Thoughts on Hybrid hiker/water shoes
I too have gotten the ultralite backcountry bug and so I decided to set out to find a shoe I could not only hike in but wade in once I got to the river. I bought a pair of Keen's Newport H2's and tried them out on Forney last week. I hiked half way in in trail runners and then the rest of the way with the keens and socks. On the hike out I only wore the keens. First half of the hike with no socks and the latter half with. My pack was probably 25 pounds and we covered 12 miles in the two days, down from Clingmans and then back up.
I was pretty impressed with the Keens when hiking. The toe guard keeps your feet protected and the soles are sturdy enough for rough trails. If you don't feel very confident in your ankles these are not the way to go, but I was very comfortable in them. Traction in the water is not nearly as good as my wading boots, but I just had to be more careful about foot placement.
Anyone else been experimenting?
Same here, wanted to not change shoes, save some weight. I tried the Fivefingers treksports and love them (20% off coupon plus giftcard made this possible!). These are NOT the smooth soled running shoes, but the hikers with rubber knobs in the sole. As you said, not as good as felt in the river, but as long as you are careful about where you step and watch which rocks you step on, I felt fine in them. I imagine its about the same for the new rubber soled wading boots anyway. They are very comfortable to hike in, and even though they dont dry very quickly, since they fit so snugly to your feet, there is no issue with blisters when hiking wet. I do like to take them off and let my feet air out once I get to camp, so Im usually barefoot at that point, which I enjoy. So far Ive put about 20 miles through trail and water on mine (pretty hollow, sams creek, slickrock), and cant see any reason to turn back (until it gets too cold I guess).
I wish I had enough confidence in my Simms Rivershed boots to wade the Smokies but alas, I don't. They are great to hike in and for the tailwaters they seem OK but that's about where it ends unfortunately. First time I took them out on the Tellico, about near killed myself yet for the Elk and the Caney I can get by. I'm sorry but I'm all about the felt!! On my last trip to the park I was not going without felt. I decided to give the Korker Redside boots a try for $99. While I did not hike in these with my pack on, I did spend two days up and down streams for miles and they seemed to hold up pretty well. It felt sooo good to have felt on again. I could just concentrate on fishing and not worry about my footing all the time. I will say that what amazed me was how light they were? Almost like a pair of running shoes compared to my rivershed boots. These might be a light weight option worth looking at?
A hybrid shoe would be great if someone came up with a viable option that actually worked... Until then, put a pack on my back and I'm taking my Montrail's and if I get in the stream, I'm wearing felt. So it's two shoes for me...
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