It would stand to reason, then, that footwear is even MORE important when planning an AT thru hike.
After reading Trail Tested, I set about replacing much of my gear with lighter versions. I got a lighter tent, a lighter backpack, lighter sleeping bag. Not too difficult, since much of my gear has been serving me well for 15 years or so. (I am nothing, if not loyal to my gear) And I was pleased to find that in the past 15 years, camping technology has really come a long way. My new gear appears just a durable, but a whole lot lighter.
For my boots, though, I was still hesitant. I love my old boots. They are really old-school and really comfortable. Plus, when I purchased them in 1996, I had first tried just about every other boot in the entire store before deciding. Every time I put on boots that seemed to fit, I then walked down the slant board they had in the middle of the store and felt my feet slide in the boots and my toes smash up against the front of the boot. Every. Single. Time.
Finally, the guy said "Let me look at your feet again." He examined my feet, said, "Oh, you're one of those." And went out back to get what he promised would be the perfect boot for my foot. Oh, how right he was.
"One of those" means I have a "Low volume foot"; my foot is narrow top to bottom, not necessarily side to side. And my heel is so narrow I practically have a hoof instead of a foot. What does that mean in the real world? Absolutely nothing. But in hiking and running world, it is of utmost importance.
It means that I will always have my feet ensconced in Mizuno Alchemy Waves and Vasque Sundowners.
Or I thought I would until that damn Trail Tested book had me second guessing my entire belief system. Maybe the technological breakthroughs that had produced my new pack and tent had also meandered into footwear. Maybe there are ridiculously light but just and durable boots that are specially designed for "one of those" cloven hoofed hikers. (Don't worry, I don't have a forked tail. Or horns. Just hooves.) Maybe I should replace my boots with a totally different kind.
So in much the same way I skulked around EMS and REI looking for waterproof gear, I monopolized the boot section of both stores for an afternoon. The result?
And I had to order off of Amazon! The cool camping stores don't stock those babies anymore. Their loss.