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Forty Below Light Energy TR Overboots/Simple Slippers

in Footwear - Boots, Shoes, Gaiters

Average Rating
5.00 / 5 (3 reviews)

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christian gagas
( chummysaladbar )
Forty Below Light Energy TR Overboots/Simple Slippers on 02/22/2009 14:09:03 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

After a long but worthwhile wait for my LE overboots to arrive I finally have had a chance to spend some time with them.

Initial impressions were very good; in fact, all of my dealings with Joel Attaway in discussing and ordering the LE's were very pleasant. I'm sure Joel is a very busy man, however, when on the phone he always sounds ready to give you all the time in the world and answer any questions. While there were some delays in the expected delivery date, Joel was very good about maintaining steady contact so as to keep me up to date on progress on what seemed like a weekly basis. Wonderful customer service!

Out of the box, construction was excellent, and the fit was very good on the shoes I had traced and sent to Joel(Montrail Streaks). I had also ordered a pair of Simple Slippers to complement the LE's and was pleased to find that they fit equally well, and there is enough stretch in the overboot to easily accomodate them without straining. Experimentation soon proved that I will also be able to use them over my Keen Growlers (without the SS of course) or any other trail runner I own. Joel send them with two sets of foam insoles, one maybe 1/8" and one 3/8" to allow you to mix and match and tinker with the fit and R-value. I have not weighed my pair yet.

I recently spent three days in the White Mountains of NH on a snowshoeing trip into the Great Gulf Wilderness and up Mt. Madison. Conditions ranged from around freezing with no wind on the way in, with about 9 inches of fresh powder, to about zero degrees with 30 mph wind on the last night and morning. On the way in I used the LE's over the Streaks, with just the 3/8" insole under them, Toasty Feet aerogel insoles, and RBH Vaprtherm insulated socks. I traveled on Northern Lites Elites snowshoes. Certainly no issues keeping warm at those temps, however, they were extremely comfortable and light feeling on my feet, similar to wearing my Steger mukluks while snowshoeing. Once in camp I felt no great rush to change into my booties (also Forty Below, synthetic camp booties with laces), but once I did I loved that I could put the booties into the LE's for knee high protection for water runs and general loafing about with no fear of wetting out the insulation.

The second day I added the Simple Slippers to the roundup for the ascent of Mt. Madison. Once on I couldn't really tell a difference in having or not having them on over my runners, although they were very warm all day. In fact, the only time I experienced chlly feet on the trip was in the mornings when I would shift from my booties and sleep socks to cold VBs and Streaks. Prewarming them certainly would have alleviated this, but it is a small inconvenience that I simpy choose to accept rather than sleeping with sneakers in my bag.

I did navigate deep wind drifts and open rock and talus all day, and never felt the need to fuss with footwear at all, in fact I was amazed at how dry inside everything was at the end of the day.

All in all, I can highly recommend the LE overboot and Simple Slipper combo. For snowshoeing it really does combine the lightness of a mukluk, the comfort of a loose trail runner, and the warmth and protection of a plastic boot. They go on and off easily, so mixing a matching components in the field is easy and getting everything put together again in the morning is a snap. I did not get to use them with Kahtoola Microspikes as I had planned, but they certainly fit well enough when tried. Even when on ski based trips the LE's may find their way into my pack for use as a bomber camp mukluk, as I am fond of pre-dinner bootie shuffles in the evening to help relax.

To sum up, these are an excellent product from a man who obviously spends a ton of time figuring out how to make good winter footwear.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Kahtoola MICROspikes priced at: $44.96 - $59.95
Shop Energy, Keen, RBH products at GearBuyer
Steven Evans
( Steve_Evans )

Forty Below Light Energy TR Overboots on 05/14/2009 08:29:49 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

First off, here is the system I currently use:
1st: Thin liner sock,
2nd: Vapour Barrier Liner,
3rd: Montrail Hardrocks,
4th: 40 Below TR Overboot

Why did I purchase the 40 Below Overboot?
In winter time, even with a VB sock, my feet would generate enough heat to melt the snow that was sticking to my boots. Once a little bit of moisture was on the outside of the boot, more snow would stick to it. At the end of the day, although my feet would be toasty warm, my boot would be wet through. I was unable to dry them in my sleeping bag, and even unable to dry them if I put them by a fire and then slept with them in my bag. In the morning, my boots would be frozen solid. Sometimes, if it was warm enough, it would only be a minor inconvenience. But, when the temps really dip, lets say below 0*F, it would be a good amount of pain wearing them in the morning before my feet warmed up. This was not something I looked forward to in the mornings. I tried several methods to counter this problem, but none worked. I even tried wearing tyvek overboots, but they prove to destroy themselves throughout the day. I was looking for something to wear with my snowshoes or crampons that would keep my feet warm and dry throughout multi-day winter backcountry trips. I came across the 40 below overboots.

My Expectations:
Upon reading about the 40 Below Overboots, I inquired with them and had some lengthy e-mail discussions regarding performance and how they are to be used. After ordering, I expected them to be watereproof enough to not allow melting snow to enter into the overboot and wet my shoe, keep my feet warm allowing me to wear trail runners instead of boots, and have a highly breathable gaiter that would block the dusting of snow thrown up from snowshoes, but would breath enough that my lower legs would not be wet from condensation when I arrived at camp. Are these high expectations? Yes, but I take my trips extremely serious and put gear through thorough testing due to my minimalist style of outback travel. The bonus to the overboots is that because I will be wearing trail runners instead of my boots, I will be saving substantial weight off my feet.

The Overboot:
Upon ordering, I sent a tracing of my shoe to 40 below so they could custom size the boot. The finished product is marked as a size L. They fit my size 11 Montrail Hardrock absolutely perfectly and the pair weighs in at 14.4 oz. Included is 2 pairs of CCF foot beds. One is about 1/8” thick while the other is about ¼” thick. I am 6’3” and the upper gaiter of the overboot sits just below my knee.

I have 5 days use on these overboots. All days were used with Northern Lites Backcountry Rescue snowshoes in deep powder snow conditions. Temperatures ranging between –10*C (14*F) and –18*C (0*F). Typically, I would wear the overboot for about 12 hours a day and then change into a down bootie in the evening after chores were done. In the morning, I would put the Overboot on to break camp immediately after waking up and making breakfast.

First off, thank you for making this product. It has solved many problems I have endured over the last few years.
The boots kept my feet warm and dry all day during strenuous snow shoeing and climbing. I would even wear them at camp as my down booties were not required until the evening and my shoes would not be wet. I remember the first day when I arrived at camp and was wondering what my shoes were going to look like. To my pleasant surprise, they were dry as a bone. No snow had worked its way between the Velcro closure into my overboots. I deal with some very deep and fine powder, so I would think that if it stands up to our powder, the boot can probably hold off the worst. Now, I know from experience that even though a boot or shoe looks dry, it can still have moisture internally and freeze, so the real test was throughout the night. Every morning, even with temps dropping to –18*C my shoe was dry and pliable in the mornings. Oh what a great feeling to put on shoes that were not frozen (yes, they are cold, but far from frozen!!). This type of routine was typical during the use of the overboots. It is my new exclusive combo and I can stop my search for the ultimate winter footwear system.
So, with all the good stuff said, there is one minor downfall. That is the durability of the sole. Now I know that these are not recommended for use without crampons or snowshoes, but after the second day, I started to notice some wear, almost like hotspots, on the sole. This abrasion occurred when wearing my snowshoes and was coming from contact with some plastic ridges on my snowshoes. No doubt these are on the snowshoes for grip on the heel of the user, but never the less, they are wearing the boot. After 5 days, I have several wear marks and small hole about 1/8” in size. I am planning to add some epoxy to these spots to stop the wear as it is only in small areas.
The problem is that in order to make the sole durable enough to withstand that type of abrasion, you would need to add weight. Basically you would need to put a shoe sole on it, which I believe is not the answer. I actually don’t know what the answer is, and maybe one isn’t even required. I am hoping that with by adding a small patch of epoxy on the wear points, they will hold up fine.

Edit: After sending 40 below this review, they contacted me stating they are looking into other sole options and have found one that is much more durable. They even offered to put the new sole on my boot for free this summer, but since mine are still in great shape, I declined for now.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 05/14/2009 08:30:52 MDT.

will sawyer
( wjsawyer )

40 Below Light Energy TR Overboot on 12/07/2010 15:55:02 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I received my overboots in the mail today, a day earlier than predicted. Previously I had emailed Joel when I heard about these as I wasn't sure they were exactly what I was looking for, and I was curious about the whole concept. Joel is an amazing guy, he was very helpful in picking a size that would work with a variety of footwear, which was one of my main concerns. He sent me a three page document about usage and temperature range of the overboots and seems genuinely interested in my satisfaction.

First impression:
When I opened the box a myriad of things greeted my. The overboots, the standard two thicknesses of insoles, the same detailed usage document, and a patch sheet. In addition to these, I got a note from Joel saying that he included, free of charge, a third insole that was in between the two regular ones to help with the variety of shoes i'm hoping to use these with. A small rite-in-the-rain book was also included. Wow. Hand written note, free insole because he really payed attention to my questions.

I tried these on a few pairs of shoes, and they fit well, feel weightless on your feet, and the sole material looks pretty durable. I have yet to use these (Think snow!) and will report back when I do. Craftsmanship is excellent, the design seems well-thought out, and the materials seem well suited. A mix of highly breathable and waterproof fabrics are used on the uppers, the waterproof on the back where snow might stick after being flung off a snowshoe. I am 6' 2" and the top of the overboot sits right at the bottom of my knee, perfect.

For now, Joel has my utmost gratitude and the overboots have my feet excited for the coming snow.

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