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Thread: Latest TGO

  1. #21
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    An interesting thread. I've just commented on Major Cynic's post on the TGO forum, where there is already a discussion of Eddy's piece titled Vibram FiveFingers. What constitutes physical fitness is interesting - two experienced fell runners and alpine climbers recently did a low level TGO Challenge route and found it very tough. I did a high level Challenge route and didn't find it tough. But I'm sure I couldn't do a fell run with those two and have a chance of keeping up or not finishing exhausted.

    I over-pronate and have written about solutions to this a few times over the years - I use Superfeet in all footwear except some sandals. Surveys suggest that most people over 40 over-pronate so it is a big problem. Ideally we would go barefoot on rough ground as much as possible from when we start walking. Realistically however we wear shoes from an early age and mostly walk on flat surfaces. The problems resulting from this, of which over-pronation is a main one, have to be taken into account when choosing footwear and footbeds.

  2. #22
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    I'm not sure how you define fitness either. But I don't think it's just down to what you can do, but how well and how quickly you recover. I love hill walking but living in London as I do and with various commitments I don't get out on real hills a often as I like. So when I do it can knock the stuffing out of me.

    That said a little over 4weeks ago we did the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Supporting and encouraging each other the four of us did it in under the 12 hours. 3 of us did it in 11 hours 16 minutes. Dave B is 72, Bruce is 65, Dave M is 58 and I'm the baby at 52 .

    We suffered a bit for 2 days with aching thigh muscles and calf muscles but after that I believe that we were all o.k. Then a little under 2 weeks ago I did MT Brandon in Ireland. I thought it would be easy after the Three Peaks, after all instead of walking 24 miles with 1550 metres of ascent I'd be walking 12 miles and 800+ metres of ascent. I went up Mt. Brandon from the west side of the pilgrims route. God it was hard. I very nearly gave up early on. Once I told myself to take it slowly and to do 2 stakes (the route is marked the whole way by bright white plastic stakes sticking up about 18" from the ground) at a time and then take a break I eventually got to the top. 5km and 800+ metres of ascent. I did it in 2 hours 50 minutes. I believe a respectabletime using Naismith's rule would have been about 2 hours 20 minutes and my time included two breaks for drinks and half my lunch. I think those breaks cost me about 25 minutes.

    So am I fit? I think not. In my case the problem is with breathing and circulation. It's not a muscular strength problem. But from past experience the breathing and circulation can be improved with more exercise. That's fitness. I also overheat very easily which doesn't help.I vaguely remember my doctor once giving me a breath test. Is that a measure of fitness?

  3. #23
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    Interesting points raised and I think everyone has been partly right. Whilst it is not good to fix your feet in a totally rigid frame such as found in full on winter boots. I personally think going the other way is just as problematic. Like it or not people wear shoes from an early age, this is likely to effect the action of our feet. There is increasingly a move to a natural style of footwear. By this I mean shoes that act similar to the bare foot. Athletes have these and use themin part of their training. At the end of the day they compete in trainers (very lightweight) that do not behave in the natural, bare foot way. Why do that if bare foot is best?

    I believe a person with a neutral gait is more likely to get away with lighter footwear than over pronaters (and people with other traits). As well as the individual's gait the terrain is a major factor. Stiff boots and shoes offer better edging possibilities when scrambling. I find my punterasare iffy to say the least when the terrain gets steeper or rougher. When carrying a light daysack I find I can react quicker to misplacement of my feet, but with a 9kg sack I could not move my body weight onto my other foot quick enough to prevent damage. Whilst heavier boots would not allow me to move quicker, I have always found that they prevent the ankle from moving beyond the range of movement they are designed to take. This movement restriction is a benefit not offered by lower height shoes or boots such as the lightweight options.

    Like the gear reviewers state the maximum comfortable weight a lightweight sack can take maybe they should make a comment on footwear to reduce the chances people buy inadequate footwear for their particular needs. Not sure what I mean but a simple statement of the load weight in kg is easy to understand for sacks. Maybe a figure for the degree of support or stability maybe?

  4. #24
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Paul, better edging in stiff shoes is certainly one advantage of stiff shoes... but not all scrambles have that sort of hold. Rounded granite or grit, for example, you're better off smearing than edging, and the stiffer soles are the worse they are for smearing, and the higher the cuffs the harder it is to conform the sole to the rock...

    And heavy boots prevent an ankle moving as easily as it should below the "design threshold" as well as over it.

    The practical upshot of this is I think that a simple "this sack is desined for loads of X Kg" doesn't really work so well with footwear, where one person's stability and protection is another person's uncomfortable restriction and unnecessary weight. Also, my most stable and supportive footwear for front point cramponing or tiny edges is the heaviest I've got, the most stable and supportive for steep and uneven muddy grass is the lightest.

    Footwear can be inadequate, but it can be inadequate in allowing too little motion or requiring too much effort to use as well as being too insubstantial.

    Pete.

  5. #25
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cynic View Post

    As for the porters using the stuff they know well and it works.... are you sure? They may never had access to an alternative.
    Not having had access to an alternative means it is even more likely they know the stuff they've got well... think about it! And obviously it must work, or they'd have broken feet and hypothermia. Note I'm not saying their kit is optimal, just that they know it and are getting it to do what's needed.

    Pete.

  6. #26
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cynic View Post

    Whoa! One thing I remember at little while ago was a TV documentary on keeping warm. It focused on a comparison with today's state of the art clothing technology (a survival suit) comparedwith traditional Viking clothing that would have been worn at sea. AND THE VIKING CLOTHING WON!!! It was warmer and kept one drier than today's modern alternative. So don't get me wrong ... I'm not saying that sleeping bags for porters are the answer. Blankets may very well be the best solution for them. I don't think I'd like to kip under a blanket at 13,000 feet but I'm not as hardy as they are.Recent experimentation has indicated that Hilary and Tensings' clothing performed as well as modern offerings.Maybe I/we should stop imposing what we think they need and ask them what would serve them best. However I'm also sure that the answer we'd get would be the short term best profit for me please, one.
    The survival suit thing is, I suspect not comparing like with like. The point of a survival suit is it's an immersion suit that you only wear when there is extreme risk of a dunking, and if you do get a dunking it will keep you dry and therefore warmer than alternatives. However, they'd be awkward and clumsy and pretty hopeless for wandering around on deck doing stuff with ships.

    Onto Hilary and Tenzing, the main thing you'll need to be on Everest is a breathable windproof and good insulation. Ventile and similar high specification cottons are still a fabric of choice for windproofing in cold and dry because wet weather performance is a non-issue where it doesn't rain and they breathe very well. Modern gear has, at least until recently, been typified by waterproof/breathable which is actually less suitable as its total waterproofness is a liability, impeding the breathability. For insulation purposes, down and wool are still in use in modern gear because they're still as good (or better) as any synthetics when deployed in the right place.

    The main thing about modern gear is it is cheap and can be mass produced at a remarkably high standard. Viking sea clothing, and probably the Hunt Everest Expedition clothing too, wouldn't qualify. A lot of what makes a bit of gear good is fit, and you can't beat custom made for fit.

    Pete.

  7. #27
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    Excellent points Pete. It has been a very interesting and stimulating exchange of viewpoints and knowledge. Have you been to the Himmalayas?

  8. #28
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Not been, no, though I know quite a few folk that have. Scotalnd has more than enough of most things for me, one problem area being enough reliable ski touring so it's usually off to Norway for that.

    Pete.

  9. #29
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    Just compounding my ignorance and possibly silliness here but I just wondered if the porters blankets are made out of Yak hair

  10. #30
    Widdler
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    Major Cynic,

    I've only just come across this thread and the other one on the TGO forum. I think pretty mucheverything I would want to say on the subject has already been covered by others on this thread.

    I'll just add that my articles are restricted to 2,000 words or less. In such a short article I couldn't possibly cover every exception to the points I was making. I had to assume healthy feet and ankles or else the article would be over before it even got started.

    I've been researching this subject for many years and everything I've learned in that time would barely fit in a book the size of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, so the article was never going to be anything more than a primer for the whole amorphous subject of feet and footwear.

    That said, I still think my article is as relevant to you as to anyone else. Everything that I've read on the subject of hyperpronation leads me to believe that if you had the time and inclination to progressively exercise and strengthen your feet, then eventually minimalist footwear would be the best option for you as well. Obviously, not everyone has the time or energy to devote to such an undertaking, but my point is that even extreme hyperpronation doesn't preclude the use of the really minimal footwear I tested for my article. Most of the traditional treatments for your condition merely mask the symptoms rather than treat the cause, which is almost certainly all the over-engineered footwear you've been wearing since the day you were born.

  11. #31
    Ultra King ptc*'s Avatar
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    Eddy's right you know.

  12. #32
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > Most of the traditional treatments for your condition merely mask the symptoms rather than treat the cause

    Happy to agree with this; exercises to strengthen the anlkes & feet would seem to be sensible

    > which is almost certainly all the over-engineered footwear you've been wearing since the day you were born.

    An interesting statement when compared with other views:

    > I took her sentiments to the appointment with the orthotist and put them to him. He told me that adults' feet in developing countries were shocking and that Africa (as an example) had terrible foot problems in poorerand deprived partsbecause the children are raised without foot support. In other words we are better off for having supportive footwear.

    I must admit that my natural inclination would be to suggest that nature has had a few hundred million years to evolve feet that work without needing unnatural supports...

  13. #33
    Mini Goon Mendip Walker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain paranoia View Post

    I must admit that my natural inclination would be to suggest that nature has had a few hundred million years to evolve feet that work without needing unnatural supports...
    B0110cks !!! I was just going to say that !!!

  14. #34
    Ultra King Mikel el Bastardo's Avatar
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    If you're lucky enough to live near a sandy beach, then i found thatbarefoot jogging/walking is superb at building up feet and ankle strength. It also toughens up your feet so less chance of blisters.

  15. #35
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Reason we need shoes is because feet aren't good at hard surfaces (even horses have trouble with roads...), and we've progressivley added hard surfaces to our society for the various advantages they give. Shielding them from hard surfaces has shielded them from normal ones too, and we've lost out there.

    But beyond not doing hard especially well, human feet are pretty good. I wonder what degree of first hand experience the above orthotist had actually had, or if he was just making some sweeping assumptions...

    Pete.

  16. #36
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    And, of course, and orthotist might say that we need footwear, and specialist foot wear at that. Otherwise they might be doing themselves out of a job...

    As a kid, I spent most of the summer barefoot; playing endless sessions of french cricket in the neighbour's garden (so much so that the grass was entirely destroyed), and walking about on concrete and tarmac roads. My mum used to say I'd do something to my feet, but I never did. I could walk over just about any surface and be totally unbothered (gravel, pebbly beaches etc).

    They're soft as sh*te now and I mince like a girl* if walking on a pebbly beach...

    * 'girl' here is used in the vernacular meaning, and should not be confused with the formal meaning of 'young female'...

  17. #37
    Widdler
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    Captain Paranoia,

    I missed that remark about the orthotist. I'm pretty confident that his remarks are entirely without foundation. Every single one of the studies comparing coexisting barefoot and shod populations have all reached the same conclusion, namely that people who habitually walk barefoot have infinitely healthier feet than those who wear shoes. All the conditions that supposedly requirespecialist footwear or orthotic inserts (flat feet, hyperpronation, plantar fasciitis, etc.) are virtually non-existent in barefoot populations. And even in the few cases where such conditions do exist, there tends to be little or no associated pathology. So, for example, a habitially barefoot person who has congentital hyperpronation is likely to suffer little or no pain compared with a shod person with the same condition. It seems that the biomechanics of the entire body adapts to the condition, allowing the barefoot hyperpronator to move as efficiently or almost as efficiently as someone with no history of hyperpronation.

    As I mentioned in a post on the TGO forum, these findings have been widely accepted by podiatrists, orthopaedists, sports scientists and other experts in biomechanics since at least the 1930s, when the first studies were conducted. Even in the West, it's now standard podiatric advice that childrenshould be allowed to go barefoot whenever it's safe to do so up until the age of at least 6. I've never had it explained to me why this practice should stop at the age of 6. I suspect that it's simply down to social convention.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Townsend View Post

    Surveys suggest that most people over 40 over-pronate so it is a big problem.
    What surveys? Cite one! It is preposterous to suggest that "most people over 40 over-pronate" and by implication will benefit from Superfeet. Since people pronate to varying degrees,"most people" will pronate within acceptable limits.

    I complained about two of Superfeeets adverts in TGO to the Advertising Standards Authority; Superfeetwere unable tosubstantiate any of the claims they made and had to withdraw their adverts. They did not even contest the complaint. Why keep hyping their products?

  19. #39
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    ALS, some of us do find they help, even if they're not quite the Mircale Cure All the marketing would suggest (much like Goretex in that respect, in fact!).

    With fell running shoes I can capsize the back of them inwards in very little time with associated knee pain following without them, much less of a problem with them. Having said that, I don't use them in boots and even if they fitted in sandals I'd find them of no use, but for some applications, some of the time, they do seem to be a benefit for some of the people.

    Pete..

  20. #40
    Ultra King Fossil Bluff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip Walker View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by captain paranoia View Post

    I must admit that my natural inclination would be to suggest that nature has had a few hundred million years to evolve feet that work without needing unnatural supports...
    B0110cks !!! I was just going to say that !!!

    You may be quite right guys, as I said I am not the source of that statement just the conduit - I took the man in good faith as he was treating me at the time.

    Perhaps we should avoid the dentist as well. After all out teeth and gums have had a few hundred million years to evolve also.

    How many of us get back problems and need a chiropractor / osteopath etc? one would have thought after a few million years ones backe would be perfectly fit for purpose.

    I take on board what Eddy has to say, however the man was an orthotist and was recalling papers and studies from memory. Lets not forget that the man is a professional in the field of developing feet and lets not write off what he has to say quite so quickly.

    Just playing devils advocate.


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