The difference between support and stability in hiking boots
My new favorite hiking boot is the Altra Lone Peak which isn’t a hiking boot at all. This trail running shoe has all the critical components for high performance backcountry foot wear: lightness (remember 1lb. off your feet is the same as 7lb. off your back), stability, breathability, durability and ample toe box room. Among these critical attributes is “stability”. Because this shoe is of Zero Drop design, the heel is at the same height as the ball of the foot with a stack height of approx. 8mm. Since most hiking boots have about 12mm to 14mm of heel rise and a stack height of around 8mm, this brings the heel much higher off the ground. It is this foot elevation that creates foot instability thus requiring more “support” in the shoe with a higher cuff and/or stiffer soles. These more “supportive” shoes weight two to three times as much as the Altra’s without providing more more stability or performance.