West Coast Trail Footwear Discussion - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Lightbulb West Coast Trail Footwear Discussion


I've booked to do the WCT during may this summer. I've done the JDF before in two days wearing boots and my feet felt like breaking off. On the second day, I was limping for the first hour when I woke up. As you can see, I have extremely weak feet. For this trip, I was planning on switching to trail runners, but I know this trail is extremely wet and muddy. Ive done some research and there are some individuals who actually recommend trail runners for this trail as they drain quickly and are lighter than boots. What do you think about trail runners and has anyone actually done the trail in them?

THanks in advance
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 12:50 PM
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Location: Mission, BC, Canada.
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I've done the WCT in trail runners. I do almost all of my trips in trail runners.

It comes down to, can you handle having wet muddy feet all day for the whole trip? Unless you luck out and get perfect weather including a few weeks before you go, you will have mud on the WCT. And if you think you'll just go around the mud, there are places you can't, plus it's bad for the trail if everyone keeps making the trail wider trying to bypass mud/puddles.

Also can your ankles support the weight of you and your pack in trail runners? If your feet aren't adapted you increase the risk of a sprained ankle or other injury going with light weight footwear.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 01:48 PM
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If your issue is weak feet then I'd hesitate to recommend trail runners, unless you start training in them now and build up your strength. You're going to encounter everything from hard rock shelves to loose sand. Mud, ladders, boardwalks, rugged roots, more mud, walking across fallen trees, and even more mud (we went during the driest summer in 30 years and there was still a fair bit of mud). I found having the extra support provided by boots to be helpful, but your mileage will vary. It is a spectacular trail, but it is long and technical in parts so make sure you work yourself up to it
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 01:37 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Vancouver Island
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Note; Expect very muddy/wet this year (May) as this winter brought us a lot precipitation specially more snow than usual on the Island.

Did you break in your boots properly before doing JDF ?

Allowing enough time to break in a new pair of boots is very important. Plan to buy your boots well in advance of any big walks you have planned; you should give yourself at least a month. Avoid buying a new pair of boots for a walk at the weekend as it is unlikely to end well, for your feet at least!

Remember though that breaking in a new pair of walking/hiking boots will not make a poor fitting boot fit better. If the boot itself feels uncomfortable when you try them on initially, if they pinch or feel tight, then breaking them in is unlikely to make them more comfortable. In this case you should choose a different pair of boots.

Hope it helps,

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 02:28 AM
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I think I'd be hesitant to use trail runners simply because your feet will most likely stay wet all day. Having wet feet all day is going to cause your skin to get soft and tear and blister much easier. Maybe if it was a one or two day trip it might be ok but for something that's almost a week long with possible wet conditions every day, I wouldn't recommend it.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 12:42 PM
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I did the WCT in boots and would not do it in trail runners. The soles of a boot are nice and stiff and provide excellent stability. The problem with trail runners is when you go to step on a root or rock with just your mid-sole or toe, the sole of th shoe won't support you like a boot would. Also as another member said, having wet feet for 7 days straight can lead to a host of problems and make them more vulnerable.

Maybe look at why your boots are causing you problems. I found I had to go up half a size from what I would normally wear to account for swelling.

That being said I am looking to switch to trail runners for other types of hiking as it is popular with the thru-hiking crowd for a reason.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 03:44 AM
Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
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What do your feet like? My rule of thumb is to be picky about footwear. I have yet to find a pair of trailrunners as comfy as my full boots, and so I do most of my hikes in boots. That and my trailrunners even though well ventilated develop a horrific stench on a mild day while my leather boots with odour eaters tend to fare better even on a hot one. When my boots stopped being waterproof, I ended up ordering from Europe just to get the same brand and style again.

While I haven't done the WTC I've done many similar trails here on the island, and when mud happens, you want to be prepared. So yea, unless you wear goretex high cut trailrunners with good gaiters expect to have muddy wet feet. And even then, sometimes that's not enough.

Work on your dayhikes, really test your boots. You should know how your feet fare before you go on a big hike. And sometimes the boot doesn't matter, it's all about how your feet handle the trip. That said, my partner always had problems with footwear until getting super picky buying footwear and is much happier now. Footwear shouldn't kill your foot, you just might not have found the right shoe yet. Don't accept less than perfect footwear. Sometimes you also have to bite the bullet and go up a price category in footwear.

Last edited by Lythe; 04-18-2017 at 03:51 AM. Reason: Edit: and sometimes it isn't the boot but the insole.. if you need orthotics, then that is what makes or breaks your feet.
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