Maybruary / by nigel grey

It snows in San Diego! I wanted to test out these La Sportiva Synthesis Surround GTX boots before stepping into the Cascades next month, luckily there was a ton (or more like three inches) of snow up on Cuyamaca Peak. I really like shoes, I know I'm not alone in this obsession so maybe this post will be interesting for some. There is a lot of information about footwear for a thru-hike. Before Ray Jardine re-wrote the standard for lightweight backpacking (sometime around 1992), heavy hiking boots were the usual choice for a long walk. The idea was that you needed a lot of support for the massive backpack you wear and to make you feel tough. Everyone feels tough with boots on. But boots are heavy and in effect every ounce you wear, you are carrying with you, sometimes unnecessarily so. I know this isn't a foreign concept, I just wanted to give some background and a summary because ever since that movie Wild came out based on Cheryl Strayed's book a lot of folks seem to think everyone wants to throw their shoes off a cliff after a few weeks on the PCT. This crucial piece of gear doesn't need to be an enemy. These days nobody wears heavy boots, or at least the classic leather Danners on the cover of Wild. Lightweight trail runners are now standard because a sub-twenty pound pack is relatively easy to achieve. Breathability is more desirable than support because a flexible dry foot is a happy foot. This is a difficult goal when it comes to potentially post-holing through miles of late season snow. So we come back to the idea of a protective waterproof boot. These La Sportivas are perfect. Super light (1 pound 10.9 ounces for the pair), breathable and just waterproof enough to keep your feet stoked. I hope this was incredibly interesting, I will do my best to talk about shoes as much as possible. Stay tuned!