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snow shoeing in trail runners?
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Erich Langner
(eclassic) - F
snow shoeing in trail runners? on 11/18/2010 15:13:56 MST Print View

Im heading to the adirondacks after thanksgiving for a multiday thru hike of the northville-placid trail.

there probably is now, and will most certainly be some snow on the trail by early december. Im wondering if trail runners would be adequate for this. i've used snowshoes with regular sneakers to good effect before but only on day hikes.

i've done a good deal of winter travel and mountaineering before using plastics. it seems to be that your feet will get wet regardless of what kinds of boots you have so might as well use lighter trail runners.

I plan to use brook cascadia 5s so if you've used these in snow i would appreciate hearing your experience. I think that these with some beefy smart wool socks and good gaiters i should be fine. plus the trail is never that from civilization so i have a fair margin of error.

Lastly if your familiar with the trail or the dacks in general, i'd appreciate hearing about winter trail conditions. not current conditions, but what you experienced in or around the high peaks area.

Edited by eclassic on 11/18/2010 15:23:56 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
overboots on 11/19/2010 20:00:46 MST Print View

these would be a good addition to trail runners,

they get rave reviews and not much heavier than a pair of gaiters :)

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: snow shoeing in trail runners? on 11/19/2010 20:30:55 MST Print View

I think you might need a dry pair of socks every few hours with just socks alone for your feet to stay warm enough.

You could try Gore-Tex socks over the wool socks, or a polypro liner sock, vapor barrier liner, wool sock(s), and waterproof layer (such as an oven bag)--oven bags could be vapor barrier too.

Edited by AndyF on 11/19/2010 20:31:34 MST.

Tom Wemett
(nptfanatic) - F

Locale: Adirondack Mountains
NPT Website on 11/19/2010 21:33:32 MST Print View

Check out for hike planning and latest trail conditions. Your main problem is going to mud and water. There is a lot of recent beaver activity on the trail where the trail is flooded with no easy bushwhack available.

Call the EMS (Eastern Mt. Sports) store in Lake Placid and the Mountaineer store in Keene Valley for trail info in winter. Ask for Drew Haas. He has worked in both places and I'm not sure which one he is at now. He is a trail runner and knows the NPT well and will be able to answer your questions. There are links to both places on on the hike planning page under community resources. Good Luck. Tom - NPTFanatic and webmaster for

Erich Langner
(eclassic) - F
Re: Re: snow shoeing in trail runners? on 11/21/2010 08:15:24 MST Print View

great tip about the dedicated dry socks. i call them "sacred socks" they never leave my bag and i only wear them to sleep. i learned this for my instructor on an OB mountaineering course. it makes a huge impact on your ability to resist the cold.

Erich Langner
(eclassic) - F
tried it on 11/21/2010 08:49:30 MST Print View

went up to upper benson piseco and placid this weekend on a little scouting mission. the above poster is right its really muddy and wet up there. not quite cold enough during the day yet. i might wait for january to do this trip. by then it will be cold enough to keep the ground dry. well not dry but manageable.

i also drove to the white mountains to try and find some snow. i found some but not enough to use snow shoes. i walked around for a few hour in the cascadias to get a feel for them in the snow. THESE ARE NOT GOOD FOR SNOW!!! at least without an overboot.

the mesh uppers are kind of weak, i wish they where a bit more water resistant. though they were designed to deflect water not to deal with snow melting on you foot. also the suede like materiel of the shoe acted like a magnet for snow and ice. i decided to send them back(love rei for that). not that they aren't great shoes. the sole is really rugged and they have great traction. but i cant afford these and overboots.

the 40 belows look great but i can buy real winter boots for that. plus i have gaiters so i feel that would be a waste. it does break my heart to send these back, but im exchanging them for the merrel lightweight winter boot(on sale!) they're cheaper and better suited for my purposes.

if i was doing a really long thru hike with the occasional bit of snow trail runners would probably do ok. but as this will be a snowshoe journey the light boots are probably better. i hate boots though so im a bit sad about ditching the cascadias. im really glad i decided to do a bit of scouting, saved me alot of trouble.

Edited by eclassic on 11/21/2010 08:52:13 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: tried it on 11/21/2010 09:19:58 MST Print View

"Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 1,2, & 3: Principles and Techniques for Keeping Feet Dry and Warm" by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl

Excellent information on winter footwear.

Edited by greg23 on 11/21/2010 09:25:39 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
boots on 11/21/2010 09:40:42 MST Print View

if you go to a dedicated snowshoe boot, look at the Merrell Thermo 6- has both thinsulate and polartec insulation, if your moving these will keep your feet toasty to very low temps

the gaiter d ring and snowshoe strap ridge in the rear are welcome additions

not overly heavy for winter boots either, been very happy w/ mine

Karl Gottshalk
(kgottshalk) - MLife

Locale: Maine USA
snow shoeing in trail runners? on 11/21/2010 11:45:17 MST Print View

I day hike in mesh trail runners in the winter with snowshoes but I use a pair of SealSkinz waterproof socks with light socks underneath in colder weather so I don't have to worry about melting snow in my shoes getting my feet cold. It has worked well so far.

At the end of last winter when everything was getting icy I went to the Goodwill store and bought a cheap pair of hiking boots and put hex head screws in the soles for traction, but that is another story. I didn't usually use them with showshoes.

Erich Langner
(eclassic) - F
Re: boots on 11/21/2010 12:07:09 MST Print View

those are the ones. they seem good for what i need. i will be in snow for 2 weeks so might as well go for the boots. the price is right anyway. if i had the cash id go for trail runners and overboots but i don't. those sealskinz look cool but they got pretty mixed reviews. i my experience things like that are kind of gimmicky. also with special sock over boots etc, you probably have the same weight in the end. well maybe not, but one specialized shoe might be better. the merrells are only 2lbs for the pair so i don't feel to bad about the weight. my main concern is blister/hot spots, which i never get with running shoes but often get from boots, especially hot spots. but i have never gotten blisters or hot spots from snowshoeing.

Erich Langner
(eclassic) - F
Re: Re: tried it on 11/21/2010 12:16:46 MST Print View

thanks for the link but i would never pay to read an article that should be posted for free. though if you want to fine. it gives them money so they can maintain this site an keep the forums going. personally i have a problem with people selling information that could save someones life. though i understand that everything costs money and the staff here put alot of effort into what they do. i think i have their book which probably has some of that info in it. i won't pay for internet videos or software but i have no problem buying books. that just me though.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
drying on 11/21/2010 13:24:31 MST Print View

the question to ask is can you dry your shoes on a 2 week trip, they will get wet sooner or later

most winter courses and such recommend shoes/boots with removable liners so you can dry the liners

IMO ... BPLers do this with trail runners, thicker socks (liners basically) and a goretex sock

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: snow shoeing in trail runners? on 11/21/2010 16:27:50 MST Print View

> i call them "sacred socks" they never leave my bag and i only wear them to sleep.
Nice term for them too!


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: tried it on 11/21/2010 22:13:30 MST Print View

i would never pay to read an article that should be posted for free. though if you want to fine. it gives them money so they can maintain this site an keep the forums going. personally i have a problem with people selling information that could save someones life. though i understand that everything costs money

You're kidding, right?