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[pct-l] Shoes

Svein wrote:

    "Any comments on what type of shoes to use (or avoid) in the south?
    What's the trail like there? Lot of sand / hard packed? I usually hike
    in cross trainers that are fairly breathable, is that a good/bad choice?"

     I favor hiking boots rather than lightweight alternatives, particularly
running shoes.  That's a personal choice.  The important thing is to use
footwear which will keep your feet healthy and able to go that 20 or so miles
day after day.  

     The trail is often rough, rocky and not well-maintained.  It can be
extremely hot.  These conditions favor substantial shoes.  They may not
eliminate blisters but will reduce damage from stubbed toes, rock bruises and
hot surfaces.  High-tops also offer ankle protection, some snake protection
and will reduce the number of rocks that get inside.  I didn't use gaiters in
the desert but did use socks which helped keep dirt out.  The rattlesnakes are
not a severe hazard.  We saw 12 in the first 600 miles and none were
aggressive.  However, I would be careful about hiking at night.  

     Another aspect of desert hiking is the underbrush and cacti.  In many
areas it crowds the trail, and it all has thorns.  Leather boots offer a lot
more protection than running shoes.  We wore shorts because of the heat and
were careful what we came in contact with, but you might consider long pants
for thorn as well as sun protection.  That reminds me,  where there is water
in the lowland areas, the most prevelant vegetation is often poison oak.  Be
sure you know how to identify it and avoid it.  It can really take the fun out
of your hike.  --  Roy     
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