23 March 2016
I've been concentrating on bicycling and swimming since my last hike. But yesterday, Spring Beckoned, I went for a dawn hike at Cronan Ranch. Just 1 1/2 miles, up to the top of West Ridge Trail and back down again.
It was chilly, 37 degrees, with beautiful piles of fog in the low lying areas.
About 3 years ago (whenever the Merrell Trail Gloves came out first) I bought a pair.
I didn't use them much, as I found them uncomfortable at the time. Which I attributed to the 'lack of arch support' (they do have arch support, just not much, as they are designed as a barefoot minimalist shoe). However, I spent a considerable time last summer and this winter in zero drop sandals, which leads me to believe that it was the zero drop that was troubling me, not the minimal arch. AND I've been taking yoga with a different teacher, who emphasizes the arch of the foot during poses. Which has strengthened my arches, and my ankles, a bit also.
|Shoes that roll up!!|
My left ankle is tired (that's the side that pronates more than the other) but overall I really enjoyed skipping up and down the trail in the Merrell shoes. I'm planning on going again (maybe a bit further) tomorrow. Yesterday, I forgot to take my hiking sticks, which normally would have bothered me a lot, as I feel uncertain on steep downhills. Especially on dirt trails. I feel like I'm just waiting for my feet to slide out from under me. I didn't get that sensation in these shoes. I think the Vibram soles help, and they really conform to my feet - the "feet in a concrete box" feeling I get from traditional hiking boots is totally absent.
Years ago, when I switched to trail runners (Inov8 295) from traditional 'lightweight' hiking boots, I gloried in the sensation of Free Feet! I felt like dancing along the trail. Yesterday, I had that same sensation again, after stepping down to an even lighter shoe. I've been more and more unhappy with my Inov8 shoes, as they have become more uncomfortable as time has passed.
I'll not use these shoes (the Merrell Gloves) for backpacking right away, but I will use them for day hikes with a very light pack. I'm not sure how they will do on granite slabs (most of my backpacking is in the mountains). I may find that I miss the sticky soles of the Inov8 shoes. Not sure what I will do about backpacking shoes this season.
I have ordered another pair of Dirty Girl gaiters, as my old ones are too big for these minimalist shoes. The Merrells fit tightly enough that not a lot of dirt and irritants can get down in them, but some did. I don't like stopping to fish dirt and pebbles out, but if I don't, I'll be unhappy. The other thing I'm getting used to with these shoes is No Socks. There seems to be nothing much inside that will irritate my feet. A hike of 5 miles or more will show up any inside irritants.
Well, that was wordy.