I'm hoping to through-hike the PCT next year, so am trying to figure out my gear this year --- this article series is a great basis for thinking through the Sierras stretch.
I was able to do a morning hike yesterday starting out at 22 degree F in snow, wearing a mesh watershoe (Columbia Aquatooth) and Rocky Gore-tex socks over a wicking sock and a wool sock. It took a bit to get over my visceral reaction of "this is crazy" (this article gave me the confidence to try it), but it worked just great. My feet got mildly cold at times, but never painfully so, and after 3 hours of hiking fairly steeply up and then back down I was amazed at how dry my liner and wool socks were.
What particularly sells me on this system is the idea that I don't have to care if my shoes get wet --- they'll get wet, but they'll dry much faster than supposedly waterproof shoes or boots that I wouldn't want to be committed to on a many-day trip in snow.
The one caveat I have is in getting the sizing right. In "normal life" I wear a size 10 shoe. I got size 11's in the mesh shoes, for obvious reasons. So I ordered a size 11 gore-tex sock. Barely fits me. Yesterday afternoon I found I was developing blisters on the outsides of my second-to-smallest toes (both of them); I suspect this is due to the size of the Gore-tex sock, so I'll probably buy a pair of size 12's (!). If that doesn't work, then a bigger shoe. Getting the sizing right is likely to take some iterations, and expense. And once I get it right for "now", I'll have to factor in the odds that my feet will be larger by the time I hit the Sierras ...
Thanks, BPL, for such a detailed (and for me, timely) article series.