Another Shoe Update?!?

That’s right.  Another shoe update.

So last time we talked about shoes Kyle and I had spent three or so hours at REI trying different brands and models on.  We had finally settled on the Pearl Izumi trail runners.  Well it turns out those didn’t work out so well.  Kyle wore his to the gym once before decided they were too wide.  I liked mine when I wore them to the gym but then I wore them on a short four mile walk with my family while wearing a weighted pack.  They destroyed my achilles tendon.  I have never experienced pain in that part of my leg so it was a strange experience.  The next day I was having shooting pains specifically in my left leg.  At one point they were so bad that I lost control and crumpled on to the ground… in the middle of the Seattle Art Museum.  It was a little embarrassing.

So we went back to REI.  I hate having to return thing because I believe very strongly in gear karma, but neither of us had really even used the shoes and thankfully they have the return policy because both of us needed to try something new.  Back upstairs we went for another session of shoe try outs.  This time we tried on the Altra Lone Peaks again and also a couple of Montrail Models and the Nike Wildhorses.  The Altras still felt great to me, and I discovered if I laced them differently the laces weren’t cutting into my feet at all.  The Nike Wildhorses were also great but the heel seemed a bit deep to me, it almost felt as if my foot was being suctioned in every time I stepped.  This time I also asked if they had a weighted pack I could use to try the shoes on with.  I didn’t expect to instantly feel the pain in my achilles again but I thought it was a good precaution to take.  After another three hour session I came away with the shoe I probably should have picked the first time, the Altra Lonepeaks.  When I walked across the store to see what Kyle had come up with he had made the same decision.  Great, twinsies for life.

My hope with the Altras is this: I spend so much time walking around in my Toms and my VivoBarefoot booties, both of which are the equivalent of being barefoot, that choosing a shoe with zero drop will be easier on my legs.  The Altras are incredibly comfortable and seem to get great reviews.  They claim that after wearing them for a couple of days your food relaxes and spreads out, allowing it to function more like a foot… we will see.  All I know is that when I put them on I hardly feel like I am wearing a shoe.  Is that the goal of a good shoe?  Only time will tell.

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As Edward Abbey said, "An indoor life is the next best thing to a premature burial."

6 thoughts on “Another Shoe Update?!?

  1. I’ve been running in the Altra Superior 2.0 for almost a year now. Before that I was in Vibram’s for 2-3 years. You won’t have any trouble with the Altra’s.

    My only issue with the Altra’s is running down hill. I feel like there is nothing stopping my feet from sliding forward into the toe box. After my last ultra my toes were battered and I am surprised my nails never fell off. Running is different than hiking though and that is my only gripe.


  2. Thanks so much for the update! Russ and I’ve done a few hikes lately trying to get in shape for more, thanks to your blog and I’ve been using my heavier boot, which seems like overkill on the hikes we’ve been doing here in southern Cal, so I was looking to get something lighter. I do like the higher top though because as I’ve gotten older, my ankles are very prone to turning in rough terrain so if I go lighter, that will be an additional consideration for me. I was going to do some shopping but now I may wait. Keep us posted on how the Altra’s work out and thanks’ again!

    1. Altras seems great so far! I wouldn’t be too scared about transitioning to something with a lower ankle, people of all ages hike in them and love them and actually, if you start slow on easy terrain it could help to strengthen your ankles. What is your heavier boot?

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