Hiking boots

Ps. footwear is personal preference, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. The best bet - try a few different options and stick with the one that works best for you. After all - you have to live with any blisters/sore feet that arise from your decisions.


Made my choice after alot of research. I am going for the Merrel Glove 4 shoes, goung to order through Amazon

Thank you for the feedback. I haven’t got round to actually buy the Vivo shoes yet (car timing belt had to come first - eina! :wink: ) but thank you for the warning. I wonder why specialty shoes like these never come in half sizes as this will definitely solve the issue. Are you a size 5 or 6? I wonder if i must maybe look at a men’s pair rather. It is such a difficult purchase to make as you fork out a few thousand just to cry up the mountain because of blisters! You can’t test them first. :slight_smile:

I also looked at the Vivo tracker but actually need a shoe I can run with as well (one big purchase, loads of all round use). Quite an expensive decision to make! If one buys from Amazon, don’t you pay import taxes?

I think it depends on the brand. I recently bought La Sportiva climbing shoes, and they have a massive range of sizes between sizes. That is particularly handy - seeing as climbing shoes are supposed to fit like a glove, but I don’t like them to be too tight. My previous pair was just tight enough that I would start losing feeling in my toes, which is no use when you are trying to climb some long route in the Drakensberg and your feet are cold to begin with.

For hiking shoes/boots, I generally tend on the slightly too large side of the scale, and then just wear thick socks (and obviously a pair of inner socks as well). My latest trail shoes are slightly tighter than expected, so I will be forced to use single socks in them. Joys of buying shoes online!

On a side note - if you have problems with blisters, just hike more often. They eventually become callouses, problem solved :grin:

You are right! I need to hike more :smiley: I’m thinking of rather getting trail running shoes and see how that goes. I think my feet doesn’t like to be restricted. Apparently if you cover your feet in vaseline, put some thin socks en then thick sock over it, you do not get blisters. I’m just wondering how your feet will sweat with a thick layer of petroleum over it :flushed:

Hi Ronel. No vaseline, rather us chamois cream or anti- chafe cream. Its a cream that turns to powder. Wear a pair of liner socks and then your hiking socks on top.

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I don’t think I would try putting vaseline on my feet before a hike. Aside from the fact that you’ll be throwing your socks away after the hike, and all the dirt that gets into your shoes will become a thick paste. Sounds rather disgusting! I would be very surprised if that works, I would expect it to actually make things worse.

Double socks do help with blisters, and having well worn in shoes helps as well - but if you are using your feet more than what they are used to, you are going to get blisters. It’s just part of the game.

Something I learned when I did my 5 day Drakensberg Grand Traverse back in 2015 was that a few days of doing a lot of distance results in your feet getting really sore (not due blisters, which I did also have, but a general uncomfortable feeling across the bottom of the foot). When I took my shoes off and rubbed my feet, they felt better for a bit. The next time I attempted a “fast” traverse (quotes to indicate fast by my standards, not by trail runner standards) - from day 1, every time I took a fairly long break, I gave my feet a good rub before putting my shoes back on. This actually worked really well.

What some people swear by is anti-blister plasters. They are fairly expensive, but apparently putting them on a hot spot before it gets too bad actually prevents blisters.

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Noted! I don’t own Vaseline as I find the texture quite horrid. And on your feet… Eeeuw :joy:

i can vouch for chamois cream - but use only enough to leave a thin layer on the skin; not a big glop that will result in soggy socks. does wonders to keep chafing at bay.

Hello! Has anyone tried any of the Keen shoes? I am going to hike from Robertson to Cape Agulhas in march and that is 261km in total with an average of 18.6 km/day. What would you recommend? I am in the market for new shoes so any help would be gladly appreciated? Boots or trail shoes?

The route is mostly through farms and public roads…

Robertson, McGregor, Die Galg, Greyton, Wolfkraal, Tussenbeide, Hermanus, Wortelgat, Gansbaai, BBos, Elim, Springfield, Agulhas…

Let me know what you think.

Hi Francois,

Hiking boots (especially if they are high mileage boots with stiff soles) will not be comfortable on typical dirt roads. Ask me, I walked on some in the Mnweni area (Northern Drakensberg) this past weekend and it wasn’t fun. For typical easy and flat trails I would go for something like a trail shoe, or maybe an approach shoe if you carry a heavier backpack.

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Hi Francois. I recently bought a pair of Keen Targhee 3 mid boots. Unfortunately the first pair’s soles started to come apart after only 5 months and 200 km of normal hiking. Luckily the boots were replaced with a new pair. That said, the reviews are mostly really good. Maybe my first pair was a bad pair as the second pair does feel different and more sturdy.


Thank you all @Riaang @MasterMo and @IzakGreyling for your advice. I had the Keen shoes in hand and left them at Cape Union to go read some reviews… Some of the reviews mentioned the soles not being able to withstand the elements, so that put me of them, just like your first pair @IzakGreyling.

So the research continued and on allot of blogs the Salomon Men’s X Ultra Mid GTX Boot came out as the top boot, so I went to Cape Union’s website only to see that they cost R3299, way over budget. So went back to Cape Union shop to check what other options there was… Only to find out that the Salomon Men’s X Ultra Mid GTX Boot was on special, maybe still is, for R1499! More than 50% off of the online price! So I baught them, and now time on the trail will tell if it was a good purchase.

Maybe some of you have experience with Salomon Men’s X Ultra Mid GTX Boot? They seemed comfortable in store, very light, and tough soles…

Hi Francois,

I also purchased the same Solomons for the same price a month ago, will also be testing them out soon. I was looking for a lighter and more breathable shoe for hot weather hiking (I find my thick leather boots gets uncomfortably hot in summer, which in turn leads to me sweating, soft skin and then ultimately blisters on my heels).

From what I’ve heard the soles doesn’t last very long, so we’ll see if this is indeed true or not.

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Hi Francois. Unfortunately the second pair of Keen boots had the same problem, the flex zone of the soles started to separate only just 20 km’s. Returned them this morning and got myself a new pair of Salomon Men’s Ultra Mid GTX boots. Did some research on them beforehand and the reviews are really good. Happy hiking.

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Hi @Riaang I’m glad you got the shoes at the same price. I will comment when I am back from my trip on the soles. Hopefully they last the way…

@IzakGreyling That sucks that the second pair did the same. Maybe that is a design problem with the shoe. Lets see how the Salomons go…

ps. Everytime I say Salomon I think: “Saaaaaroman…” As in LOTR.

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I am due a new pair of proper hiking boots. My last pair were La Sportiva Typhoons which were magnificent and I wore down to a completely smooth outsole. Are these available anywhere anymore or does anyone have similar recommendations? Most hiking I do in trail running shoes but I prefer boots for winter hikes or more advanced trails when carrying a pack.
I have also seen the Salomon Outline Mid GTX Boot which has great reviews and is in the price range I am looking at.
Thanks in advance.

The Boreal Pointers are a similar style, mid-weight boot: http://www.mountainmailorder.co.za/boreal-pointer/
Alternatively, the Salomon Quest 4D boots are amazingly comfortable, but can’t be resoled.
I’ve recently been hiking in the Zamberlan Rolle’s - expensive, but wonderful. I probably won’t need another pair of boots for 10 years.