As I mentioned in the last Backpacking Project post, I needed new insoles to keep my developing PF symptoms at bay. And in the post several months ago discussing “Footwear for Hiking”, I wrote about my feet shrinking back into my Asolo hiking boots. Well, that didn’t happen. My feet are still too big for the boots, and the addition of the insoles renders the boots unwearable. So my Asolos are destined for a hiker’s flea market – they have little wear, easily less than a 100 miles – and I’m left with the problem of deciding what I wear during my trip in two weeks.

I currently have three choices:

1. Buy new boots. While this choice might prompt cries of joy on online forums, my budget doesn’t extend to new boots this year. So unless I luck into some massive clearance sale, have an unexpected flush of cash, or get a gift (I need a size 13, gentle readers), my choices are reduced to:

2. Hike in the new Cascadias. I’m now on the Cascadia 8, the 7 above being worn out. I’ve put the new insoles in, and the shoes are comfortable, but I don’t know about for six to eight miles of backpacking. Brooks says the shoes are not intended for backpacking, but my load will be relatively light, and when you consider the shoes are already supporting over 300 pounds…. still, its either these or…..

3. Hike in the Ozark Trail boots I purchased on a whim a few months ago. If you aren’t familiar with the brand of boot, its the house label for Wal-Mart. (Yes, I do at times shop at the Beast of Bentonville.) I’d toyed with the idea of doing a cheap boot vs Asolo comparison for you, gentle reader, but I’d never gotten around to it. The Ozark Trail boots size 13 last had to have been designed for Sasquatch; the fit improved with the replacement orthotic insoles, but the boots are still wide on me. A hike of a mile on pavement seemed OK. Again the boots don’t perform as well as my Asolo did, or perhaps as well as a top of the line boot, but the goal is to get me through this trip. I’d only use the boots for the two backpacking trips – the three day on the 11th and the overnight on the 21st – and perhaps as a second choice to the Cascadias on day hikes.

The Backpacking Project posts have been the most popular on A Taste For The Woods, and the hiking community is very supportive of my goals. Please, share your thoughts in the comments below. Should I backpack in the Ozark Trail boots? The Cascadias? Something else?