Why do your boots leave t-rex prints?
May 18, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

What shoes should I get for dinosaur-hunting (and hiking in general)?

My soon-to-be-wife and I are going to a dinosaur quarry in Wyoming for part of our honeymoon, and we (or at least, I) need footwear for the trip. We're going to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, too, which hopefully involve some bit of hiking.

I'm not entirely sure what to look for. High-, mid-, or low-tops? Materials? Etc. As far as brands go, I'm not devoted to any in particular but I have two pairs of Ecco shoes that are very comfortable.
posted by jma to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
Are you backpacking or just dayhiking? If you're carrying much weight you'll want boots with more ankle support than you can get away with for hiking with just a daypack. Other considerations might be protection from cacti and other aggressive plants. Personally I like vibram soles - good on rocky, uneven terrain. If you're carrying any significant weight you'll want to size the boots to accomodate double socks, regardless you should get them to fit over cushy hiking socks - I'm partial to smartwool rather than rag - your feet will thank you for the padding though. I would go to a place like REI and try things on and buy them and wear them a bunch before you go hiking to break them in.
posted by leslies at 11:09 AM on May 18, 2010

I recently replaced my hiking boots with a pair of these Asolos.

I've used it on two 3-day backpack trips and it feels like walking on a cloud. Almost no break in required. Two of my other friends also got the same pair and love it.
posted by special-k at 11:19 AM on May 18, 2010

sneakers for everything, hiking boots are just not worth it unless you are climbing up scree mountains or something.
posted by H. Roark at 11:21 AM on May 18, 2010

Just wanted to chime in with another Asolo recommendation. I recently got a pair of Styngers (womens) and wore them on a 4 day trek to Machu Picchu. They were super comfortable and supportive. Love em! Not cheap, but totally worth it!
posted by bobafet at 11:52 AM on May 18, 2010

What you're looking for will depend on what sort of hiking you'll be doing. Pack or no pack? Trail or off trail? Good trails, or just piles of carins strewn about? What season?
posted by craven_morhead at 12:27 PM on May 18, 2010

There are a few lines of thought in regards to boots vs sneakers for hiking. Here is a pretty good analysis of all that, providing a lot of questions (Do you kick a lot of rocks? Do want ankle support, and if so, why? Are you going through any wet places where you want to keep dry, or would you prefer to let the water go in and out?) Also, do you hike (or walk) much? Heavy boots, while durable and great for protecting toes, can make a long walk feel a lot longer. I've come to the decision that boots are overkill, as they make me (feel) less nimble, and I handle unexpected terrain better with lighter shoes. The ankle padding on most boots aren't to prevent rolling your ankle, but keep your anklebones from being hit by things (like your other shoe).

If your feet get warm with ease (a problem for me, at least), you'll enjoy something which will breathe well, and something you can wear with heavy socks should you get cold. But if it's the summer, you might want something like a sturdy sandal. I have something like the Clark Un.bow, but I had to replace the elastic pulls with laces after the elastic lost its bounce, and getting pebbles caught in the toe cover can be annoying to get out, as the little side-holes are pretty small.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2010

... Other than that, I like them. They are durable, comfortable, and of course they breathe well and drain quickly when walking through water.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on May 18, 2010

Seconding sneakers. I gave up on hiking boots after being unable to find a pair that don't torture my feet. For any load <3>
Unless you need crampons, or expect to be hiking steep off-trail terrain, boots are generally more trouble than they're worth.

I've had very good luck with a pair of these http://www.rei.com/product/763463 (Skip the model with the goretex. They just make your feet hotter, and add needless expense.)

Mine are currently coming apart at the seams, but they've been abused by multiple canyon descents, and rugged off-trail hiking for which boots would have been more appropriate. For day-hikes or lightweight overnighters, on trails, they're fantastic.
posted by zen_spider at 12:55 PM on May 18, 2010

Ack. That was supposed to read "<30 lbs."
posted by zen_spider at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2010

I just bought these Keen boots for hiking. They won't have their hiking debut until Memorial Day but they were EXTREMELY comfortable in the store. I used to have a boot very similar to the Asolos (they were made by REI) that I found to be very unforgiving in terms of cushioning and too heavy but they held up very well.

FWIW, the Keens have gotten amazing reviews. They are much less constricting than a heavy duty hiking boot (the wide toe bed is wonderful) but they still feel very sturdy and are about half the price of the Asolos.

If you decide to get these and don't try them in person - they tend to run 1/2 a size small.
posted by jasbet07 at 1:39 PM on May 18, 2010

I'm a sneaker guy, after years of being a heavy-boot guy. Losing a couple of pounds on the end of each foot was very liberating. However, I've also got good ankles and am moderately experienced. I'm very careful with foot placement. I don't carry a huge (25 kg+) anymore pack either. If these are true for you, you might want to think about trail shoes.

If you're starting out, if you're carrying big packs that mess up your centres of gravity and add a lot of weight, I'd think about a full-ankle boot. Full-leather boots are also really, really great in the wet or tick country (get gators too!). If you're in snow, you'll want boots even more. Just make certain to waterproof them before you go.
posted by bonehead at 1:40 PM on May 18, 2010

One thing that sneakers and lightweight hiking boots don't help with is rattlesnakes. Rattlesnake bite will go right through nylon but won't penetrate leather.
posted by nathan_teske at 7:54 PM on May 19, 2010

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