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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:03 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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To me sandals are great for in and around camp,walking on rocks at the seaside, but thats all.
A good pair of leather boots is indispensable in the field.
Boots have saved my ankles many times when slipping on a slope.
Try walking through thorns with a pair of sandals, especially devil thorns in the Kalahari.
Sandals that are closed at the end are better, but in sand can be a real pain to get rid of pebbles.
Sandals are also not reliable enough, for me they tend to be disposables, no matter the brand.
I have a few pairs of boots that I use daily, that have lasted for years.
However sandals come and go even though only used now and again.
With the rain we have had in the last few weeks, sandals would just be a joke in the mud.
Muddy wet boots are one thing, but muddy feet inside wet sandals is just too uncomfortable.

I also do not wear a watch.
A watch can catch the back of your hand in a fall, been there done that, no watch anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:26 pm 
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Have a pair of hi tec sandals ..they are not strong enough and the straps break.. Ok I am rather hard on them Have a pair of Hitec boots and they are still going strong after about 10 years .( even have the original laces. I would go for the boots.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:44 am 
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I like sandals for wearing around camp, but I find that boots are better for trails.
I am allergic to grass and I know that it is a fairly common allergy.
Sandals do not protect enough around grassy areas.
I also find that boots, or strong shoes help with stability.
For many years I used boots without ankle guards and I found that they gave me a combination of protection and stability, but still a reasonable amount of flexibility.

Moose, I know how small you are so I am going to comment.
I found that the best option for me was a good pair of leather boots, but without the ankle guard.
Weight is a big issue if you are small and I do find the heavier boots rather cumbersome after a while.
I have very flexible ankles and need a bit of space for movement which I do not get with ankle guards.
I also found that the lack of flexibility led to plantar injuries.

The best experience I ever had was with Nike leather hiking boots.
Unfortunately they are no longer available.
I would advise you to check the weight of the shoes before buying.
Another option is to possibly look a trail running shoes.
They are likely to give a bit of everything, plus a little more stability than normal running shoes.

Are you going to be doing your course in South Africa?

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:01 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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This is great, exactly what I wanted.
Imberbe, the day trail I did in sandals was in bushveld and reasonably rough and I didn't have problems.
Mud and thorns are good points, as are pebbles (always a problem in my Salomons).

Are there any Sanparks or private guides who would give their opinion?
They obviously face all these issues and I've come across a large number of them who prefer sandals.

Moose, I also own a pair of Hi-Tec Multi-terra which are quite comfortable and not too heavy.
They've proved pretty durable, and I wear them a lot.
If you can afford them, I'd suggest taking a look at a pair of Merrels.
They come in quite a range, I've heard they're comfortable and have seen a lot of guides and support stuff (at private lodges) wearing them.

Out of interest, for years and years I used to hike in an old pair of Caterpillar leather boots.
When I went to India 3 years ago I bought the Salomons, which are the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever worn (so comfortable I plan to buy an extra pair now to replace my current when they die in a few years' time).
As a result, I decided the Cats weren't comfortable enough and I was getting a raw deal.
That's when I bought my pair of La Sportivas, and I haven't looked back.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:50 pm 
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More and more excellent advice coming out of this thread!
Thanks to all who are contributing

MM: Thank you!
I like the idea of a lightweight leather boot without the ankle supports.
That sounds like something that would be really good for me.
I'm going to have a look around.
Do you think trail running shoes would have enough protection from thorns?
I once had an acacia thorn go straight through the thick sole of a very tough birkenstock sandal and this is the only thing holding me back from some trail shoes.
I imagine the thorns would go straight through them as well...

Joshilewis:
Great advice! Thank you.
I could get a pair of Hi-Tec trail shoes here for really quite cheap (about R150), but I'm scared off in case the quality isn't great.
I'll re-consider them now.
I've also been told by someone that Merrell is the way to go.
Quite expensive, but if they're going to last and be comfortable, than it's a good investment.

Much more to consider now...


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:14 am 
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Location: Numbi Gate, Kruger National Park
I agree with the idea of sticking to trailwear being proper boots.
Last year did a total of 90 walks and patrols in our area of operation in the Kruger and can assure you, walking with sandals would just not be an option.
I know of a large number of trail guides wearing sandals in private reserves but then they stick mostly to the tourist roads or very well used rhino or hippo paths.
Depending on your use (if you go off road and need to cross serious bushland area) stick to boots.
Our team use a variety of Roque, Hi-tec and even old army boots and this has saved many an ankle and bump and bruised toes and even once protected a senior member of the team from a puff adder strike.
Rather safe than sorry.
Even during sleep outs I prefer the boots walking around the overnight spot, never know when a night visitor comes around.
Used the same hi-tec boots for the past 4 years and close to 400 walks / patrols and currently in the process of replacing them.


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:15 am 
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Boots !

The reasoning is clear !

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:37 am 
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Got to agree - boots! I tried my sandels on a bushwalk here in Perth and will never do it again.

I've always preferred a good pair of leather boots and actually buy mine from Groundcover in SA and have them shipped over to me here at a helluva lot cheaper price than I can buy boots locally.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:44 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
vthebushman, thanks for weighing in. Our guide on the Olifants River Backpack Trail wore sandals the entire trip.

I did a kloofing trip yesterday in my Salomons without incident.

I'm still slightly in two minds, but leaning towards boots at the moment.

Moose: I've been very impressed with my Hi-Tec Multi-terras (which I bought for R140 on sale). Would love a pair of Merrels but I can't afford them

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:42 am 
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Joshi, I am not sure that Hi-Tec make the multi-terras anymore.
My friend has a pair and swears by them.
For some unknown reason, when I tried a pair, I couldn't find a pair that suited my feet amongst the four (or six) models available.

I have given up trying to walk in Rocky and Hi-Tec sandals.
I now only use boots or multi- terrain shoes/takkies .

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:42 pm 
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what type of boots would you recommend for ankles that are not very strong. those with ankle guard or without ankle guard?

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:17 pm 
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wfg , I can only recommend good old fashioned leather boots .
The rest of the fabric / synthetic brands may be as good, but I have little experience of them besides that I can say that my 16 year old leather boots wear and look better than those fabric / synthetic types of 5 year vintage.
Besides , if you look for a boot of a recommended synthetic / fab brand, in more cases than not they are no longer available, besides at the specialty hiking shops .

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:38 pm 
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For me its leather boots (old and well worn) for trails and general hiking.
New boots wear for an hour each day around camp, it helps with adjustment.
Mine are lace ups, quite long with a flap that buckles over the laces, bit like old style army boots
Only wore sandals for coastal hike (many more rivers to cross).

And always buy the best boots you can, it pays in the long run.

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Hi Tec V-lite proper hiking boots for me.
I have killed a few pairs, but it took some doing.
And they did not drop me, I just wore them to the point of replacement.
Good quality at a reasonable price.

A guide walking in sandals ... eish!

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 Post subject: Re: Trail footwear - boots or sandals?
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:24 am 
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I find I sweat a lot more in the synthetics and a good dose of dubbin keeps the leather boots just as dry. I've tried a wide range over the years and always come back to leather.

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