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Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
water shoes on 12/21/2013 15:23:43 MST Print View

I don't normally hike on trails that have water crossings. Trails close to me just don't have them. But I have started to do trails further away that do. Glad I brought my Keen sandals on the last one. Worked great and kept my feet and shoes dry. I will have to add water shoes to my permanent gear list, just lighter ones :)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Trail Runners and Snow on 12/22/2013 14:31:10 MST Print View

1

Brooks Cascadia 7, Kahtoola Microspikes, NRS Hydroskin socks, Smartwool thin liner sock, ID shorty e-vent gaiters.

It works.

This photo is from yesterday: 6 hours of postholing in fresh snow to the summit of Mt. Baden Powell with Adan. He had essentially the same setup, minus the gaiters, using a thicker wool sock, and a different brand of shoe. He was a bit warmer than I was.

Temps were all over the place...well below freezing with windchill on north faces, 75 and sunny on south faces.

My feet were getting a little chilled, but primarily only when stopping on exposing myself to windchill on north faces. During activity, the hydroskins and wool liner were enough. Next time I'd go with a thicker sock though.

Understand that the hydrosocks aren't waterproof; they wet out, but trap heat relatively well if you're active. They will get pretty cold or even freeze if you stop too long though.

Edited by xnomanx on 12/22/2013 16:16:44 MST.

Velimir Kemec
(velimirkemec) - F
Neoprene on 12/22/2013 14:57:09 MST Print View

Hi,
wore 3mm neoprene socks as inner sock with thinn poly sockliner + full mesh trail runner and on very cold day walk on hardpack Alpine snow my feet got VERY cold/numb from cold once at rest.
Lesson learnt..Will never repeat it again:)

Did any of you use thin Latex swim socks as VBL socks: http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/latex-swim-socks I might try them out this winter..I hate slipping feel of good ol' bread bags..

Thanks

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 15:31:42 MST Print View

I've had a bad experience with neoprene in snow. Neoprene seems to insulate in mysterious ways.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 15:56:21 MST Print View

I've always thought this is yet another highly subjective topic.

My feet yesterday with the above mentioned setup were no colder than my feet are today walking around the house and doing yardwork barefoot at 7AM.

As a surfer, I'm pretty accustomed to having incredibly friggin' cold feet, so when people talk about their feet being cold, I have no idea what it means.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 16:01:25 MST Print View

Ummmmmm, never mind.

Edited by idester on 12/22/2013 16:01:56 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 16:14:11 MST Print View

I can handle cold feet as well, but when your feet start to turn red you have a problem.

I went straight from walking in a stream to walking in snow. I had heard of neoprene socks working well in socks, so I figured they would do double duty. I started off in the neoprene socks (nrs hydroskins) and It was way too cold. I layered some wool socks underneath the neoprene socks (not too tight) and I was still way too cold. I ended up taking the neoprene socks off and just using the wool socks and I was much warmer, however it was still a huge problem. In that experience, the noeoprene socks seemed to have a negative insulation and actually made my feet colder.

Those wool socks were my sleep socks, now wet and starting to freeze, and I was stuck on a ridge with temps into the teens with those socks. I ended up getting close to hypothermia that night. This was in Big Sur up at the window (4k feet) during one of those cold spells like we had a couple weeks ago, was not prepared for that.



I'm only more confused now that you say they have worked well for you.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 16:18:00 MST Print View

I wonder if people having trouble with neoprene are actually experiencing poor circulation problems from the socks being too tight with layers underneath or not fitting in the shoe well.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 16:20:46 MST Print View

"I'm only more confused now that you say they have worked well for you."

I too am a big fan of neoprene socks. It's been around 15° for the morning walks and I'm doing fine. This morning it was 10° and the snow was about 6" deep in places.

However -
1) My shoes are at least a size bigger than my summer setup and the wool/blend socks and the neoprene socks (NRS) are loose as well. My shoes are not laced tight. I also use a calf-high gaiter

2) I wear a Lot of warmth on my legs, including wind pants if there is even the slightest breeze. If I skimp on the legs I usually get cold feet.

Edit to add:

3) For extend trips I do use bread bags over my feet - they really help to keep the socks dry.

Edited by greg23 on 12/22/2013 16:43:19 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 16:41:20 MST Print View

"I wear a Lot of warmth on my legs, including wind pants if there is even the slightest breeze. If I skimp on the legs I usually get cold feet."

This is why I often hike in ski socks in the winter - I like having my socks cover my calves to help keep them warm.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 16:58:15 MST Print View

That is the most obvious issue, however my hydroskins are xl (the largest they had at REI). Shoes were plenty roomy as well.
I wasn't wearing gaiters and had snow pouring into my shoes and I was wearing shoes with 3mm soles, but that still doesn't explain why I was noticeably warmer after taking the neoprene socks off. It was like having metal on my feet, just conducting the heat away. I might give neoprene another try, but for now it's neoprene for water and goretex socks for snow.

Edited by justin_baker on 12/22/2013 17:00:45 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Neoprene on 12/22/2013 17:10:41 MST Print View

Neoprene is weird.
Adan was experiencing a similar issue yesterday.
He started the hike with nothing but a thick wool sock on one foot and a hydroskin over wool on the other. He said the foot with only the wool was warmer. He swore the neoprene wasn't too tight. He did switch to two hydroskins over wool for the last 2/3 of the hike. He felt this system worked well too. It struck me he might of been a little warmer than me, but his wool socks were thicker.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Neoprene socks on 12/22/2013 19:36:31 MST Print View

Here's my theory...

The neoprene socks work like a wetsuit, by trapping a layer of water which is warmed by your feet. They prevent cold water from flushing in and out of your socks quickly like when you step into ankle-deep snowmelt with only wool socks. They work extremely well at keeping your feet warmer when you are in and out of a lot of cold water. However, when you step into cold dry snow that layer of water is now a liability and it increases the conductive heat transfer through your socks to a much higher level than if you just had a semi-wet wool sock on. With just a wool sock and no neoprene the water is quickly pumped out of your shoe as you walk. I suspect this is why your feet got so cold Justin, in conjunction with low overall body temps.

While it is certainly not always possible especially if you are constantly alternating between snow and ice-cold water, I will often stop quickly, pull off my shoes and neoprene socks, and squeeze the water out, which keeps your feet much warmer in the dry snow. You can squeeze your wool liner socks out pretty effectively without taking them off by just squeezing your feet. THat being said, I've done the whole water-snow-water-snow thing over and over again all day and have never had excessively cold feet even when it's in the 20's outside, but I am pretty careful about regulating my physical output to keep warm. Sometimes the best thing to do is increase your metabolic output by hiking faster and bring your heart rate up for a few minutes to warm yourself back up if you are in a tough situation.

1
Northwestern Yosemite. This went on for 12 hours.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Neoprene socks on 12/22/2013 19:41:10 MST Print View

"Northwestern Yosemite. This went on for 12 hours."

Those are some pretty short waterskis.....

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Neoprene socks on 12/22/2013 19:43:10 MST Print View

Thanks Andrew, that makes a lot of sense. When I was hiking through the snow it was around freezing and the snow was pretty fresh and not very wet, so I can see how I was conducting heat away into the snow.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Hydroskins too thin on 12/23/2013 00:37:02 MST Print View

Don't condemn all neoprene socks because Hydroskins aren't warm enough. Did you really expect a miracle from 0.5 mm of insulation?

I routinely wear 3 mm NRS neoprene socks without liners or oversocks, for rafting in snow melt rivers, where 33 F water flushes in and out regularly because they aren't sealed. They work OK if the rest of me is warm.

I wouldn't even think of using Hydroskins for hiking in snow. I would try thicker neoprene, or multiple layers of neoprene if they don't cut off circulation. You'll need bigger shoes.

My experiences with layering wool and neoprene socks were cold, soggy messes.

-- Rex

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Hydroskins too thin on 12/23/2013 07:34:12 MST Print View

"Don't condemn all neoprene socks because Hydroskins aren't warm enough. Did you really expect a miracle from 0.5 mm of insulation?"

+1

I don't wear Hydroskins for insulation.
I wear them to keep my sock dry.
Way more durable than gortex.

Elisa Umpierre
(eliump) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Footwear/Socks for Snowy Trail on 03/03/2014 05:23:03 MST Print View

I plan on doing a thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail to begin in early May. The snowpack here in MN on this very near record setting cold winter is currently about 55+" in northern MN. I can expect snow-covered trails over the first week or two of my hike. Now I'm in the process of deciding which shoe/sock combo to go with.

Last April while snowboarding I shattered the bottom of my right tibia and was told epic hikes would never again be part of my life. Well, I'm doing great, but I'm aware that I'll need to protect my tibia from further impact injury on the trail. For this reason I've been training in the most comfortable, cushiest, wide-base pair of trail shoes I could find - the Hoka One-One Stinson trail shoe. All I can say is, WOW!

Wearing the Hokas, so far I've hiked on snowy trails where my feet were sinking on average about 3"-4" each step in actual air temps of 3 degrees farenheight. For socks I was wearing a mid=weight smartwool-variety with neoprene over socks. My feet didn't feel ONE BIT cold or wet, but when I removed my shoes and socks I saw my feet were, in fact, wet. I do have Keen mid-height Targhee II waterproof boots that I could wear, but I would be sacrificing the extreme amount of cushion found in the Hokas and waking up to wet boots every morning for sure.

Maybe there's really no great answer here. I think I'll try replacing the neoprene layer with a Goretex sock. Time and miles on the trail will tell, I guess.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Footwear/Socks for Snowy Trail on 03/03/2014 07:26:53 MST Print View

Are you wearing microspikes on your Hokas, or just the Hokas alone?

Elisa Umpierre
(eliump) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Micro-Spikes on 03/03/2014 10:17:22 MST Print View

Hokas alone. I wasn't on ice, just snow. There was no issue with slipping at all.