Saturday, April 30, 2011

Minimalist Footware for the PCT

If I were to get a pair of minimalist shoes for the PCT, my first recommendation would be a huarache-type sandal, such as the Leadville Luna Sandal. This sandal design has a long and illustrious history and has become popular since the publication of Christopher McDougall's bestseller Born To Run.

The materials used in the Luna Sandal are top-quality, and the sandals should be durable enough for many hundreds of miles. Walking in them will require a somewhat different stride that you are used to in trail runners. There will be less of a heel strike and your foot placement will not be so far in front of you. There will be other adjustments to get used to, and some stabilizing muscles may become sore.

Here's another variant on the huarache style: the Unshoe.

The advantages of such a shoe on the PCT, or parts of the PCT, are:
  • very light weight
  • almost negligible drying time (great for stream crossings)
  • better ventilation for hot conditions (blister prevention)
I hope to get a pair of these before my summer thru-hike in Europe and try them out a bit.

12 comments:

  1. there are always vibrams if you want the barefoot feel and ventilation, but protection too. the down side is they are pretty expensive. well worth it if you spend a lot of time outdoors in my opinion.

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  2. So, are you saying that this would replace a hiking boot? Or are you just saying you like this sandal for base-camp/little hikes?

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  3. I need to post an update. I got some experience with the Unshoe and with Fivefingers, and neither can be used as a stand-alone hiking shoe, so I do not recommend them for use on a thru-hike. Better to take one pair of lightweight trail runners or possibly a fully enclosed minimalist shoe with a tread that's at least 10 mm thick, but only after a lot of testing.

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  8. I currently hike and run in Vibrams Five Fingers but I'd love to do summer hiking in a Luna.

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