Hiking Boot Recommendations and Modifications

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2022

Anyone that has worked with me or any other PRI provider knows that a good shoe is a critical part of your healing process. A good shoe helps the body right itself against gravity to allow a sense of safety through reference centers in your feet.  A good shoe can change sense of reference, testing, and availability or range of movement.

 As a PNW resident, I get inquiries all the time from patients about good hiking boots and boot modifications that can continue to benefit ground sense and reference.

I reached out to my PRI nation, and I got some good information regarding hiking shoes, over the counter inserts and lacing. 

So here we go:

Most trainers are good, it just depends on if you and your PT feel you need more support or not.

  • Topo makes a nice wide toe box with decent support, but both Brooks Cascadia/Caldera are very comfortable and capable.
  •  Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore Tex comes in a low and mid height hiker. The
  •  Mid seems to work best for reference centers but it weighs more
  •  Low is a nice option that can also work for some short trail runs, it is not as light as   some other trail running options.

Mid Height Women:

https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/x-ultra-3-mid-gtxr-w.html#color=34135

Low Height Women:

https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/x-ultra-3-gtxr-w.html#color=31672

Mid Height Men:

https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/x-ultra-3-mid-gtxr.html#color=27895

Low Height Men:

https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/x-ultra-3-gtxr.html#color=4296

La Sportiva is lighter than a Solomon and work well for narrow heels and feet

https://www.lasportivausa.com/footwear/footwear-hiking.html

I know avid hikers sometimes use trail runners for day hiking and even back packing with light packs.

  • One brand is a La Sportif trail runner that works well with someone who uses PRI orthotics. The prospect of using a good trail runner can open up more comfortable options if ankle weakness is not a concern. 
  • Scarpa is another option, but these are for a bit narrow foot and heel also. Many of my trail running clients as well as hikers are not a fan of their product line and pricing 

It is great to have found a local footwear dealer that has a good return policy.  Ideally you can bring these boots into your PRI provider to be tested in them for proper fitting and modifications.

Over the counter orthotics: 

A great OTC option to consider is a new line this year from Superfeet. It is the Superfeet flex line. This line comes in a 3mm, 4mm and 5mm option.  I have found that patients get a lot of success with purchasing a boot ½ size bigger and then adding the Superfeet flex 5mm option.

Superfeet flex have a deep heel cup and a flat bottom with sensory arch support but also continue to allow the normal movement of supination and pronation that we all need access to for alternating gait or walking/hiking.

Here is the link to the Superfeet flex: https://www.superfeet.com/en-ca/flex .

Please note that there is a Superfeet flex min 3mm, Superfeet flex max 5mm, and the link above is for the Superfeet flex standard of 4mm.

Your hiker needs to be able to be laced up. Thanks to some research and these helpful YouTube folks, I teach my clients about a heel tie shoe lock lacing pattern for tennis shoes. Here are a couple links below to see a heel tie shoe lock pattern for hikers.  The videos differ in lacing style for speed lacing or regular lacing.

https://youtu.be/SOE28brAcEc - speed lacing style

https://youtu.be/VFDt2ay9heE - regular lacing style

https://youtu.be/AbUAMPQDjyk - regular lacing style

Bottom line: Great shoes can make the difference in a PRI program and with all activities daily or recreational. 

Reach out with questions

In Health

Paige, PT, PRC, PCES, CSCS, CKTP

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