Haglunds and boots - a (ongoing)review

JeffRaines

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Oct 24, 2015
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I've posted a few times about boots and haglunds and have gotten little response. This isn't so much a review of durability, but of what works and what doesn't.

My haglunds case isn't nearly as bad as some of the ones I've seen online... so take my experiences for what you're paying.

So, for starters, I had a pair of Kenetreks that I sold that seemed like they were working until I dropped 30lbs(190>160) so I could be in better mountain shape. They started eating my heels after that. Most of the issue I have with boots is getting my heels to lock in - some folks with the condition report pain, but I haven't really experienced any so far... its all been blisters due to these stupid bumps on my heels preventing a good heel lock. During this time, I also tried out Lowa Tibets, Asolo Fugitives, and Lowa Caminos. None worked.

Whats working for me currently are trail runners(Brooks Cascadias). I had good luck with Salomon Quests with the past iteration, but the newer one doesn't work. Not to mention, if you wear them they leak. This is my reasoning for wanting to get away. Wearing trail runners side hilling, off trail, or during the colder seasons absolutely sucks. I've made it work, but not without suffering.

I should also mention I'm not a sheep hunter by any means - most of my hunting consists of high country bear and deer hunting, with some hiking and fishing trips thrown in. Maybe at some point in the future I'll tackle elk hunting, but being a adult-onset hunter I've discovered that taking my time and learning one species at a time is really the best way. Maybe I'll end up going to Alaska on a fly in hunt one day, but I digress...

This week, I ordered up a pair of "boot covers" off amazon. They were $20 bucks, and I figured it'll be $20 well spent. With these, I can keep boots looking like new while wearing them outside. Please don't take my intent the wrong way - I'm not planning on doing actual hunts in said boots during try out. With this condition, for me, I've seen too many occasions where boots work great indoors, incline treadmill, etc and once you get on the trail its blatantly apparent that they're not going to work. I also understand the needs of the outdoor stores... no one wants to buy a dirty boot. During this I plan to keep wear as minimal as possible while figuring out what is and isn't going to work.

My plan is to try them on around the house doing tip-toe steps and general walking - this will eliminate some of the boots right off. If they slip walking around on flat ground or while tip-toe stepping, chances are >85% they'll slip on the trail. After this, I take them out on my back porch(with boot covers) to test them on a ramp I have. I'm not sure where it came from, but its about 3' wide and 10' long. I prop up said ramp at different angles and walk up the ramp as I would climb a trail. If they pass this test, then I'll actually trail test them on a steep but not crazy(nothing that would ruin the boots or make them in not-like-new condition with shoe covers). I currently have my slope set to 27 degrees, which equates to a 50%! grade. I figure if they don't slip under these conditions, they're not going to slip under a 20% or so grade.

I will add that I test the boots with and without Superfeet Blues.

So far, I've tested the Schnees Timberline, the Crispi Lapponia, Valdres and Summits as well.

I have on order Crispi Guides and Idahos. Also I have Zamberlan 960s and Hanwag Alaskas.

The Timberlines are sized large(at least for my foot). I tested this boot and it failed both the tip-toe test and the incline test. I think its due to its large sizing as there isn't a whole lot of slipping, but its noticeable. In retrospect, I should've ordered 10s. I'm likely not going to order another pair as return shipping at $15 a pop isn't exactly cost effective.

The Crispi Lapponias I ordered due to hearing that softer flex boots typically work better. These boots didn't feel great on my feet, and while really flexible, also slipped even while walking on flat ground. Nix on these.

The Crispi Valdres, with the blue superfeet, are the best so far. Super comfy, and they really lock my heel in. I tried the incline and tip toe stepping - I cant get them to slip(so far). They did pretty well with the stock insoles as well, but the superfeet really took them to another level.

The Crispi Summits are a no go. Tried with and without Superfeet, lacing, etc and was getting slippage tip-toe walking. Tried hitting the slope for fun and it was hurting my heels pretty good - first time I've really experienced heel pain. They were also playing hell with my arches - I feel like it was straight squeezing them to death.

I'm expecting the rest of the boots next week.

If this carries on past these shipments, I'll be trying a few of Meindls USA offerings(the Vakuum Hunters as well as the Comfortfit Hikers).

Stay tuned.

edit - I updated the format a little, added info about the summits, my current use and needs, etc.
 
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JeffRaines

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So, an update.

Did some more testing of one of the boots today - actually took it out on the trail and it’s slip city! It’s amazing what actually going on a trail will show you.

These boot protectors are still going strong. Only did a half mile and 400 feet of gain. I’d say they’re well worth the 20 bucks I paid for them - they’re already paying for themselves - if all I had to go on with this set of boots was my living room/treadmill test I would’ve kept this pair and been out of luck.

I’m not entirely giving up on them - I think I’ll give them another shot or two.

Just goes to show...

Once this next group of boots come in, I think I’m gonna cut my testing short. I’m pretty bummed out that I’ve been through 4 boots so far(not to count the 8+ before) and none are fitting. I’ve got another 4 on the way, if none of those fit I think I’m just gonna cut my losses and pay the toll over at L&S. My only fear is that I’m either going to get told that Salomons are it for me or that I’m going to need leukotape every time I want to wear boots going forward... in either case I would be pretty mad after spending $700 on boot fitting but I honestly don’t know what else to do.
 
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JeffRaines

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So, another update.

So far I've tried -

Crispi-
Briksdal
Valdres
Lapponia
Summit
Guide
Idaho
Dakota

Kenetrek ME Narrow
Zamberlan 960s
Hanwag Alaska
Schnees Timberline
Asolo Hunter GV
La Sportiva Trango Cube

Salewa-
Mountain Trainer
Crow

About a week ago I started paying more attention to my feet. A lot of the shoes were feeling sloppy. So I decided to go and get my size and whatnot checked. I discovered that when I lost that weight, not only did my feet become 'narrow' but I also lost half a size. This explains a lot of the sloppy feeling.

At this point I ended up buying new socks since my old socks were sloppy as well(due to being the wrong size).

So far, in MY size, I've tried the Briksdal, Zamberlans, Trango, and some of the Salewa offerings.

The Salewas have by far been the best fit - the mountain trainers with blue superfeet are awesome, and straight out of the box the Crows are also great. I'm thinking about ordering up some Rapaces as well just to round out my trial of their offerings however the Crows really are awesome. They're a little snug but its a good snug, not a sloppy too tight here loose there snug. I don't hate the Mountain Trainers, I'm just wising for something a little stiffer. If you have a narrow, low volume foot don't overlook these guys.

With that said, I think the Trango Cube has potential as well. The 43 I ordered, while too short, felt promising. I ordered the 43.5 and 44 and am awaiting these as we speak.

The Salewas are going to get a workout today.

With that said, I might make the trek to REI Flagship this weekend to trial some of the other Trango offerings like the Tech, TRK and Tower.
 

6mm Remington

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Oct 19, 2012
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Have Whites build you a pair of the Outdoorsman boot with the Montana Claw sole. You will love them!! Contact them and ask them how you need to outline your foot on a sheet of paper and what they suggest. It would also help to go to a reputable boot store in your area and have them size you length and width just to get more precise.

I love my Whites. Matt Cashell on here has a pair also and he's put them through a few hard hunts. I believe his reviews have been fantastic also. I commented on his review of these boots also.

David
 
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JeffRaines

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So I had a revelation today.

I took the Mtn Trainers and Crows out for a stroll yesterday.

1.6 miles one way/1300 feet.

I didn’t make it 500 feet of vertical before the crows were turning my heels into garbage.

I put the mountain trainers on at that time but it was too late as my heels were already irritated. Luckily I brought my trail runners and finished the hike.

I now understand what people with Haglunds are talking about when they talk about heel pain. While they were definitely creating hotspots, the biggest issue was that on the uphill the boots were grinding my heel back into the heel cup. I figured it was a heel cup issue as my trail runners felt like slippers.

I woke up this morning and started feeling the backs of the heels in the salewas. Wow, I thought - there’s no padding on these. Checked my trail runners... um, there’s no padding on this either?

W. T. F.

My heels slip like crazy(relatively speaking) in my trail runners, but even going 14 miles/3k in a day I’ve never had a blister from them.

After comparing the fit between my boots and trail runners and trying to mimic the fit, I found that I could get the Trainers feeling pretty much identical, however the crows still grinds my heel.

My thoughts are -

1. Stiffer boots probably aren’t ever going to work. On an incline in my trail runners the shoes give and keep the heel from grinding, but stiff boots obviously don’t. Maybe if you get lucky enough to find a rocker that’s positioned exactly where it needs to be you might get away with it. Going up or down sizes if your foot is regular volume might yield some results, however I have low volume feet couple with the bumps that are in weird positions. If I go too big with the boots I can’t take up the extra space without pushing my heel too far up and out of the cup.

2. Hulk lacing doesn’t work. It sounds like black magic, but like I mentioned my trail runners slip slip slip and going uphill there’s no issues whatsoever. Trying to lace up where the boot is tight just causes it to grind into the back of the boot and causes blisters. Somehow the heel will lock itself on uphills and it’ll be okay but on the flats it slips. You got me on the mechanics, just relaying my personal experiences.

I think the stiffest I’ll be able to get away with is something like the mountain trainer. While it isn’t super stiff, it’s certainly stiffer than my trail runners and quests.

My original need for a boot stemmed from -

Foot fatigue after 5 miles or so in trail runners
Waterproofing on the quests and runners not lasting or being effective. Not to mention you can’t really walk through a stream in trail runners... or walk through a meadow
Ankle/foot bed fatigue when sidehilling
Feet getting cold quickly during the colder seasons
 

chindits

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Westslope, CO
Interesting. I never heard of such a thing and losing weight being a detriment to any condition. Good luck. You sure have invested the time and money to deserve a positive outcome.
 
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JeffRaines

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Oct 24, 2015
Messages
912
Interesting. I never heard of such a thing and losing weight being a detriment to any condition. Good luck. You sure have invested the time and money to deserve a positive outcome.

I know it sucks! I think the extra weight I had padded out my heel area more which made boots work that won’t work now that I’ve lost that fat.

I’m hoping for a good outcome. I actually found a boot fitter locally and I’m going to have a consultation with him probably this week to see what can be done.

With that said, I tried a pair of Trango TRKs that worked fairly well on another hike over the weekend, but again, they’re just not quite as stiff as I was hoping for but that might just be how it is.
 
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JeffRaines

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Another update.

So, I happened upon a thread on Facebook where someone who regularly does mountaineering had a condition similar to mine. He suggested silopad heel pads.

I’ll be honest - I’ve looked at these before but discounted them. They cost about 20 bucks each and according to this guy they last him around a year so it’s a yearly expense. I figured well, it couldn’t hurt, I’ve already come this far you know?

They came in today.

Wow. This is what the heels of boots are supposed to feel like? I feel like I am cheating if I’m being honest.

Every boot fits. Heel locks. No rub.

Those Salewa Crows that were hurting my heel just walking around the house? They feel like slippers now.

Trango Cubes? Oh yeah.

Now I wish I hadn’t sent all those boots back yet 😂
 

Hammockhead

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Oct 22, 2019
Messages
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He suggested silopad heel pads.

Thanks so much for all the effort you have put in to this and for keeping us updated. I have the same issue, and like you pretty much can only pull off trail runners. Can you post a link or better description of which heel pads you found that work? There are so many out there, I couldn't figure out which one you were using.
 
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JeffRaines

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I guess I fat fingered that - they’re silopas Achilles heel pads.
I ended up going with Kenetrek’s. They almost work by themselves, but after awhile I need the pads. I also liked Schnees Beartooths.

I took the boots on a 20+ mile bear hunt this season and they performed great. As mentioned, my second day I was glad I packed the pads as my heels were tender.

one of the biggest things I noticed was the bottoms of my feet were in much better shape. Usually by mile 7 or 8 The bottoms of my feet are starting to get tender. Not with boots, I can go and go and go with little to no issue.

also I ended up switching insoles for Superfeet Trailblazers. The blue worked for my foot as far as volume but it hurt the bottoms of my feet just as bad as the stock insoles do.

I also switched out socks for smartwool phds. Darn toughs get loose quick on my feet, and they’re heavy so they hold in sweat.

while I’ll admit having to use something like a heel pad sucks, it is what it is. I remember reading where someone paid the big money for custom boots through lathrop(that costs 900-1200 when it’s all said and done) and at the end they ended up suggesting the heel pads to him. While I’m not sure how much he followed their advice and whatnot, that’s a lot of money to figure out you’re stuck using them.

Just for the record that’s not me trying to bag on lathrop - I’m sure for most people they can make anything work. 1200 is just a huge gamble when I’ve had this issue for years and don’t necessarily see how it can be fixed any other way.
 
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Hammockhead

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I guess I fat fingered that - they’re silopas Achilles heel pads.
I ended up going with Kenetrek’s.

I currently have been wearing the Kenetrek Hardscrables. I am pretty happy with them other than the heel blisters(ended up adding strips of wool under the insoles that ran up behind my heels too). Do you have the mountain extremes? Also, are those heel pads the kind you stick inside your boot? Or the kind you wear like a sock? (Link?) Thanks again. Really appreciate everything.
 

zion zig zag

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I figured I'd bump this up instead of starting a new thread. Hopefully Jeff is still around and can chime in.
I have a problem left foot. I've had 5 surgeries on it from two breaks over the years, and I'm getting up there in miles. I also have a Morton's neuroma that has been removed surgically, but still requires some care.

That being said, I have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel. I've tried on several boots and the Kenetrek ME seemed to fit me the best. Enough width in the forefoot with a heel that I was able to lock down. But after buying them and putting 15-20 miles on them I've run into a problem in the heels. It's not slipping, I don't get any blisters, it's the bony protrusion on my left heel pressing into the top of the heel cup when going up steep hills. This doesn't hurt initially (first few miles) it's the repeated pressure that makes the bone sore. This is the reason that no footbed has ever worked for me, it raises the heel in the pocket and puts pressure on this spot. Which makes me wonder if getting a slimmer footbed than stock would help?

I found a review of the boot on Black Ovis that said with any boot you try on you should place your toes on the edge of the stairs and then drop the heels to see if you have this pressure. Sure enough, that test does pressure the bony part of my heel. I had never heard of doing that so didn't try it until too late, after I'd put 10 outdoor miles on them.

So questions: will that get better or go away with break in time (review mentioned above said it won't, to move on)? Will the silipos achilles pad that is talked about from Jeff help? If I have to put on that pad to make the boot work, is it worthwhile? Will any stiff boot work for me? I went to the local store today to try on several brands and all of them put pressure on that bone when doing the "stair" test, and none of them fit me as comfortable as the Kenetreks. I've also read that continued use of shoes that pressure the bone will result in the bone protrusion getting worse, so manning up and dealing with it seems like a bad plan.

Anyway, I'm just stabbing in the dark and hoping someone has a similar experience and some resolution. I think I'll try the silipos pad and give the Kenetreks another 20ish miles and after that, try to sell them here for a good deal.
 
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JeffRaines

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I figured I'd bump this up instead of starting a new thread. Hopefully Jeff is still around and can chime in.
I have a problem left foot. I've had 5 surgeries on it from two breaks over the years, and I'm getting up there in miles. I also have a Morton's neuroma that has been removed surgically, but still requires some care.

That being said, I have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel. I've tried on several boots and the Kenetrek ME seemed to fit me the best. Enough width in the forefoot with a heel that I was able to lock down. But after buying them and putting 15-20 miles on them I've run into a problem in the heels. It's not slipping, I don't get any blisters, it's the bony protrusion on my left heel pressing into the top of the heel cup when going up steep hills. This doesn't hurt initially (first few miles) it's the repeated pressure that makes the bone sore. This is the reason that no footbed has ever worked for me, it raises the heel in the pocket and puts pressure on this spot. Which makes me wonder if getting a slimmer footbed than stock would help?

I found a review of the boot on Black Ovis that said with any boot you try on you should place your toes on the edge of the stairs and then drop the heels to see if you have this pressure. Sure enough, that test does pressure the bony part of my heel. I had never heard of doing that so didn't try it until too late, after I'd put 10 outdoor miles on them.

So questions: will that get better or go away with break in time (review mentioned above said it won't, to move on)? Will the silipos achilles pad that is talked about from Jeff help? If I have to put on that pad to make the boot work, is it worthwhile? Will any stiff boot work for me? I went to the local store today to try on several brands and all of them put pressure on that bone when doing the "stair" test, and none of them fit me as comfortable as the Kenetreks. I've also read that continued use of shoes that pressure the bone will result in the bone protrusion getting worse, so manning up and dealing with it seems like a bad plan.

Anyway, I'm just stabbing in the dark and hoping someone has a similar experience and some resolution. I think I'll try the silipos pad and give the Kenetreks another 20ish miles and after that, try to sell them here for a good deal.

The silipos pad should take care of it. My heels do the same thing with boots they lock into(which are few and far between) and the pad eliminates the issue.

Just a warning - the pads take up more room in your boot, so if you’re just below the cusp of needing a size up, it’s likely the pad will push you over the edge.
 

zion zig zag

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May 16, 2020
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Thanks for the reply. I've had the silopos pads for a week or so now, I only need it on the left foot, but they do work. I hate the extra step, the fiddle factor of getting the sock on over it, and the feeling of a seam under my foot. But maybe that's what I have to deal with? I've wondered about using a compeed blister pad with leukotape over it? That would add about the same amount of cushion and thickness, but with tincture of benzoin I could probably get away with doing it every few days of hunting.
 

Franger

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Nov 8, 2020
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My own experience with bone protrusions on my heel have come to a head this summer and fall. A lifetime of supination and a high arch have taken their toll anatomically. I don’t notice any adverse effects from my mild Haglunds thus far, other than the heel rub/blister issue in stiffer boots. And thats the double edged sword. I’d love to rid myself of any blister issues by wearing less stiff, lower-cuffed boots and shoes. But all that supination makes me prone to rolled ankles. For me, that’s a no-go in the mountains. Hence the need for more supportive footwear in uneven terrain.

I tried the Silopas silicon sleeves and I ripped straight through one in a three mile hike. Then I tried leukotape. That is the most successful fix, though I still notice pressure.

In the process of identifying why this issue is so hard to solve, I got a leak in my thoroughly well-researched and well-fitted boots. At least I thought they were well fitted. Which means I’ve been working on trying on new boots. Turns out, being dead on perfectly sized may have been more of a hindrance with Haglunds due to the pressure of having the bone protrusion perfectly pushed into a heel cup. Going up a half size has alleviated any heel pressure in the fitting process. My only concern now is potentially having slight heel lift as I break in whichever boot I go with.

I hope this helps and I’ll be updating as I go.

-Foot measures 26.7cm with liner and medium weight wool socks.
-Brannock device measures foot at 9.5, arch at 9.5-10, and width at “low D”
-failed boots were Zamberlan 1030 Sella NW at size 9/43 (keep in mind most boots at 43 are measured at a US 10. Zamberlan sizing is significantly off from the rest of the industry in my opinion)

boots ordered so far: Schnee’s Granite 200, Crispi Guide GTX Insulated, Lowa Hunter Evo Extreme. All in size 10
 

Hammockhead

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Oct 22, 2019
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I am curious how you used the silicone pads. I found I had best success putting the silicon on the inside, but wearing them over my sock (with the silicone wings at the bottom, if yours had that design). Foot didn't get as clammy that way.
 

Franger

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Nov 8, 2020
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I am curious how you used the silicone pads. I found I had best success putting the silicon on the inside, but wearing them over my sock (with the silicone wings at the bottom, if yours had that design). Foot didn't get as clammy that way.
I didn’t think to put them on the outside of the sock. And frankly, as grippy as the material is, that sounds like a nightmare.

At any rate, yes, I forgot to mention the moisture issue with the silicone padding. Woof...not good!
 

Hammockhead

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Oct 22, 2019
Messages
51
Yeah, they get slimy against your skin. I usually only put them on in the morning, and my boots stay on my feet all day. They really weren't awful to get on over socks. It really helped the moisture issue, and kept them in place really well.
 
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