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Re: [pct-l] boots

Hello Ken -

You said:

>I'm shopping for a new pair of boots...my ankles turn on a heart
>beat... recently twisted an ankle ...with an larger amount of fear
>of another twist...

You might want to look at the Salomon Adventure 9 Ultra-Lite boots.  My son
and I used them on the PCT in '95 and absolutely loved them.  They have
translated their ski boot technology into an articulated plastic
"exo-skeleton" (my name <g>) for hiking boots that gives incredible ankle
support...and only weigh a few ounces over 3 lbs for the pair.  We were
wearing prototype boots (they were introduced into the US at the '95 Reno
show) and found a couple of design problems (stitching was too light on the
inner-eyelet strip and where the fabric and leather comes together at the
heel)...the French engineers who were at Reno were very interested in the
problem.  They took our boots back with them to test and tear apart (both
pairs had about 1,100 miles on them at that point) and I understand that
the problems were quickly solved.

The replacement boots they gave us in Reno had the same problems, but they
more than lasted the rest of the hike (My son and I are still using them).
I don't have any idea if these boots are still being marketed under the
same name in the US, but you can give Salomon North America a call and they
can fill you in on what has happened since '95.

A side note that you might be interested in -

I used Salomon Adventure 9 Trek's (the lightest high-end Salomon boot
available in '93) on the AT.  My feet increased in size by almost a full
size early in my hike.  I got larger boots and finished the AT with first
the Trek's and then with the heavier Mountain boot (I was getting into
snow/sleet and thought I needed the heavier boot).  By the end of the
trail, I was developing blisters under the balls of my feet.  The only
relief came from making and using metatarsal <sp?> pads.  My feet were
quite sore for months after finishing the trail.

I used the Ultra-Lites on the PCT and had almost exactly the same
problem...my feet enlarged by almost a full size and I started developing
blisters under the balls of my feet at about the 1,700 mile point.
Metatarsal pads kept me going, but my feet were sore for an even longer
time after getting home.

I decided that enough was enough and went to the ortho Doc recommended by
some distance-runner friends.  The Doc did x-rays, etc., got with a local
sports exercise physiologist, and a good orthotic guy and they all decided
that I was guilty of being REAL dumb <g>.  Turns out that I have a high
arch that needs good support...the Salomon Adventure 9 boots have a fairly
flat footbed.  I was simply beating my feet flat (they spread out and got
bigger) by hiking thousands of miles without sufficient arch support .  I
should have put two and two together a LOT sooner than I did and gotten
some good orthotics for my good boots.  Live and learn <g>.

In the process of going through the diagnostic process, the Doc sent me
over to the exercise physiologist's shop to get a bunch of strength tests
(static and dynamic) done on my legs and ankles.  The tests were done just
a couple of weeks after finishing a 2,600 mile hike. The results were
interesting:  my leg strength was WAY over the norm for my age...the ankle
strength was BELOW the norm for my age!  They decided that my boots were
doing such a good job of supporting my ankles that I actually LOST ankle
strength during my hike <g>.

My son and I NEVER had any feeling that we had anything less than total
ankle support.  There were a couple of times when edge control on VERY
small indentations in steep hard-frozen snow fields got to be REAL
important to us...the boots did a lot better job than my nerves did <g>.

Good luck on your boot quest!

- Charlie II  AT (MEGA'93)
             PCT (Mex@Can'95)

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