Leather gortex boots vs Trail runners

12:22 a.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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I thought I would get everyones feedback and opinion. lately I have read countless accounts of people doing the Appalachian Trail useing trail runners as opposed to leather gortex lined boots. I am tossed and confused on the issue. The main issue I have is the weather in early to Mid March from what I have read. Its still icey and wet. Thru hikers are saying the trail runners allow your shoes to dry quicker and you dont have freeze issues with your shoes. They also say they runners are lighter for a 2182 mile hike as opposed to a heavier boot. I am throughly confused on making the decision and that I would ask for your opinions for pro's and con's. I own both trail runners and a pair of Danner lites. Both are broke in. But the issue has me stumped .

11:10 a.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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Check out the new mid-runner by salomon. It's pretty cool. It's called the xt wing mid I think. I use trail runners as long as my pack doesn't exeed  20 pounds. So even for a two night stay in summer/autumn I hike with them. I liked it so much t be light on my feet that I bought the aforementionned shoe/boot for hiking on longer period. I'll be writing a review later on today. You can have my fedback in a nutshell until then: The shoes are light and the stiffness is marginal especially when loaded. If you happen to be a big boy like me, it might be enough for you. On really technical terrain I would not wear them, but in regular, flat, ups and downs I love em even with a good 30 pound load out.  

The real name after veryfing it is: Wings sky GTX.

11:27 a.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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thanks louis! Thats alot to consider and thanks for the early review/ I check the review when you post it to get a look at them.

12:31 p.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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It's posted denis you can find it under the name Salomon Wings sky gtx

If you want to make em more warm buy an insulated insole, if you plan to encounter snow bring gaiters (always useful). When I'm on long hikes I usually have 4 pairs of insoles of differant kind. That way I can sacrifice one to relieve pressure points. I also take the one that keep odors away. Also very useful. ;-)

12:44 p.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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I'm sure they make waterproof trail runners - I have a pair of "4 season" trail runners that are great for day hikes - warm enough in the winter, and they are also the ones I use spring, summer, and fall. Do yours have decent insulation? Mine do, and are above the ankle for extra support.

Either way, whether with gortex or without, leather has the chance of absorbing water and thus freezing when temps drop.

Because of that I would go with whatever was most comfortable for the long trek. Bring lots of warm wool socks!

12:59 p.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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I wouldn't reccomend lightweight foot wear in areas I hike (western mountain ranges) for anyone shouldering a through hike pack.  The rocky trail can briuse your feet through the soles, and lack of support while hauling a load invites a twisted ankle.

Ed

2:09 p.m. on December 16, 2010 (EST)
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A few things to note:

Gore-Tex ALWAYS makes things less breathable, therefore increasing the chance of moisture building up on the inside of it. In my opinion, Gore-Tex in footwear is best utilized in an all-leather, winter-suited boot. Gore-Tex works by using a temperature/moisture difference to drive moisture out; therefore, the since your foot is always hot and moist, the temperature outside should, ideally, be cold and dry. Gore-Tex in a 3-season light hiker = bad juju. The Gore-Tex liner it uses will keep water out, but your feet will sweat like crazy inside those if you use them in the heat of summer. For that kind of use, I recommend...

An all-or-mostly-mesh light hiker (or trail runner) WITHOUT a Gore-Tex liner. I know it helps during stream crossings. Get Gore-Tex socks instead: you put these on before the stream, leave them on for a half-hour afterward, and your all-mesh shoes should be almost dry by then, when you swap back into your woollies. The theory is, if you have multiple stream crossings in a day, there is a good chance water is going to find its way over the top of, or into even your Gore-Tex-lined shoe. Then, it's going to take FOREVER to dry, and once it gets wet in the inside, Gore-Tex can actually transmit moisture BACK INTO your shoe. So, if your walking on a trail in the morning in some wet, dew-ey grass, your Gore-Tex liner will actually wick the water back into the shoe. Shitty.

The sock goes up much higher, and lets you wear a shoe that can dry out much faster, whether on your foot or inside your sleeping bag that night (put them inside of long bread bags, vented outside of your sleeping bag). Yes, the sock changing does does take more time, but when your consider the other option--taking a spare pair of stream-crossing shoes (or sandals)--it makes more sense to bring a 2oz pair of socks than a 1lb pair of shoes. Also, getting a Gore-Tex liner in a shoe adds about 2oz to each shoe's weight, so here the socks are still about half the weight. If the weather is nice and you're bringing a spare pair of socks anyways, you might not even need to bring the Gore-Tex socks along. Just dry the pair you're not wearing on top of your pack as you hike, and finish the job inside your sleeping bag at night...

11:57 a.m. on December 17, 2010 (EST)
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Every pound on your feet is equivalent to about 6.4 pounds on your back - the prime value for going with trail or running shoes. Additionally the stiffness of leather and resulting poorer speed performance. An 11 to 13 ounce trail/running shoe for an average height person carrying about 20 pounds should suffice for the AT. You'll need to buy at least one more pair of shoes for the trip. I support the above limitations of Gore-Tex, as well there failure to maintain waterproofness. Don't forget gaiters for probable snow and additional weather protection/warmth.

4:54 p.m. on December 17, 2010 (EST)
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I'll be the devil's advocatre guys.

 I dont love goretex in any particular way but, it has it's uses. My guess is your starting in the trail down south? I dont know how the weather is at that time of year (March) over there but if it's cold I would go with a gore-tex lined shoe for two reason.

1. They tend to be hotter. (Good and bad) 2. Their utility under sustained rain will probably be more than welcomed. If I were you, I'd consider this. Imagine four days of rain in cold temperatures in non water proof shoes. Now it's true you could use a gore tex sock but will your feet stay warm? More so, in a soaked up shoe? I personally have doubts. Remember wet means cold and clod means usually bad. And lets not forget the durability and lateral stability issue. Remeber to get a shoe that has both. Some mesh shoes might be lacking in one or both of those important venues. WhomeWorry brought an interesting point. Get a good sole as to not bruise your feet. Remember you'l be on your own on a regular basis. Prepare for the worst, you'll be happy you did.

As a final advice, gore tex is fragile a tear in a sock is all it takes to render them useless. I dont know about the States, but in Canada there a rarity. Finding a replacement might be hard. You know yourself more than any of us, you surely know what's best for you.

Good hike friend. And by the way the trail finish in Québec now, if your up for the adventure.

10:42 p.m. on December 17, 2010 (EST)
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As always I got the information and knowledge I was looking for, you broke it down so easily for me and made it so simple to see.

iclimb- Yes my trail runners are 4 season and they come with the ankle gaitor early morning dew and such. Great call for always reminding me and reasure me conditions always change..

Whomeworry- (ED) totally right to bring my terrain into question. Thats what lead me to wondering. It starts in the mountains and ends in the mountains, brought light totally to that.  I have been in your area 1988,1990 FT Irwin cali.

Pillowthread- What does happen with gortex and the use of polypro socks as opposed to a liner. Yes i looked you up here. You backpack lite and describe exactly what I was looking for. A little more speed and a lighter foot for the duration. I am sure we went thru some of the same mil schools. By the way if you go ob Ebay you can by Polypro girls running socks dirt cheap.They fit men and are cheaper. Little tip from a co athlete I trained with.

Performance= You broke down the total structural issues I was thinking on insulation and compenant density, you described it perfectly. I was wondering you werent one of my Cross Country coach's at one time. LOL

louis- thanks for the fine breakdown form a backpackers and climbers perspective on the Saloman Wings Sky GTX. I am actually going to try them at a store this weekend and see what I think. Would love to go to Quebec again, its been years, Iam an New Englander by birth. But who knows. Thanks again for the great opions, Since it is Mountains to start with snow sleet., I will start the first 3 weeks in my Danners then switch to trail runners. That way the is no room for era in the sense of safty and climatic envirorment. The trail Runners will be the main shoe. 2 pairs atleast/

10:10 a.m. on December 20, 2010 (EST)
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Always a pleasure. Give a shout when if you come by I'm always happy to see, greet and meet new friends when they venture north. I'll take you climbing if you want, you'll see the rock and mostly the ice is great over here.  

10:59 a.m. on December 25, 2010 (EST)
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o

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12:32 p.m. on December 25, 2010 (EST)
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Is that you Sabastion Cabot? rthomas...

8:56 a.m. on December 26, 2010 (EST)
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It is I, or my alter-ego. I should look so handsome. I just wanted to say that after not having gortex boots and then getting some, I’d never go back. My Danner Talus are hot and heavy, but under a full load ( I pack heavy) off-trail, across scree, shallow streams, wet morning dews, and downpours, these things are bullet-proof.  I can air them out pretty quickly on a lunch break and at camp and after worrying about wet feet , and getting them, I would not consider wearing anything else.

5:21 p.m. on December 26, 2010 (EST)
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IMHO Socks are more important. Just my .02

7:19 p.m. on December 26, 2010 (EST)
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rthomas- I own 2 pairs of Danners one pair matterhorns when I was in the military and a pair of Danner Lights. Yes I love both sets of boots. One is purely winter. But! I was open to new idea's and suggestions because there is a new learning process for me just comeing back to backpacking. Idea's as well as technology have changed and stigma's as well. When I say Idea's iam saying trail runners are very sipportive and breath well. The Appalation trail was socked last year in rain. I look at it as how am I going to keep my dogs warm and still keep the pace. Well these offer ventilation and they actually dry faster, Like leadbelly said gortex retains the moisture to a point. Hence use my Danners in the begging and then switch. No never get rid of my Danners to much respect and delightful miles on my boots.

Mike Marrow-  Agree on the sock issue 110%. always change my socks at a break. That was taught to me by someone who fought in korea and vietnam. Keep your feet dry as much as possible and use good socks. My case -polyliners and smartwool. I'v had hypathermia before because of my feet. I sweat alot there.

but great opinions and always appreciated...

7:46 p.m. on December 26, 2010 (EST)
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Never had any trail runners so I can't make a comparison, but I have had wet feet and like you noted, it's not nice.  I like polypro liners and a pair of wool.  The sock man makes a great point and I think I'll try rotating mine.

10:12 p.m. on January 7, 2011 (EST)
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omg, now you guys got me looking at trail runners, and they are cool.

11:17 p.m. on January 7, 2011 (EST)
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Rthomas- the theory is a pound on your feet is five on your back.... Their are good reasons to have gortex boots and good reasons to have trail runners. yeah lighter can take a beating and things have changed in theory... I found out as well.  Yeah checkout some reviews here. Try Alex lousis's awesome shoe....

10:55 a.m. on January 10, 2011 (EST)
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Did you try em out?

8:15 p.m. on January 14, 2011 (EST)
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I am biased, but you 'gotta run some boots.

They call them "Trail Runners" so when they take a sh*t when you are packing, they can say they were rated for runnin'...................

This 1 pound on the feet=6 on the back is BS, trust me.

8:25 p.m. on January 14, 2011 (EST)
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I am biased, but you 'gotta run some boots.

They call them "Trail Runners" so when they take a sh*t when you are packing, they can say they were rated for runnin'...................

This 1 pound on the feet=6 on the back is BS, trust me.

 Yeah well when was the Last time the Military Ran in BOOTS? 1982 yea want to check your facts on that One? Or would you like me to email tradocs policy to you? Also when dont you just unbias yourself and do some search's. Read what long distance hikers have to say and what their wearing because its light and it performs!!!;-)

8:47 p.m. on January 14, 2011 (EST)
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Did you try em out?

 Yes louis-Alex I bought a pair and I am break them in right now and a pair of moreals for the later half of my hike....I don't feel like wearing cement shoe's as some would want me to do on a 2182 mile hike...

9:12 p.m. on January 14, 2011 (EST)
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Holy Crap! 11+ years Army Ranger, of course I am biased. Durability is the key in my thousands of miles with huge rucks. TRADOC don't mean crap, and we used to laugh at the specs.

One time we had an IG inspection, and they were looking for reasons to bust the "hazing" of the Regiment. Some ass-clown General found my "Ranger Rock" (25+ pound constant companion) and expected me to spill the beans out of self pity............................nope, I claimed it was my own idea. They were pissed, but I never spilled the beans.

I 'aint gonna get too crazy, because I have been drinking beer for a few hours now, but no disrespect, us US Army Rangers are a different breed.

BTW- We ran "City Week" in boots, and to my best info, they still run "city" in boots.  

If you know what "City" is, you wouldfn't have tried to call me out!

9:21 p.m. on January 14, 2011 (EST)
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Look, I am not trying to start an argument, but Rangers and Special Forces do not follow TRADOC.

9:33 p.m. on January 14, 2011 (EST)
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Look, I am not trying to start an argument, but Rangers and Special Forces do not follow TRADOC.

I know your not...take it off the forum my emails next to my avator...We went through some of the same schools and you would be surprised at who and what I know as well as who Iam  relation too...Send me an email 

10:53 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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Android..I totally agree. The best boots I have I bought was from an Army Shopette. I am an army civilian. I bought a pair of those tan army boots. I never get blisters and they keep my feet dry. They are build to last. They are fine in drier and wet weather. My feet were not sore even on rocky, mountain trails. I would rather run in boots on such terrain than in trail runners or sneaker type shoe gear. Ouch!!! The army is not running in boots anymore though, I know I see them running everyday. Of course Rangers are different....I know ....I know...LOL

Dennis, I am also a long distance hiker and dry to keep a good solid balance at all times. Boots are your best bet for the long hike. The extra weight is better then the blisters/soreness. Hate to be too sore to walk in the middle of nowhere. I learned through experience that trail runners were not created for the long haul, they were made for short term, faster pace. The shoe was not created for long hikes, period.  I will bet good money on blisters on the side of the foot's arch. Plus, I have experienced extreme soreness from trail runners around the arch of the foot after going through bush and extremely rocky terrain. The feet tend to angle inwards in these conditions. Boots keep your feet more steady. Weather is a big concern, the trail runners are not weather proof and high enough in case you step in water. Enjoy your 2182 mile hike, sounds fun.

10:56 a.m. on January 17, 2011 (EST)
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I hope there as easy to break in as mine were. Are you doing the trail up south from Georgia?  

2:36 a.m. on January 18, 2011 (EST)
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@D-Dog thanks for the kind words. I do look forward it..to say the least I'll be in some area's I'v been before and seeing new ones..kodak moments abound,,I plan on useing my Teva's for river forging if needed...their my campshoe for the trip and weigh little..

louise-Alex-Yeah been running and switching on and off with both pairs every other day..I was going to go to DC this weekend..But my cousin had a family thing for everyone..I did end up treking on their 50 acres half the day..Took my little cousin for a nice hike and she had a blast... I think the fiber shank in between the shoe body and the tread is  very stabile. I think their modeling well to my feet...Yes - Iam starting form Georgia ,Springer Mountain... I am actually located at the 720 mile mark of the trail..had no idea till I was told by an ATC member last week..

5:47 p.m. on February 2, 2011 (EST)
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I've been wearing these gore-tex leather Asolo boots for a few years now, and they definitely do get hot inside but they are tough as nails and for me that makes them worth it. I know they can handle anything I throw at them. I also have a pair of true trail runners that I run in. I would backpack in them but with no ankle support I just couldn't imagine wearing a 35 lb. pack (which is relatively light) and hiking up and down steep terrain. For me it's a no brainer, personal preference I guess. 

12:51 p.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
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One thing I would not recommend is Goretex trail runners.  If you go with trail runners lots of mesh is the way to go.  That way they dry out quickly after stream crossings.  With trail runners you should expect to get wet and Goretex will only slow drying.

9:56 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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If I were hiking the AT in mid-Mach I'd wear trail runners:

If there was snow and ice on the ground, I'd wear a pair of vapor barrier sock if there's snow and ice on the ground, and probably a 40 below TR Shorty neoprene overboot with Kahtoola KTS crampons. Check out 40below.com.

If there's no snow, I'd just wear a smartwool liner sock, but I'd probably also bring Rocky Gore-tex socks, just in case I need to slosh through snowmelt. They don't keep your feet that dry, but they help retain heat.

I use to swear by Asolo TPS 520 goretex lined leather boots. Now I just swear at them.

3:58 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I would go with lightest weight boots, not necessarily GoreTex i.e not necessarily waterproof. 

So as to offer,

-weight saving

-quick dry

-ankle support *****

-strong sole

for the waterproofing issue, when necessary, wear the Rocky GoreTex socks.

If you are not buying and am only choosing from what you have.  Consider the ankle support as a fairly large factor.

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