The end of 2023…

The past year (well, the past 2 years) has been packed with ups and downs. It all started with a twisted ankle on a later winter’s day hike. Thus setting the stage for rehabilitation and then a search for custom orthotics and new shoes.

Here’s a timeline of the changes


March Twisted my ankle

April-May Rehabilitation

May Get new custom orthotics (the previous pair were worn out)

August during a week-long trip, I discovered that the orthotics wouldn’t work out, and my relationship with the podiatrist was such that I didn’t want to return to his office.

September Order orthotics from an online company called Urthotics. Ultimately, they weren’t comfortable and were too narrow. Went back to Altra Lone Peaks for the zero drop and large toe box.

December Ended the year believing that I could migrate away from orthotics and just use a metatarsal pad.


January Went for a day hike and ended up with intense heal pain

Feb-April I freaked out because my heal pain wasn’t going away. I went to a sports medicine doctor and physical therapist. Nothing worked.

May Mentioned the issue to my chiropractor, who adjusted my foot/ankle. Increased the volume of massages.

June Saw positive results from the chiropractor and massages. Received new orthotics.

July I was able to walk without pain; the annual week-long backpacking trip was on for the beginning of August.

August The results of the week-long backpacking trip were disappointing. While my body was ready for long days of hiking, my feet were not. I would need to start the PCT at 15 miles daily for at least the first week. I decided to re-work my plan and make it very conservative; thus, the plan puts me close to the California/Oregon border at the 100-day mark.

As you can see, it’s been a wild and frustrating past two years. As it stands, I am undecided on the shoe I will take on the PCT, but it looks like I finally found a good insole to wear. I decided that my custom orthotic wouldn’t be pliable enough, which causes a lot of foot discomfort after long days. I spent the last few weeks figuring out what insoles may work and testing it. The Spenco insoles are fantastic. I have been wearing them for 25 miles now, albeit on concrete sidewalks, without issue. Oh, this is also with me wearing a 44-lb pack.

I purchased Brooks Cascadia 17s recently after testing them with my custom orthotics. They feel great; they also feel great without an insole at all! I will test this combination after I know more about the Spenco, meaning they will give me blisters.

I have 6 variations that I can try, and I haven’t been this optimistic for quite some time.