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Zero drop winter shoes?
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Jeff Bordogna
(jeffthink) - M
Zero drop winter shoes? on 08/28/2011 17:14:14 MDT Print View

I really enjoyed the winter footwear series. With that newfound knowledge, I'm attempting to put together my footwear gear for this winter. The core piece of it is that I'd like to have zero-drop shoes. I've been hiking in VFF's for over 2 years now, and each winter it gets harder and harder to put on even non zero-dropped trail running shoes, let alone the beastly hand me down boots I have. So, I'm looking into whether it's possible to have this type of shoe, as long as I have a working sock layering system.

Some options:
Merrell Barefoot (versions being: Trail glove = ultra breathable, Sonic = softshell, and Embark = goretex)
GoLite Baretech
New Balance NB110 / Minimus

any others I'm missing?

This would be pretty exclusively for hiking in 30 degrees and below temps. I live in Virginia, so the footwear system should be ok down to 0, but not planning on going much lower than that. I'm looking to get forty below camp booties for camp, so not too worried about long periods of standing around. I have liner socks, heavy wool socks, and gaiters. Would look to get insulated footbed, a VBL, and potentially gore-tex socks/seal skinz to help make up for lack of insulation in the shoe itself.

Anybody do winter hiking in a zero-dropped shoe? If so, what have your experiences been like? Which shoe? Understandably, a lot is about fit, but outside of that, do you prefer having the goretex shoe or not (breathable + gore tex socks)? What kind of sock setup do you use? Looking for any advice that you can give...thanks!

Jeff Bordogna
(jeffthink) - M
bump on 09/06/2011 20:27:14 MDT Print View

Hey guys,
Just giving this a bump to see if anyone has any experience in this area...thanks!


Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: bump on 09/06/2011 21:44:48 MDT Print View

no experience. I run in mt101s all year but these are far from zero drop that you're after. I snowshoe in salomons

maybe you could modify the outsole or midsole of your boots. I bet cutting down the treads far enough to make them zero drop would still leave you with more grip than many of the shoes you listed

Robert Devereux
(robdev) - F

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: zero drop winter shoes on 09/07/2011 08:39:48 MDT Print View

I did a little running in winter using SCUBA boots. They're neoprene with rubber soles. Zero drop, and pretty warm. I think for long hikes, I'd want something with some cushioning (which also works as insulation), but they are an option.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Zero Drop on 09/07/2011 08:50:18 MDT Print View

These are zero drop boots

Angelo Radano

Locale: New England
Re: Zero drop winter shoes? on 09/07/2011 11:47:28 MDT Print View

What about an all-leather moccasin boot (Arrow Moccasin)? Or a mukluk (Steger)?

Jeff Bordogna
(jeffthink) - M
Some great ideas on 09/07/2011 16:29:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for the ideas, guys.

Nathan - I've heard of some runners dropping their shoes (esp. New Balance ones), but I'm not sure how that actually works. Wouldn't you lose some grip in the process? Going to look into this option some more.

Robert - Have thought about that sort of approach in past, but I do pretty long hikes, and I worry about these holding up on these hikes / in general.

Michael - Cool! I had no idea Vivo Barefoot was doing stuff like this. I love their casual wear, and have heard good things about their running shoes. Not sure about high tops, as I'm used to low cut shoes, but this is definitely worth looking into.

Angelo - Good ideas, but I'm not sure these are as light & rugged as I'd like. Do you have much experience with this?

I guess the core issue I'm having is that I'd really like to use a lightweight minimal shoe like I listed, BUT, I'm not sure they can handle the conditions I'll face (and it's expensive to experiment).

Thanks for the help