Footwear for Overland track

Discussion specifically about the Overland Track should be posted in this subforum, including side trips and the Cradle Mountain day walk area. Alternative access routes and connecting routes belong in the parent forum.

Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby frank_in_oz » Tue 18 May, 2010 8:15 am

Good to see this one resurrected. I think this article appeared in the Burnie Advocate in the last year: http://ourhikingblog.com.au/2008/05/wha ... track.html
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby mikethepike » Tue 18 May, 2010 11:12 pm

That photo of Frank's made me laugh - now that really is getting your money's worth out of boots. On my first winter on the OT, I wore my too well worn in Dunlop Centurion boots as I didn't have time to break in a new pair. The right boot had a hole right through the rubber sole at the ball of the foot so I affected a barrier by inserting an insole of cardboard sealed in a plastic bag. I did suffer from cold tootsies but I nearly always seem to be the first person in a party to get numb toes and fingers even at the best of times. The interesting outcome of that trip was that my right big toe had a numbish sort of feeling that persisted for the rest of the year.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby Phil » Wed 19 May, 2010 8:34 am

I have thoroughly enjoyed this topic, thanks for everyone's input. For my last two day walks I have worn joggers with great success. In saying that, the first was up to Cradle Mt via Marions Lookout and then around Twisted Lakes; and the second was a day trip up Mt Ossa via the Arm river Track:

http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3556&p=39737&hilit=cradle#p39737
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3895&p=44173&hilit=ossa#p44173


On both occasions the weather was fantastic and obviously I was travelling on quite well walked tracks - therefore knowing first hand what the condition of the tracks are like before heading off. In regards to the Mt Ossa trip, I even phoned 'son of a beach' a couple of days before hand to get an accurate update of the track conditions as he had only just been up that way the week preceding.

Based on both experiences, I would definitely prefer to wear joggers for bush walks in the future but would obviously need to conisder a number of factors such as weather, track conditions, duration of trip etc........each to their own though, I suppose this is one of those topics where there is no right or wrong!
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby Nuts » Wed 19 May, 2010 10:16 am

Ok, throw away the camp slippers... and the 'joggers'.... and puny rivers specials :D ....
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby melinda » Wed 19 May, 2010 7:33 pm

What a fine specimen of half a foot!
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby Nuts » Thu 20 May, 2010 10:32 am

Shucks :oops: Thanks... I wore them to the supermarket and never got any compliments :? Trying to decide whether the grey or black socks work best? ( :wink: )
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby melinda » Fri 21 May, 2010 12:53 pm

Hi Nuts,
From a fashion point of view I'd say the black socks are superior to grey.
However when try to finding your feet in the mud, go with white! :lol:
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Volleys on the Overland Track.

Postby splash » Fri 20 Jul, 2012 7:49 am

Volleys on the Overland Track.
Volleys, made by Dunlop, are a type of shoe, canvas uppers and soft but strongly gripping sole. They would not normally be considered suitable for a 9 day walk down Tasmania's Overland Track, such as I did in May 2012. Since I have worn nothing but Volleys on all my bushwalks for the past 50 years, they were my first choice. I knew I would not have trouble with my feet, such as blisters or sore spots due to chafing. The strengths of Volleys are; cheap, light, superb grip on slippery surfaces, and the sensation of feeling the ground more sensitively. Drawbacks include no fractional sizes (such as for wide feet), they quickly get wet, rocks can be felt through the flexible sole and the sensation can vary between sensual and a painful rumbling, and no ankle support. If you wear Volleys all the time your ankles will flex over the ground, becoming more flexible, strong, and not need support. Being canvas they become dirty quickly and stay that way. They last for about 1000 kilometres if you wear the soles right down to your socks, as I do. I have heard some 'experts' say that these shoes will ruin your back. If you reject Volleys and wear something else, people will congratulate you for making the best decision. I think Volleys are great, and this is what I did to make them more suitable for 9 days of mud, snow and carrying a 22kg pack. I sprayed them inside and out with "Lanotec", lanolin. This allows them to absorb only about a third of the water they would normally, and repel most of the dirt. I wore 3 pair of socks, the lubricant between your shoe and your foot. Against my skin I wore a thin wicking under-sock, then 'army socks' (wool-nylon mixture), and on the outside "sealskinz" waterproof socks. With this many socks, it is necessary to buy a pair of Volleys a size or two larger than normal. Without the waterproof socks I would have suffered wet, wrinkly, frozen feet. My feet were warm and mostly dry all the time. Feet sweat, and the waterproof socks don't allow any moisture in or out. Like a wet suit, you stay warm even if you are wet. I spent 4 days walking through snow and each night I could wring out about 3 mls of water from the woollen sock. I considered this condensation. Most days I walked through water up to the top of my shoes, and mud nearly all the time. When withdrawing your shoe from snow, waist deep at times, snow works its way down between your shoe and outside the waterproof socks. I have never worn gaiters so I cannot say if they are a good idea. I wore waterproof over-pants each day. My Volleys performed well, and would be my first choice if I ever did the Overland track again.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby warnabrother » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 2:20 pm

scrolling through the forum (bored at work) I thought I would give this post a bump..
it's very interesting how opinions on gear changes over time..

the "runners - you must be mad" opinion seems to have dwindled over time with trail runners and their ability to dry quickly, lighter weight and comfort becoming more widely accepted..

I would especially like to know if the members on here that posted "no way", "don't do it" and "boots or nothing" have changed their tune over the years..

I know I have !!.. I was a boot lover - still have two pairs of Scarpas and did in the past try runners a few times but didn't "click" with them.. but as my base weight dropped and I tried different shoes, I finally found nirvana in a light shoe and light pack..

We're (Mrs. Warnabrother and I) booked on the OT in March and I'll most definitely be using my trail runners.. I fear my Scarpa boots will be relegated to 4wd touring duty !!
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby bobcrusader » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 3:20 pm

The Overland is still pretty rustic - you will be walking over tree roots, rocks, through mud, puddles and maybe snow. Boots are better at preventing a rolled ankle and might help if you stand on a tiger snake. Boots are now lighter than ever, so less need to compromise.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby weeds » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 3:25 pm

When we did the OT two XMAS’s ago, new to multi day hikes, I was glad I had waterproof boots.

Chatted to one young couple doing it in sneakers and doc martins they were over having to dodge the puddles and constant wet feed.

Water proof runners might be OK.



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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby sthughes » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 3:31 pm

Wow, things have changed in 6 years!

The OT has had a lot of work done on it since early 2012. Assuming you aren't carrying a particularly heavy pack for some reason, or doing it in snow etc. then I'd go for a lightweight waterproof boot/trail runner style footwear these days. Something like One Planet Koonikas or equivalent would be perfect in my opinion.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby warnabrother » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 3:36 pm

Pretty sure the hoards of people walking the Appalchian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail etc in the US are mainly in trail runners and don't seem to have much problem..
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby Penguin » Thu 25 Jan, 2018 3:38 pm

Or five finger ascents - like I did two years ago. :wink:
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby norts » Fri 26 Jan, 2018 7:58 am

The first time I walked the OLT was in 1974 and I did it in "Gym Boots". I had wet feet for the whole time, there wasn't much board walk in those days. But you could dry your boots and socks out each night on the fire as you cooked dinner!
I then went to Blundstone work boots for the next few walks, then in the 90's I was in Army GP boots(got them for free as I was in the Army).
Last time I did it '16 (summer), I did it in light weight w/proof boots.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby bobcrusader » Fri 26 Jan, 2018 9:06 am

I should qualify that I just completed the walk on the 23rd Jan 2018, so it's very fresh in my mind and I miss it already!

warnabrother wrote:Pretty sure the hoards of people walking the Appalchian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail etc in the US are mainly in trail runners and don't seem to have much problem..


Different tracks, different conditions. Apples != Oranges.

sthughes wrote:Wow, things have changed in 6 years!

The OT has had a lot of work done on it since early 2012. Assuming you aren't carrying a particularly heavy pack for some reason, or doing it in snow etc.


You can never guarantee that you won't be doing it in snow. What would you consider a 'heavy pack'? The shuttle drivers look at you funny if you have anything less than 15kg. While a lot of work has been done over the years, erosion and the effects of 8000 walkers a year never stops. Only about 15-20% of the track is not 'natural earth'... rocks, tree roots, mud...
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby sthughes » Fri 26 Jan, 2018 10:09 am

bobcrusader wrote:You can never guarantee that you won't be doing it in snow. What would you consider a 'heavy pack'? The shuttle drivers look at you funny if you have anything less than 15kg. While a lot of work has been done over the years, erosion and the effects of 8000 walkers a year never stops. Only about 15-20% of the track is not 'natural earth'... rocks, tree roots, mud...

No you can't guarantee anything, but with modern weather forecasting it's extremely rare to be surprised by a freak snow storm that drops a significant enough quantity of snow to be a footwear issue, unless you've embarked in sandals of course :?
For the OT I'd probably say over 20kg is heavy. Really what is heavy all comes down to what you are conditioned to. I've done it with about 35kg and found it a breeze (in heavy boots) because at the time I was very pack fit, but at my current level of fitness anything over 25kg would be a slog. For your average OT walker who rarely (if ever) bushwalks a 20kg pack feels like a tonne, where as to a regular food dropper they could wear thongs for such a light load!
It's up to 9000 walkers now, but even in 2009 the track was only 58% natural, and a huge amount of work has been done since then (Frog flats, Waterfall to Windemere, Doris-Kia Ora etc.) so I'm not sure where your 15-20% figure comes from?? There is very little to no serious mud still on the track.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby bobcrusader » Sat 27 Jan, 2018 8:21 am

My 15-20% figure comes from my experience of actually walking the track just last week. I thought it was about 20%, but my wife reckons 15%. Much of the old 'on the ground' boardwalk has deteriorated significantly. The works we saw were only on the side tracks. It had snowed the week before and there was also plenty of mud.

I would love to do the track in nice light comfortable shoes, but variable conditions, heavy pack and the risk of ankle injury meant it was a risk I didn't want to take for only a very small gain and all the advice from Parks Tas is to wear sturdy boots with good ankle support.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby warnabrother » Mon 29 Jan, 2018 8:01 am

the biggest problem with "big sturdy waterproof boots" is that they have a great big hole up the top.. never dry out overnight, make your feet heavy and are cumbersome.
footwear is very much an each to own type thing..
lots of folks here walk in dunlop volleys with great success..

I wore boots for years and when they get wet (note - not if they get wet - when) they are impossible to dry
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby weeds » Mon 29 Jan, 2018 9:50 am

warnabrother wrote:the biggest problem with "big sturdy waterproof boots" is that they have a great big hole up the top.. never dry out overnight, make your feet heavy and are cumbersome.
footwear is very much an each to own type thing..
lots of folks here walk in dunlop volleys with great success..

I wore boots for years and when they get wet (note - not if they get wet - when) they are impossible to dry


Agree boots are an individual thing........

although when we did the OT I didn’t see any Dunlop Volleys......the hikers we came across not wearing waterproof boots were not enjoying the wet feet department.

Soooo happy I had my heavy ish leather boots as I had dry feet for the eight days.


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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby bobcrusader » Mon 29 Jan, 2018 12:23 pm

I should mention what I actually walked in! Keen Targhee Exp Waterproof Mid. Good ankle support, lightweight, quick drying and waterproof. The 'great big hole' problem was solved with gaiters and my feet. I was happy with my selection, even though we had a rare week of no rain for 6 days and almost 30C, so could have worn Volleys :)
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby Nuts » Mon 29 Jan, 2018 12:44 pm

The track is a 'dry boot' standard. I'm thinking that means the inside of your 'boot' should stay dry.

My preference (and perhaps sense of humour) did change in the years following this thread (and before surgeries).
I tend to think whatever 'support' is managed at your ankles, is paid for at your knees. Whatever support is managed is likely at the cost of 'strengthening' your ankles. Had some horrific ankle sprains but time-walking seemed to have fixed that problem... and (for me) had nothing on torn, battered or worn knees.


Dry feet at any cost is tempting though, especially given the shallow mud that does occur in the wet, on this track. And given the unusual situation (for tas) that feet can actually stay dry. Maybe a high cut waterproof runner/boot has a place? (I don't know, I have/had a closet full of 'ideal' footwear and would opt for sturdy runners, last walk through was in a pair of airy mesh Tigers).
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby Species 8472 » Tue 30 Jan, 2018 6:14 pm

If the question is purely do you just want to prevent your feet from getting wet on the OT then runners are fine.
I've done the OT 6 times over 30 years and the track has improved immensely. When I first did it the walk between Waterfall Valley and Windermere was a nightmare.Almost every 2nd step was in knee deep mud. Frogs Flats and other sections were just as bad so boots were mandatory.
Now there's boardwalks on just about every muddy section. The only exception is before Kia Ora hut and beteeen Ducane hut and Campfire creek and by saying that it's only about a dozen or so 5 meter sections. That's it.
However if you want to protect your feet from pointy rocks and raised roots then I would prefer boots. Gaiters are an insurance for the odd mud you will now encounter but more importantly as a defense against snakes.
Last April on the OT I encountered 3 tiger snakes
They retreated faster than I retreated. So all good
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby north-north-west » Tue 06 Feb, 2018 9:42 am

weeds wrote:Chatted to one young couple doing it in sneakers and doc martins they were over having to dodge the puddles and constant wet feed.


IMO, this is the single biggest argument against runners and other lightweight footwear - their users are more likely to dodge mud and puddles - even when the stuff is barely an inch deep. They thus cause more erosion and widen the track, including by trampling vegetation.

What you wear - provided it works for you - is far less important than how you walk.
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Re: Footwear for Overland track

Postby warnabrother » Tue 06 Feb, 2018 10:04 am

one of the guys from Zpacks on Mt Ossa wearing sandals


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