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View Full Version : Best shoes or boots for some light snows and rain in October?



MrJames
08-12-2007, 07:56
Hi Everyone,

For probable light snows and cold rain, how do you experienced guys handle this? What do you recommend as the best solution to keeping feet as warm and dry as possible with possible light snow and rains? High boots and Snoseal?? Something else?

Thanks for any help on this. It's the colder temps and probable slushy stuff that makes me question trail runners...but I haven't kept up with what most people are using today in the Northeast at that time. I'd appreciate any help on this -- don't want to bail out if I don't have to.

Geezer Boy

woodsy
08-12-2007, 09:23
:welcome to Whiteblaze MrJames

Being from the Northeast and hiking the 4 seasons, i have found sno-seal works well on leather boots in keeping feet dry. After the snow gets above the boot tops gaiters go on. When snow depths creates traction problems with slipping and sliding, i break out the snowshoes with on board crampons.

hopefulhiker
08-12-2007, 09:31
2005 was a wet year and I started out with Vasque Sundowners. I just got a tube of silicone from the hardware store and mixed it with paint thinner and then painted my boots with it. I had to reapply about every two weeks...

JAK
08-12-2007, 12:05
Nice thing about leather is you can dry it with fire. I recommend something leather but as light as possible with just enough room of a pair of heavy wool socks AND felt insoles. The tricky bit is getting enough room for the insoles if you have a foot with a high arch. I blew out some seams in mine where the uppers meet the toe. I can't tell you what my boots are. Light weight. Low ankle. Says GORE-TEX on the side, both in a little metal tag and burnt into the leather. Brand name on the back is " H. M. C. ". Does anyone know who made these? They might be 10 or 20 years old now. I can't remember.

Phreak
08-12-2007, 12:20
Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR trail runners

7Sisters
08-12-2007, 13:29
At the end of the day, I am a true leather boot person. I have tried other types of boots, but I have always come back to leather for across the board reliability, comfort and durability.

Outside of what I own now, the best pair of boots that I used on the AT were LaSportiva Makula's. I know they're heavy, but they're great for snow (light and heavy), excellent for keeping you feet warm (combined with a gator), and not too hot in summer. They worked great on the AT during all four seasons. Did my feet sweat - yes, but not an unbearable amount to where I would get blisters.

Regarding rain - hate to say it, but if you are out in rain for 8 straingt hours of walking, your feet are going to get wet. I would not look for a shoe that will keep my feet "dry" during those conditions. It's just not going to happen.

I see trail runners as being great for summer, but if you are starting your thru hike early in the season when there's a strong chance of snow, you're really asking for trouble to use them. I know there are a lot of people that use them and say nothing happened to me. However, I would not rely on that as evidence justifying there use in winter. I would say starting your thru hike in Feb/March with trail runners based on others saying nothing happened to them is a classic form of "Nonevent Feedback".

Nonevent Feedback as described in Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, is the "idea that if nothing bad happened when you took a risk, nothing bad will happen the next time. That kind of false sense of security - because nothing bad happened when you tried it before - is almost certainly why so many winter hikers venture out in winter without enough clothing" and proper gear.

Hope this helps

JAK
08-12-2007, 18:24
Are there no light weight soft leather boots out there?
I have not been able to find anything to replace my old pair.

The soles and heels in particular often seem overbuilt. Great for rock stomping I should think, but we are not always rock stomping. Also boots for riding in a truck or ATV or skidoo can and should be built heavier, because your not working as hard, but when hiking I think something lighter is necessary, unless you are actually rock climbing or whatever it is people are supposed to do in these monstrosities. You gotta admit most of the stuff you see are way overbuilt, simply because people are more willing to pay for stuff that is way overbuilt, for some reason or other. That seems to apply to most things these days. People pay more for more, so they are sold more, even when less is better.

neo
08-12-2007, 18:27
i have never found anything thats works,my feet get wet and they dry out:cool: neo

JAK
08-12-2007, 18:28
http://www.turistforeningen.no/english/article.php?ar_id=10245&fo_id=3622

Here they say 1.2 kg per boot, for moderate hiking conditions with light packs? That seems high to me. There's got to be something lighter out there?

Why do they even bother to recommend not going lighter when there isn't anything anyway? It seems to me that they are just recommending what is available, and only recommending against what isn't.

JAK
08-12-2007, 18:46
i have never found anything thats works,my feet get wet and they dry out:cool: neoThat is my experience also, up here in New Brunswick, even in summer. Many times I don't even bother taking by boots or sneakers off when I hit wet sections because my feet are already wet. So I focus on stuff that dries out quickly, and can be dried out by fire when neccessary, and is as light as possible when fully soaked. I would add these comments, depending on temperature.

Extreme Cold, like under 0F - possible and critical to keep feet and socks and boots dry to maintain insulation.

Cold, like 20F to 40F - wet feet might be unavoidable, but materials like wool and neoprene can still provide adequate insulation when wet as long as there isn't too much water exchange going on. Blisters are usually not a problem though at these temperatures, even when your feet are wet all the time.

Normal Range, like 40F to 80F - wet feet might be unavoidable in some conditions, but as temperature get warmer, keeping feet warm feet become less important than keeping feet cool and blister free.

Hot, like above 100F - As in extreme cold, it again becomes both more possible and more critical to keep feet dry, but to avoid blisters and infections, not frostbite.

So wet feet are usually not a problem, except at extreme cold or extreme hot conditions. Most running shoes and trail runners and hiking boots should be designed with getting wet in mind, but seldom are. It drives me crazy how hard it is to dry out most running shoes, and how grossly overbuilt most boots are. The problem is most footwear is not designed for people that know better, they are designed for what people that don't know better will buy.

minnesotasmith
08-12-2007, 19:21
1) Hop on elevated rocks, roots, etc, to avoid the deepest mud, what I call "bog dancing"

2) Trail runners do dry out relatively quickly, so take them off ASAP at camp (and take out all the inserts while they dry), evenings/mornings with any sun put them in the sun, put paper inside them to suck out much of the water, etc.

3) Sealskins (impermeable neoprene socks) are awesome for slush

4) For days not quite so perpetually wet as to merit SSs, rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly on all parts of your feet to the tops of your ankles

5) Didn't use foot powder (hate how it feels), but got my feet bare ASAP when I arrived at camp, and tried to keep feet bare (within Crocs when walking around camp) as much as possible, so feet AND hiking footwear could dry

6) Wore no shoes other than trail runners hiking in snow and slush in GA, NC/TN, VT, and NE during a thruhike that had a heavy body and heavy pack; if you hear that "you must have heavy boots BC you/your pack are heavier than average", you just heard ignorance.

7Sisters
08-12-2007, 21:30
Cold, like 20F to 40F - wet feet might be unavoidable, but materials like wool and neoprene can still provide adequate insulation when wet as long as there isn't too much water exchange going on. Blisters are usually not a problem though at these temperatures, even when your feet are wet all the time.

............
So wet feet are usually not a problem, except at extreme cold or extreme hot conditions. Most running shoes and trail runners and hiking boots should be designed with getting wet in mind, but seldom are. It drives me crazy how hard it is to dry out most running shoes, and how grossly overbuilt most boots are. The problem is most footwear is not designed for people that know better, they are designed for what people that don't know better will buy.

I have used my LaSportiva Makula's for well over half the trail before getting them resoled. In no way did I think they were overkill. I rarely blistered, walked between 18 - 23 miles most days and almost never had foot fatigue at the end of the day.

One of the big problems with trail runners is that most of them break down real easily and your feet feel most of the heavy rocks.

Also - if you're in cold conditions, it's imperative to keep you feet dry. I use Thorlo socks for all year round (without liners) and swear by them. They are rock solid.

Jim Adams
08-13-2007, 00:35
sundowners for late fall, winter and spring. trail runners for summer.

geek

7Sisters
08-13-2007, 07:02
I owned two pairs of Sundowners. The first one's I really liked, but they didn't last that long - 400-500 miles of backpacking in various places (AT, Grand Canyon, Tetons, Yellowstone). Since they prematurely died, I got another pair. The second pair, lasted even less. I found the problem with them was that my feet are too wide (I'm a EEE).

Therefore my foot would expand the boot and eventually I would break it down due to my width. What broke down for me on the second pair, was the Goretex membrane. I wound up expanding and widening the boot and the membrane eventually got a hole - then it rained and water filled up the membrane inside my boot.

I was furtunate to have an understander merchant who gave me credit towards another boot as I didn't want to buy a third pair of sundowners.

Outside of my issues with them, I would say the are an excellent boot - but beware, they are a lightweight boot, so if you carry loads of 40 lbs, they will break down quicker. They are also not a boot that will do well in winter if you want to attach a crampon to them.

Jaybird
08-13-2007, 07:18
Hi Everyone,For probable light snows and cold rain, how do you experienced guys handle this? What do you recommend as the best solution to keeping feet as warm and dry as possible with possible light snow and rains? High boots and Snoseal?? Something else? ..................etc,etc,etc,..Geezer Boy





get your favorite boots...then DOUSE them with CAMP DRY or other like product & enjoy your hike!:D

Jim Adams
08-13-2007, 20:49
My first pair of sundowners lasted 5 years and almost 3,000 miles. My second pair is 3 years old and still going strong.

geek

MrJames
08-14-2007, 06:48
Thank you all for taking the time to write up your helpful suggestions and experiences.

I will forego the trail runners for this trip, and stick with leather boots, poly sock liners, snoseal, and bread bags -- though I am going to experiment with trail runners once it gets colder and wetter. Using poly sock liners versus sealskinz socks which I'll get next month, and my gaiters, in my own woods and fields and creek. Once it gets cold and slushy I'll see how they work, before it's deep enough to get out the snowshoes, because some people do manage it and I'm curious to see if they could work for me too. I get an average of 230 inches of snow a year so I'm a little skeptical but open to all ideas.

Mr James, the
Geezer Boy

dloome
08-19-2007, 20:25
I've never found anything really ideal for fringe season hiking in these condtitions, but I like using trail runners sized a bit large, normal mid-weight socks plus a neoprene over-sock and light gaiters work best for me. Neoprene keeps slush and water off your skin and adds a great deal of warmth, but you can still wear light runners. The neoprene doesn't breathe, but with good socks I've never had my feet get pruny or anything, especially in colder weather since you sweat less.

I forget exactly which ones I use, but I think these are them:
http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2340&src=nextag&refer=NRS_Wetsocks-2340