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aristotle, Snacking Bear, Steve C
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
Footwear #58709 05/20/2021 2:26 AM
by Andrew B
Andrew B
I’m hiking up the Whitney trail via the switchbacks on May 27th. For anyone who’s gone up that way recently, want kind of footwear would you recommend? Trail runners? Winter boots? Or lighter boots? Thanks!
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Re: Footwear #58714 May 20th a 07:06 PM
by MikeH
Originally Posted by Steve C
Trail runners will be fine. I hiked it in lightweight hiking boots -- with crampons strapped on when I was playing in the snow by the cables. But hiked the entire trail without spikes.

I have been trying to switch to trail runners, but have found that the old boots are kinder to my toes on the descents, so I've gone back to them. I use New Balance hiking shoes/boots because I need a super wide toe box.

If you haven't tried them yet, try a pair of Altra or Topo Athletic trailrunners (Lone Peaks or Terraventures etc). Those two companies' claim to fame is wide toe boxes. My feet have been very happy since switching.
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Re: Footwear #58799 Jun 5th a 05:54 AM
by Steve C
Steve C
I have never understood the "thing" with waterproof boots. Are they supposed to make it so you can wade through a stream? Maybe through two inches of water... but how many places does anyone encounter such a stream? The Whitney area streams all have log crossings or large enough boulders that you can cross without getting wet boots.

This year, there will be no snow by the end of June, and streams are already so low you don't need to worry about wading.
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Re: Footwear #58819 Jun 9th a 03:58 AM
by Steve C
Steve C
S-Bear: Thanks for the full description of what works for you. For my JMT, (starting in 3 days!) I was planning on wearing my New Balance Leadville trail runners, but after several day hikes this spring, I switched to my older New Balance mid-height hiking boots. At the end of the day, the trail runners hurt my toes. No blisters, but maybe toes hitting the front of the shoe. This after tying them extra tight for the descents.

So I am wearing my New Balance MW1569.

Interestingly, looking up my old orders on, I see the trail runners are size 10, while the hiking boots are size 11. THAT could be the reason they hurt my toes!!
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Re: Footwear #58818 Jun 8th a 02:35 PM
by Snacking Bear
Snacking Bear
Originally Posted by aristotle
Thank you all for your responses! Its a tradeoff for me - dry feet vs blisters. Hope I ended up making the right call with Moab ventilators.

I think Steve made a good point about Whitney streams. I think you made a good choice.

I've always found sock choice and lacing technique to be the better indicator of blister prevention. I have gone years without blisters on my feet. The last time I did the JMT (along with the HST) I didn't get a single blister AND wore waterproof boots. If you are curious about my technique you can find it below.


I always choose fully synthetic socks, meaning 0% cotton. I do not want a lick of it in my liner or my outer sock. I choose an ultra-thin liner and then a thicker boot sock outer. Before I put on my socks I apply body glide (the feet use body glide) lightly to all surfaces of my toes, the balls of my feet, the outer edge of my feet, and along my Achilles tendon.

I put on my socks so they are tight to my skin (no bunching!) then put on my boots, pounding my heel into the heel cup before firmly lacing across the foot, locking back my heel firmly (tighter than the foot but not by much and not too tight). Once laced on both feet I will walk around for a few minutes prior to unlacing my boots and tying a second time in the same way: reseat my heel and re-lace to a similar tightness.

I re-tie my boots for two reasons: one - when first donning my boots they are cold, rigid, and my socks are uncompressed by my body-weight thus re-tying allows my foot to settle in the boot, two - sometimes I tie my boots too tight/loose or the tension of the laces shifts after my boots are warmer re-tying gives me time to feel out my first lacing and ensure a snug fit without over-tightening.

Another thing I do sometimes includes bringing a fresh pair of socks to swap out mid-day on hikes over 20-miles (or when my feet get soaked).

Over the last 13 years of big hikes my incidence of blisters has trailed off as I've dialed this in, but YMMV.
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