braces? Anything that can be done about sweating and chaffing with them?
    Try an over-the-counter neoprene knee brace.
    Think Snow!

  8. #8
    Hey ThinkSnow (yes, I am thinking of that right now).

    I have a dozen of them and actually chafe more with neoprene then the my OSSUR CTI brace, that I typically wear while skiing though from time to time will wear one of the two on my left leg (sans ACL) to hike. I am looking at maybe a low profile hinge brace. Maybe that will reduce the amount of areas for chafing? I hope.

  9. #9

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    Try on different brands/model/styles of footwear, they all fit differently. After having a hard time finding a hiking boot that me fit "perfectly" I ended up switching to trail runner and haven't looked back. A lot more comfortable, less fatigue and no problems. They are my go to footwear that I use them for day hiking and also overnights(my pack weight is around 30 lbs). I currently switch off between a pair of Inov8 and a pair of Brooks Cascadia 9. Only time I wear boots is when there is snow on the ground or if it's below 0, I have a pair of insulated ones.

    Also try to buy them at REI or LL Bean as if they don't fit after you've worn them you can return them. I Think EMS has recently changed their return policy so check before you buy there.
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  10. #10
    JimG.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by o3jeff View Post
    Try on different brands/model/styles of footwear, they all fit differently. After having a hard time finding a hiking boot that me fit "perfectly" I ended up switching to trail runner and haven't looked back. A lot more comfortable, less fatigue and no problems. They are my go to footwear that I use them for day hiking and also overnights(my pack weight is around 30 lbs). I currently switch off between a pair of Inov8 and a pair of Brooks Cascadia 9. Only time I wear boots is when there is snow on the ground or if it's below 0, I have a pair of insulated ones.

    Also try to buy them at REI or LL Bean as if they don't fit after you've worn them you can return them. I Think EMS has recently changed their return policy so check before you buy there.
    Sorry I kind of skipped over footwear design. This is all very true.

    But flat feet make the boot design somewhat moot although they have to fit comfortably. The OTC solution ThinkSnow suggests is a good one.

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