The Survivor Adventure program is only two weeks away and the registration deadline only a few days away. With that in mind I thought I would review one of my favorite pieces of distance hiking gear – shoes.
You can bring as many shoes as you want during the 3 day adventure program taking place in the Adirondacks this year. The minimum recommendation is one hiking shoe and one trail running shoe. Bring a regular running shoe at your own peril.
Here are some highlights of my favorite shoe, the Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Men’s Hiking Shoes. I wore this shoe to Survivor last year and had no problems. I felt comfortable throughout the event. From Sportcheck:
The Bora Mid GTX delivers durable, supportive multiday hiking performance with GORE-TEX® waterproof/breathable protection, Arc’teryx Adaptive Fit comfort, and a hardwearing seamless thermolaminated upper. Agile and supportive, the custom Vibram® outsole adapts to shifting trail surfaces and topographies, while still providing support and long haul durability. The spherical heel design facilitates a smooth stride, and employs “Y” groove split heel technology for exceptional braking and agility. The injected EVA midsole provides cushioning and support, and is designed and moulded to work in tandem with the outsole. Three dimensional moulded toe and heel caps protect the foot and further extend durability, and the 3D moulded Ortholite™ footbed ups the comfort level during extended days on trail.
- Front and rear pull loops to allow you to put shoe/boot on more easily
- Custom lace hooks ease opening and tightening
- Stability and protection of a mountaineering boot
- Custom patterned Vibram® outsoles
- Custom developed 3D moulded Ortholite™ footbed delivers maximum comfort, breathability and arch support
- Spherical heel shape for improved braking and smooth stride
- Sharp heel brake and mountaineering heel tread for stability, traction and braking
- Traction grooves on outer edges of outsole
- Vibram® Arc’teryx Hiking outsole combines grip, agility, support and durability
- Seamless one piece upper with thermolaminated construction is highly abrasion resistant, durable, light and hydrophobic
- Laminated heel and toe caps secure fit and deliver precision support
- Highly durable EVA foam midsole absorbs shock while providing precision stability
If you don’t get these boots on sale they are quite expensive (roughly $320). If you have the budget they are worth the price. My feet didn’t sweat on walks ranging well over 7 hours and when I lost my footing or stumbled I felt the support of the shoe. That being said if you are a trained minimalist you might want to stick with what you know. Not every hiking shoe will feel comfortable to everyone. I certainly wouldn’t plan to run any distance in these shoes but they are awesome for very long walks off-road if you are the mountaineering sort.
If I had to list a downside I would say the sock liner can be quite difficult to put on. In the dark or if your feet are damp they can be quite a struggle. You get the hang of it after a while but I’d prefer to have an extra lace on the liner and a larger liner.
The only hiking shoes or boots I can compare these to are my army Gor-tex boots since I wore those the previous 10 years in the infantry. With the army Gor-tex boots I found my feet sweat a lot so I had to stop once in a while to put foot powder on my feet to keep from blistering. The army boots also squeaked if you submerged them in water, making them hilariously inefficient for any operation near the enemy. We were ordered to wear combat boots on recce (reconnaissance) missions. Army combat boots are horrible but durable and cheap to produce (at least the boots issued when I served).
If you’re coming to the Survivor program make sure to seriously consider your footwear and bring foot powder with you. Chaffing and blistering don’t seem like the worst thing that can happen to you but you might be surprised. In all my military experience I have to say the biggest morale crusher was chaffing. Ultimately don’t try anything new at the event. Do at least a couple of two hour hikes in the shoes you plan to prioritize on the trip.