Thursday, June 03, 2010

Finding injury and relief from different kinds of shoes

From trial and error with different kinds of footwear I've come to the conclusion that I overpronate in my left foot. I'm finding Chaco sandals to provide tremendous relief but I am not sure I would be able to hike the Pacific Crest Trail or long distances with them. I had to modify them some, too.

I wore a wide variety of shoes on the PCT. I had a lot of success with a couple of different brands of shoes and some terrible failures. Everybody seems to love the Montrail Hardrocks (or at least they did a couple years ago.) Those sent me off the trail with stress fractures after I had been doing so well in other shoes. I learned from them that I can't tolerate shoes with too much stiffness or other corrective properties (motion control and all that stuff.) I also had a lot of trouble with shoes that were too narrow. I spent a lot of time with my womens size 7 feet wearing mens size 9 or 10 shoes and feeling great. Then I found some 4E mens shoes and was in heaven. But even after finding shoes that didn't hurt me too much I still ended up injured because hiking the PCT is a repetitive stress injury machine. In my search for relief after the trail I've tried the motion control shoes again (reinjury), I've tried moccasins (some relief but not enough) and Chacos (hooray, relief at last.)

You have to do what works and be willing to get rid of or make modifications to any shoes that are giving you trouble out there. No matter how much you paid for them, no matter how much other people rave about them, no matter how much you like them, if your shoes are causing you pain you must get rid of them quickly and move on to something else. I used to walk into shoe stores and let shoe salesmen fit me. No more. I know so much now about my feet I tell them what I want and they look at me like I'm nuts but in the end they say, "wow, I thought you were nuts but I think you are right."

So really I don't have any advice. After all I am injured (tendonitis and sesamoiditis). But whenever I hear someone say the answer is boots I have to say something because it's not. Boots are tight, stiff, hot, have tremendous toe-spring, immobilize your feet and would have driven me off the trail in 3 weeks.

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