When I did my first shakedown hike, I had a set of waterproof Altra Lone Peak 4.0s. I had watched a certain YouTuber who swore by them. They worked, they weren't comfortable, but they worked. So I started the Appalachian trail in Altra 4.0s with the stock inserts, because I enjoy pain apparently.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they work well for some people, just not for me. I went through 8 different types of shoes from 4 different brands and another 3 different insole types before I found the combination that worked for my feet.
Remember, everyone has different foot types, these worked for me:
My shoe inevitably became the Altra 4.5. They fit, they are light, and I was able to stretch 2 different pairs over 1000 miles. (Not typical) I did have to swap my insoles every 400-500 miles. Which brings me to...
My insoles of choice. Just enough support for my diminishing arches and no real weight added on. As long as I swapped these out regularly, my shins, calves, feet, and back appreciated me more.
Crocs?! Yup, Crocs. There were a few sections on the Appalachian Trail and the Florida Trail where these bad boys came in clutch. You do pay a weight penalty in your backpack for them, but if you like hiking with dry socks and plan on marshing or swamping, I recommend these fashion icons.
I have done about 50 miles in just crocs. constant wet contributes to blisters, but it beats having to dry out wet socks constantly and prolongs the life of your main shoes/boots.
Thank you everyone who supports my hiking/adventuring habits!
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Thanks again, and until next time, get outside