My Feet Are Wrecked

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DayTrip

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I've really been extending the length of my hikes this year. I'm hiking farther than I ever have, my conditioning has improved a lot, I can go much further on much less food and water and I never get cramps or soreness of any significance, even after my 3-4 hour ride home motionless in the car. Everything is really progressing nicely.......except my poor feet. I've really trashed them this season. The balls of my big toes get really sore, my ankle joints ache after a hike, I'm getting thick hard patches of skin that burn while walking (not blisters-just thick pads in a variety of areas) and my achilles tendon area for lack of a better description feels thick and numb (no pain).

I've gone six straight weekends now and the last few weeks have been quite uncomfortable for the last 6-8 miles out. So I'm wondering:

1) Are these ailments just a function of long distance walking, i.e. everybody gets these types of symptoms walking long distances?
2) Do I need to revisit my shoes (I have a hell of a time finding shoes that fit decent)? Could my boot be too stiff? Not enough sole padding for the balls of feet? Could I subconsciously be "walking wrong" (like walking too much on sides of foot or not putting feet down on heels or whatever)?
3) Are there ointments or creams or something to keep feet cooler or softer, prevent callouses?
4) Is there such a thing as an insole that pads the front of foot as opposed to the heels?
5) I use thin merino wool liner socks now? Bad idea? Softer material I should try?

I currently wear Asolo Fugitive GTX boots (on my second pair) and I believe them to fit reasonably well, my feet aren't moving around inside, etc but they are fairly stiff. Would a lack of flex in my boot contribute? I have severely sprained my right ankle four times in my life (once in the aforementioned Asolo's) and as much as I'd like to try a lighter trail shoe or comfortable option I'm worried I'll roll my ankle on rugged terrain. I guess I'm wondering what type of foot ailments, if any, the higher volume hikers on this forum experience and if there are any tips for preventing or eliminating them. Apppreciate the feedback as always.
 
I section hiked the AT for 10 years and also hiked most weekends. during the period and didn't have any ongoing issues like you described. Prior to that stretch I had switched to trail runners from Limmers. I had previous ankle issues including severe strains including when I wore the Limmer that made them worse. I also had to real careful to rebreak my Limmers in every spring and on occasion I did get blisters. After long hikes my feet would be sore for awhile and I would get callouses and I thought that was normal.

Once I switched to trail runners, my ankle issues got progressively better quickly. I really believe that wearing trail runners builds up the musculature in the ankle to make them more resistant to rolls. I on occasionally roll my ankle but walk it off quickly. I also use hiking poles on the ups and downs or in any area where the footing is dicey. The trade off for this is that I can be slower with poles than without so I will end up carrying the poles in one hand anytime the footing gets better.

I did find that with my trail runners that the bottom of my feet would be sore after long hikes and eventually switched to heat moldable full length inserts. It took a awhile to get used to them as they had a more aggressive arch support as the New Balance shoes I buy have a flat bottom with a flat foam insert with no arch support. It did take a bit to get used to them but since then I use them in all my shoes. A nice side benefit is that I really don't have to break in hiking shoes anymore, take them out of the box throw away the stock insert and put my insert in and start hiking. I own two and they don't seem to wear out, I have three years on them and use them daily. This is handy as the major trade off with trail runners is that I shred a pair over the course of a hiking season as the rocks in the whites tend to shred them faster. They do take up a bit more volume than the stock inserts so I have to take that into account when buying shoes.

Since I switched to trail runners I also switched to socks with heavy cushioning under the ball and heels. For many years I used Smart Wood expedition weight socks and then switched to Darn Tuff socks a few years ago as initially I could get them at the factory sale (worth going to) for less than Smart Wools but very quickly realized they last longer have less volume than the smart wools. When I used the Limmers I used Smart Wools with liner socks. Trail runners are made with mesh panels to make them breath, it keeps my feet drier but the trade of is that they don't shed water like standard boot do. I do carry spare socks but very rarely need them as the socks I have on dry quickly just hiking. Obviously more an issue in the late fall and early spring when I regretfully switch back to more conventional boots.

A somewhat odder reason for foot problems that happen to a small part of the population is intolerance to Statins which are the primary way of treating high cholesterol. When I was put on statins I started having sore feet and joint after hikes and if I kept it up my feet would swell up after the hike. Eventually I figured it out and found out that others had the same issue. A coworker started having difficulty walking until he got off statins. My doctor would wait a few months and then try a new variety and most of the time the foot problems would come back. I did run into one variety that didn't seem to have a much of an issue but it had other side effects. Most folks have no issues with this and I have friend who is ultra trailrunner on statins and he has no issues. Statin intolerance is controversial in the US but more accepted in other countries that in general have a far different approach to cholesterol. Nevertheless if you were recently put on a statin its worth investigating. Many doctors treat this as an acceptable side effect for the general population but it can be significant if you hike and are physically active.
 
I don't get any of the symptoms you descibe though I did become seriously interested in footwear and its condition when I was diagnosed, many years ago, with avascular necrosis in a joint of the 2nd toe, a condition which ironically was most noticeable in street shoes, particularly dress shoes, but not hiking boots! Yeah! I do wear an orthodic and have never been inconvenienced or pained by that condition since.

To me the most important characteristic of my hiking footwear is a strong and flexible shank which absorbs the worse of foot-ground contact. After that, I seek lighter weight and better ankle support. The shank can break down over the years/miles. Boots are one place NOT to skimp ... and good retailers will accept returns if you are not satisfied wiuth them even after a few hikes.

I don't use any ointment on my feet although occasionally I find it very comforting to apply moisturizer. Perhaps it is the massaging effect of rubbing it in that helps. It is especially helpful in winter but I don't use it in seasons when any subtle aroma may attract biting insects.

As for my socks, the heavier the better, even on hot days. Again, it helps absorb the repeated force of contact with the ground. Such impact doesn't seem conseqential when we're young but eventually it may cause problems when older. I concluded long ago that, with the right socks, liners are unnecessary. It may help that my feet don't perspire very much. All my hiking socks are wool, preferably alpaca, with a synthtic blend for strength.

Though you might get some helpful tips here, or even from an experienced and knowledgable shoe salesman, the best bet is to see a podiatrist. Treatment may require a period of rest while some things heal as a prelude to strategies to deal with the various ailments.
 
I second peakbagger's recommendation that you give trail runners a try.

When I switched from hiking boots (the last pair I owned was the fugitives as well) to trail runners I did it gradually over time. First I started by wearing my old gym sneakers on shorter hikes, then on longer hikes (I was so worried about not wearing boots, that I actually carried them in my pack for many of those first hikes "just in case").

I too had problems with rolling my ankles in hiking boots, in order to mitigate some of this risk, I would wear ankle braces inside of the trail runners for additional support (I still do this on longer and more challenging hikes). What is nice about this is that you can have different amounts of ankle/foot support. I have never had a severe ankle roll since going to trail runners, and the overall amount of any ankle rolls has been reduced significantly. I think that this is due to the fact that instead of having my foot/ankle connected to a rigid lever arm (the rigid shank hiking boot), I instead have a softer sneaker which can conform to the surfaces, and when I do slip/roll, I either can correct with ankle articulation, or the foot simply slips off the surface. One of the nicest things about trail runners is that when you do slip or trip, your feet are much lighter, which makes it easier to recover.

I highly recommend (as to many others) the LaSportiva Raptors as a great pair of trail runners with good rock protection in the balls of the feet. They run small, so try them on in the store first.
 
Couple quick thoughts. have you thought about giving Superfeet a try? I use the green and they have made a big difference in foot comfort. Another suggestion comes in if you happen to lift weights. I use a Bosu ball (those half round blue balls :)) Do free weight sqauts on the ball; really helps with balance and gets not only your core but really works a lot of the ankle that never gets worked unless your hiking or doing an off balance activity. Big balance booster as well. Just be careful,it is a lot harder than a traditional squat but the gains are quick.
 
I section hiked the AT for 10 years and also hiked most weekends. during the period and didn't have any ongoing issues like you described. Prior to that stretch I had switched to trail runners from Limmers. I had previous ankle issues including severe strains including when I wore the Limmer that made them worse. I also had to real careful to rebreak my Limmers in every spring and on occasion I did get blisters. After long hikes my feet would be sore for awhile and I would get callouses and I thought that was normal.

Once I switched to trail runners, my ankle issues got progressively better quickly. I really believe that wearing trail runners builds up the musculature in the ankle to make them more resistant to rolls. I on occasionally roll my ankle but walk it off quickly. I also use hiking poles on the ups and downs or in any area where the footing is dicey. The trade off for this is that I can be slower with poles than without so I will end up carrying the poles in one hand anytime the footing gets better.

I did find that with my trail runners that the bottom of my feet would be sore after long hikes and eventually switched to heat moldable full length inserts. It took a awhile to get used to them as they had a more aggressive arch support as the New Balance shoes I buy have a flat bottom with a flat foam insert with no arch support. It did take a bit to get used to them but since then I use them in all my shoes. A nice side benefit is that I really don't have to break in hiking shoes anymore, take them out of the box throw away the stock insert and put my insert in and start hiking. I own two and they don't seem to wear out, I have three years on them and use them daily. This is handy as the major trade off with trail runners is that I shred a pair over the course of a hiking season as the rocks in the whites tend to shred them faster. They do take up a bit more volume than the stock inserts so I have to take that into account when buying shoes.

Since I switched to trail runners I also switched to socks with heavy cushioning under the ball and heels. For many years I used Smart Wood expedition weight socks and then switched to Darn Tuff socks a few years ago as initially I could get them at the factory sale (worth going to) for less than Smart Wools but very quickly realized they last longer have less volume than the smart wools. When I used the Limmers I used Smart Wools with liner socks. Trail runners are made with mesh panels to make them breath, it keeps my feet drier but the trade of is that they don't shed water like standard boot do. I do carry spare socks but very rarely need them as the socks I have on dry quickly just hiking. Obviously more an issue in the late fall and early spring when I regretfully switch back to more conventional boots.

A somewhat odder reason for foot problems that happen to a small part of the population is intolerance to Statins which are the primary way of treating high cholesterol. When I was put on statins I started having sore feet and joint after hikes and if I kept it up my feet would swell up after the hike. Eventually I figured it out and found out that others had the same issue. A coworker started having difficulty walking until he got off statins. My doctor would wait a few months and then try a new variety and most of the time the foot problems would come back. I did run into one variety that didn't seem to have a much of an issue but it had other side effects. Most folks have no issues with this and I have friend who is ultra trailrunner on statins and he has no issues. Statin intolerance is controversial in the US but more accepted in other countries that in general have a far different approach to cholesterol. Nevertheless if you were recently put on a statin its worth investigating. Many doctors treat this as an acceptable side effect for the general population but it can be significant if you hike and are physically active.

Heat moldable inserts? Can you recommend a retailer/brand? I've tried the brand of insole EMS pushes (forget the name - I believe it was the green color of there asssortment) as well as a Dr Scholls model I swapped out of my work boots. The Dr Scholl model definitely helped with the glaring exception of putting more pressure on balls of toe and the sensation of feeling like my feet were elevated and tilted forward.

I've always worn thick wool socks year round to hike and haven't had any real foot problems until this year. I wore a bad fitting pair of winter boots two season ago which led to blisters, at which point I experimented with liner socks. I can't say they really do anything for me, at least the few I've tried. I too also used Smart Wool almost exclusively until I discovered Darn Tough socks. I switched to their expedition weight sock this year with the merino wool liner socks.
 
I second peakbagger's recommendation that you give trail runners a try.

When I switched from hiking boots (the last pair I owned was the fugitives as well) to trail runners I did it gradually over time. First I started by wearing my old gym sneakers on shorter hikes, then on longer hikes (I was so worried about not wearing boots, that I actually carried them in my pack for many of those first hikes "just in case").

I too had problems with rolling my ankles in hiking boots, in order to mitigate some of this risk, I would wear ankle braces inside of the trail runners for additional support (I still do this on longer and more challenging hikes). What is nice about this is that you can have different amounts of ankle/foot support. I have never had a severe ankle roll since going to trail runners, and the overall amount of any ankle rolls has been reduced significantly. I think that this is due to the fact that instead of having my foot/ankle connected to a rigid lever arm (the rigid shank hiking boot), I instead have a softer sneaker which can conform to the surfaces, and when I do slip/roll, I either can correct with ankle articulation, or the foot simply slips off the surface. One of the nicest things about trail runners is that when you do slip or trip, your feet are much lighter, which makes it easier to recover.

I highly recommend (as to many others) the LaSportiva Raptors as a great pair of trail runners with good rock protection in the balls of the feet. They run small, so try them on in the store first.

I always thought the high ankle hiking boot was sprained ankle proof until I trashed my ankle in Sphinx Col two summers ago. I'm not even sure what I did. I had just taken a lengthy stop for food and water (I had come up Ammo and done Washington and Clay). I relaced everything nice and snug, set out toward Jefferson and didn't go 100 feet and WHAM, couldn't stand on my foot for almost 10 minutes. I had just got my $235 Asolo's 3 weeks prior and was absolutely livid that this could happen. The rigid nature of these boots does indeed seem to make it worse and they do feel like a lever. The reason I had chosen the Asolo's was because they felt lower to the ground and less tippy. A lot of the hiking boots I tried had such thick heels that they felt tippy even on the flat surfaces in the store.

My big reservation about taking the plunge into a trail runner or similar shoe is the mud and water on so many trails. I think of how often I'll walk or stand in 3-4 inches of water or slog through mud and it seems like an automatic that the crud would get in your shoes with trail runners and soak your feet. And it's been my experience that when my feet get wet I get blisters. Are there trail runners that are waterproof? Do they really breathe that much better that your feet dry more quickly than a conventional boot?

Lastly, what specific type of ankle brace do you wear now in your shoes? When I ruined my ankle in Sphinx Col I took 3 weeks off completely and then hiked about 5 weeks in a variety of wraps and braces which I generally found miserable (blisters, itchy, etc). The "least" worst option I stayed with was a model that had aluminum slats inside a stretch sleeve that laced up in the front like an ice skate. Over my normal sock it was fine but I really had to cram it into my Fugitives and screw around with it until I got it situated. I assume with a trail runner there is less issue above the ankle because no boot is there but the shoe must be a pretty snug fit.
 
http://www.backcountry.com/montrail...8803241656&mkwid=HKwEJOta_dc|pcrid|3294144246
If you look at the bottom, the white area is stiff plastic and acts as arch support and shield to spread out point loads, the blue pad under the heel also does absorb impacts.

I agree wet muddy trails are the bane of trailrunners. I just put up with it. I usually find a puddle to stomp in if they get too muddy. The new balances I buy are not waterproof. I used to use the OR mini gaiters and they made a big difference and I suspect that Dirty Girl gaiters would also help if you can put up with their graphics.

The NBs breathe remarkably well and with wool socks they wick most of the moisture away rapidly. I sometime take my socks off for river crossings other times I just wait until the other side and wring them out.

Your observations on stiff boots with ankle support acting like a lever is right on in my opinion. They may save someone from minor sprains but when they do have a sprain its a lot worse. With my Limmer's I would be hurting for a few days while with the runners I usually hop around and swear for a couple of minutes and within 15 are right back on pace.

I cant comment personally on braces but the person I hiked some of the AT with in sections would wear a braces with his trail runners on occasion. He had his ankle rebuilt twice as he had long term damage.

If you watch the sales and don't have odd sized feet you can normally pick up NBs for around $70. I took my spare pair out of the box a day before I went to Baxter on Labor day week and did 4 days of hiking or backpacking on the rocky trails of the park. I did an ankle roll on the second day while day hiking and managed to haul 3 days worth of food for three people in my pack up to Chimney one day, then day hike Cathedral, Kinves Edge and Dudley the next day and then backpacked up over Hamlin to Roaring Brook and then back out to Roaring brook with no foot issues with brand new shoes (with my favorite inserts) I usually keep a pair in reserve and I picked up a pair of size 13 EEEEs for $50 at their outlet in Skowhegan while I was driving up to Baxter. They are now the reserve pair for next year.

I have heard and read over the years that hikers "need" heavy boots when carrying backpacks, but I haven't seen the advantage.
 
http://www.backcountry.com/montrail...8803241656&mkwid=HKwEJOta_dc|pcrid|3294144246
If you look at the bottom, the white area is stiff plastic and acts as arch support and shield to spread out point loads, the blue pad under the heel also does absorb impacts.

If you watch the sales and don't have odd sized feet you can normally pick up NBs for around $70. I took my spare pair out of the box a day before I went to Baxter on Labor day week and did 4 days of hiking or backpacking on the rocky trails of the park. I did an ankle roll on the second day while day hiking and managed to haul 3 days worth of food for three people in my pack up to Chimney one day, then day hike Cathedral, Kinves Edge and Dudley the next day and then backpacked up over Hamlin to Roaring Brook and then back out to Roaring brook with no foot issues with brand new shoes (with my favorite inserts) I usually keep a pair in reserve and I picked up a pair of size 13 EEEEs for $50 at their outlet in Skowhegan while I was driving up to Baxter. They are now the reserve pair for next year.

I have heard and read over the years that hikers "need" heavy boots when carrying backpacks, but I haven't seen the advantage.

How are the NB in the toes? I have "duck feet" (wide in the toes, narrow heel, generally size 10-11 in most brands). Used to wear their basketball sneakers way back in the day but haven't tried for awhile. Wear Asics now for sneakers because they really fit my feet well. I work at the New Balance plants in Lawrence and Skohegan once a year so I can hit the outlet stores and check it out. Thanks.
 
All I can say is give them a try. I have odd shaped feet and they fit me. When I had my Limmers made years ago they were the widest pair they had made in a year. Zappos used to have free return if they don't fit if you cant get to a store.

By the way, I managed to be in a rush one day heading on a hike and managed to leave my insoles home. I didn't notice it when I started hiking but about half way along the hike my feet started pounding. When I got home and took the shoes off and discovered that I had left the insoles home I knew why. My feet took a few days to recover.
 
Would a lack of flex in my boot contribute?

I think so. If your boots don't allow enough forward flex, you can't keep your heel on the ground when hiking uphill. That could put a lot of stress on your calves and Achilles tendons as well as the bottom of your toes. Try the Surgeon's knot like in this picture, then only lace the lowest hook above it before tying a knot. When hiking uphill, try to keep your heel on the ground, even though it may be difficult to stretch your calves initially.

http://www.backpacker.com/gear/footwear/hiking-boots/common-hiking-boot-lacing-technique

edit: After looking at a picture of your boots, it looks like the lowest hooks have built-in lace locks. Instead of using a surgeon's knot, simply lock the laces and then tie your finishing knot. Try hiking without lacing the top two hooks.
 
Last edited:
I think so. If your boots don't allow enough forward flex, you can't keep your heel on the ground when hiking uphill. That could put a lot of stress on your calves and Achilles tendons as well as the bottom of your toes. Try the Surgeon's knot like in this picture, then only lace the lowest hook above it before tying a knot. When hiking uphill, try to keep your heel on the ground, even though it may be difficult to stretch your calves initially.

http://www.backpacker.com/gear/footwear/hiking-boots/common-hiking-boot-lacing-technique

edit: After looking at a picture of your boots, it looks like the lowest hooks have built-in lace locks. Instead of using a surgeon's knot, simply lock the laces and then tie your finishing knot. Try hiking without lacing the top two hooks.

Some good ideas. I'll try. Thanks.
 
my achilles tendon area for lack of a better description feels thick and numb (no pain).

Could I subconsciously be "walking wrong" (like walking too much on sides of foot or not putting feet down on heels or whatever)?

Regarding walking wrong- I would look at the wear on the sole of your hiking boot. the uneven wear that shows up tends to reflect how you hike. Also, to reduce pounding on the bottom of your feet, focus on walking softly. try to place your feet so that they do not make a sound. I doubt you are walking wrong, unless your hiking looks like something out the ministry of silly walks, but I'd look in to these two things for minor adjustments.

regarding the achillles: if it feels squeaky, dry, or crackly, that is something that should be addressed by cutting way down, but not all the way, on the amount of hiking you do. also, achilles stretches are good. many can be found on the magical internet machine.

Good Luck!
 
regarding the achillles: if it feels squeaky, dry, or crackly,
These are symptoms of tendonitis. Nasty stuff. (Given the choice between tendonitis and a broken bone, choose the broken bone...)

Tendonitis is slow to heal and easy to reinjure. After you overuse it, the symptoms do not appear until the next day (one of the reasons that it is so easy to reinjure).

Doug
 
As another suggestion that helps me: when my feet or knees begin to hurt, it stems from my hips being unaligned.

A chiropractic adjustment to keep my spine and hips aligned is the first thing I do - this usually immediately solves the knee issue for me as it only comes on when my hip is unaligned. I have foot issues that need more than spinal alignment, but IMO, that's a good thing to take a look at if you are having issues.

An unaligned spine leads to unaligned hips which changes effective leg length and foot direction. This can cause issues. I can see it in my footsteps in winter when I need an adjustment.
 
Regarding walking wrong- I would look at the wear on the sole of your hiking boot. the uneven wear that shows up tends to reflect how you hike. Also, to reduce pounding on the bottom of your feet, focus on walking softly. try to place your feet so that they do not make a sound. I doubt you are walking wrong, unless your hiking looks like something out the ministry of silly walks, but I'd look in to these two things for minor adjustments.

regarding the achillles: if it feels squeaky, dry, or crackly, that is something that should be addressed by cutting way down, but not all the way, on the amount of hiking you do. also, achilles stretches are good. many can be found on the magical internet machine.

Good Luck!

The boot tread is pretty evenly worn. My right leg is somewhat outward oriented (bow legged or however you want to call it) so I wondered if maybe that was causing some issues "walking wrong". With my previous ankle issues I tend to walk with my toes pointed slightly out as well to help prevent roles. Wondered if that foot position was what might be adding the stress to the balls of my toes.
 
As another suggestion that helps me: when my feet or knees begin to hurt, it stems from my hips being unaligned.

A chiropractic adjustment to keep my spine and hips aligned is the first thing I do - this usually immediately solves the knee issue for me as it only comes on when my hip is unaligned. I have foot issues that need more than spinal alignment, but IMO, that's a good thing to take a look at if you are having issues.

An unaligned spine leads to unaligned hips which changes effective leg length and foot direction. This can cause issues. I can see it in my footsteps in winter when I need an adjustment.

That is worth checking into. I'm not in terribly great shape, particularly the upper body, and my posture has many deficiencies. My wife has been telling me to see her chiropractor for years.
 
My big reservation about taking the plunge into a trail runner or similar shoe is the mud and water on so many trails. I think of how often I'll walk or stand in 3-4 inches of water or slog through mud and it seems like an automatic that the crud would get in your shoes with trail runners and soak your feet. And it's been my experience that when my feet get wet I get blisters. Are there trail runners that are waterproof? Do they really breathe that much better that your feet dry more quickly than a conventional boot?

Your feet will absolutely get wet with sneakers, they'll also dry out so quickly that you'll rarely notice it for long. Ask yourself this: "How many times have my gore tex boots gotten completely soaked (wetted out) and then I ended up with soaked feet from sweat instead of water?". For me, the answer was almost every hike. I know that once my boots got wet, they stayed wet the entire hike, while with sneakers, they're dry in less than an hour (on an active day). I also highly recommend dirty girl gaiters to keep the mud out.

Lastly, what specific type of ankle brace do you wear now in your shoes? When I ruined my ankle in Sphinx Col I took 3 weeks off completely and then hiked about 5 weeks in a variety of wraps and braces which I generally found miserable (blisters, itchy, etc). The "least" worst option I stayed with was a model that had aluminum slats inside a stretch sleeve that laced up in the front like an ice skate. Over my normal sock it was fine but I really had to cram it into my Fugitives and screw around with it until I got it situated. I assume with a trail runner there is less issue above the ankle because no boot is there but the shoe must be a pretty snug fit.

I wear this one for hiking (on longer hikes):
http://www.amazon.com/Futuro-Sport-Deluxe-Stabilizer-Adjustable/dp/B0057D867O

I have very low volume feet so the extra volume of the brace in my shoes actually helps my fit overall.

I wear this one when I do more aggressive sports (downhill mountain biking, skate park, etc...):
http://www.amazon.com/Cramer-AS1-Active-Ankle-Brace/dp/B00ESGX5FO

If this is what you were wearing for hiking, I could very much see how it would be uncomfortable.
 
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Your feet will absolutely get wet with sneakers, they'll also dry out so quickly that you'll rarely notice it for long. Ask yourself this: "How many times have my gore tex boots gotten completely soaked (wetted out) and then I ended up with soaked feet from sweat instead of water?". For me, the answer was almost every hike. I know that once my boots got wet, they stayed wet the entire hike, while with sneakers, they're dry in less than an hour (on an active day). I also highly recommend dirty girl gaiters to keep the mud out.



I wear this one for hiking (on longer hikes):
http://www.amazon.com/Futuro-Sport-Deluxe-Stabilizer-Adjustable/dp/B0057D867O

I have very low volume feet so the extra volume of the brace in my shoes actually helps my fit overall.

I wear this one when I do more aggressive sports (downhill mountain biking, skate park, etc...):
http://www.amazon.com/Cramer-AS1-Active-Ankle-Brace/dp/B00ESGX5FO

If this is what you were wearing for hiking, I could very much see how it would be uncomfortable.

I very,very rarely get my feet wet in my Gore Tex boots. They generally stay dry. They're tall enough to shield me on most mud mishaps and stream crossings so I'm used to standing in 2-3 inches of water, etc without consequences. I won't have that luxury in trail runners.

I ordered a set of heat moldable inserts and I'm going to try those for now and see if they help. Getting to that time of year when I want a beefier boot anyway so if the inserts don't work out I'll try the trail runners after the Spring thaw. Thanks for the detailed feedback.
 
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