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Boots with no heel rise?

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Boots with no heel rise?

Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:08 am

It's an odd question, but is anyone aware of any mountaineering boots made with less than a 4mm heel rise over the toes, preferably no heel rise? Basically something for the minimalist who wants to snowshoe and use crampons?
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby OJ Loenneker » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:20 am

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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:21 pm

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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:37 pm

Thanks, but heel rise is the amount of elevation the heel is above the toe area. I have 5 fingers, but my crampons just keep falling off. The actual boots still have a heel rise.

A perfectly flat shoe has no rise, a low rise is considered to be anywhere from 1 mm to 5mm, most seem to have around 10 mm (which is ridiculous) and some fashion designers like Nike have high heel foam shoes for the fashion obsessed which feature a heel rises of up to 2 cm.
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby Steve Pratt » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:13 pm

As long as you are willing to limit your slope angle, you can put snowshoes or strap-on crampons on just about anything. But you WILL have to limit your slope angle, since you aren't going to find low heel rise with a rigid midsole.

You can look at the Vivo Barefoot Off Road: http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/mens/off ... ns-13.html
Also, the Mad Rock Fury is a minimalist boot that will respectably take a crampon, though it has a bit more heel rise than you want.

I am curious why you would want this. I can kind-of see your interest. Minimalist running shoes are advocated for road running to promote a more efficient toe-first gait and reduce heel strike.

But in hiking, you aren't going to go toe first, and heel strike forces are less than in running on pavement (and in snow travel are essentially negligible). The reason mountaineering boots have a built-up heel is to reduce calf fatigue on the uphill, and increase braking on the downhill (think plunge-stepping). If you throw a crampon and have to come down an icy slope with the type of boots you're talking about, you're really going to be upstream on Fecal Creek.
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby Clark_Griswold » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:47 pm

Actually, I hike in zero degree shoes all the time and toe strike, not heel strike. Heel striking is the worst thing someone like me can do. It's bad for most people, actually, but whatever. I'll spare you the finer details of my experience with my flat feet, my plantar fasciitis, back pain pre-metatarsal joint pain, orthotics, and knee pain which was actually from the orthotics, worsening pain that never resolved with the remedies the "doctors" prescribed, and so on. All of this "magically" went away once I stopped listening to them and started walking in flat shoes and on my mid and forefoot. Using a boot that forces me to heel walk only makes things worse. The minimal heel rise really does nothing for up slope travel, the elevator on my snowshoe is far more effective. It does force my foot into an unnatural position, but most modern westerners believe that to actually be normal and required for walking, running and hiking.

Yesterday, I hiked in snow using my old winter boots. I hate them. They change how I walk and for the first time in months, my back was killing me after a hike. Also, having a heel that is higher increases the amount of angle the foot is at when descending and wearing crampons. Not in heel plunging, but a firm enough sole would still allow for that. I seriously doubt mountaineering boots have a built up heel for uphill travel. I say it has more to do with mimicking the average boot most people are used to and expect. It wouldn't really require all that much to make a decent boot with <4mm of heel rise, but it would be niche. If I have to stick with what I have, so be it. I did for years, and I can do so from time to time. I stay on slopes less than 45 degrees. Mountaineer's Route on Whitney is about the top fo what I like to do in terms of slope. I do get on ice, but that is not climbing ice.

I'll check out those products you linked to. Thanks.
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby peninsula » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:31 pm

Lionel wrote:Actually, I hike in zero degree shoes all the time and toe strike, not heel strike. Heel striking is the worst thing someone like me can do. It's bad for most people, actually, but whatever. I'll spare you the finer details of my experience with my flat feet, my plantar fasciitis, back pain pre-metatarsal joint pain, orthotics, and knee pain which was actually from the orthotics, worsening pain that never resolved with the remedies the "doctors" prescribed, and so on. All of this "magically" went away once I stopped listening to them and started walking in flat shoes and on my mid and forefoot.


I agree, heel striking is unhealthy. It takes a habit-changing effort initially, and some conditioning as well, but toe striking is far better for our bodies than heel striking. I had sciatica and knee issues that pretty much resolved when I learned to stop heel striking. A good book on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Superath ... 848&sr=8-1
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:36 pm

For snowshoeing, there are a lot of softer, insulated boots with relatively low heel rise. Most people would rather use a televator-type feature on steep slopes. But boots that you can trust with crampons... subject of another thread.

Back when heels were fairly solid, I would consider taking a grinding wheel to them. Nowadays, you might get a nasty surprise.
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby BrunoM » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:16 pm

peninsula wrote:
Lionel wrote:Actually, I hike in zero degree shoes all the time and toe strike, not heel strike. Heel striking is the worst thing someone like me can do. It's bad for most people, actually, but whatever. I'll spare you the finer details of my experience with my flat feet, my plantar fasciitis, back pain pre-metatarsal joint pain, orthotics, and knee pain which was actually from the orthotics, worsening pain that never resolved with the remedies the "doctors" prescribed, and so on. All of this "magically" went away once I stopped listening to them and started walking in flat shoes and on my mid and forefoot.


I agree, heel striking is unhealthy. It takes a habit-changing effort initially, and some conditioning as well, but toe striking is far better for our bodies than heel striking. I had sciatica and knee issues that pretty much resolved when I learned to stop heel striking. A good book on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Superath ... 848&sr=8-1


Loved that book!

I suffered from patella issues for 3 years. Couldn't run.

Started running barefoot. I now run 40 minutes without pain whatsoever, except for the various types of herbal material that stick in my soles of my feet.
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Re: Boots with no heel rise?

Postby dmnz » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:39 am

I wouldn't climb in either of those boots
but if you do find any low heel ones I'd love to know and try them.

Basically, heel striking means forces go up the heel and up the bones and why old guides have bad knees as forces are transmitted up the chain.

Striking further up the foot means the calves absorb the forces and as a muscle it's dynamic and can get stronger to deal with the stress.
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