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Trail Runners and Snow
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Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
Trail Runners and Snow on 12/17/2013 21:41:27 MST Print View

What is the best option to deal with this? I have some Cascadia 7s which are not water proof, good thing in my opinion, but I have not done any cold and wet hiking in them. Typically I wear a set of Wright Sock Cool Mesh IIs. So should I swap out socks as I go or try to create a vapor barrier with some bread bags? Plan on next hike with highs of 46 and may rain. Not sure how much snow is still on the trail but we still have some on the ground. Any thoughts? Thanks

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Trail Runners and Snow on 12/17/2013 21:56:30 MST Print View

Bread bags haven't worked for me at all. They are so slippery that my feet will literally go flying out of my shoes if I try and walk uphill. They are nice for keeping dry socks dry around camp with wet shoes.

I am going to try out the rocky goretex socks soon.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
diver's socks on 12/17/2013 22:11:58 MST Print View

I use lightweight diver's neoprene (a closed cell foam) socks that I seam seal. Under them I wear thin poly pro or polyester liner socks. Very warm, they stay in place and they last.

If you find them wearing on the outside of the sock just coat the area lightly with Shoo Goo for a pretty much permenant fix.

I've used these type of thin neoprene socks for decades and they are warm beyond belief - and very durable.



I frikk!n' NEVER even think of wearing something so unsubstantial as "trail runners" in the winter. They are just not made for that and you are asking for trouble. Even WITH the neoprene diver's socks I recommend you still run the risk of frostbite on very cold days.
At the least get some light GTX 3 season boots like Merrill's Moab GTX Mid boots. The neoprene diver's sox will keep the inside of your GTX boots dry (the sox are a a VBL) and thus warm(er).

Really?? Trail runners in winter? Really??

Edited by Danepacker on 12/20/2013 02:11:39 MST.

hwc 1954
RE: on 12/17/2013 22:16:55 MST Print View

Maybe a pair of waterproof shoes or boots for winter hiking? Cold wet feet would take a lot of the fun out of winter hiking for me.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Trail Runners and Snow on 12/17/2013 22:39:25 MST Print View

Lots of good BPL articles on footwear over the years:

Cold and dry snow? I use Gore-Tex boots.

Cold and wet? I use trail runners with neoprene socks over wool socks.

Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
re boot on 12/17/2013 23:16:14 MST Print View

I do have a pair of boots, Danner Pronghorns. They are not light nor do they fit as nicely as the trailrunners. I normally wear then for winter bushwhacking. May have to wear them and look into some goretex socks.

hwc 1954
Re: Rockies and snow on 12/17/2013 23:42:55 MST Print View

There's a lot of territory between Brooks Cascadia trail runners and those monster Danner hunting boots! I don't think I'd want to winter hike in either of those. :)

I gave up on trail runners in the White Mountains. The terrain is so rocky that my feet were getting battered. However, I've had good luck with a mid-height European made leather GoreTex hiker. But, there are lighter options depending on your conditions and preferences.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
new balance mt110 winter. on 12/18/2013 04:41:29 MST Print View

Such a great shoe, you can unzip out on the go to vent. Kind of a strange design but it works so well for me.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Trail runners on 12/18/2013 05:27:15 MST Print View

I normally will wear Wrightsocks with trail runner is anything down to mid twenties. I have used Cascadias, Salomon and many, many pairs of LaSportiva wildcats, you weren't very specific on the type of snow but if it is consolidated snow then no issues. If you are in fresh snow you may have some problems with shoes such as the Wildcats and Cascadias. I have had powdery snow get into the toe mesh and build up into a ball. It really messed my feet up on the PCT and during one hike in the Smokies I stood in a small stream to melt it out. The ball pushed down on your feet.

If you are looking for a "bread bag" solution then the best I found was making booties out of PU coated nylon then sandwiching them between two sock liners. I may get a bit of leakage at the seams but this setup has worked well and lasts much longer than bread bags which had a life of maybe five miles.

Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
Snow on 12/18/2013 05:57:12 MST Print View

I suspect any snow that is there is going to be the worst kinda. Wet and slushy. Might even rain. Since I switched to trail runners I have tried to keep out of the boots and have resisted buying new ones. Might need to look at some light boots instead.

josh jordan
Neoprene on 12/18/2013 06:20:21 MST Print View

This past weekend I went for a short 5 mile hike in 4-5" of snow. This is what I wore and worked well for me. La Sportiva Wildcats, synth ankle socks, wool socks, and then a pair of neoprene socks. I loved how warm and dry my feet stayed. Once I stopped moving though my feet got very cold, very quickly.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Trail Runners and Snow on 12/18/2013 08:11:03 MST Print View

In the same way that I have a few sleeping bags and shelters to accommodate different conditions, I do the same with footwear. Seems reasonable to me. I hike in meshy trailrunners most of the time. In cold/wet conditions, I wear a gortex trailrunner. Feet stay warm and dry. Super cold and deep snow, I wear winter boots. Pretty straightforward.

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 12/18/2013 08:13:00 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
bags on 12/18/2013 09:10:48 MST Print View

i just double plastic grocery bags and wear them over my socks. haven't yet found a reason to look for a more expensive option...

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
gore tex on 12/18/2013 09:23:59 MST Print View

despite all the "bad rap" goretex gets here .... for mild PNW always slushy wet or puddles conditions (your sneakers WONT dry even if they are mesh, theres no effing sun or dry ground) ...

ive found that minimal (all mesh no leather) gore runners work well even if they get totally soaked ... while your feet might sweat a bit inside, they stay WARM and wet ...

someone once said that they rather wear a rain jacket over windshirt in continuous rain as they would rather be warm and wet ... than cold and wet ... same thing with runners

note that if you do use trail runners when its wet, slushy and cold ... carry a pair of dry warm socks, or at least plastic bags for your feet just in case you get stuck, as a bonus theyll serve as emergency gloves

theres been cases of trench foot where hikers/runners just could not move under their own power after prolongued expose to wet cold conditions ...

if you are wearing minimal footwear with minimal foot insulation you MUST keep moving ... if you cant youre going to be in serious trouble


BJ Clark
(bj.clark) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Trail Runners and Snow on 12/18/2013 09:59:54 MST Print View

Here is a link to an article by Nick Gatel about Winter footwear.

Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
Thanks on 12/18/2013 10:26:06 MST Print View

Thanks for the article that helps out. Might have to look into a pair of goretex socks. Not too expensive. May also get some new boots. Hate to do it as I love my trail runners but it may be prudent. My Danners fit a bit funky and they may be on the out anyway. great boot, just heavy and fit my left foot weird. Perhaps I have a weird left foot.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Trail Runners and Snow on 12/18/2013 11:14:19 MST Print View

I like light waterproof mid boots plus gaiters plus Microspikes as needed. Spare dry socks absolutely!

Trail runners are great for 3-season stuff, but there's no need to suffer or possibly do some real damage to your feet. You end up kicking steps and other techniques that wouldn't work well with trail runners.

Are you working snowshoes into your kit? Walking short distances on old compact snow can be practical, but if it snows while you are out, it can be rough going, Ti the point of dangerous. Post holing in deep snow is slow and physically demanding. Falling through where there is brush or debris underneath can cause injuries.

A couple years ago lost two hikers in the PNW due to sliding off trails while crossing late Spring snow patches.

Winter snow travel is kind of a different world of hiking; quite beautiful and enjoyable with the right skills and equipment.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: gore tex on 12/18/2013 11:17:27 MST Print View

"despite all the "bad rap" goretex gets here .... for mild PNW always slushy wet or puddles conditions (your sneakers WONT dry even if they are mesh, theres no effing sun or dry ground) ...

ive found that minimal (all mesh no leather) gore runners work well even if they get totally soaked ... while your feet might sweat a bit inside, they stay WARM and wet .."

I have found this be true as well, but I like leather shoes in extended wet/cold. I can actually dry those out and they do a decent job of holding the heat. I also have a the vivobarefoot trails which are a water resistant fabric without mesh, and those are warm while wet too. Open mesh shoes can get pretty cold when water pours in them at every puddle.

Phillip Asby

Locale: North Carolina
Multiples on 12/18/2013 14:14:15 MST Print View

Unless I'm misunderstanding the trail runner techniques here - the article was specific on this point - to accomodate 1/2" of additional insulation from liners, wool socks and goretex socks you need trail runners a size or so larger than you normally wear... In other words the trail runner would still be a single purpose footwear choice.

In that event - if you're having to buy an extra pair of shoes anyway - why not consider a lightweight WPB type shoe or boot? I have a pair of Keen mid boots that are comfortable and light that I wear in winter and inclement weather - milder temps I do wear New Balance trail runners and generally subscribe to that point of view for 3 season stuff - but 20's and wet I'm pretty happy with my Keens and I wear them around in the fall/winter with jeans, etc... on rainy/cold days so I get double duty out of them, which I wouldn't likely do with too big trail runners plus extra socks, etc...

I'm not saying there are not advantages but I'm not sure I see them ...

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Multiples on 12/18/2013 14:27:06 MST Print View

the point is that oversized trail runners with several sock layers including a WPB one ... acts like a boot/shoe with a removable liner ...

in theory you can remove the socks to dry em out the same way you remove a liner from mountaineering/ski boot

and in theory the goretex sock should keep the other socks dry

whether that works for you is a different question ...