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Is non-waterproof footwear really better?
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Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/16/2010 15:39:37 MDT Print View

> a _theoretical_ big advantage of GTX socks. Wear the shoes only with no socks for
> the deeper crossings, and then when done, the GTX socks separate the wet shoes
> from the dry socks. I wonder how well this actually works though.

How well it works is a question; what purpose it serves is a better one.

Many of us who wear light mesh joggers and walk straight through creeks have zero problems with wet (wool) socks. They squeeze dry very quickly. But many joggers get a bit heavier when they get wet, so keeping the socks dry doesn't serve much purpose.

Seems to me that adding GTX socks is just adding extra weight to your feet and getting prunish feet to no advantage at all.

Cheers

wander lust
(sol)
event socks on 07/16/2010 21:44:52 MDT Print View

there is no stretch version of event yet, therefore it is not really usable for socks. furthermore socks tend to get pretty dirty and event does not handle this that good.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Gtx socks on 07/16/2010 22:17:54 MDT Print View

here is no stretch version of event yet, therefore it is not really usable for socks. furthermore socks tend to get pretty dirty and event does not handle this that good.

My Goretex socks don't really have any stretch in them, so I am not sure this would be a problem. I got them more for keeping my feet warm in certain conditions, rather than keeping them dry. I also may use them as camp wear, but plastic bags would probably do as well.

One option with gtex socks could be to use a tight strap around the top of them when crossing a deep stream and then take the strap off after a crossing. This wouldn't be feasible here in NZ as you can be crossing rivers many, many times a day, but may work for some people.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Gtx socks on 07/17/2010 05:43:21 MDT Print View

I've owned two pairs of boots with GTX in them - the first a pair of insulated leather Timberland boots and the second a pair of fabric boots. The Timberland boots promptly became unwearable in anything above 10 C because the GTX clogged up with sweat and dirt - remember, you are supposed to regularly clean GTX rain jackets but how do you wash a membrane that's sandwiched between leather and Thinsulate? In effect the GTX turned into a plastic bag. The fabric boots were OK but on one walk I came down Shirouma-san (i.e., Hakuba where the winter olympics were held) in a typhoon and discovered that when you sew a gore-tex bootie into a fabric boot the needle holes let in water.

Best boots I've ever had were my Scarpa full-leather boots - they never leaked water, not even in Tasmania and I could also wear them in hot weather without any problems.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Insulated Waterproof Gloves Bad Too? on 07/17/2010 08:05:38 MDT Print View

D W Wrote:
"The Timberland boots promptly became unwearable in anything above 10 C because the GTX clogged up with sweat and dirt - remember, you are supposed to regularly clean GTX rain jackets but how do you wash a membrane that's sandwiched between leather and Thinsulate? In effect the GTX turned into a plastic bag."

I have both sweaty feet and hands. GoreTex boots give me similar results to D W above.

I was in the bike shop last fall, looking for winter bicycling gloves that would keep my hands warm without sweating up. I have a large sack full of "waterproof breathable" gloves that are sweat bags.

The young man was showing me a bike glove that had WPB claims written all over the package. I stressed my problem and demanded to know if I could return them if they didn't work out.

A deep voice spoke out from the back of the shop and said "DON'T YOU SELL HIM THOSE GLOVES ! !" It was the voice of the shop owner.

He went on to say "I have the same problem and there isn't a damned pair of gloves in my shop that will keep my hands warm and dry. Your best bet is to get fleece gloves that inhibit the wind.... that offer a little resistance when you try to blow air through them. You'll have to look and test every pair you buy."

So, I went back to my usual shopping for fleece gloves, and I blow air through them and pick whatever gloves offer some extra wind resistance. At least there is one honest bike shop owner who refused to make a bad sale to a customer.

For sweaty hands, GoreTex gloves are just plastic sweat bags (for winter bicycling). Your mileage may vary.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Wind Pro on 07/17/2010 08:27:07 MDT Print View

I have the same problem with breathability also and use the Polartec Wind Pro stuff. Yeah, it does cost a bit more than normal fleece, but it really does help knock the wind down, but not stop it and allows me to breath through it. You can always buy a pair of MLD eVent Rain Mitts to go over them for when it rains.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Wind Pro - Taku Stretch on 07/18/2010 00:32:53 MDT Print View

"I have the same problem with breathability also and use the Polartec Wind Pro stuff. Yeah, it does cost a bit more than normal fleece, but it really does help knock the wind down, but not stop it and allows me to breath through it. You can always buy a pair of MLD eVent Rain Mitts to go over them for when it rains."

The Taku Stretch are WindPrp and come highly recommended:

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/product-reviews/outdoordesigns-taku-stretch-glove-tested/3596.html

I bought a pair of densely woven polypro gloves a few years ago (made by Terra Nova, also a UK company) and they've been the best option 90% of the time. They're even fine when wet if the rain's warm.

I'm cycling through the winter here and gloves are nearly the biggest issue - I ended up carrying 4 pairs yesterday for an 80 k ride! (5 C and sunny at start, 10 C (sunny but icy wind)at 9.00 am and then riding home into the wind with rain threatening at 10 C)

I suspect that the approach above (woven plus eVEnt) would be the best option - if I could find a shell locally.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/18/2010 07:33:32 MDT Print View

I wear Merrell mid-highs with Gore-Tex for winter stuff. I've been trying different low-tops for warmer weather. It struck me that waterproofing low-tops is like locking a convertible car with the top down.

There are a number of mesh shoes made for water sports. Most need a few tweaks to be good trail shoes. A few might go straight to the trail with good results. I'm surprised that the UL community hasn't gone towards this sort of shoe, and more surprised that the shoe manufacturer's haven't turned out a tough shoe with open mesh tops that is aimed at hiking.

IMHO if you are going to make a breathable, fast drying shoe, then don't fiddle around--- use mesh sides, non-absorbent insoles, a good stiff footbed and traction soles, with ergonomics pointed towards walking rather than running.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/18/2010 15:12:24 MDT Print View

If you mainly hike in areas where most of the water comes from grass dew, shallow stream crossing or snow, AND you're feet don't sweat a lot, then WPB shoes may be fine. I can't think of anywhere in NZ where that would be the case. If it's raining, the rain runs in the top of the shoe and wets them out. If you cross a stream, it's almost certainly gonna be knee high or better. In these conditions WPB just doesn't work.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/18/2010 15:16:50 MDT Print View

A shoe that has open mesh, like water shoes, would let in too much dirt and grit on dusty trails.
This could contribute to abrasion and blisters.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/18/2010 15:42:52 MDT Print View

> A shoe that has open mesh, like water shoes, would let in too much dirt and grit
> on dusty trails. This could contribute to abrasion and blisters.

I don't know about 'water shoes', but ordinary mesh joggers such as the MT875OR or the MT876OR shoes (both reviewed here) don't create any problems at all when combined with thick wool socks. Yes, my feet might get a little dusty, but that has never caused any problems at all. And yes, I have been over some dusty tracks.

Blisters are not caused by dirt; they are caused by ill-fitting shoes and rubbing.

Cheers

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Waterproof socks... on 07/18/2010 17:39:54 MDT Print View

I don't like wearing gortex socks while I hike because they make my feet sweat and I prefer the comfort of wool.

I do however wear gortex socks in my wet hiking shoes when I'm in camp. This gives my feet a break from the wet shoes and I don't have to pack camp shoes. In the areas I hike in it's often impossible to dry anything out. Hiking in wet wool socks and mesh shoes is fine but sitting around camp in wet wool socks and hiking shoes is not something I enjoy. Slipping on the gortex socks and putting the wet hikers back on makes a huge difference in my comfort level.

I've tried several different brands of gortex hiking shoes and boots and they have all leaked well before the shoes needed replacing. I've given up gortex shoes.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/18/2010 18:14:29 MDT Print View

> Blisters are not caused by dirt;
> they are caused by ill-fitting shoes and rubbing.

What I mean is that bigger grit or pebbles can get in the wide openings in water shoes. These can cause lumps/pressure points between toes and sides.
This creates hot spots. Socks of course help, but you have to stop regularly to remove the pebbles or they wear through the socks.

The mesh on most hiking shoes only let in the finer dust that isn't so much of a problem.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/18/2010 22:28:32 MDT Print View

> bigger grit or pebbles can get in the wide openings in water shoes. These
> can cause lumps/pressure points between toes and sides.

Oh - yeah, for sure. An understatement in fact!

Cheers

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Returned GoreTex Boots - Poor Breathability on 07/19/2010 08:59:01 MDT Print View

GoreTex warrants that your boots won't leak and that if they don't breathe well, you can return them for purchase price.

I contacted them about returning some Garmont boots that didn't work out well in summer backpacking - moisture buildup that wouldn't readily dry out overnight.

They were very pleasant about it. Gave me a Return Authorization number and asked for a note explaining the circumstances. They did ask me about socks used, and were satisfied when the answer was Smartwool - cotton was explained as a common source of the moisture problem. I enclosed the letter of explanation, and the sales receipt, since I had it.

In a week I received a phone call telling me that the there was no defect in the boots, that the refund had been approved, and about another week later, the check arrived. It appeared to cover everything - purchase, sales tax and shipping.

+1 for GoreTex in customer service, at least in this instance. A couple of business books have remarked that WM Gore is a great company.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/19/2010 10:37:46 MDT Print View

I'll chime in that from winter through meltoff (whenever that is for a given year) I really like GT/WPB uppers. They do fend off snow and water and in cold and cool temperatures, do allow sweat to evaporate--both are key to keeping my feet warm and dry. But once the weather gets hot they too become uncomfortably hot and I then prefer footwear to be as breathable as possible.

There seems to be a fine art in designing breathable shoes to help keep feet cool and allow sweat to evaporate while not letting in vast quantities of dust and grit. It's not easy to tell in the store, so there are always a few surprises on the trail. Since my trail sneakers seldom last more than a season and since shoe models change annually, every year is a new experiment.

Cheers,

Rick

p.s. I've experimented hiking in Teva/Keene-type sandals and it's not practical on the trails I usually hike.

Edited by halfturbo on 07/19/2010 12:24:31 MDT.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
WPB Cadion XCR on 07/19/2010 11:32:33 MDT Print View

I have gone back and forth between footwear that lets all the water in and footwear that keeps it out to varying degrees. I currently use a pair of Timberland Cadion XCR's that are just over 2lbs for the pair in my size 11.5 wides and haven't leaked a bit and breath enough for me. Fortunately my feet just don't sweat much if at all. I do however, sweat everywhere else to more than make up for the dry feet.

Unfortunately, these boots have been discontunued and I wish I had purchased another pair. If my feet sweat as much as my hands, I would struggle like many with this dilema but would ultimately end up with footwear that is as breatheable as possible without letting in small gravel/sand/dirt.

Don Selesky
(backslacker) - M
Re: Re: Is non-waterproof footwear really better? on 07/20/2010 04:55:23 MDT Print View

"I'll chime in that from winter through meltoff (whenever that is for a given year) I really like GT/WPB uppers. They do fend off snow and water and in cold and cool temperatures, do allow sweat to evaporate--both are key to keeping my feet warm and dry. But once the weather gets hot they too become uncomfortably hot and I then prefer footwear to be as breathable as possible."

This reminds me of a trip I took many years ago. It was early April, with 40F temperatures and melting snow covering everything. I was using breathable fabric boots, and the wet snow got the boots soaked. There was no chance for the boots to dry, and wet, cold boots are really not fun at all. As a result I got a nasty cold. Lesson: never use breathable boots in cold, wet conditions when they, and you, can't dry out.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
heat on 07/20/2010 07:29:49 MDT Print View

I have owned a few pairs of the Goretex and other waterproof boots over the years and find they only work at much cooler temps for me. Otherwise they hold too much heat and moisture in and my feet sweat and overheat. I know a lot of brands are using eVent in their boots and shoes now but really doesn't mitigate the heat factor for me.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Fast drying shoes, wp socks, hydropel on 07/20/2010 10:57:40 MDT Print View

Just to beat a dead horse...

I wear fast drying shoes and thin polypro socks which works pretty well. The system did fail me once when I neglected to stop and clean the dirt out of my shoes. the dust mixed with water clogged the outer mesh and prevented the shoes from drying well. this coupled with the very steep descent and intense foot traction required to get off the mountain that day resulted in pain on the bottom of my feet. Later in troubleshooting the problem, I discovered that I could no longer look into my shoe and see the sunlight coming in due to the mud caked inside the mesh. this mud was not clearly visible from the outside of the shoe, it was inside the mesh.