Trail Runners vs Boots vs Sandals For Backpacking (plus Socks, Camp Shoes, Gaiters, etc.)


00:00 Hey y’all
00:44 Hiking Boots (Pros and Cons)
03:56 Buying Options
05:55 Trail Runners (Pros and Cons)
07:12 Mids
07:35 Zero Drop and Wide Toe Box
09:48 Gore-tex
10:50 Sandals
13:12 How to Find the Right Fit
15:32 Insoles and Inserts
16:50 Lock Laces
17:34 Camp Shoes
19:27 Socks
19:29 Materials
20:23 Weight and Length
24:51 Gaiters

Army Research Institute Study:

Video on Goretex:

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Camera Gear Used:

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AT Gear List:

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25 comments

  • Time Stamps for the mobile folks:
    00:44 Hiking Boots (Pros and Cons)
    03:56 Buying Options
    05:55 Trail Runners (Pros and Cons)
    07:12 Mids
    07:35 Zero Drop and Wide Toe Box
    09:48 Gore-tex
    10:50 Sandals
    13:12 How to Find the Right Fit
    15:32 Insoles and Inserts
    16:50 Lock Laces
    17:34 Camp Shoes
    19:27 Socks
    19:29 Materials
    20:23 Weight and Length
    24:51 Gaiters

  • I’m from Alaska and I hike all summer in Chacos. The bus drivers in Sitka called me “the lady with hiking sandals”. I also love altras that I’ve been wearing for 7 years but their quality has gone down and they don’t make the polartek neoshell anymore which was my favorite winter running shoe. When it’s very cold, like below -20F I like Steger mukluks. Bulky and heavy but the only thing that actually keeps my feet warm.

  • Can I wear my lone peak 6 trail runner to climb Ruth Mountain in July?

  • I just bought some $350 zamberlan baltoro lite boots, they're awful!!! They're not really waterproof although they advertise they are… And they felt like I'm wearing cooking pots on my feet, rock hard inside, blisters on both heels after two miles, couldn't wait to get them off my feet after even a couple miles and get my runners out of my pack… Wore them twice before returning them for another set of trail runners, never had an issue with trail runners, much lighter, much more comfortable, much softer and shock absorbing, I'm never buying another set of boots, waterproof trail runners and knee high gaiters Trump expensive hiking boots in my book and I've tried both…

    The only reason I went to a boot to start with was better waterproofing in snow and extremely wet trails… But they weren't any more waterproof, so that was pointless also. Borth boots leaked at the base of the tongue when hiking up a snow and water soaked trail, upper socks were dry, top of toes were wet.

  • I never go cheep on shoes (boots)socks your experience is very valuable to me US..

  • I have a pair of Altra trail runners but I find that my feet slide inside. The shoe is very flexible and when there are rocks on the trail the shoe bends one way and my foot slides the other. Does anyone else experience this?

  • such a good and thorough video!!!

  • hi, thanks for helping me to get some sleep.

  • X

    Rei got some very good sandals for hiking, I’m thinking about going with sandals, I use boots and they are good but my feet get really hot a sweaty so sandals sound nice

  • When I was looking at my first pack I had a friend say "go for one smaller than you think" when I questioned why? They said "because whatever you get you'll fill it" Little did I know, he was right!

    (In the end I ended up with a 48ltr pack from Osprey and have never needed anything more for multiple overnight hikes)

  • I am not an experienced backpacker and am only starting my entry into the hobby, but what are your thoughts on simple leather desert boots? I know, given the name, that they're not designed for their water resistant properties and whatnot, but here are my thoughts. In general, I almost universally prefer boots in my everyday life; I have a pair of Golden Fox desert boots that I absolutely love. They're super comfortable and my feet feel secure and cozy. The single layer of leather conforms to my foot, especially around the ankle, so it doesn't rub or chafe. They're based on military boots of WWI & II, so they're designed with no frills practicality in mind. They're simple full grain leather, unlined, un-padded; just one layer of leather. Would such a boot dry faster than hiking boots or other hiking footwear with layers of padding and fabric and whatnot? Now, I'm fair certain that your best bet is still to remove them if you're fording a river or something, but in general I feel like they'd dry faster, especially given the opportunity to air out a bit. Also, and I know a lot of people have complained about the grippiness of the crepe sole, but I've found it to be far grippier than, for example, my heavily treaded work boots. In fact, over the winter, I preferred wearing my Golden Foxes because they felt far more secure on ice. I'd imagine that a rubber crepe sole is going to have a lot more surface area and be therefore much better on iffy terrain like ice or wet surfaces. I've found that heavy treads get full of snow or other detritus and become really slippery, whereas the crepe soles stay pretty grippy.

    All this theorizing is simply from wearing them in my everyday life… maybe my perspective would change after a couple hundred miles of hiking. That being said, it seems to me that a boot designed with old-school soldiering in mind and introduced to soldiers by popular demand (similar boots having been acquired by British troops during the Boer Wars), that they'd have something going for them where long distance "marching" over rough terrain in variable weather conditions is concerned. Thoughts?

  • Another good one, Dixie.

  • Planter problems can be cured by using superfeet insoles in all your footwear.

  • Careful with zero drop if you often get planters… and Roll Tide!

  • Merino wool is not from a New Zealand sheep. Merino sheep are a type of sheep originally from Spain. Is now raise all over the world, but for many years it was present only in Spain. It’s been bred since the Middle Ages.

  • "It's not your granddaddy's army blanket" LOL!! Know exactly what you mean! Thanks for all the great video's, love to watch them and prepare myself for 'hiking' this year with my 9 yr old and 18 yr old in France and Switzerland this summer. You cover all topics. Thanks a lot again!!! Greetz from Friesland, Netherlands

  • Just bought another half dome plus from the used store, love REI, why have two? Imo, best bang for buck at price range for 3 season. You can find cheaper but not better, especially at the used store

  • Merino wool is a great tip for socks. I have been buying the 3 packs from Cabela’s for several years now. Wear them every day. They are comfortable in the cold and the heat.

  • such a great video im transitioning form hiking boots to trial runners this summer

  • I’m planning a 12 night backpacking trip on the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland. You should look into that trail for one of your upcoming adventures. It’s much more of a traditional summer hike than you’d expect.

  • Happy every-day hiker considering my first couple of overnights. I’ve stuck to Hokas for a few years now. They’re the only trail runners that have enough cushion for me and my very picky feet. Whenever I hike or run enough, I’d walk like I was injured for the first half hour after getting out of bed – ankle pain. My Hoka Evo Mafate were the first shoes that didn’t mess me up while running. I switched to hiking in them and had no soreness and almost no blisters. I recently got Hoka TenNine Hike GTX – they’re a $250 price tag, so definitely not lightweight on price. However, they’re very lightweight as a shoe/boot, and I do feel like that funky heel extension does a lot for the springy step. I’ve yet to wipe out in them on rocky slopes. Yay on the extra-extra cushion and yay on the thread.

  • I’m 61 and old school. First topic boots, excellent. Leather boots need broke in correctly. You don’t buy them and go back packing. I wear only Danner Mountain hiker Lite boots. Everyday all day. Water proof breathable excellent protection on and off the trail. Goretex lined. To break them in initially. Soak them in mink oil, as in lay it on Preheat with hair dryer the apply oil. Heat again and put them on and go hike. Once broke in. Nothing gives better footing. I will never stop wearing my Danners. I tried a pair of Merrels. They are way to freaking hot.

  • Did yo ever update your terra flex Xero shies review after using them

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