Four years ago I started having increasing pain in my heel in the mornings. As the day wore on the pain would typically go away and I thought nothing of it. Then I started having the pain on day hikes, but nothing debilitating. However, on one trip to the Wallowas in NE Oregon, the pain was so bad I couldn’t walk around camp. Luckily we had some elastic foot wrap and I managed to hobble back out.
I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis first in my left foot and months later in my right. The doctors said I could just take some ibuprofen and it should be gone within weeks. Horseshit. It took nearly 18 months to fully heal. At times the pain was so debilitating, I had to ice my feet after only walking two blocks. Needless to say I couldn’t hike, much less backpack. Luckily I could just switch to cycling and surfing which suited me just fine, no hiking required.
As I gained my ability to walk again I got back into backpacking and hiking once more, starting slowly, making sure not to push too far. Only in the past year have I felt completely free from the pain. Hiking 12 miles in one day seems like quite the feat when I couldn’t walk two blocks years ago.
That being said I needed better shoes to backpack and hike in. I tried many combos of superfeet insoles and various boots, trail shoes, and trail runners. Although I wear superfeet in my street shoes, I settled on a pair of Adidas Terrex Fast X Gore-Tex XCR shoes, which may be the longest name for a shoe I’ve ever seen. These fit my foot so well that I didn’t need superfeet.
Needless to say I’ve beat them to shit over the past 14-15 months. I’m not sure how many miles I’ve put on them, but they’ve reached their limit at this point. They’ve been stellar insofar as to how well they fit and feel, but there are some issues with them now. First off, the shoestrings shredded. I replaced them with these technora laces from Lawson Equipment. They are beasts and will easily outlive these shoes. I highly recommend them.
The tread has held up well, it is made of Continental rubber. It grips really well on a variety of surfaces of varying levels of wetness. Over a year and there is plenty of tread left.
These shoes are also waterproof, which was important because I’d also use them in the winter and on day snowshoe excursions. The gore-tex seems to have held together really well. However, the shoes now leak. I believe that the sole is starting to separate from the shoe a bit, allowing water in. This even happened on a recent trip where I walked through dewey fields. Needless to say after the dry summer they’re done.
I think that realistically, a year is all Im going to get out of a pair of hiking shoes if I use them often. The cushioning degrades pretty quickly in all shoes. They were worth their weight in gold for how well they fit, and for shoes, fit is everything. Especially with having plantar fasciitis. I’m pretty happy overall with how they turned out, but I wish I could get more out of a shoe that I paid around $100 for.
So, if you have plantar fasciitis, these hiking shoes are definitely worth trying on for size. They may not work out for you, but I sure hope you find ones that do. Plantar fasciitis is fucking horrible and if you’ve never had it, I hope you never get it, honestly.