By Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
Lightweight footwear is always a popular topic. Cutting footwear weight makes a difference; according to a research study, taking one pound off your feet is equivalent to taking 6 pounds out of your pack.
Ultralight backpackers prefer trail running shoes. Our preference is lightweight, stable, supportive, cushioned shoes with a wide toebox, snug heelcup, rock plate, high traction outsole, and preferably welded construction.
Lightweight backpackers still like a “light hiker” style of boot, which includes many of the “mid” styles. These boots are sturdier and more supportive. They are heavier than trail runners, but the weight is diminishing. They also last longer. We prefer boots that are made of all synthetic materials, welded construction, good cushioning and traction, and weight no more than 16 ounces/boot.
There are always many new shoe models on display at Outdoor Retailer; we highlight only a few to illustrate our preferences. Weights are for men’s size 9, available spring 2018 unless stated otherwise.