Thanks for this wonderful piece - it was perfect to get educated on footwear for cold weather hiking and snowshoeing. My wife and I are about to go snowshoeing and x country skiing in Northern Vermont next weekend (my wife's first time snowshoeing), and I would sincerely appreciate your advice on a few smart gear choices, so that my wife will continue to snowshoe with me. She grew up a flatlander in New Orleans, but after a good introduction and outfitting, she loves hiking in New England, despite already suprising a mother black bear with cubs in the White Mountains a few years ago (I'll have to log that in a a BPL section on bear stories).
1) Which long black overboot was pictured with this caption: "Lightweight Footwear System For Snowshoeing In Continuous Snow In Frigid Temperatures - Our model system: liner sock, vapor barrier sock, heavy wool sock, insulated footbed, insulated waterproof/breathable boot, neoprene bootie, and an insulated overboot. The total weight for a size large (excluding the snowshoe) is about 42 ounces/foot." The overboot pictured is long (above calves), black and appears to have a white embroidery or picture of a snowshoer at the top part. What model is it and where can I get it? I'd like to order them ASAP, especially since the only gaiters we have are short OR Flex Tex and ID eVent Shorty gaiters (which aren't as warm as tall waterproof OR gaiters).
2) We were planning on using the Keen Growler you recommended. It's quite cold in N Vermont this time of year, probably 15-25F daily and it can be windy, especially climbing some of the more accessible local mountain snowshoe trails. The Keen has 200 gram Thinsulate. We chose it because we thought 200 g thinsulate is very versatile - it can be used for milder cold temps in late fall or early spring, and made warmer with an overboot or vapor barrier socks.
There is a boot that is very close to the Keen Growler in construction and weight, the Keen Snoqualmie - but the Snoqualie has 400 grams thinsulate in the toe area, and 200 in the ankle and boot body. Would you recommend it over the Growler, or would you just use the Growler?
3) Even with going with the larger sizes we needed for the Growler (we found it is cut small, which is often the case with insulated boots), the Growlers we picked up can't accomodate a liner plus very thick winter socks - only a liner plus medium weight socks. I'm a size 11 foot, typical 11.5 running shoe and hiking boot, and need a 12 in the Growler. Andrea is a shoe size 7, typical hiking boot/running shoe size 7.5, and wears an 8 in the Growler. That being said, would you recommend a vapor barrier sock for very cold conditions, in addition to the overboot? How much room will it take up in the shoe?
Thanks kindly for your advice. We'd like to be just as comfortable and safe in cold weather as in 3 season milder conditions. Especially since winter offers less crowds (which can be an issue in the Northeast) and some very special scenery.