I just don't understand how someone can pay $1000 for shoes for a thru hike
Most trail runners last about a month+ of daily heavy wear, people hiking the AT report buying the same pair 4-5 times over the trip. That's just plain silly
>5 x $150 for one thru hike
>1-200g more boots that will last the whole trip
Here's a middle path, lightweight desert boots with nylon and roughout suede. Look nice, much tougher than trail runner mesh, and weigh
>385 grams each (that's just a hair over the weight of an Altra Lone Peak mid),
and that's before modifications like cutting the shaft off, unstitching parts of the upper, installing Salomon speed laces, swapping the insert etc. You could probably shave 50-70g off these if you did that, for a much tougher, longer lasting boot that looks far better than the fragile mesh socks worn by thruhikers.
These Rocky c7 CXTs aren't perfect, they're a little narrow, the sole wears kinda quick and the lace eyelets aren't very comfortable, but it shows that you can get a hardwearing boot at the same weight and breathability as a trail runner pretty easily if you look
A lot of the trail runner craze is just marketing + people who haven't looked very hard + people who have a lot of cash to burn on weak mesh socks + people who never have to kick anything, scramble, walk through thorny bushes, or properly abuse their footwear.