Gore Tex Expectations

7:53 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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1,261 forum posts

just curious....

For those of you with many years of experience with outdoor equipment -

just how waterproof do you think Gore Tex lined boots should be?

example - if your in a non-leather boot and you stand in water for 15 minutes (below where the tongue is no longer gusseted) would you expect the boot to be perfectly dry inside with no feeling of moisture?


just curious if I am expecting to much from the latest Chinese made boots.


9:33 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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The pair of BTX timberlands that I had for years was only waterproof for the first 5-10 hikes. After that they were just stinky and wet- either from sweat or water getting in. 

10:00 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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the reality is in my experience that goretex footwear is in a world of it's own limitations due to the construction/sewing to make the footwear. You may occasionally find a pair that is 'waterproof' but after putting some miles on them they usually all begin to leak at the sewn seams. the exception to this is slip on style footwear where the boot/shoe is more of a solid piece with far fewer seams.

other goretex products seem to fair better due to the fact that those seams don't see the same kind of stress and constant flexing that footware sees. This why I largely went to leather footwear, because IMO leather is much easier to treat with a waterproof treatment and stress and flexing doesn't render it useless in short fashion.

I think goretex footwear is fine waterproof wise in regards to walking through puddles or a shallow stream crossing, traversing boggy areas etc but usually fails after a few minutes in total submersion due to leaking seems. You could probably use some kind of wax treatment on the seams, but IMO this kinda defeats the point of having goretex in the first place.

I vote leather, but as always some people have different experiences and have goretex footwear that doesn't leak(but I think this is rare in regards to total or prolonged submersion.

11:33 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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My goretex shoes work fine and keep my feet dry and warm. But like Ken said dont stand in water. They will start to leak.

12:29 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Ed G said:

just curious if I am expecting to much from the latest Chinese made boots.

 Probably.  Most people expect too much out of Gore-Tex in general.  I see they make Gore-Tex lined jeans now.  I know a bicycle messenger who was very excited about that prospect.  I'm looking forward to them telling me it was like wearing a plastic bag all day long.

I'd rather trust well-treated, all-leather, no Gore-Tex boots than cloth Gore-Tex lined boots.  I've had a pair of Vasque Sundowners for 20+ years, and my feet have never gotten wet.  I attribute that to the fact the leather was always waterproofed and well maintained.  I doubt the Gore-Tex had anything to do with that part of their performance.

12:42 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Got my latest pair of boots, tested them and felt that the inside was damp.

very disapointing.


Had a chat with the Gore Tex folks this morning and they told me to run a very interesting test on my newest boots...


They told me to fill them with water.


I did, and placed them on a sheet of paper.

Sure enough, in about 5 minutes water starting coming out of the boot where there was stitching .


Gore Tex immediately issued me a return authorization to send em back for replacements.


Never had an issue with my old Vasque Clarion GTX

3:24 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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standing in water is a great way to test a wader, but not a waterproof/breathable hiking shoe; more realistic to walk on a muddy/wet trail all day and see if they leak. 

apart from shoes, gore tex and eVent are really waterproof.  i have a couple of eVent dry bags, and they keep everything dry when completely submerged.  they are seam-taped.  in theory, that should be the case for a partially-submerged boot with a gore tex bootie. 

i think that shoes expose the gore tex membrane and seam tape, crammed in between the rough outer materials and the shoe/boot lining, to enough friction that even a fully waterproof shoe will eventually fail.  i usually get between six months and a year of dry feet from gore tex shoes before they start allowing some water in.  (it has been raining all day here, and i will take a walk later in some treksta gore tex trail runners that i got last april.  they still keep my feet dry...but i used them pretty sparingly over the summer b/c gore tex shoes feel a fair bit warmer than non-gore shoes). 

my all-leather boots only leak when i neglect to waterproof them before a significant trip. 

4:03 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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I take all of my boots when I first receive them, fill a tub with water, put the boots on and stand in it.

Now the thing for me is this. Do a "rocking motion" to simulate walking. This will stress the seams of the footwear like you would if you were travelling on trail. 

Standing there or just setting the boot in the tub of water for 10 minutes+ may not show any deficiencies. 

I personally do not use boots with any waterproof membrane anymore. If you take care of a FGL boot with leather conditioners, etc they will be just as water resistant as a boot with a liner. 

Not too mention they will breathe better, dry quicker, etc. 

If ya really want gore-tex then just snag up a pair of GTX socks, etc.

Here is a link for the types of socks I am referring too:


6:10 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Goretex in boots is like installing the driver's seat on the front bumper of a car to improve safety.  A novel application that sounds good in theory, but falls short of expectations in the real world.


7:38 a.m. on December 30, 2011 (EST)
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1,261 forum posts

"Now the thing for me is this. Do a "rocking motion" to simulate walking. This will stress the seams of the footwear like you would if you were travelling on trail. "


That's pretty much how I tested my boots.  I got the mid height and they were a tad too low to put directly on the 1st step of my swimming pool.

I put my arches on a 2X4 and then repeatably put my toes on the pool step and flexed the boot.

After talking to the folks at Gore-Tex, I filled the boots with water and you could see water running out thru the seams in less than 5 minutes.


Waterproof socks just ain't my style. I live and camp in a subtropical environment and it's best for my feet that the inside of my boots stay dry.

When I'm hiking and I come to swampy areas that I have to waid thru, I always have a pair of cheap, lightweight crocs with me. Slip barefoot into them, my boots get hung around my neck and off I go.


The crocs also make for a very comfortable camp shoe.


Gore-Tex boots are important to me for those terrential downpours, where your rain pants direct a constant stream of water onto your boots.



Spent Christmas in the 'Burgh. 

 Now I know why I moved south!

Gonna be the Bengals biggest fan this weekend!

Go Stillers!!!

June 20, 2018
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