recommended hiking boots for New zealand
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Dec 14, 2012 7:45 AM Last Post By: travelinstyle46
Sep 24, 2012 3:15 PM
recommended hiking boots for New zealandHey all,
I just bought new Salomon Vega GTX hiking boots, but I am starting to question whether they are suitable for NZ.
they feel very comfortable, but I'm not sure if they provide sufficient ankle support and shock absorption
i'm planning about 5-6 multi day treks, as well as many day walks. total of 3.5 month
does anyone have a good advice? I can still replace them with higher (and heavier boots)
thanks very much in advance!
Sep 24, 2012 11:07 PM
1They appear to be waterproof so I should think they will be fine, particularly as you are no doubt planning on doing the normal tourist tracks. IF you were bush-bashing off-track you might want something more robust, but otherwise if you find them comfortable wear them. I'm assuming you aren't planning on tramping above the snow line?
Also NZ has quite a number of camping shops - you could buy something different here if you wanted to.
Sep 25, 2012 3:36 AM
I'm not familiar with the terrain you will be walking or the boot but I used Salomon Comet for my last trek and they are a step up in terms of ankle support and sole stiffness compared to the Vega.
The trek was in Nepal, Tumlingtar to EBC so needed to be suitable for a range of conditions, terrain and temperatures and they were well-suited to the job: supportive and stiff enough but still lightweight. A little warm at lower altitudes but that's likely to be the case with any membrane boot.
Fit is primary so if the Vegas fit well then the Comet should do too. If you need more stiffness then have a look at Salomons with 4D in the name.
Sep 25, 2012 5:33 AM
Sep 25, 2012 2:34 PM
It is fantastic that you are going to be doing so much hiking here in NZ. I am not personally familiar with these hiking boots but I had a quick look online and I would suggest you should invest in some boots with ankle support. We tell all those people doing our safari styled tours - which involve hiking tracks on uneven terrain and river crossings to all have boots with ankle support. It sounds like you have a great holiday planned and the last thing you want is to roll your ankle badly and not be able to complete the hikes you plan. Ankle support is really important when you are carrying a pack that will be 12+kgs, doing river crossings and travelling across scree slopes. You don't need expensive boots with a shank when you are not going above the snowline but do invest in some with ankle support.
Anne from Hiking New Zealand
Sep 25, 2012 2:50 PM
Sep 26, 2012 3:22 AM
Sep 26, 2012 12:11 PM
7Actually I disagree with #4 - for many years I played by that orthodoxy and wore higher boots when in rough country (usually off track - it was my job). But I always found it tiring and uncomfortable. One day I went with lower boots and the difference was magic. My ankles are strong- I've never had a strain - and I just don't need ankle support - I suspect I'm not unique. What you do need is a very solid sole that you know wont bend if you stand on a uneven surface, and thru which you won't feel the track. But ankle support is very much a personal thing.
If you go to Nepal you will see the porters carrying 50kg plus wearing sandshoes. I personally wouldn't because I need a rigid sole - but I do think plenty of people wear far too heavy and restricitng boots
Sep 30, 2012 9:48 AM
Oct 30, 2012 10:33 AM
9Hi there, I've done some trekking in NZ - the Queen Charlotte track (fairly easy) and the Milford Track (more testing). I had brasher boots and I would describ them as medium boots - not too high but sturdy enough. I think your solomons sound sturdy enough but as another person suggests go into a good walking shop on arrival in NZ and seek advice there. They are likely to know the terrain.
Nov 1, 2012 8:20 AM
10Bonjour from Islamabad,
Better to have long trekking shoes, supporting one's ankles.
If the terrain is with glaciers and snow, they should be waterproof .
Nov 14, 2012 9:14 AM
11I don't know about New Zealand practices but I do know that in Europe still today, the norm is to wear heavier boots than I would consider necessary. Hikingnz may be simply repeating the 'norm'.
I have hiked and backpacked for around 5 decades. Much of that off-trail with a relatively heavy backpack. When I first began, the 'norm' was heavy leather boots above the ankle. An average weight was 5-6 lbs./pair. They also had to be 'broken in' and sometimes that never happened so you ended up having to buy a new pair because you couldn't stand getting blisters every time any more. Things have changed considerably since those days thank goodness.
In 1982 New Balance introduced a light weight hiking boot. Their model H710 is still made today. This boot was designed in collaboration with Lou Whittaker and he wore a pair to the top of Mt. Everest in 1984. As far as I know this was the first light weight boot made by any manufacturer.
When introduced, they started a revolution in hiking boots with debates raging amongst 'serious' wilderness backpackers and climbers for years. The main areas of contention were ankle support and the vulcanized (rather than stiched) soles. The amount of stitching of pieces was also an issue to a lesser degree.
People argued that there was not enough support in such a light boot when carrying a heavy pack. They argued that the sole could become detached under the harsh conditions of off-trail walking, especially in rocky terrain. They argued that the stitching would abrade and the pieces would come apart. Well the proof is in the pudding as they say. They were all proved wrong. Here is the boot today, pretty much identical to those produced in 1982.
The biggest factor in choosing a hiking boot (besides fit) is WEIGHT. There is a well known saying in N. America (I don't know about in NZ). 'One pound on your feet equals 5 pounds on your back'. Meaning, the amount of energy required to lift and transport 1 pound on your feet equals the amount of energy required to carry and transport 5 pounds on your back. There is a good explanation here: http://www.fjaderlatt.se/2009/11/weight-on-your-feet.html This isn't news but it is surprising how many people who consider themselves hikers, trekkers, backpackers are not aware of this fact.
When New Balance introduced the H710 my boots went from weight 5-6 lbs./pair to 1 POUND. That meant the equivalent of taking at least 20 lbs. off my back in terms of energy used. That is what was revolutionary. You could hike farther, faster and in more comfort.
So, do you need bigger, heavier boots for NZ? My answer is that the Vegas you have probably weigh around 1.75 pounds. I'd already be looking for a lighter weight whether up to or below the ankle.
Nov 14, 2012 9:18 AM
Dec 13, 2012 5:31 PM
13For many years I used very good quality German made Lowa boots for four season backpacking and hiking both on and off trail and they have their advantages of being water resistant and providing support. Almost everyone on the Alps or Rocky Mtn trails I frequent in summertime still wear them except for the occiasonal trail runner.
However, for several years now I have been doing a good bit of trail running using shoes made specifically for that purpose (right now using the Pearl Izumi isoSeek) and would never go back to the heavy boots at least for three season, non-snow use. I've not had an ankle sprain or even a twisted ankle while running or hiking with them. Needless to say, I don't miss the high-top support of the boots.
Trail runners have a somewhat stiff sole and mesh uppers that can get wet easily but I try to stay out of water but even then wool socks work great to insulate while my shoes dry out along the way.
Obviously not all ankles are made the same, but my personal experience is that the support of ankles provided by heavy boots is overrated! Also my feet used to sweat like crazy in them and I always couldn't wait to get those boat anchors off at the end of the day.
I have also since adopted ultra light backpacking gear which dropped my pack from 40-60lbs to 20-25 lbs (9-11 kg), many times less than that. This and light footwear has been amazingly liberating!!
Dec 14, 2012 7:45 AM
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