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Waterproof Trail Runners? Why/Why not?
Been thinking about switching to Trail-Runners for backcountry excursions. I like that my current boots are waterproof when it rains or in the snow. When I look at Trail-Runners I say: Even if they are waterproof, will they actually keep splashing water and snow out? Probably not if you're post-holing in snow or walking in a down-poor with water dripping down your pants and such... So, assuming they'll get wet, will they dry out fast enough if they have Goretex or Event membranes or have lots of leather instead of mesh materials? See, I just don't know. I have no experience on the matter..The other thing I consider is:Should I be looking for Trail-Runners that are not waterproof so that if they get soaked, they'll dry out fast? Shoes with lots of mesh perhaps. I'd like to hear comments from those of you here that wear Trail Runners instead of boots to hike lighter. What experiences have you had on these matters? Do waterproof Trail Runners actually keep your feet dry in varied conditions?
Here is my take:The only time I wear boots or "waterproof" shoes is in the snow. I do feel that they help when the temps. are cooler and snow is on the ground.For 3-season use, the more breatheable the better. Your feet will get wet no matter what on an extended trip. The key is to learn how to deal with wet feet while hiking. I choose shoes that are comfortable and fast drying. I've tried "waterproof" versions of different shoes and my feet get wet from the inside out because of sweat. When these shoes do get wet, they take FOREVER to dry. I get highly breathable trail runners and will never go back.
I wore a pair of Montrail Mountain Masochists GTX for about two years and found the following:1. Gore-Tex does not keep water out. In theory I should be able to stand in streams up to the limit of the gusseted tongue but that's just not the case. Even in wet grass the Gore-Tex failed. I'm guessing bad seam taping?2. If your socks get wet as in rain, submersion, leakage, or sweat then the Gore-Tex inhibits vapor transfer to such a degree they will never dry unless allowed to air for 24hrs. Gore-Tex isn't designed to catalytic 'pump' water from the inside out so if your socks ever do get wet, you're SOL.3. After moving to the standard Mountain Masochists I find my feet don't sweat as much, dry much quicker if I slosh through puddles and streams, and are about 2oz lighter :)
Read some of the above posts as to why not and I think Roger Caffin said it best.Warning the following "quote" may not be entirely word for word accurate but you'll get the idea."Waterproof shoes have an inherent flaw, it is that big hole in the top where the foot enters the shoe or boot".I started out with Goretex hiking boots and quickly changed to low quarter non-water proof hiking shoes. I use the Merrell Moab Ventilators with thin synthetic socks.When I go over the tops of my shoes I do a bit of a ballet move raising my foot up behind my body trying to point the sole of the shoe upwards. The excess water drains out through the front mesh of the shoe. I then "walk" my shoes and socks dry while hiking on the trail.FWIW I used this technique on a recent hike and my shoes and socks were still damp when we set up camp. I hung out my socks to dry and put on my wool sleep socks. In the morning my synthetic socks were completely dry. In the morning my shoes were still a little damp even though I had worn them a couple of times during the night.;-)I changed back into my dried out socks climbed back into my shoes and hiked them completely dry before reaching the trail head.Once I am off the trail and back home I remove the liner insole and allow it to air dry. I stuff my shoes with newspaper to absorb any residual moisture. I have found that it works really well for me up to this point. YMMVParty On,Newton
"Should I be looking for Trail-Runners that are not waterproof so that if they get soaked, they'll dry out fast? Shoes with lots of mesh perhaps."-----Definite yes!
+1 Mike AdamsI second everything he said- my experience has been the same. My waterproof shoes take forever and a day to dry compared to something ultra breathable like the La Sportiva Wildcat's I've lately come to prefer. Mesh and a layer of fabric, that's it. Unlike the Montrail Sabino Trail GTX and others I've had in the past, they *actually* dry out.
heavier, breathe less, cost more, longer to dry, hotter feet vslighter, breathe more, cost less, quicker drying, cooler feet :)
I have a pair of silverish grey eVent mesh trail runners that were really good light hikers. They would heat in the sun almost hot, then stop. Too bad the Velcro closures would attract dead grass. Still use them for road running shoes.
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