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Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Discussion: Shoes/Boots

in: Adventure Racing; Gear & Toys

Nov 2, 2014 11:18 PM # 
I was wondering what you would recommend for trail and back country shoes / boots for orienteering and adventure races?

I'm a barefoot trail and road runner and I would like know your recommendations for a zero drop shoe (vertical drop between the heel and toe box). Which shoes or boots are lightweight and hold up to these types of races?

I look forward to your comments.
Nov 3, 2014 3:03 AM # 
I've been more or less exclusively wearing Salomon 3D Ultra's for AR and Orienteering, although I am currently wearing a pair of Salomon Speed Cross CS3's. Both are 10mm drop non-minimalist shoes.

That said I think New Balance is your best option for low drop trail shoes.
Nov 3, 2014 4:42 AM # 
Altra is currently a favorite among some racers.
Nov 3, 2014 1:14 PM # 
Altra Lone Peak 2.0. Zero drop. Great updates in this 3rd gen shoe.
Nov 3, 2014 7:51 PM # 
2nd on the Altra LPs. Not as durable upper as Salomon for bushwhacking, but they are continually updating and will eventually have a WP/snow option. Another brand to consider is Innov8.
Nov 3, 2014 11:47 PM # 
thanks for the comments, so far, they are greatly appreciated!

I wish the Innov8 and Altras were sold at a store closer to me. Looks like the closest dealer is about 1.5 hour drive from my house.

What makes a good trail / bushwhacking shoe? Durability of the upper is one thing that I should be looking at?
Nov 4, 2014 1:47 AM # 
I've raced in some pretty minimalist shoes before - one pair with only soft foam on the bottom without the bottom layer of harder rubber. I loved that they felt light and kept me from getting blisters. However, my bottoms of my feet would sometimes feel beat up/bruised after a long race (24+) and I ditched the soft foam bottoms after they got speared all the way through with a stick. One shoe that I liked was the Inov8 Trailroc 236. However, I definitely blew through the pinky toe area of the upper on both feet and decided I needed a more substantial shoe for better protection. I could still feel a lot of the bumps, rocks, and sticks underfoot with this. I raced a whole season in this shoe, so if you want something minimal, it's a good option.
Summary: Durability of the upper is helpful, but so is having some underfoot protection when going off trail.
Nov 4, 2014 1:49 AM # 
durability, grip (consider off-trail contouring on steep loose, wet terrain) but most of all, Fit: you don't want your foot sliding around in the shoe causing blisters.
Nov 4, 2014 1:51 AM # 
One important shoe attribute is fast-draining-ness, b/c your feet will be submerged repeatedly in most races (in/out of boats and water crossing). I like to see meshy sides I can (almost) see daylight through, while still having a protective, robust structure (i.e., not minimalist). It can be a compromise.
Nov 5, 2014 9:46 PM # 
Thanks for all the input. So a good fit, breathability, and stability/durability of the sole is bit more important than a good durable upper?
Nov 6, 2014 3:16 PM # 
What MHtrailvet says is how I go about picking a shoe "fast-draining-ness". It depends on the terrain and weather on which shoes to race with. If its a winter race in the snow I will be using thicker shoes (obviously) with no mesh on it for better insulation. If its a hot race in the mountains/rock of Kentucky I will be using light but durable shoes with good tread on the bottom. If I am racing in the sand in Michigan, I will use breathable shoes with lots of areas for sand to be able to seep out so I don't have to take them off and shake them (so mesh on top and sides of shoe). If its a race in Ontario I take the more treaded, durable and meshy shoes. It all depends on the terrain and weather of where the race takes place. Universally the Salmon 3D Ultras are a nice shoe overall. I currently have asics, salomons, new balance, and altras in my shoe collection. Asics have served me very well over the years more so then any other brand. I can get a lot of miles out of them more so then others, so I have noticed.
Nov 6, 2014 4:44 PM # 
Different types of off-road shoes have features that make them better for different purposes. I used to own one pair of off-road shoes - just like I used to own one bike and one pair of cross-country skis. Now... I'd rather not confess how many pairs are in my closet. But if I could only have one pair for AR and orienteering, for me it would be the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra. They are a hike/run shoe so the disadvantage is that they aren't designed primarily for running. So if I could have *two* pairs, I'd add the Salomon Speedcross for trail running. Three pairs: I'd add the Fellcross for orienteering. Four pairs: the Snowcross for winter running... OK, I'd better stop because I'm a bad influence! :)
Nov 6, 2014 7:27 PM # 
Yep, what Bash says. lol. Next thing you know.... you have a small swamp-smelly black hole in your closet where all your shoes are.
Nov 9, 2014 7:19 PM # 
Yes I will soon have a swamp smelling black hole! But, I do enjoy the traditional barefoot trail running, so I will not need as many shoes ;-) I'm hoping to run the Toad, a 25 km trail run in Ontario, next year, barefoot.

Thanks for all the comments!
Nov 10, 2014 5:35 AM # 
I saw someone running the mountainous Canadian Death Race barefoot so Run for the Toad should definitely work for you!
Nov 28, 2014 4:30 AM # 
Bash - I was going to buy and try the Salomon_____ but all their shoes are too narrow for my wide feet :-(

Ended up going with a pair of KEEN's - width of shoe was right. (plus the price was nice - Last years model + on sale at the opening day of the new SAIL in Cambridge, Ontario = good discount). We will see how, I like then over the next few trail runs (I think they are more of a hiking shoe than a trail running shoe)
Dec 1, 2014 4:08 PM # 
Carbon's Offset:
I saw someone at Western States in FiveFingers.... But he was walking and frowning, I was running by and smiling (in Hokas)...
(But that was pretty far into the race, so Run for the Toad should be more reasonable for barefoot)
Dec 9, 2014 4:48 PM # 
Looks like I may need to miss the Toad for another year. It might be on the same weekend as the Wilderness Traverse.
Dec 10, 2014 4:20 AM # 
Most likely the same weekend for 2015 WT and Toad. Should know for sure in a couple of weeks when early registration opens.

This discussion thread is closed.