View Full Version : Boots or runners in winter

08-27-2010, 00:18
doing a thru hike thatll put me out there thru the entire winter season. alot of people profess a preference for trail runners, but are they as practical as boots in snow?

08-27-2010, 01:09
I've only used trail runners on a couple feet of hard spring snow. It does get wet. Of course boots get wet too and will take longer to dry out. One workable compromise is to use goretex socks over your regular socks. If you get your socks wet from sweat, then you may want to use a vapor barrier sock beneath your regular socks too. The vapor barrier sock can be as inexpensive as bread bags, or expensive Integral Designs socks or even homemade cuben fiber socks.

08-27-2010, 01:12
If you're unsure of footwear to use on a distance hike in the winter you may want to reconsider the season of your hike. . . the people who you rever to that recommend trail runners were not talking about distance hiking in the winter. . . . that's an entirely different species of hike. . .

08-27-2010, 01:23
the seasons the reason. i dont care if i thru hike or not, mainly jus wanna brave the outdoors for awhile, whether i end up section hiking and or campin out a few days at a time doesnt matter to me. the destination means nothing to me, just the journey. i just refer to it as a thru hike because thats the initial plan and i have enough time and money for it, thats all. i know summers better and easier, but my job does not allow for spring or summer excursions and im about 30 years out from retiring.

08-27-2010, 01:33
doing a thru hike thatll put me out there thru the entire winter season.

the seasons the reason. i dont care if i thru hike or not . . .

OK, well, I'm hoping you can see how this wild swing in just 4 posts might change the answers that you get. . . if not. . . maybe try a season where the Darwin Acadamy is not looking for new nominees. . . . :)

08-27-2010, 01:45
whats your problem man? read your pissy post to saintsbro so obviously uve just got a stick up ur backside. insulting peoples intelligence just because you dont care to hike in winter is just sad. besides, neither of our posts asked whether or not a winter hikes a good idea. go lay your misery somewhere else

08-27-2010, 01:56
Check out post # 3. . . an entirely lucid and friendly response to your question. . . by post 4 you'd changed the parameters to your question entirely. . . thereby rendering useless any response you may have gotten, regardless by whom.
And there is no reference to my preference for hiking in winter. So, again, likely you will not find lot's of folks lauding trail-runners for thruhiking in the winter, as intimated in your original post. Had your original post started with your 4th post, the answers you get would likely be different. . . pretty simple. . . have a great hike. . . :)

08-27-2010, 02:10
the darwin comment still was uncalled for. i didnt change the parameters drastically, i simply explained that my question had nothing to do with what season to hike, just which type of shoe was a better choice in the winter, which itll be regardless of whether i go nobo, sobo, or sectioning.. I thank you for the shoewear opinion, but basically calling someone stupid and questioning their question isnt really forum friendly. a simple answer to the query will do

08-27-2010, 07:39
Boots and gaitors for wet winter hiking, nothing to debate in my mind. Plenty of good lightweight boots to choose from. And it's an old wives tail they take forever to dry out, simply not true.

08-27-2010, 07:45
Depends on what you mean by winter. I wear goretex trail runners, wool socks, and tall goretex gaiters in the winter in the Southern Appalachians. Works great, even on longer hikes with deep snow.

If you're crossing the Whites in January, you'd probably need double boots, crampons, skis, and a whole new wardrobe, if you like keeping your body parts intact.

08-27-2010, 07:57
On the chance that someone not so thin skinned does run into this thread, trail runners would not be a good choice to hike the AT in winter (note, the original poster was not specific on which trail he intended to thruhike and whiteblaze does cover other trails).

If someone elects to hike the section of the trail in Northern New England, they will be having to wear showshoes and on occasion crampons, although there are exceptions, either piece of equipment doesnt work well with a boot with a non rigid sole. There is also a strong likelyhood of getting snow in low cut shoes. Granted a pair of good gaiters fitted properly will substantially reduce the amount, but it gets in eventually as the gaiters move around during the day. The gaiters are a mixed blessing, they keep the snow out but they also keep the moisture being realeased by the feet from getting out, inevitably leading to wet shoes, socks and gaiters. Vapor Barrier socks help, but many folks have problems over long trips with VBL's as they can contribute to "trench foot". Given that the typical average winter hiking speed in snowy conditions with unbroken trails is typically 1 MPH, even if someone where to hike road to road, there are some sections in Maine and NH where they would be several days on the trail.

Another issue is the amount of gear weight required to survive overnight winter conditions in Northern New England. Temps can and do drop to 20 below and on occasion get to 30 below. Gear weight and volume goes up substantially, plan on 50 to 60 pounds if you want to be out no matter what the weather (which is implied when someone is "thru hiking"). Generally most folks would want a heavy boot with lots of support to carry such a load on their back. Many folks might consider a pulk versus a backpack, but in unbroken trails in steep terrain encountered in NNE, pulling a pulk can be a real hassle. In general overland travel in the winter during all conditions require a special set of skills and equipment.

About the only time where light shoes may be an opinion is hiking popular trails that are broken out in good conditions. (unfortunately the AT in Me and NH) isnt that popular in the winter so it may be weeks before broken out). I do use trail runners in early spring to go up to Tuckermans Ravine in the Whites and would consider using them on other trails but if at any point my itinerary might be on unbroken trails, I would switch to a full size boot.

08-27-2010, 08:41
He's doing the AT southbound, and I believe he's starting in mid-October.

Some guy kept saying it wouldn't be that bad and maybe a couple inches of snow at times. If that's right, then I would stick with the trail runners with goretex socks. Again, with a VBL for emergencies. As peakbagger said, they suck to use for extended use, but the weight of breadbags is worth the insurance they provide.

How do you feel about bouncing a set of footwear? Bounce the boots down the trail when the weather is good enough for trail runners and switch for storms.

I was going to give a longer response, but dude, just go to wintertrekking.com.

08-27-2010, 10:25
Well, the guys from Michigan, so he likely knows what its like in the winter - but maybe not out on the trail and definately not what its like in the Whites.

For a mid-October SOBO start, I'd strongly suggest skipping Maine and NH. The chances of getting through Maine that time of year are slim to none.

Oh, for shoes, I'd go with insulated boots and don't forget the crampons.

08-27-2010, 13:08
thankls .ill look into that site leaftye. yeah doing the at sobo. may consider skipping the first few states. thanks for the info guys

08-27-2010, 13:22
You're welcome. . . :p:p . . . I think a late season SOBO would be exhilarating. . . and I would definitely plan for warmer footwear. . . have a great hike:sun