John Muir Trail Gear: Shoes
During my John Muir Trail adventure, I’ll be spending long hours on my feet, trudging along the trail, for up to 16 (or more) miles and as long as ten (or more) hours each day. So I needed some mighty comfortable footwear.
Enter the TrekSta Evolution Mid GTX (the GTX stands for Gore-Tex, the waterproof-yet-breathable material used in countless outdoor clothing applications), winner of the coveted Backpacker Editor’s Choice in 2011.
These are one light pair of boots, about 15.3 ounces per shoe, a key factor considering I will have to lift this weight with each step that I take on the trail. So, as always with hiking, less is better.
And should you think 15.3 ounces is heavy, trail running shoes (an popular alternative for those hikers looking to move fast and save weight) can weigh around 14 ounces, like the La Sportiva Crossover GTX, or 15 ounces, like the Vasque Velocity GTX — both shoes I considered wearing on this trip.
But after reading about the Evolution, I decided on this mid-level boot instead. Having a little extra ankle support without sacrificing low weight is a bonus. Plus, I’ll most likely be encountering snow at some point, so I wanted footwear that could handle a slick surface. These bad boys have a number of of nifty “grippers” (my term) on the sole, something TrekSta calls “IceLock Technology.” As you can see, this is a company that really embraces inter-caps (and I didn’t even get into their NestFit technology).
I’ve tested these boots on a few hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains. They do shed water really well and are, for the most part, very comfortable. However, the trails in the San Gabriels can get pretty hot, and the breathability of Gore-Tex tends to be less effective in warmer temperatures. So on the longer hikes, I did get a few hot spots (these can turn into blisters if left untreated), but now I know where those will happen and can perform some preventative taping.
Fortunately, so far the weather reports indicate the temperatures I’ll be hiking in along the John Muir Trail will be much cooler than what I’ve experienced in the San Gabriels.