Being both heavy and balance-challenged means I have to pay attention to my feet. Add in getting used to a normal gait and flat arches and you will understand why I have to choose wisely my footwear for a hike. Some people can hike in anything; I’m not one of them.
At times the choice is easy, and at others its not. Decisions, decisions. On my left foot is a Brooks Cascadia trail running shoe, size 13. For a hike of five miles or under, or one that isn’t on difficult terrain, its my shoe of choice. It provides good traction and even better arch support. Readers of this blog might have seen them in my posts about Pole Steeple and Tumbling Run. The shoes took abuse there, getting soaked at Tumbling Run and one of them taking flight during my Pole Steeple hike. They are holding up well, are much lighter than hiking boots, and look good too.
On the right is one of my Asolo hiking boots, size 12. The Brooks Cascadia was purchased post surgery, but the Asolo boots were acquired in 2010 when I began to become more serious about hiking and wanted to compensate for my bad knees as much as possible. I save them for something technical, most recently being the Raven’s Horn hike. Unlike the Cascadia, I need some kind of arch support in them, and I’m still shopping for the right one.
Also, my feet are still shrinking as I recover from the knee replacement and lose weight. Currently the boots are just a hair too small, but I expect soon enough they will fit as perfectly as they did when I purchased them. I expect to need a smaller size in the Cascadia too when its time to replace them; I dropped two shoe sizes, from 14 to 12, when I dropped 160 pounds in 2006, so I expect I’ll be a 12 again soon.