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[pct-l] New Balance 804's

I'm one of those who just can't get right to the answer without a big
lead-up plus a story or two, so try to bear with me: I did most of the
PCT in NB 803's and have no greater compliment to a shoe than these!
Although I wouldn't reccomend it I did the first 1.500 miles in a single
pair and I feel that they'd have made it all the way, but my feet would
have been very unhappy and perhaps been much more prone to injury. I
finally determined that when I do my next long distance hike that I will
change my trail-runner's about every 800 miles which seems to be about
right to me. At Castella I then finally got a new pair of 803's which I
used for the state of Oregon. At Cascade Locks I picked up my final pair
of shoes... some 804's since the 803's had sadly been discontinued.

I then did the state of Washington in the 804's and I must admit that my
feet didn't like them as well, but $90.00 said that I would learn to
tolerate them! I always got the 803's because NB made the wide 4E size
which worked well with my feet, but for some reason the 804-4E seemed to
have a much smaller toe box and I had to do some VERY creative shoe
lacing to keep them from killing my feet. My feet were always just one
big mass of swelling from Campo to Manning, so that wasn't the problem
but somehow I made it with them.

Whether it's the 803's or the 804's I'd say that they are some quite
durable hiking shoes and I'd trust them in the snowy Sierra's again
without hesitation. I would however reccomend buying all the shoes that
you're gonna need for a hike ahead of time so that you can wear them
some at home to be assured that you've got a good fit and that you
didn't get a bum pair. I've found that each pair seems to be different
in respect to factory quality. For example the pair that I mentioned
above did a whooping 1,500 miles and had only just begun to show some
serious wear, mainly in the toe area. On the other hand I have a pair
that I've only wore around the house and to work which started coming
apart at the toes in less than two months. While on the trail I packed a
tube of "Shoe Goo" that I got at Wal-Mart in my drift box while hiking
and that is the best quick fix that I've ever found. So in a nutshell if
I were to hike the PCT again I'd buy 3 pairs well ahead of the hike and
have a new pair sent to me by a trusted person every 800-900 miles and
I'd pack a tube of Shoe-Goo in my drift box.

I also found that socks are just as important as the shoes I wore mainly
because my feet would swell unbelieveably at some points in the hike. I
did all of California using a mid-weight sock and I ended up dealing
with the swelling problem by cutting out the tongue in such a way that I
could flip it on the outside of my lacing, then flip it back under when
the swelling went down. In Ashland I went to a good outfitter and bought
some thin liner socks which was the only thing I used for Oregon and
Washington with good results. If I had it to do over again I'd plan on
using a light weight sock, but I'd put a few pair of mid weights in my
drift box so that I'd have something to work with because sometimes the
unexplainable becomes the rule when long distance hiking!?!

Although I believe that most of the 804's are great shoes be sure to
test them out a while before the hike and keep that little roll of duct
tape in your pack because you never know. Speaking of duct tape I also
found that the upper inside rim of the shoe seemed to wear away from
some sort of friction on every pair and I always ended up using duct
tape there, but that might be due to me being bo-legged and not a
factory or quality defect? I know that I was clipping them but it was
hard to prove it by catching myself do it.

Sorry for writing a book to give you my version of an answer to your
question, but it's almost winter and if I can't hike it, then I'm gonna
write it so you therefore probably got more information than you needed
to hear! All the best!

By the way, you wouldn't be the southbound "Hobbit" that I met
just before Steven's Pass on about August 5th and who was hiking
to Mt. Shasta to complete his PCT hike started last year,
according to my journal?




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