Saturday, February 14, 2009

Inov-8 Trail Shoes for the PCT

I'm a big fan of Inov-8 trail running/walking shoes. I wore 315s on my Colorado hike last year and was pleased with them. I've also hiked in 320s (good) and have held models 295, 270, 212, and 312 in my hands. 

Best models for the PCT

A lot depends on the person, but I think I need thicker midsoles on my shoes for long-distance walking. Inov-8s have 3 degrees of midsole cushioning. Here are the models with the greatest amount of cushioning that are appropriate for the PCT (i.e. trail runners, but with no gore-tex, which impedes breathability and slows drying):

Each of these models generally costs $90-100, unless you find a great sale (more on that later). In order of likely breathability: 335 (most breathable), 305, 320 (still dries pretty quick). Reverse that order for durability of uppers (important for rocky sections of trail)

Here are some other appropriate models with a bit less cushioning than the above:

These all cost about the same, too. (note to self:  stocks 3 of these 6 models - 295, 305, 315 - in my size at prices between $70 and $75.)

Finding deals on Inov-8 shoes

Here are some websites to follow. You should never have to pay full price for Inov-8 shoes!

  • - good places to start, because they track prices in many shops (but not all)
  • - 295 and 315 usually cost around $70, with no sales tax and free delivery (note to self: if you order by phone - 1-800-606-9598 ("Terra") - they can ship to general delivery addresses, but they "assume no liability for the package". So I can wait till I get on the trail to order new shoes, and see whether I'll need size 13 or 14.)
  • - you never know what will be selling
  • and - selection varies from week to week; can have some awesome deals; free shipping over $50
  • - small discounts; has large selection of models
  • - occasional sales; has large selection of models
  • - occasional discounts
  • - occasional deals; free shipping over $100
Sizing of Inov-8 shoes

Almost everyone recommends going up half a size compared to your other shoes. Also, most people's shoe size increases when hiking in the desert and/or hiking for more than a week at a time. For me, that means wearing size 13, possibly 14 for long-distance hiking. Since I don't know how much my feet will expand (they didn't expand as much over a month in Colorado as people said they would), I'll try to put off buying new pairs of shoes till I'm a month or so into the trail. 

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