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Winter Hiking shoes/boots
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Ronald Cordell
(roncordell)

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Winter Hiking shoes/boots on 11/06/2006 09:28:31 MST Print View

What are some thoughts about winter footwear when slogging through the snow? I've always used my Vasque boots in the winter, but I want to find something lighter if possible. Also, the boots I have now usually freeze because of the GoreTex lining that won't let my sweat out, so they are a real pain in the mornings.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Winter Hiking shoes/boots on 11/06/2006 16:26:58 MST Print View

If you are talking about boots freezing overnight, all boots share this trait,
Try putting them in the bottom of your sleeping bag or at least under your knees to keep them pliable.
Lighter footwear and cold temps seem to be at odds because you need a level of insulation in the boots. You can try a little larger size boot with vbl or thicker sock combinations, overboots, or footwear used for snowshoe racing.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Winter Hiking shoes/boots on 11/07/2006 02:28:41 MST Print View

> If you are talking about boots freezing overnight, all boots share this trait,
> Try putting them in the bottom of your sleeping bag

True, but take a couple of good-sized plastic bags and put the boots in them first! Do up the bags with elastic bands too. I have even done this with 3-pin ski boots. Worked well.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Morning boots on 11/07/2006 09:12:31 MST Print View

Ah, yes, cold boots in the morning-- my FAVORITE part of hiking :) I've never had them freeze, but I can imagine the joy that brings. For shorter trips I imagine a couple of those chemical hand warmers inserted at first light would help.

lukee1982 essex
(lukee1982) - F
Re: Re: Morning boots on 11/07/2006 10:08:51 MST Print View

I have used the little nalgenes full of boiling water in the boot in the morning to warm them up.

Dane Burke
(Dane) - F

Locale: Western Washington
Re: Winter Hiking shoes/boots on 11/09/2006 18:33:59 MST Print View

I'm looking into non-waterproof trail runners paired with neoprene booties for winter hiking. That will add some warmth and water resistance, but if keeping your feet dry is essential it's probably not the choice for you.

Another drawback is that the neoprene will absorb water, making the weight on your foot greater.

As for cold boots in the morning...I'm guessing that's just something you have to deal with, unless you have an insulated removable inner boot like some plastic boots have. It truly sucks, but only for a little while.

Jim Erickson
(jethehiker) - F

Locale: NE USA
Re: Winter Hiking shoes/boots on 11/11/2006 05:35:23 MST Print View

I found a reuseable handwarmer made by Prism , it is 4 oz but worth its weight in gold to not start the day with freezing feet. you simple place it in boiling water for a few mins and it hot enough to do the trick. I carry one and do one boot at a time. the cost is about 5 I think.

Ronald Cordell
(roncordell)

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Winter Hiking Shoes/Boots on 11/11/2006 06:56:46 MST Print View

Thanks for the input - I'll have to make sure to bring the hand/feet warmers this time around, and/or put the boots in my bag. :)

I had seen someone post in a gear list some trail running shoes along with shoe covers and I was curious about that combination but when hiking through the Smokies in the winter in the ice and snow I wondered how effective it would be...

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
Re: Winter Hiking Shoes/Boots on 11/15/2006 19:57:46 MST Print View

You may want to consider footwear that will function well with snowshoes for winter hiking in the smokies. I encountered approximately two feet of snow in the smokies last December. Postholing in two feet of snow sucks. I was forced to retreat to the valleys until I could link back up with the AT near fontana dam. The valley route we took kind of sucked too come to think of it.

Frank Deland
(rambler)

Locale: On the AT in VA
boots on 11/15/2006 20:47:16 MST Print View

There are many options for insulated winter boots, some under $100. Watch for the amount of insulation used and also go for something waterproof. They come in different heights, too. You will probably have your foot in an icy stream at some point, so be prepared. The best boots for warming or drying overnight are the ones with removeable liners as mentioned are found in plastic models. Sorel, too, make boots with felt liners, but the fit is often "floppy". Vapor barrier liners help keep your sweat in and off your socks. Remember, too, it is your socks that help moisture escape from your boot so wear socks that come out of the tops of your boot. Consider wearing liner socks under thin outer calf length ski sock. For those of you that insist on wearing low cuts in winter, just remember wet and below freezing temps are not a rememdy for warm toes! (Some think water-proof socks and sandals are enough, brr.)

Edited by rambler on 11/15/2006 20:55:24 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Winter Hiking Shoes/Boots on 11/16/2006 02:25:33 MST Print View

> I had seen someone post in a gear list some trail running shoes along with shoe covers and I was curious about that combination but when hiking through the Smokies in the winter in the ice and snow I wondered how effective it would be...

That might have been in my Review of the Yowie snow shoes published here just recently.
But the other two big secrets (after light overshoes) are thick wool socks and warm LEGS - so the blood entering your feet is still warm.

Frank Deland
(rambler)

Locale: On the AT in VA
boots in bags on 11/16/2006 04:51:42 MST Print View

How does putting ones boots in a plastic bag keep them warm? Roger, I like your mention of warm blood getting to the feet. Somewhere I read that when we start to get cold, our bodies react by trying to keep our mid section core warm, the circulating bloods "forgets" the extremities furthest from our hearts, like fingers and toes, hands and feet. Therefore, I like the image of getting warm blood to the feet by keeping the legs warm. It also supports the theory that if our feet start to get cold, put on a hat.

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
Bagging the boots on 11/16/2006 13:46:09 MST Print View

Yo Frank, I think Rog and Larry meant that you can keep your boots from freezing by putting them in your sleeping bag at night. Roger went on further to say that you should slip the boots into a plastic bag(s) first and seal them up before bringing them into the bag with you. This technique works well and I have used it with great success before.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: boots in bags on 11/17/2006 02:57:36 MST Print View

> How does putting ones boots in a plastic bag keep them warm?
As Jeffrey said - bag in plastic, then store in foot of SB. Without the plastic bag your SB gets wet!

> when we start to get cold, our bodies react by trying to keep our mid section core warm, the circulating bloods "forgets" the extremities furthest from our hearts, like fingers and toes, hands and feet.
Absolutely. And your head is the ultimate core. You can have frostbitten feet and hands with a bare head and your head will still feel warm.
That saying 'If your feet are cold, put on a hat' is for real.

But don't forget to eat well. No food => no energy => no warmth.

Edited by rcaffin on 11/17/2006 02:58:29 MST.