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Winter footwear
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wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Winter footwear on 11/28/2013 20:50:21 MST Print View

For 33 years, I've done all of my hiking during the Spring, Summer and Fall. In the winter, I snowshoe on easy terrain. This year I've decided to do some limited hiking in the winter on flat, or lightly undulating, trails. No mountaineering.

The hikes would be an overnight in the Adirondacks and would be ~4 miles through pine forests to a lean-to at a pond. The Adirondacks are very wet but can also be very cold. I'm not sure what trail conditions to expect when I hike.

I have Sorels which I use when I snowshoe. I'm evaluating what boots I should wear when I hike in the winter.

There is the more traditional winter boot such as a Baffin Boot. They are very warm and I could also use my goretex OR gaiters with them.

Then there are the non-traditional mukluks which Steger seems to have cornered the market.

Finally, there are an overboot that I could use with my hiking shoe.

The Baffins seem like they would do the best overall job. The 40-below overboot would be the cheapest.

I'm trying to find an excuse to get the mukluks as seem like they would be the lightest and I have a sentimental weakness about them. I wonder whether moisture/wetness might be an issue.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Edited by wiiawiwb on 11/28/2013 20:54:13 MST.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Winter footwear on 11/28/2013 22:26:05 MST Print View

Whatever you use, is going to get wet from your feet sweating. Something sufficient to give good traction to get to camp would work, or bring some dry liners. I've been bringing down booties for after hiking and in the morning while eating breakfast. If you don't use or want booties, to keep your feet warm you may need some dry inserts to go in the boots. I have not used vbl in my boots yet, just a plastic bag will work to keep your socks and boots dry. My old Sorel's are almost 30 years old now, they've had the stitching worked on a few times. I have some Kamiks now, I tried some Baffins but with all the insulation/foam in them, they were too tight on my feet.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Booties on 11/28/2013 22:54:05 MST Print View

I have a paid of FF booties which are desperately waiting for their maiden voyage.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Winter footwear on 11/29/2013 11:31:54 MST Print View

I think the Steger Camuks would be the best option. They claim to be waterproof below freezing. I'm not sure how true that is though. Wear a VBL sock, such as turkey oven bag or thin neoprene sock.

Those Baffin models don't have a removable liner for drying, right? Have you used something similar? How warm are they really?

If it's going to be below around 15F most of the time, I switch from trail runners waterproofed with either GoreTex socks or an outer plastic bag (with VBL sock) to waterproof "mukluks": Tingley rubber overboots with Steger liners/insoles inside (not worn over my shoes).

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Winter footwear on 11/29/2013 11:36:14 MST Print View

Andy F -
"They claim to be waterproof below freezing."

What does that mean?

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Another approach on 11/29/2013 12:13:10 MST Print View

I forgot that I have a pair of Trukk boots and just found them. They used to have a removable liner which is gone.

How do you think these boots would be if I were to buy a insulating liner insert and a pair of neoprene socks?

Trukk boots

That way I would not need to spend $200+ on insulated boots. I could just buy insulated insert liners. Then I could wear a liner sock beneath a neoprone sock, then add a wool sock. They would go into the Trukk boot with the new liner.

Does this makes sense? if so, is there any insulating boot liner better than others?

Edited by wiiawiwb on 11/29/2013 12:14:05 MST.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Winter footwear on 11/29/2013 12:29:35 MST Print View

Since you already use the Sorels when snowshoeing, why don't you stick with those. Use VBL socks to keep the liners dry, and also bring a spare pair of liners...

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Re: Re: Winter footwear on 11/29/2013 13:42:20 MST Print View

Greg, good question! I hadn't read the details in a long time, so I was going by memory.

Here are the details on Camuk waterproofing:

"In 'ABOVE 30ºF' conditions Camuks and CamuksXtreme are waterproof from the ankle down only. In 'BELOW 30ºF' conditions the entire boot becomes waterproof due to change in the water molecules. We do not guarantee the waterproofness of the Camuks and CamuksXtreme Hunting and Fishing Mukluks gaitor top when used in above freezing conditions."

So it sounds like they're saying that the lowers are really waterproof at all temps, but if the water is in ice form, it won't penetrate the fabric uppers either... LOL!

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Winter footwear on 11/29/2013 15:32:02 MST Print View

Yep, they're probably just banking on the "seam sealed" distinction of full waterproof and water resistant garments. In other words ice won't penetrate the unsealed seams of the mukluks. I'm looking at some salomon gtx boots for my own entry into winter, but thinking about it now I may seriously consider mukluks instead.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Now what? on 01/01/2014 19:11:24 MST Print View

My left Sorel just split open so now I am forced to make a decision on new boots. I've tried on Kamiks and various new-model Sorels. I don't like any of them. Too clunky. I've also tried on various Vasque and North Face winter hiking boots at EMS. None fit well.

I'd like to try some of the Salomon winter boots but no store in a reasonable driving radius carries them. Cabelas is also too far to drive.

I tied to find insulated inserts for the Trukke boots above but there is not enough room when I used a Sorel liner.

I'm running out of ideas.

Edited by wiiawiwb on 01/01/2014 19:12:50 MST.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Winter footwear" on 01/01/2014 19:26:34 MST Print View

Baffins have been my go-to footwear for winters in Alaska for the past 10 years. I don't think you can go wrong with them. They're a well built boot, the temp ratings seem to be fair, and they keep my feet warm and dry.

Surprisingly, this year I went with a pair of Muck Boot Arctic Sports. Now I don't know that they would be my go-to choice for long hikes, but for short ones they've been fine and they also have worked well for snowmobiling. I often am in areas with overflow (water on top of snow or ice, despite freezing conditions) and like my boots to be 100% waterproof.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Cabela's selection on 01/01/2014 20:37:45 MST Print View

Cabela's has the largest selection of winter boots anywhere, including Zappos.

**(I strongly recommend that you wear seam sealed thin neoprene diver's socks for your VBLS for their warmth, durability and ability to stay in position.)

Given good VBL socks insulated boots fall into two categories.

1. non-remobable insulation. (good for day trips)

2. removable insulation liners (good for winter camping so liners go in sleeping bag for the crucial need of warm liners in the morning.

So decide on your style.

I recommend against NEOS or mukluks for snowshoeing because they don't have enough rigidity to keep the snowshoes in line.

Personally I like Sorels for pac boots. Canadian made and decent quality for the money.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Merrell Norsehund Alpha on 01/01/2014 21:49:22 MST Print View

I use the Merrell Norsehund Alpha for my trips in the Adirondacks. They are not light, but they will keep your feet warm. Great traction with and without Microspikes, mates well with snowshoes and crampons, and has an integrated gaiter loop for a solid gaiter attachment. The inners come out so you can keep your feet warm in camp.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Follow up on 01/02/2014 11:16:52 MST Print View

Dena --- Do you mind my asking what model you used for hiking (as compared to snowmobiling)?

Eric --- I read nothing but great things about Cabelas boots. I just wish there was a store within driving distance.

Stephen --- I can't find the NorseHund Alpa locally. Where did you get yours?

Michael Wainfeld
(Adox) - M

Locale: EastCoast
Noreshund on 01/02/2014 11:35:03 MST Print View

+1 Merrell Noreshund Alpha. I've used them from the 30's to 5 below, with crampons and snowshoes, and they were great.