View Full Version : Gore-Tex or not for boots/shoes?

02-19-2003, 18:53
I've been looking into trail shoes and/or lighter weight mids. I can't decide if I should get a pair with a Gore-Tex liner or not?

My current boots have one which means I don't have to worry too much about the 1"-2" deep water that is in the middle of the trail.

Should I just go without and get a pair of GoreTex socks for winter/cold hiking? And let my feet get soaked when it is warmer?

Seems like having water soaked feet would get quite annoying after some time. I haven't hiked much is warmer (80F+) weather, so my feet usually are just slightly damp when I remove my socks. Should I expect otherwise once it warms up?

Though with non-lined shoes/boots I could just stop and wring out my socks and shoes once in a while. They would probably dry up quickly after that. True?

Blue Jay
02-19-2003, 19:06
I really like GoreTex Trail Runners and even wear them in the winter with gators and crampons/snowshoes. I even did Katahden in February a few years ago in a pair. I had to hide from the Rangers as they would have had a fit. I even wear them in the summer in the south, though most people find them too hot.

02-19-2003, 21:19
IMHO the makers of goretex have pulled off one of the greatest marketing coups of recent times. They've sold goretex as the best thing since sliced bread. Wearing gortex boots in the summer makes no sense to me. Think about this. If it's 60 degrees outside, would you put on your goretex jacket and go charging up the trail? Probably not because if you did you would sweat your ass off. Why would your feet any different? Plus to work gortex has to be clean and stay clean or the pores clog up and won't transfer moisture. When was the last time you saw a clean pair of boots? So your feet will be sweating buckets and that's a perfect prescription for blisters. If you think goretex boots will keep your feet nice and dry while you spend all day tramping through boot deep water, guess again. Just accept the fact your feet will get wet and save your money.

Wander Yonder
02-19-2003, 22:06
Veering slightly off topic here, I do have a related question about shoes.

I'll be leaving March 27 from Springer. I have an impossible to fit foot, and have finally found a pair of low cut shoes that are comfortable.

I have never hiked in snow. I do have waterproof insulated socks. Would it be feasible to wear low cut shoes on the early part of the trail, or should I try to find some mid cut boots to help keep the snow I will probably encounter out?

Sorry for the dumb question. I'm a Florida native living way up here in Georgia now. Not a lot of experience with snow. :)

02-20-2003, 08:56
By March 27, you should be pretty much past the snow season. If there is snow, it certainly will not last long.

My advice is that if you have something that fits, then go with that. Carry seal skins, and use them when it's wet. Also use gaitors to keep snow and skree out of you foot wear.

02-20-2003, 08:58
I'll agree with Moose. I buy shoes based on fit. Unfortunately, many good boots that fit me well do use gore tex. Sometimes hard to find a good boot that doesn't have it.

Blue Jay
02-20-2003, 08:59
I think you'll be OK with gators. As Moose said, some people find waterproof shoes or socks too hot, your feet sweat and you end up wet anyway. When you hike in Florida, do your feet sweat a lot? If so, waterproof anything may not be for you. In that case make sure you bring two extra dry socks and one pair of shoes for around camp. Cold weather hiking is hard on feet. You'll have to experiment until you know what works for you. One more thing, never wear GorTex with leather, they cancel each other out.

02-20-2003, 09:45
Dirty Gore-Tex essentially becomes solid plastic. I found that with both my Gore-Tex jackets they were useless after a couple weeks use without thorough cleaning. Even when perfectly clean, I had to unzip the pitzips and pockets to stop sweat buildup. Designs that incorporate natural ventilation, and lighterweight materials are better. For example the awning covered mesh panels on a runners jacket, pitzips, chestzips, and poncho type sleeves/open bottom.

Gore-Tex boots pretty much become plastic lined boots after the first mud-puddle you step in. Seeing as most gore-tex liners are unerneath a leather layer, as soon as the leather soaks up water (inevitable), no vapor can pass through the pours of the material. Your feet won't become soaked like when hiking in trailrunners and stepping in a puddle, but they will be very damp from perspiration.

I'm seriously considering bringing a pair of lightweight teva sandals with me along with a plastic-type sock for muddy sections. Even into early september Vermont has very muddy stretches & footbridges that have sunk into the mud.

Blue Jay
02-20-2003, 14:02
I haven't found dirt to be a problem with the breathability of GoreTex Trail Runners, under leather yes. I had one pair of Montrial Javas that were waterproof and breathable from Georgia to PA when the sides wore off. They were still waterproof and very breathable. Put it under leather and you don't even have to get them dirty, they will never breathe

02-20-2003, 15:24
My expensive Gore Tex Yuppie jacket was the first thing I sent home at Neals Gap. Too heavy, not particularly waterproof or breathable, even new and clean.

Blue Jay
02-20-2003, 15:28
GoreTex Jackets never worked for me either.

02-20-2003, 15:50
My Ultralight, Ultrabreatheable Rain Gear...

- 9oz GoLite Umbrella.
- Fast Drying (I'm hoping) Mesh Upper Salomon XA-PRO TrailRunners.
- 2oz Walmart Poncho/Pack Cover.
- Fast-Pitching Sil-Nylon Tent for Gail-Force Winds & Rain...
- A prayer to Moses, Jesus, & Allah when a Tornado comes through (hey it's worth a shot). Throw one in for Poseidon & Sheeva too!

Blue Jay
02-20-2003, 16:20
Sounds very good to me. I like umbrellas but I keep falling on them and breaking them. I had a nice one attached to my external frame that worked soooo good, but I stuffed it into a tree on an off camber muddy rock slab. I'm now practicing throwing another one before I hit.

Blue Jay
02-20-2003, 16:33
The other problem with umbrellas is that in the rain I'm also wearing a skirt. The water runs down the skirt and falls on the ground instead of pooling in my crotch with shorts. Putting the two together you have to put up with a lot of verbal abuse. You think cell phone users get s**t, try my rain outfit.

02-21-2003, 10:18
I'm trying an umbrella and a "rain Kilt" this year! By gawd it's going to work! I'm man enough to wear a skirt!:D

02-21-2003, 10:52
Just received my GoLite Umbrella today. Very good construction and design! It's supposed to rain this weekend (fancy that!). So I'll be trying out my Umbrella & Poncho setup.

Wander Yonder
02-21-2003, 15:56
Peaks and Blue Jay, thanks for the feedback. The shoes were the only gear that was worrying me.

I do have a pair of waterproof insulated socks (the cheap ones from Campmor). I got them to sleep in because they keep my feet toasty in the hammock in the cold. I only plan to hike in them if conditions are really bad. Normally I wear Thorlos and I find them very good at wicking and keeping my feet comfortable.

I don't have gaitors. Will get a pair and that should finalize my essential preps.

I have a 2 oz. very comfortable pair of slippers for camp wear, but I don't think they are sturdy enough so will be looking for something that can take soggy ground a little better.

I also have the little 7 oz. London Fog Genie umbrella with supposedly "wind-proof" ribs. We'll see! I am going to see if I can use the tiny bungies to attach it to my shoulder strap so I can use both trekking poles.

02-22-2003, 12:48
Moonbow gear sells a set of sub-1oz ankle gaiters that I would seriously look at. I use the OR Rocky Mountain Low gaiters. They aren't water-proof, but they protect your shoes from filling with snow/dirt/ticks/mud splatters, and are very breatheable. They do repel water nicely, and I have yet to get them soaked hiking this winter in snow, but in a downpour they may let trivial amounts of liquid in. They weigh about 3oz. I may make a pair similar to the moonbow ones, but constructed of breatheable ripstop nylon, rather than silicone impregnated material.