Tools of the Trade: Shoes

Tools of the Trade: Shoes

So last week we established that we’ve got alot to do this year, but before we get into it we’re going to need some gear to make the most of our time outdoors. The most important of which is going to be a great pair of shoes for our application and some nice socks. The style of shoe that will be right for you is going to be dependent on which subset of awesomeness you want to experience outside. For example, you’re not going to be wearing a heavily insulated boot while trail running the local spots. You would wear a trail running specific shoe. So let’s make this simple and break it down into six different groups.We’ll be looking at hiking, trail running, backpacking, approach, insulated, and water specific shoes. There are other styles as well such as mountain biking shoes and climbing shoes but we’ll get into those more in depth at a later time since they’re only used for one thing. Your hiking shoes are going to be the most adaptable pair in your closet. If you’re on a budget you can use backpacking, trail running, or approach shoes in their place dependent on the kind of trail you’ll be doing. What we want in a hiking specific shoe is going to be a light to mid weight body with a semi aggressive sole. What this means is that the tread on your hiking boot shouldn’t be geared towards one surface like rock, dirt, or mud. You also want it lightweight so that you won’t have to much of a problem with stamina on those longer hikes. A few examples for this kind of shoe will be Merrell’s Moab series, Salomon’s Xa Pro 3d, and even Chaco’s Brio boot. Now for trail running what we’re going to want is a lightweight, breathable, upper as well as good support and an aggressive tread. You’ll find the most aggressive soles in these shoes since they’ll be the most athletic oriented of the styles we’re looking at today. These shoes are going to be designed foremost for speed with protection as somewhat of an afterthought. There are actually quite a few styles of shoes out there since trail running is’nt quite as niche as it used to be. A few are going to be Salomon’s Speedcross and X Ultra series as well as Merrell’s All Out Charge. Typically, since these are running shoes, their livery is also to be very colorful as well. Now there is going to be a massive difference between the trail running styles and backpacking shoes. Where the trail running shoes were light and minimal, the backpacking style is going to be more supportive and heavy duty. Since backpacking involves carrying an extra load of anywhere between 20 and 50lbs, these shoes are going to be more about support than anything else. You’ll typically find a mid rise boot with about the same kind of sole as your hiking boot, but with loads of support. This is where it gets tricky. With that extra support comes more material which will add weight to the boot. So you have to decide between the extent of support that you want, and the stamina increse that comes with a lighter shoe. It’s an old adage that, “A pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back.” It’s an argument that no one but yourself can answer. If you’re going for a month long through hike, then support might be the way to go. Or if you’re doing a quick weekend trip, then the lightweight style can help you cover the most ground the fastest. This kind of thinking can show just how specialized the gear you need for the outdoors can be, and our last three categories are as specialized as we’re going to get. The approach shoe can also be used as a light hiker, but is going to be mainly at home on rocky, technical terrain, These shoes are designed for getting a rock climber to the base of their actual climb while still being able to use some climbing techniques themselves. The soles are going tobe stiffer and have a stickier rubber compound for smearing and edging. These shoes will also be lightweight and tend to have laces that run all the way down to the toe for maximum fit. Because of the stiff sole, these shoes wouldn’t be recommend for your all day, long hikes. A few styles that to be suggested would be the Vasque Grand Traverse and the Five Ten Guide Tennie. Insulated boots are going to be geared only for your coldest of weather environments. There are different thermal ratings for different shoes so be sure that the shoe that you’re getting fits the weather that you’ll experience where you’ll be adventuring. These boots are going to have a tread designed for traction in snow and on ice to help you stay upright and trudge through feet of precipitaion. Most of these boots are also going to waterproof so that you don’t freeze when you accidently misstep into a deep puddle of snow melt. You won’t be able to wear these boots outside of cold weather due to the fact that you’re feet would simply overheat and turn into a puddle of sweat. The exact opposite would happen if you were to wear your water specific shoes in insulated boot weather. Now your water shoee, or sandals, will be the least protective of any of the shoes that you can have. These will leave most, if not all, of your foot exposed to the elements. This is also what they’re meant to do so that it can allow water to flow freely around your feet instead of collecting in the soles of your shoes. Most of the styles are going to be designed for use on the river where you still want great traction and support. Chaco is going to come to mind simply because they are designed specifically for rafting and kayaking. They have a polyurethane base matched with a form that supplies plenty of arch support for use throughout the entire day. Now all that’s left for you to do is to decide which activity is most intriguing to you and find the corresponding shoe that best fits your feet. If you don’t already have a pair then the hiking category might be the best place to start to get acclimated to the outdoors. Also keep in mind what kind of terrain you have access to and where you’ll get the most out of your shoes. Whichever style you decide to go with, be sure not to let your new pair collect dust in the closet but collect mud on the trails. -Nick

2017: 101

2017: 101

It is pretty well known by the locals that Lubbock is a great place to work but a terrible place to have a weeekend. What is there to do in this town to fill your time anyway? There are plenty of restaurants to eat at but not too many mom and pop joints for the local foodie to explore. Another option that the grade school students heavily emplore is a visit to one of the movie theaters in town. The only issue with that is, depending on which weekend it is, the list of movies to watch may not match with your acquired cinema tastes. Lubbock definitely has more than enough shopping with South Plains Mall and the many local centers and plazas around town. People from hundreds of miles around even travel to our city for the consumer amenities that we offer. This is fantastic and the Lubbock natives love to have guests in their city but we’ve done these things every weekend since our eldest high school friend obtained their drivers permit. So the question remains, what else is there to do in the Hub City? If you’re willing to commit to following us throughout this year then hopefully we can finally answer this age old question. We are going to see what an everyday adventurer like you can do with our slice of West Texas. The only things you’ll need access to are moderate transportation, a map, and your local outdoor outfitter to get going. We are going to tackle everything there is to do within this town as well as everything outdoors there is to do within a six hour radius of us. We will summit multiple peaks, bike through canyons, swim in remote lakes, meet new people, and eat fantastic food. Our adventures are going to take us anywhere from El Paso to Amarillo to Taos and lastly Austin. We are going to discover everything that Lubbock has to offer and use it to its fullest extent. If you’re willing to commit to the outdoors then we can have some of the most exciting times in West Texas. Just be sure that your boots are strapped on tight and your jacket is cinched down because it’s going to be a crazy year.
-Nick

 

Thanks Dad

Thanks Dad

One of my most vivid memories as a child is my first fishing experience. My Dad, an avid fisherman, had been patiently waiting until I was big enough to use my own Mickey Mouse fishing pole so that he could take me with him.

I remember being absolutely fascinated when my dad pulled a yellow bucket out of the water that was filled with tiny fish, that fascination was quickly followed by terror and intrigue as my dad grabbed one of the minnows and forced a hook though it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A short while later a 16 inch striped bass took my bait, but it was I who was hooked from that moment on.

I have taken up numerous outdoor hobbies since that pivotal moment, and it’s no coincidence the ones I am most passionate about are the ones my dad has done with me.

It was he who took me camping first, it was he who spent countless hours wandering around with me, it was he who drove me to Boy Scouts in a town 30 miles away every week, it has been him that has encouraged me to go on most of the crazy adventures I have cooked up throughout the years, and it is he who I call every time I get off the lake, trail, mountain, or whatever else I have decided to take on.

The time I spent with my dad outdoors was not wasted. It provided me with critical learning experiences as my father modeled to me what it looked like to be a man. My dad not only instilled a love for the outdoors and adventure in me; he helped mold and shape me through these things. I credit a lot of who I am today to the time I have spent with him and am thankful to still have with him.

I hope that you have had the opportunity to spend time with your father outdoors, because I am convinced there are few things better in life. Unfortunately, I know this isn’t the truth for many. But know, that you have the power to change that for others. Whether it be for you own kids, present or future, the neighbor child who is missing a father figure in their life, or anyone else that may cross your path. You can help instill a love for the outdoors while being a role model for someone, by taking time to be outside with them.

This Father’s day I hope you take some time to thank the fathers in your life for everything they have done. And while you are at it get outside and enjoy the great outdoors with them!

We at The Mountain Hideaway want to wish a happy Father’s Day to all the great Dad’s out there!

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