Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mt Kinabalu Climbathon 2010 (4)

Type of Shoes for Climbathon

After completing this Mount Kinabalu Climbathon 2010, I understand better now the various types of trekking shoes and off-road running shoes that cater for different purposes and usage.

Many years ago, I always advocate that when one is buying a pair of trekking shoes, the sole (the bottom plate) must be stiff and should not bend; so that the feet is well protected when walking on uneven terrain (e.g. rocks). Another requirement is to buy trekking shoes with high ankle type to protect the ankle being twisted. This is true for trekking or walking conditions.

Simple but good for wet and slippery conditions
Then we have the local terrain where it is soft, muddy, wet and slippery. Cheap trekking shoes equipped with studs at the sole like Kampung A**das would best suit for the muddy and dirty condition. This is the fanciful name commonly given to the rubberised shoes for trekking.

The realisation comes when we start to run in the jungle – the climbathon type and the recently concluded Mt KK Climbathon 2010. We need running shoes that cater for off-road conditions: shoes that are flexible with good traction; comfortable, well cushioned, provide protection to the feet. So the earlier thought of clumsy and stiff trekking shoes does not quite suitable for the new found challenge. These days, I only wear my New Balance off-road running shoes even for trekking.

New Balance 875 Off-road running shoes

What about running shoes for climbathon? For the ascending journey, any well cushioned shoes are okay. However, when descent, there is only one problem when one is running downhill: the running shoes may not have the necessary traction to prevent slip. For thousands of downhill steps, there is no compromise at all – not even one – for such mishap to happen.

Salomon XA Pro

As for Edwin Goh, one of the two members in or group who made it to Low’s peak within the 3.5 hours of qualifying time, he said: I train using Salomon XA Pro. The drawback is that it is a bit slippery due to wear and tear (1 year of use); so I bought a pair of Inov-8 Mudroc via mail order, which offers very good grip, and helps a lot in the descent. It has small rubber studs at the outsoles, very much like Salomon SpeedCross - which is used by a lot of the top runners. But it seems that the outsole of this Inov-8 Mudroc is even less durable: after using three times, one of the studs almost drop off.

Inov-8 Mudroc

Kampung aDas

Many years ago, I trekked up Mount Kinabalu leisurely with friends. At certain point while resting, I asked the mountain guide what is their preferred trekking shoes that are good in traction and for all weather conditions. Unimpressed with the RM 500 Timberland high-tech trekking shoes that could not withstand wet conditions, he said they usually wear a brand called Sumsong (sound like the high-tech Korean electronics giant) that cost only RM 5. We have a good laugh then.

Later, I found out that it is the rubberized Kampung aDas shoes that we fondly address over here.

While this type of shoes is good in traction, light and anti-wet condition, one has to be careful when going downhill as there is no shoelace and poor in cushion. So the tip of the toes may hit the end of the shoes causing pain and blue-black to the toes.

An improved version is with more cushion and shoelace that cost around RM 22 that is selling in one shop in Seri Kembangan, Selangor while we went there for lunch.

In my opinion, the rubberised shoes are best use for local trekking or training. But when we go for competition, it is better to wear proper off-road running shoes. With months of training, we do not want it to fail or give way at the crucial moment. We also don't want the surprised camera men first focus on our shoes, then focus on our face... :-)

Click here for all previous postings and photos on Mount Kinabalu Climbathon 2010. This posting is repeated; scroll down the pages.

Written by KC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KC, so many of my hiking friends swear by Kampung Addidas... I guess for leisurely hike, it is really great and functional. It can even be wiped dry using one piece of tissue paper and you can happily wear again at the campsite!!