Best shoes for the Drakensberg Grand Traverse

11 Mar 2014 12:09 #59828 by Viking
I've never had blisters with boots either and I wouldn't go without unless perhaps on a light-weight one nighter in summer.

(I have also never had an Almond based hiking diet either) :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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11 Mar 2014 12:24 - 11 Mar 2014 12:24 #59829 by tiska
An additional reason I prefer light trail shoes over heavier boots is that over a long day, the work done in lifting ones feet is much lower in light shoes. Over the GT, the difference is stark.

Suppose boots are a mere 200g heavier than trail shoes (they may well be more). And suppose you walk 250km in the course of the GT. If you compare a person wearing boots with a person wearing trail shoes, then the person wearing boots would have lifted 100000 kg more. That is 100 tons. It is a considerable additional effort.

I also find that boots make one less attentive about foot placement. Lighter shoes definitely need to land on a good spot. The extra mental effort required of lighter shoes will need more concentration but is less physically tiring. I find that walking in boots leads to less concentration on placement and more wasted physical effort in kicking things or in taking steps that are not as fluid.

Subjectively put, I feel light and fast in trail shoes and heavy and slow in boots.
Last edit: 11 Mar 2014 12:24 by tiska.
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11 Mar 2014 14:37 #59832 by ghaznavid

Viking wrote: (I have also never had an Almond based hiking diet either) :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:



An almond based diet - now where have I heard that mentioned before :P

@everyone who wasn't on either GT with me or hasn't heard my story of my food on GT in 2012 - I carried about 1kg of almonds on the GT and had about 500g of them left at the other end. For about a year afterwards I didn't eat almonds :sick:

One guy in our group had a similar experience with provitas and marmite - for the last few days of the GT we traded almonds for provitas and marmite...

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins

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12 Mar 2014 11:35 #59836 by Herman
I've used both. My first Berg hike was the Bell Traverse in full grain leather Hi-Tec's, and I won't do that again. They were big, heavy, and unwieldy on the narrow cliff path, and the soles are way too hard and slippery. Those kinds of trips I now do in Salomon trail runners.

My Salomon Cosmic 4D Gore-tex boots are fantastic for a traverse. They stay relatively dry through the marshlands and have proper ankle support, so they don't give me blisters on the downhills. They have grippy rubber soles, and don't wear out as quickly under heavy loads - The midsoles of some trail runners tend to compress quickly.

The reasons for Salomon are firstly that they are great shoes, but also that Cape Union Mart sell them at half price every now and then :) But after a couple of Berg hikes you'll be able to make up your own mind.
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12 Mar 2014 21:31 - 12 Mar 2014 21:32 #59844 by intrepid

Dylan wrote: Hi

I am planning on doing the GT in September 2014 over a period of around 12 days and am trying to decide what shoes to use; boots vs trail running shoes? I understand boots are good for ankle support but if I am using hiking poles would this not compensate for the lack of support given by trail shoes? I am currently leaning towards the use of Salomon trail shoes (goretex variety for waterproofing).

Would really appreciate some guidance on this!

Cheers

If it's your first GT, I would stick to the tried and tested, and use what you have used the most previously, and are most comfortable with. Avoid testing gear and concepts that you do not know well on the GT. If you have the opportunity, do a lot of hiking with both types of shoes before the time, with a full pack on. Poles do compensate a little bit for ankle twisting, though not totally in my opinion. Your will easily be heavier than normal at times on the GT (for example, depending on how much food you carry) - so theoretically your chances of ankle twisting can be higher. Depending on how nimble and strong you are on your feet, this may or may not be relevant.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 12 Mar 2014 21:32 by intrepid.
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14 Mar 2014 11:40 #59874 by HFc
All in all everything said here is relevant, and indicates a number of things:
- It probably depends on your physique quite a bit here. Again if ankle stability is an issue, best to go with boots.
- I have seen a number of posts stating that specific boots worked for them, and others not.

The same goes for trail runners.

- I would personally recommend Asics Trail Sensors, I currently use a set and they are easily the best shoe I have used. Will buy them again when this pair is done (its lasting quite a while already).
- The Solomon brand is offcourse superb, I always find them too stiff and hard for me, but it is exactly these attributes that will probably make them ideal for a GT distance with a heavy pack.

The upper range New Balance shoes, like the 900-series, are superb, lighter than my favourite Asics, but they don't last long. Soles are good, but the inner back of the shoe wears out quickly (an issue most NB's have).

I will however steer very very well clear of Hitec trial runners. I used one set on a 4-day hike over Mafadi, and their soles did not even last the four days. Comfortable yes, light yes, but poor grip, poor stability over steep terrain, and as short lasting as anything. Be aware, the CUM sales guys love recommending these....
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17 Mar 2014 08:36 #59887 by robenslin
Pack weight: Yes, I would say that if your carrying a heavy pack (fully packed for 12 days), then I would look for footwear that offers a little more ankle support. If it's a shorter hike with a lighter pack then trail shoes are good. Don't forget boots typically offer better water resistance - so when walking in the early mornings trail shoes protect your feet from getting wet (unless you have good waterproof trail shoes)

Double socks: I typically use thicker socks with my trail running shoes when hiking. (as opposed to running in my trail running shoes). Have you tried buying a thicker insole for your trail running shoes?

Cheers.

relevitt wrote: Questions for people advocating trail runners:

- Is rucksack weight a consideration?

- Can you (and do you) use double socks with trail runners?

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