The sole of my left Timberland boot is beginning to split away from the main body of the boot. It would probably still suffice for another weekend trip but I wouldn’t trust it to last a week of Tahan. So I have to either get new boots or go up Tahan in trail running shoes (of which I need a new pair too anyway, since my current Salomons also have incipient cracks between the sole and the shoe bodies). I really like the idea of going up Tahan in lightweight footwear, but I’m not sure how my feet would take to seven days of load-bearing trekking without proper ‘protection’. I’m not as agile and light-footed as your typical Malaysian mountain guide, so just because they can walk for a week in rubber water shoes, doesn’t mean that I can. And let’s not mention people (they exist) who did the whole thing in slippers.
Pros of going up in boots:
Better ankle support
Can splash in small puddles without getting wet
Potentially better padding
Possibly less toe-mashing compared to running shoes? Not sure on this point, checking with others who’ve done it in running shoes.
Will get wet during river crossings unless I bring an extra pair of water shoes along. Which would mean more weight, and also much time changing in and out of shoes (14 times!). Unless one wears water shoes for the whole middle portion of the second day?
Will get weight during heavy rain too (which is… almost guaranteed, for that mountain?). And when wet, will dry slower than trail runners would.
Less maneuverability when negotiating obstacles