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Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2: Components
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2: Components on 03/27/2007 23:16:26 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2: Components

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Wow on 03/28/2007 06:47:40 MDT Print View

This is just what I was looking for. Thanks Will and Janet!

Alec Muthig
(Alekat) - F

Locale: Wyoming, USA
Re: Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2: Components on 03/28/2007 12:55:40 MDT Print View

Great stuff. Wish I had this about 6 months ago. :) Had to do much of the same testing myself, with very similar conclusions!

How were you able to get the Crescent Moon Overbootie on a size 12 shoe? Must have been warm when you put it on. I had a difficult time getting mine on over a size 10.5 Montrail running shoe when the temps were cold.

Jason A. Grafft
(jgrafft) - F

Locale: Inland Empire (of smog)
Spring Testing on 03/28/2007 13:56:08 MDT Print View

I am starting a two week through-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail (friends will slow me down for half the time) and expecting wet, damp weather with patches of crusty or slushy snow and mud. NewBalance 754 cross trainers and Ultimax Cool-Max socks (these have performed very well for me in wet conditions) will be my footwear system with the possible addition of gore-tex liner socks if I can find a pair by tomorrow. Gaiters would probably be an excellent choice as well, but I prefer not to use them. Results/observations will be posted upon return.

Edited by jgrafft on 03/28/2007 14:01:59 MDT.

Forrest G McCarthy
(forrestmccarthy) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Air Tallacs and Fastshoes on 11/21/2007 08:49:18 MST Print View

Some years ago Exum Mountain Guides worked with Nike to produce a technical “snow sneaker” that would be adequate for early season climbing in the Tetons. The result was the Air Tallac. The Air Tallac had a sticky rubber sole with a square heal (for heal plunging), a high cut, and a Gortex blatter. All the guides loved them. Typical of Nike, they produced something wonderful and discontinued the shoe just as it was becoming popular. I hear they are still selling them in Europe.

I further improve the Air Tallacs by sewing on a “Gasket” Gator (REI or OR) directly onto the shoe. This eliminates the need for a problematic instep strap, provides a better seal, and saves a few grams.

Air Tallac

Used with a pair of Seal Skinz socks this set up has performed amazingly in miserable wet and cold environments. This has included Autumn trekking in Alaska, November elk hunting in Wyoming, spring Packrafting in Montana, and summer snow climbs in the Wind River Range.

For those of us that are morally opposed to using snowshoes (slowshoes) a great ultra-light and versatile option are “fastshoes”. Take a pair of Karhu Karvers , Karhu Meta, or LL Bean Boreals (made by Karhu) Skis and ditch the stock bindings. Instead screw a pair of NEOS Villager Overboots directly to the skis. You would not want to descend the Grand Teton in this set up, but can negotiate moderate mountain terrain. Yesterday I enjoyed some fresh powder turns in them! At about 3 pounds per foot they are a much better option then slogging around in slowshoes. The Karhus skis have full metal edges and skin inlays so they glide, climb, and ski well. No fussing with detachable skins. Any trail shoe will work in the NEOS Overboots. I normally use the Air Tallac system described above.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2: Components on 11/21/2007 09:04:04 MST Print View

Forrest -

Your suggestions are a fine example of thinking out of the box. It never ceases to amaze me how the ideas that real people can come up with don't ever make it into production. Even the sewn on gaiter concept is only marketed by a few companies. Your approach ski idea with the bolted on overboot is really slick (hehe).

- Sam

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel Part 2 on 12/08/2007 15:31:39 MST Print View

Excellent article. Enlightening.

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Question for Will on 02/03/2008 09:00:18 MST Print View

Would you use any of the light weight footwear layering system, trail runner, neoprene, overboot, etc, for winter Fourteener ascents. I love my La Sportiva Lhotse boots but they are heavy. I am looking at the Growlers but worried about the warmth. The Lhotse boots dry very quickly and warm up fast as well. I am a little nervous about being able to kick snow steps if necessary with the lighter boots.

I have used my La Sportiva Glaciers in spring snow conditions but I don't think they will cut in temps around zero.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Question for Will on 02/03/2008 15:25:41 MST Print View

> Would you use any of the light weight footwear layering system, trail runner, neoprene, overboot, etc, for winter Fourteener ascents. I

I have worn light leather boots at 5,600 m (17,000+') and had warm feet. At the same time another person wearing 'proper' plastic mountaineering boots was in crying agony. The difference? My boots were comfortable rather than tight, with thick socks. The other person had undersize boots and their feet had expanded. No blood circulation.

I have worn light Salomon Extend Low joggers (NON-GTX) when snow shoeing. I used a light PU-fabric overshoe to keep the snow off so melted water did not trickle in. My feet were warm.

I have kicked steps with Salomon Extend Low joggers and with Salomon Punteras (both light shoes with bendy soles), up steep spring neve. I was more worried about the lack of an ice axe than about the shoes on one occasion.

My 2c.

Ronald Cordell

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Rocky GoreTex socks and light trail runners on 02/05/2008 09:59:25 MST Print View

I finally got a chance to try the combination of a lightweight running shoe (Salomon) with the combination of liner sock, warm insulating outer sock, followed by the Rocky GoreTex socks. We set out on the Art Loeb trail from Brevard, NC to the Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp, about 34 miles. Normally this would be a two day hike, but the group I was with was a max-10-miles-per-day group, so we spread it out. The first day was freezing rain, which stopped as we set out on the trail. The freezing level continued to rise all day, basically tracking our progress in altitude because the frozen precip was dripping off the trees and onto us. It was a very wet day, with temps around 32F all day. Since the trees had freezing rain on them, they were bent over the trail, so we spend a lot of time pushing through the melting ice, getting out clothes all the wetter. However, my feet were always warm and dry, keeping me happy no matter what. Of course, the sun coming out after noon made things even better.

I think that Roger's comment is right on about feet circulation. The thing I like about the Salomon shoes is the lacing system that makes the shoes very expandable. This allowed good circulation in my feet as we hiked while the GoreTex socks and warm inner socks did their work and kept my feet warm and dry.

I'll be using this combination in the future, with possible modifications for colder snow temperatures (assuming I ever get to see snow again in the southeastern Appalachians).

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Weight of Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Overboots? on 02/14/2008 22:26:02 MST Print View

The article lists the Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Overboots at 14 ounces/pair. Looking around at places that actually sell these, some are listing the weight at double that --- 1 pound 12 oz per pair. Are you sure of the 14 oz/pair figure, or could that be per-overboot ??

The company website doesn't mention whether the weight is per-foot or per-pair, they just list 14 oz/397g. If they're not trying to be tricky, a reasonable assumption would be "per pair" ... but lists them at 28 oz per pair,


These look like a much more interesting option at 14 oz per *pair*, if that were really true (!).

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Proper use of Neos and other feltpac boots on 10/27/2010 19:26:28 MDT Print View

It was stated that the NEOS overboots created "copious amounts" of condensation (from perspiration).

My original NEOS from 12 years ago now serve as emergency winter boots in my RAV 4 SUV.

To SAFELY wear them I have equipped them as follows:

1. flat insole of 1/4" neoprene closed cell foam
2. feltpac liner
3. formed foam insole W/ arch support
(#s 1-3 puts 3 layers of insulation underfoot.)
4. thin neoprene scuba sock VBL
5. 1 pair of thick winter acrylic/wool socks (worn over the neoprene VBL sock, of course).

Without the VBL sock the waterproof, non-breathable NEOS boots would make the insulating sock and feltpack liner wet out and render the insulation usless within hours.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/27/2010 19:27:07 MDT.