Saturday, 6 June 2009

Kust to Kustleden Completed: Footwear reflection

Yesterday I finished the final section of the Kust to Kustleden, the section from Båstad to Båstad, a circular route taking in Knösen, Torekov and Gryteskär (a report will follow).

I started on this journey on November 6, 2008 and after 6 sections spread over 8 months I have completed the 300 km walk. The walk started in late autumn with some colour in the trees, finishing with the bright green foliage and landscapes of early summer. I hiked through knee deep snow, experienced 25 C heat as well as cool days where temperatures did not get above 0 C.

It is interesting to reflect on the gear I started with and finished with, the changes made along the way and the reasons for these changes. The first of these reflections is footwear.

Approximately 2 years ago I developed Plantar fasciitis in part caused by my belief that I could walk long distances in short times without taking precautionary measures such as stretching. This took a while to recover from but with exercising, appropriate footwear I gradually recovered. For this reason I started off the first trip on the Kust to Kustleden with New Balance 760's I did two trips with these and was happy with the comfort and support (especially the arch support) over time though I began to feel that they were not quite right for my needs, so I moved on to Salomon 3D Ultras which I have been very happy with, so much so I wear them to work as well as hiking. However, for the last trip I wore a pair of Salmon Fastpacker, my reason being was related to my upcoming trip to Lapland and a concern that a slightly thicker sole may be more appropriate whilst retaining the 3D Ultras design features.

One of the realities of the Kust to Kustleden is that there is a reasonable amount of road walking which can be hard on the feet, but the Fastpackers are as comfortable on roads as they were scrambling around the cliffs of Knösen and walking along the sandy beaches of Bjärehalvön Peninsula. They are Goretex lined, which is not my preferred style of boot but combined with my Injinji liner socks and Darn Tough socks there was no feeling of hot feet. The tread design on the Fastpackers is similar to that of the 3D Ultras, however, the tread is deeper which is an advantage of these boots over the Ultras. All in all a great boot and while I will still use my 3D Ultras for shorter trips the Fastpackers will form part of my long distance off road hiking kit.