How should I take care of hiking shoes?

3:25 a.m. on June 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi all

I have LOWA gortex hiking shoes, and am about to set on a long hiking trip where conditions are expected to be dump and wet. I wanted to ask for your help in how should I prepare my shoes for such a trip. What sort of wax should I use, how Do I "seal" all the stitches in the shoe so as less water as possible would enter, couls I use any material or do I need something specific for gortex, how do I maintain the shoes while on the trail and any other advice you migt consider helpful (but please don't tell me to buy full leather boots, the ones I currently have suit me the best!) I am relatively "new" to serioushiking, so any advicewould be appreciated!

Thank you for yor help

Zak

9:46 a.m. on June 10, 2012 (EDT)
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In damp and wet conditions, eventually, the insides of the boots  will succumb to moisture whether by walking past wet vegetation or it wicking into the boot due to wet socks or the goretex not being able to vent due to overly wet conditions.  You can treat the boot's exterior with stuff like this: http://www.nikwax.com/en-us/products/productdetail.php?productid=260&activityid=-1&itemid=-1&fabricid=-1 or, you can try to find ways to minimize the moisture transfer by using an item such as a gaiter to cover the boot and the lower part of the pant leg.  In frequent downpours, eventually, your feet will get wet despite the goretex.

11:29 a.m. on June 10, 2012 (EDT)
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NIkwax

11:32 a.m. on June 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I wear gortex hiking shoes in the rainy months. My feet do get moist but never slushing wet. The only thing I can add is to bring plenty of socks to keep your feet as dry as possible. And don't hike though puddles if you can help it.

12:04 p.m. on June 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Erap21 said:

Hi all

I have LOWA gortex hiking shoes, and am about to set on a long hiking trip where conditions are expected to be dump and wet. I wanted to ask for your help in how should I prepare my shoes for such a trip. What sort of wax should I use, how Do I "seal" all the stitches in the shoe so as less water as possible would enter, couls I use any material or do I need something specific for gortex, how do I maintain the shoes while on the trail and any other advice you migt consider helpful (but please don't tell me to buy full leather boots, the ones I currently have suit me the best!) I am relatively "new" to serioushiking, so any advicewould be appreciated!

Thank you for yor help

Zak

 I'm a little unclear, what is the outer material of the shoes? If it is leather, you can't do any better than Obenaufs LP leather treatment.

https://www.obenaufs.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=20&product_id=30

If its one of those synthetic mesh type fibers or suede, then Nikwax is best.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Gore-Tex in boots. I think its like Tyvek on buildings, more hype. marketing & misinformation than actual performance. I'd rather have a straight leather boot properly treated with Obenaufs.

11:03 a.m. on June 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm assuming you're talking about a fabric/nubuck boot with goretex inner liner. Like it or not, a fabric boot (cordura or other synthetic fabric) is not waterproof all by itself, and needs something inside to keep the water out. Gore-Tex is probably one of the better ones for waterproofing, but it doesn't breathe as well as eVent or some of the others

The best you can do with a fabric boot is apply something like the Nikwax treatments. They work rather like a DWR coating on a jacket that makes water bead up on the surface, but even that will eventually wet out. I tried spraying a pair of fabric boots with silicone one time, and while it helps with waterproofing, it made it kind of like walking with my feet in plastic bags.

The problem I found with Gore-Tex is that when the fabric overlaying the liner gets wet, it creates an non-breathable barrier. The Gore-Tex might be breathing just fine, but sweat from your feet gets kicked back by the fabric cover instead of venting so your feet wind up soaked anyway.

3:24 p.m. on June 11, 2012 (EDT)
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so nikwax it is. thx!

4:08 p.m. on June 11, 2012 (EDT)
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nothing to add about waterproofing.  pick whatever treatment and follow the directions.  there are a few good brands out there.

in addition to applying water repellant of some kind to the outside of a boot, consider how to keep them comfortable on the inside as well. 

i bring a newspaper with me on trips of any length.  crumpled newsprint absorbs a very significant amount of water from the insides of hiking boots.  if i'm hiking in very rainy/damp conditions, i try to take the boots off as soon as i'm in camp and crumple newspaper inside them - not crushed into a ball, but crumpled moderately loosely.  if they are really wet, it's worth changing the newspaper a few hours later.  if they are just a little damp, removing the newspaper first thing in the morning is usually fine. 

i agree with comments above that changing socks at lunchtime, on a very damp day, can help keep your feet comfortable and blister-free. 

1:28 a.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Wear them out and buy new ones, frequently :D

3:39 a.m. on July 5, 2012 (EDT)
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For the sweat in Gore-tex boot, we like to use Sanitary Napkins to wrap the feet in China.

Do you guys try it? 

9:48 a.m. on July 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Charlie.HH said:

For the sweat in Gore-tex boot, we like to use Sanitary Napkins to wrap the feet in China.

Do you guys try it? 

 How many sizes do you have to add so that they fit in the boots?

5:14 p.m. on July 5, 2012 (EDT)
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So the wings are for wrapping around your toes?

5:19 p.m. on July 5, 2012 (EDT)
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JerseyWreckDiver said:

Erap21 said:

... (but please don't tell me to buy full leather boots, the ones I currently have suit me the best!)

Given the description above, it looks like a leather boot isn't what the OP wants. GoreTex sure has its flaws (durability and breathability come to mind) but it's definitely better than going without any liner at all.

1:20 a.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Normally people like to buy the hiking shoes half size bigger than their casual shoes.

So it's easy to put a wing into it.

And I read some articles which said that US army also use wings in their shoes in Iraq.

1:29 a.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

So the wings are for wrapping around your toes?

 underneath the sole of the foot. You can roll up 3~4 cm to wrap the toes also.

for sure, we wear socks first, then place on the wings.

1:33 a.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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giftogab said:

Charlie.HH said:

For the sweat in Gore-tex boot, we like to use Sanitary Napkins to wrap the feet in China.

Do you guys try it? 

 How many sizes do you have to add so that they fit in the boots?

 I think I just misunderstood you.

We add one  piece to one boot. For the size, try to cover the sole of the foot, and roll up 3~4 cm to wrap the toes.

7:45 a.m. on July 6, 2012 (EDT)
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The napkin trick sounds like an interesting idea. Does anyone using this method find that it changes the fit of the boot? Also, for a multi day trip, how many would you need to carry?

7:08 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Buy hiking shoes and boots at the end of the day when your feet are slightly swollen.  Leave enough room for two pairs of wool socks.  For real leather I like old standbys like Sno-seal.  Get the stuff warm and rub it in with the heat of your fingers.  Leave the boots in a warm place to dry.

On the trail they will get wet.  Take off your boots for stream crossings if you can.  Take them off when you get to camp in wet country.  Wear some moccasins around camp.  Do not, repeat not, ever dry your boots near a fire.  That is the quickest way to ruin them.  I still have some hiking boot that are over 30 years old that have been resoled many times.  It is one the first questions to ask when you shell out big bucks for the latest and greatest footwear.  How do I get them resoled?  Goretex is okay, but overrated.  When your Goretex boots get wet inside they will stay wet.

 

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