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Re: [pct-l] footwear

Margo, like you, my ankles need support. In '97 I made the mistake of hiking 
in a pair of Reebock hightops -- the rest of my trip is history!  From then 
on there wasn't a day that I didn't have feet problems of one type or 
another.  It started out with blisters, then lost toe nails (I lost all but 
one and several of them twice!), bone spurs, and then lesions that developed 
on the bottom of my feet.  My shoes were too tight after walking all day -- 
even without any lacing.  By the end of a week, both of my shoes had hardly 
any backs or toes, Walt had redesigned them. Unfortunately, the damage had 
already been done to my feet.

In Big Bear, the paramedic told me I should stay there a week, it would be 
crazy to walk on feet like mine. I left in 3 days wearing a new pair of low 
top shoes size 7 1/2 (I started out in size 6 -- my normal shoe size was 5 
1/2, but I got my shoes just a little bit bigger for swelling!) Changing the 
shoes was much better, but by now my back, knees and hips were all out of 
kilter because they had been working hard to compensate for the unnatural 
way I had started walking.

By the time we got to the Sierras, I changed shoes again -- for the last 
time!  If I had started out in my Hi-Tech Light Sierras right off the bat, 
Walt and I probably would have finished our hike in '97 -- maybe not -- who 
knows.  My feet still gave me problems but not shoe problems. After walking 
wet/cold shoes and socks for 3 days I developed a callous on the ball of my 
foot that pinched a nerve, leisons on both big toes to add insult to injury, 
my right toe had a blister under the toe nail and that developed a blood 
blister under it.  A bone spur developed on my right heel from the Reebock 
hightops!  After a trip to the Podiatrist in Tahoe (she was fantastic!), and 
a few days off, we were able to get back on the trail again and made it as 
far as Sierra City!  

I firmly believe that even if I had STARTED out with the right shoe, I would 
have had a more successful hike. There are thousands of different shoes out 
there (probably an understatement!) because we have millions of different 
feet (another understatement!)  Not only that, but different types of hiking 
require different types of shoes.  Some of us can wear tyvas and get away 
with it, but others can't, we are just not made the same.  For the desert 
and stream crossings, I would say even I might try tyvas, but in the 
Sierras, MY FEET require more support.

Bye the way, I am still hiking in those same pair of Sierra Lights --  minus 
all the blisters, callouses, lost toe nails and bone spurs!  When we left 
Manning Park in June this year, they were on my feet and carried me through 
snow fields, creek crossings (right thru them too!), up and over snowy 
cornices and narrow precipices and over beautiful passes and on high ridges, 
down into beautiful Stehekin!  Of course I was also wearing my gore tex 
socks that kept my feet warm and dry, at least for awhile.  It is water, too 
dry a foot, or too tight a shoe that gave me my a problems.  Remember to 
treat feet problems immediately! If only I had changed into my sandals the 
instant I felt a hot spot --- Oh well, if wishes were fishes we'd have a 
fish fry!     

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