March 8, 1998

Amphibious Footwear Can Make A Big Splash

 

Q. I am going backpacking in the Escalante Canyon in southern Utah in late April. I am taking a good pair of trusty leather boots for most of the hiking, but will also need a pair of boots/shoes/sandals to tromp through and across the river numerous times a day. In your humble opinion what would be the best choice for these river shoes? I’ve thought of heavy duty sandals, a sturdy pair of off-trail running shoes, or even a pair of Converse high tops. Easy to get on and off is a plus as well as something that will dry relatively fast. I would prefer to get a pair of shoes I can use for other purposes and not spend money on something too specific to river walking. What would be the perfect fit to this dilemma? Thanks!

Andrew Thompson

Gear Guy: The enormous popularity of all-terrain sandals such as those from Teva has created a whole category of amphibious footwear. Several makers now are building wet/dry boots that give you the protection of a full boot with the water-loving attributes of a sandal. Teva’s own Wet Climber II ($80), for instance, has grippy rubber outsoles, drain holes for fast drying, and materials that can take repeated soakings.

On the other hand, I like your idea about the Converse.

Depending on how much you really expect to wear these shoes, I’d opt for inexpensive sneakers such as those. Find something cheap in a discount shoe store, wear em, and toss em out.

Q.I’m 6-foot-4 with long legs. I’m going to be climbing Rainier this summer with a guide service. I want to buy an ice ax rather than rent one. How do I know what length to get?

Mike Fogarty

Gear Guy: The longest ice axes regularly available are 90 centimeters, so that would be your top end. Still, I’d suggest you go with a 75- to 80-centimeter ax. That will give you a lighter, more manageable ax, but one that’s still long enough for comfort. Keep in mind you won’t use it as a walking stick, but for balance and self-arrest on slopes. So you won’t be sticking it into the snow at foot level, but rather uphill from you.

Be sure you also take a pair of ski poles. These are invaluable on the trudge to base camp and for the trip back down. They make you a more efficient, better-balanced hiker.

xxxx

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, QUESTION & ANSWER - Gear Guy

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus