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Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters on 02/17/2009 20:46:58 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Re: Spring Footwear:Thin Neoprene Overboots on 02/17/2009 22:30:55 MST Print View

Talk about timely. I've been planning a trip into the Sierra Neveda for the 3rd week of March to snowshoe and snow camp for 3 days. I've been thinking about my foot wear options.

I was going to go with my usual mesh running shoes with the MLD light snow gaitors. Though I normally wear thin synthetic socks, I was thinking of taking a lightweight Merino Wool sock instead since I may have cold and wet feet for hours and they'd be warmer. In addition, I was thinking of a gortex sock or somekind of overboot or maybe both and experiment on the trail to see which I preferred.

I had wondered about Neoprene overboots but wanted something thin and light. Where can I get a pair of your custom overboots and how much? :D

I also thought about booties made from other fabrics that might be water resistant. I remember reading an artical (from here?)about trying out some overboots made Tyvek that had mixed results. I had also been wondering what those Semiconductor Clean Room shoe booties were made of and whether they'd work for snow travel on snowshoes. I know they are thin and wouldn't last long, but how water resistant are they and would they hold any heat?

Edited by Miner on 02/17/2009 22:32:43 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Spring Footwear:Thin Neoprene Overboots on 02/17/2009 22:38:21 MST Print View

Very timely indeed- I'm looking into similar footwear systems right now as well.

Sean- check out 40 Below:

I'll probably get some of these soon...

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Spring Footwear... What's about WP/"B" socks on 02/17/2009 23:53:20 MST Print View

Ryan... I am curious why not waterproof socks or oversocks. In the colder conditions you have mentioned (around freezing) I have had good luck with thin liners, gore-tex oversocks, and breathable trail runners. In even colder conditions I have become very fond of vapor barrier socks. I used to use them only when the temp dropped below around 0F... but have experimented with them up to 30F and found them acceptable.


Edited by verber on 02/18/2009 13:31:31 MST.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: Spring Footwear... What's about WP/"B" socks on 02/18/2009 05:33:06 MST Print View

I agree Mark, I have been using Inov8 Flyroc's with a GTX socks for the last two years on most of my snowshoeing trips and it has worked wonderfully. Just need to make sure I carry down booties to sleep in if I am spending the night out.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters on 02/18/2009 07:35:26 MST Print View

Is that an old pic? OMG he is using collapsible aluminum poles?...ah..see it's 2006.

Edited by jshann on 02/18/2009 07:36:28 MST.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Spring Footwear:Thin Neoprene Overboots on 02/18/2009 08:28:19 MST Print View

Guys, I have a pair of the 40 Below TR Overboots. Weight is 14.4 oz for a size 11 (L) to fit my hardrocks. They are custom built, so I had to wait a couple of months for them. They are quite a beautiful piece of gear, but I would not recommend using them in temps above freezing (like mentioned in the article) as I believe these perform much better in cold climates.
I use a vapor barrier sock, thin sock, Montrail Hardrock, and then the Overboot. The logic is to create a system which moisture cannot enter, either from the outside elements or from the foot. This would, theoretically, always keep you feet dry...and dry feet are warm. :)
Only a few day hikes so far with great performance, but I'm heading out this weekend with them so it will give me a much better idea of how they perform.
I should mention that these cannot be used without a snowshoe or crampon as the sole is not durable enough to handle abrasive ice, ground, or rocks.

christian gagas
(chummysaladbar) - F
TR Overboots on 02/18/2009 08:41:42 MST Print View

I recently received TR's for my wife and I as well, and am hoping to finally get out into the White Mountains tomorrow for a couple of nights as I owe Joel some field testing time! Initial impressions at home are great however, these look very well made and fit my shoes very well with or without the Simple slipper inside. They also happen to be a great fit over my Keen Growlers due to their inherent stretchiness. I hope to test them this weekend with RBH socks, Montrail Streaks and the Simple Slippers in a bunch of fresh snow. I can say that the combo tried on at home is light light light, like wearing my Steger Mukluks...which I love but is isn't often cold enough for them around here to be effective. Can't wait to get out, and to hear your impressions as well,Steve.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: TR Overboots on 02/18/2009 09:20:55 MST Print View

I have had off and on success with the TR's. Both my wife and I have them as well but for New England conditons it is a crap shoot depending on conditions. They work great when just snowshoeing, but when you need to change to crampons (which for many NE peaks is pretty standard) I found the durability of the bottom to be poor. That being said they are very easy to repair. In the end we enjoy the low fiddle factor of not needing to change in and out of different footwear solutions for a given trip. A liner sock, exp weight sock, GTX mid calf sock and a breathable trail runner are pretty awesome in cold temps depending on your cold tolerance/circulation. But if it is crazy insane cold outside the TR's will def keep your feet and lower legs very warm.

Brett Peugh
(brettpeugh) - F

Locale: Midwest
What I use on 02/18/2009 13:27:52 MST Print View

I use something similar in my system with Goretex socks, a liner or wool socks and a pair of Chacos except that still have the traction of the beefed-up retred on the sandals. Takes me less than a minute to pop the Microspikes on. I just used this system a few weeks ago down to 5F outside in snow 6-8" deep and used it a month earlier with the temps about 0F and with a windchill of -20F and was fine walking on packed snow.

I can see the point of the whole overboots and that but the prices on these things are too much for me to deal with anymore. I would have to have one pair or regular trail runners, one pair a size up that are waterproof, the overboots, etc. that end up being what, $350 or more? Heck with it. My Chacos cost me $80 plus $30 for the Goretex socks. Yeah, I can't post hole but again I really don't want to either.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Goretex and VBL ??? on 02/18/2009 15:21:21 MST Print View

What do you Goretex sock-wearers do if water comes over the top of the 'sock'? Seems to me it would create more of a problem than it solves (just like a goretex lined boot does). I also don't see how a VBL sock would help. Feet sweat so much that it seems better to allow moisture to be able to escape (and wouldn't they also act as a funnel when water comes over the top). I would love to hear more detail about both systems since I don't understand the conditions that would favour them.

Edited by retropump on 02/18/2009 15:22:05 MST.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Goretex and VBL ??? on 02/18/2009 16:41:14 MST Print View

Over the top time-I wear Neoprene only.

Very wet snow etc.
then Neoprene
then wool
then bread sack over the wool AND insole with duct tape
on the top of the ankle to keep the sack from sliding down
or up
then boot
then gaiter.

Works for days at a time and the wool sock stays pretty dry.
Enough so my feet stay warm and the little bit of moisture
can be dried out in the sleeping bag at night.

Sleep with the boots outside my bag but on top of the pad
just under my knees.

If sub zero, I put small bottles of boiling water in the
boots just prior to putting them on.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
w/p socks on 02/18/2009 16:46:34 MST Print View

i wear my salomon water shoes with seal skin socks if walking in rainy/wet conditions & it's worked well

usually have: redledge thunderlight pants, OR zealot (paclite) jacket & the sealskins

they aren't good if you will be wading, but for squishy trails & walking on trails in rain, they are my new go-to arrangement

also been perfect when i work timing a (running) event on a rainy day

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: What I use on 02/18/2009 18:07:31 MST Print View

A low priced alternative.

Size way up. Size 13 fits over my 9.5 running shoes.
Weight is 16.1 oz. for the pair. Add high gaiters.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: What I use on 02/18/2009 18:12:45 MST Print View

Great idea Dondo...I'm a cyclist, yet those never occured to me. As I'm already a size 13 I wonder if 14's will fit. There's a Performance Bike shop near me I'll check out.
I was actually thinking of sewing something similar myself, but if those fit, it's not worth the trouble.

Dondo .

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: What I use on 02/18/2009 18:55:14 MST Print View

Thanks, Craig. I actually stole the idea from Tom Sobal, a local snowshoe racer.

You may be out of luck with this particular model. I also have a size 14 which just fits over my size 10 trail runners. When checking out other cyclists' overbooties, skip the ones with openings for cleats. They let in too much snow.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Spring Footwear... What's about WP/"B" socks on 02/19/2009 13:25:29 MST Print View

Mark wrote:

>> I am curious why not waterproof socks or oversocks.

Because I want my shoe to remain dry. In consistently cold conditions, keeping your shoe dry is important to me.

Also the neoprene overboot system is really nice when temps really go south unexpectedly. Even in Yellowstone in February or early March, below zero temperatures are common.

As conditions get warmer, then I move to a Gore-Tex boot (Inov8 390 GTX) and thick, warm socks, with a high gaiter. This is our recommended system for Wilderness Trekking III.


Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters on 02/19/2009 13:27:45 MST Print View

John wrote:

>> OMG he is using collapsible aluminum poles?

Yes, and still do when I travel - 3 piece Leki aluminums, or Komperdell C3's, that get stowed in my pack while traveling. I've broken a few C3 sets already, so am not a huge fan of multipiece carbon poles.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Spring footwear on 02/19/2009 13:42:57 MST Print View

Since I live somewhere with no snow and relatively little rain, I have to ask a stupid question about the spring footwear. Am I understanding you right when you say you just wear a shoe that drains well, and count on your sock to dry fast and keep you warm when wet?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Spring Footwear: Lightweight Footwear Systems Built Around Thin Neoprene Overboots and High Gaiters on 02/19/2009 14:08:24 MST Print View

I hear ya. I wonder how the Komperdell C2 would compare to the C3 in durability. Doug seems to love them.