Trekking poles and shoes

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  • #27195

    Hi! I’ve just started training and following the 24 weeks plan.
    However I have a couple of questions.

    1. Trekking Poles
    What do you think about using trekking poles? What’s your experience?
    I’ve rarely used them and I always go hiking and mountaineering without them.
    Do you think they are really useful? Will they prevent knee overuse injuries on the long run? What do you think about using them only for descents? I fear that always relying on trekking poles might weaken my balance and some leg muscles on uneven and steep terrain. Do you think that’s legit?

    2. Shoes
    What kind of shoes do you recommend for aerobic training? I like to train outdoor on steep trails where I might find rocks, dirt, snow, ice, leaves, gravel. I own mountaineering boots, approach shoes and running shoes. While I would like to preserve my mountaineering boots for proper mountaineering trips, I find that approach and running shoes soles are not aggressive enough and it’s quite easy to slip with them, especially on descents. Would you suggest trail running shoes? (never owned a single pair) Trail runners will also allow me to run decently if needed. What about shoes height? Do you think it’s important to protect ankles on that kind of terrain? Maybe proper hiking boots are better? What about those new hybrid shoes like Scarpa’s Ribelle S OD?

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #27199

    Poles: I’m skeptical about both the balance criticisms and the knee support. I always use poles when running in order to use my arms as much as possible. I find that it helps my hand/foot synchronization for skimo and VK racing.

    But I never use them for steep descents. I never saw any benefits from them on descents and, for me, they usually just get in the way.

    To reduce impact, I found they had to be ridiculously long or I would have to lean unnaturally forward. I didn’t like either.

    Shoes: I wore boots exclusively when I was climbing a lot (and not really training). After doing a lot of aerobic training, I never wear boots unless I need to wear crampons. I use a Sportiva Akasha for almost everything, including easy mountaineering objectives. I’ve come to hate excess foot weight, so if I can get away with trail shoes, I use them.

    In some terrain though, trail shoes will be far less secure than boots or rock shoes. It’s your responsibility to decide what is safe for you.

    Here’s a thread on different shoe preferences:

    death.jester on #27262

    Hello ste,
    to your first question:

    I was also not a big fan of tracking poles, I always thought they go in the way and are hindering me in my movement. Plus, it always takes ages to adjust them to the right size again when I need to unfold them (I had the fully adjustable ones).
    But then I bought a pair of foldable ones, the BD FLZ (there are others from different companies, they have a more or less “fixed” size but can still be shrinked), and this really changed how I think about poles now. Because I really only use them for specific terrain (mainly when going uphill on trails) and want to put them away fast when I don’t need them and unfold them fast when I need them, so yes, with these it’s easily possible and works well. Now I really like poles and I usually have them with me when I’m running or hiking on mixed terrain terrain.

    2. I’m also not a “fan” of big mountain boots, and I also only really wear them when I have steep snow/ice where I need fully automatic crampons. For “lighter” terrain I have a pair of Salomon X/Alp Carbon 2, which work well with flexlock crampons. They don’t have real ankle support but have a gator built in to prevent snow from entering. I really like those shoes, they work very well in most terrain and temperatures and are very light even when compared to other normal hiking boots. For everything else, that does not involve snow I just use normal approach or trail running shoes.

    I don’t have experience with the Scarpa’s Ribelle S OD, but I was also thinking about getting a pair. But I have tried them on in a shop and they are still very, very stiff, because they are compatible with semi-automatic crampons, so they might be lighter than a “full” mountain boot, but they are still more on the mountain boot side, than on the approach shoe side. So I decided against them, because for most of my tours they are still too heavy, and when I go ice climbing I need mountain boots for automatic crampons.

    Anonymous on #27285

    Yes! As @death-jester said the X Alp is great for easy snow terrain. I forgot about those because I haven’t used them lately, but they’re my go-to for easy mountaineering with snowy terrain.

    Anonymous on #27398

    One more thought: I’m a fan of the BD FLZ poles as well, but I would get a fixed length. I have an adjustable length right now, but I never adjust it.

    ste on #29208

    Here I am again and I’ve bought Scarpa’s Ribelle S OD.
    I’ve used them 3 times now. I find them really awesome. Very lightweight, a bit supportive, shape of the sole lets you run without issues when you need to do it.

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