Boots for wet muddy, and slipery trails

1:54 a.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi All,

I am asking for some advice on boots for wet muddy trails that have a lot of log and board walk crossing.  My current boots work great on normal trails but are not really water proof.  And they can be very slippery on wet logs and the like.

Current Boots: Hi Tec, Windom Peak (Can't find them on line?) Their a Waterproof (when new) soft leather and fabric uppers, high ankle.

Some Options that I am think about;

1) Just use the boots I have and take extra socks.  Probably spray the boots with a sealer of some kind.

1a)  Add some kind of "spike" to the bottom of the boots.  Possibily stainless steel screws, or tire cleats ( not sure if I can get the tire guy's to do that or not) or buy some screw in cleats.

Maybe something like this

2) Get a good quality waterproof boot designed for hiking in the mud and forest.  My main concern with this is I would need these boots broken in and ready to hike by early May.  Also I don't think I want a "liner" or a hard leather exterior, I like boots that flex and bend.  I am not sure if it even works that way for waterproof boots. 

I don't have a lot of cash, but I could probably swing $200 if I needed to, although less is always better. :)  Also their is a new Cabelas opening in a week or so very close to me, so I was thinking about hitting their grand opening sale.

Any suggestions??  (I did read a few of the older threads but did not find anything that was like I an looking fore, I my have missed it though so links are welcome)

Wolfman

2:06 a.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Boots are a hard one to recommend being all of our feet are different. Are the Hi Tecs all leather, Nubuck, etc?

If they are a smooth leather take a look at Obenhauf's Heavy Duty LP. It will definitely waterproof them. If they are Nubuck NikWax makes a protector for that.

You could always go the Gore-tex sock route(I use to use Rocky's.)

Like I previously stated boots are a hard thing to recommend being fit is crucial but at the same time so are our individual needs when it comes to terrain, etc.

I've dropped $1000s on boots trying to find the right pair. I am really happy with the Scarpa SL M3.

9:49 a.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Your idea of screws is not bad.

The "tire-cleats" you mentioned are actually something akin to pop-rivets that are installed from the inside of the tire-casing before mounting on a rim.   Soooo ... we'll put the kibosh on that.

I have used hex-head sheet-metal screws (can be S.S., but not nessa) of shallow depth.  Some  company (can't find the label, since I removed) distributed these just for what you are describing.   I think (?) I got these at Campmor on one of my visits there.   Came with a little tool.

However; you can do the very same thing with hex-head sheet-metal screws from your local hardware store.   You should get a 'nut-driver' in the correct size, to facilitate.  Be SURE to get shallow screws (5/16 - 3/8 inch depth).

I have done this on '4-season' and 'all-season' tires on my vehicles, for icy conditions.   Removed them afterwards.  (some got 'slung' off, though).

                           ~ r2 ~

2:02 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Backpacking/hiking footwear has changed radically in the last 40 years, and this is most apparent when hiking muddy trails with weight on your back.  The current fascination with trail runners and light shoes for backpacking completely disregards tread grip in mud, and so you often see long skid marks on trails trod in these shoes.

Basically, I think Lug Boots need to make a comeback as they truly grip in slick mud.  My main winter backpacking boot is the 520 Asolo which has a half decent lug sole, but nothing like in the old days.  Log soles have lost favor with the LNT guys, but they work.  If horses can destroy a wet trail, well, lug boots are 80% less destructive but lug boots do chew up a trail.

So, look for boots with deep lug treads. 

4:03 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Corked boots (or 'caulked' boots) are used by loggers and have spikes either added after purchase or when manufactured. Guaranteed traction on slippery logs, but tend to pick up mud or a regular trail. Also quite unsafe on rocks.

Have you considered getting something like Kahtoola Microspikes? They work on snow and ice and they would definitely help on logs. Just a thought, but you can take them off when you don't need them.

I like the idea of getting hex-head screws, though. Take a boot with heavy lugs (as mentioned) and add a bit if metal on the bottom. Keep it light, though - even an extra few ounces can be a serious addition.

4:17 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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if you are near a cabelas i would give them a look. i wear cabelas rim rock hikers ( for about four years now ) and i love em. they are available in nubuck or full grain, they are un insulated and have a gore-tex liner. they don't have the most aggresive sole tread and i am careful stepping on wet logs or rock. they make a simular boot in a synthetic that has a more aggressive tread and its about half the cost. the fit on the rim rock hiker is excellent for me and it was easy to find a insole that fit the arch well.

i looked at some hunting boots on cabelas web site just now because they are getting lighter every year as well but the tread pattern on the ones i looked at were pretty tame as well. i hadn't thouight much about it but Tipi seems to be right about the lugs trending toward shallow.

 

earl.

4:29 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Hobnails... ;)

5:39 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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i use boots with a deep-lugged vibram sole for mud - paired with low gaiters to keep the slop from getting in over the top.  goes without saying that i treat the boots regularly to keep water out (my lugged sole boots are leather, no gore tex lining).  they are outside your price range, though, and require some break-in.  the same brand (Limmer) makes an 'ultralight' nubuck boot that probably doesn't need as much break-in.  not gtx, so you would have to treat them with boot grease.  take a look:  http://www.limmerboot.com/Ultralight.html

Otherwise, with your criteria (under $200, waterproof, short break-in period, good traction), you should be looking at a boot with a gore-tex lining, a combination leather/nylon fabric upper or softer 'nubuck' leather upper (gtx should mean waterproof, and lightweight uppers lessens or eliminates break-in), and an aggressive sole.  hard to recommend a boot without knowing what fits you, of course.  examples - Vasque Breeze, tall version of the North Face Hedgehog, Oboz Wind River (all brands that REI usually stocks), Danner Zig Zag (Cabela's usually stocks Danner boots).  You should be able to find something good in your price range.  personally, i would stay away from spiked shoes.  they would be great for mud, but not so great for dry ground and an invitation for a bad wipe-out in mixed terrain that includes rocky sections. 

those low gaiters (made by Integral Designs) are waterproof/breathable eVent and 30 bucks full retail.  i can't emphasize enough how valuable these are during mud season.   


IMG_1820.jpg


vibram.jpg


gaiter.jpg

7:22 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Sorry but there is no silver bullet to your lament.  As others mentioned metal traction appliance affixed to the soles create their own set of problems on other surfaces.  And the good ol' vibram lugs do little to improve traction on slippery wood surfaces.  In fact I broke an arm five years back when my heavy vibram lugs slipped on a lake side log at Fourth Recess Lakei n the High Sierras, eight years ago.  And I was being cautious!  (It's the stupid stuff that gets me hurt.) 

Peter's idea of trying micro spikes may be the best alternative.  My advice is use a walking staff or trekking poles for additional stability, and use a short stride to keep your feet under you to the fullest extent possible. 

Ed

8:20 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Where are you planning to hike in these conditions? I am in BC and logs, wet bush, mud, rocks and slippery conditions are the "norm" all year. I agree with "TipiWalter" and "Whomeworry" and would NEVER put screws, etc, into boots that have good, lugger soles.

We used to be able to buy "corked" sandles to fit over our regular boots, made for walking "boomsticks" and doing "waste accessment" on completed logging shows, but, as with so many other good bush items, the Asian invasion of our gear manufacturing has eliminated these. I would certainly try "Micro-Spikes" and maybe, as I do, alloy Kahtoola crampons for the worst, steep mud and slick grass slopes.....do NOT walk on rocks with these.

9:51 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I'll post a pick of my boots tonight when I get home, sides and bottoms.  Like I said they are great for normal hiking but... 

Dewey, I am actually going to try the WCT, in mid May, with 3 others it looks like.  And from what I have read their is a lot of wet boardwalks, logs, and ladders, and the Vibram soles are not recommended.  Don't know if you have done that trail or not, but that's the plan. 

Micro-Spikes; I had not really considered these. I was thinking that putting something like this on and off would be a pain.  But maybe that is a better option then the screws.  If I did use the screws they would be short, and not a lot of them. 

I found a pair of Calks Hiking boots, a store not that far from me, they have them in stock, but man they look nasty! (The bottoms) Not something you would want to wear in the tent!  Hoffman Hiker Calk  Almost at the bottom of the page.  But their right at $200.00.  Really more then I want to spend, and probably more then I need.

Ed, Yea I know what you mean, I slipped and fell on by butt like three times walking out the Ozette Board walks several years back, not fun.

Leadbelly2550, low gaiters, check!  I have a pair of high gaiters, but last time I looked none of the low ones fit my feet and calf's.  I will look around on line.

Rick, I think their Nubuck, they are not smooth. 

As for what kind of boot fits me, heck if I know! :)  Most boots only last me a year or two at the most, I've gone the cheep route for places like Big 5 and target to expensive "work" boots, and none seem to last longer then a year or two.  Now given these are work boots, and I wear them a lot, My current hiking boots I got at Big 5 for probably less the $60 and have had them for 3 or 4 years, but I only wear them for hiking, so they get a lot less use.  I know that most of you preach about a "quality" pair of hiking boots, but after the Army, boots don't seem to matter to my feet much.  Given, I have not even tried on a $300 dollar pair of boots! :) Usually I just try on what on sale and if it fits, great, if not I wait.

Thanks for the help, anything else would be great. 

Wolfman

11:17 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Microspikes on a good pair of boots would also be my call.  On and off when you need them and don't.  Won't destroy the trails in-between the need to have them.

I wouldn't add screws to my boots, but I know the bicyclists who ride all year in places like Minnesota add screws to their tires for traction on ice.  There are also specialized tires (made in Sweden?) that have cleats in the tires for snow and ice.  Unrelated, but I thought to mention it anyway.

1:12 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I have not hiked the WCT, it is far too much of a "tourist trap" for my liking, but, I have spent quite a lot of time trekking on Vancouver Island, the various islands surrounding it and all up and down the B.C. Coast, starting in 1969. I do not recommend "corks" for hikers and while I have walked more miles in the things than I care to recall, they are heavy, tricky to walk in and can be dangerous.

The WCT is best hiked, for those not familiar with "rainforest" in July, August and September and May can be nice, but, sometimes still pretty wet and windy. The blows on the west coast of V.I, will equal any wind velocities in North America and the rainfall in some parts of it are the highest recorded in N.A.....not much fun to be out in and this comes from being there.

You would be best served with GOOD boots and soles with some tread on them, a softer lug type works very well for me. I also would definitely take the Microspikes and some of the best trekking poles I could buy, I have Komperdell C3s and Leki CarbonCork whatevers and these are the best supports I have ever used, that is, the top end Lekis.

I hike to train for alpine hunts in conditions identical to the WCT and I am used to rough, slippery ground and steep country, but, I can and have fallen and I will not, now, at 65, venture into this terrain without trekking poles and my Kahtoolas.....I have sustained major fractures, at different times, to both legs and damned near lost my lower right leg when falling on slippery boards while a Canadian Coast Guard Lightkeeper in the late '80s.

Very frankly, people get into trouble in BC's wild areas-most of our 366,000 sq, miles, because of macho over confidence and deluding themselves about their real level of bush skills. Caution, care, taking your time and testing any footing that even looks slightly "iffy"plus the gear I suggest will keep you safer than any specialty footwear and, again, DO NOT put screws in your bootsoles. HTH.

2:09 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

 The current fascination with trail runners and light shoes for backpacking completely disregards tread grip in mud, and so you often see long skid marks on trails trod in these shoes.

 Let this be an example to all fastpackers:  keep the skidmarks in your underwear!!!!!  Have a good day. :-P

2:10 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Dewey, :)  Thanks for the info, I think your "tourist trap" is nice and remote for me.  Hey it got to be way less crowded the La Push over the 4th of July.  I think their was at least 50 tents out their that weekend!  Down right crowed!!  :D

Shot of my boots:

Side shot, yea they need a good cleaning.
100_1054.jpg

Decent soft tread, nothing to deep though. 
100_1055.jpg

I guess they have some wear, although I think their fine for normal hiking, what ever that is. :)

I do have a couple pairs of water proof socks I got for the cost trip that was a flop, and I have some decent polls, Got a new pair too, but I have not tried then out yet.  I am going on a weekender the 20th or April and will be trying out most of my wet gear, hopefully we will get some rain.  Going to use the new tent also and see how is holds up for a couple of nights. 

Wolfman

11:17 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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vibram soles are good

1:24 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I guess I would be remiss if I didn't mention this: If the trail is nearly impassable with mud, you might consider postponing your hike.  Of course, this perspective doesn't work for trails that are always soupy, but for many of the trails in the northeast, land managers either restrict access or advice hikers to avoid them during mud season.  Why? Lots of foot traffic on a seriously soupy trail accelerates erosion and can wipe out a trail.

If the mud is a fact of life year-round: it seems like there are at least two ways to go:

1. Heavy boot with a deep tread and a tall gaiter.

2. A light shoe with a deep tread, like http://www.trailspace.com/gear/inov-8/x-talon-190/

In my experience with deep mud (I'm a Mainer and an authority about little except mud!), anything short of logging boots and waders will be soaked and muddy shortly, so it's worth focusing on something that's comfortable filled with mud and drys in a reasonable amount of time.

1:44 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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The heavy "Vibram Montagna Bloc",  soles are NOT ...good... on the BC Coast, except on maintained trails. They clog with mud and slip on wet, mossy logs and there are better options. I do wear the Vibrams on most of my boots as they work well, generally, in most of BC, but, for the WCT, I would prefer some other types.

If, I had my choice, I would have an 8", all leather boot, strong heel counters and NO EVA. I would have the forward facing "V" soles we used to get on Acton pacboots and I would use the Microspikes with these.

I usually prefer merino socks and wear mine almost constantly, however,for this situation, I would take three pairs of Wigwam or Cabela's synthetic medium hikers-10 " and good gaiters. I would not bother with "waterproof" socks and your feet WILL get wet,so, change socks every 2-3 hours or when they get wet and dry each pair on the outside of your pack.

I also suggest Gold Bond powder, both the body and foot kind and use it and "Bodyglide" is a useful product in this situation. Again, you WILL get wet, even soaked and cold, so, prepare for that before hitting the WCT and enjoy it.

1:52 p.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I am pretty impressed with my Vibram M3 soles on my Scarpas in regards to mud.

Maybe a lug such as this would be beneficial to the op(something similar)?

004.jpg

On a side note, can anyone out there tell me what the green dot means on the sole? I have seen this on some Vibram soles and not on others.

Thanks.

9:53 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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There seems to be a misunderstanding about Vibram, here. Like Goretex, Vibram is a brand that licences its product to other companies.

The whole point about Vibram is that its soles are designed for a specific purpose. When used in hiking boots, that could include almost any terrain.

Vibram soles therefore come in a number of compounds, made with differing degrees of stickiness, hardness and toughness, and tread design. Vibram soles on approach shoes will be softer, since they're meant for getting a good grip on slippery rocks. That also means they wear down quickly. A Vibram sole on a consumer walking shoe like Merrill or Timberland will be tougher since most of its use will be on concrete sidewalks. It will also be less sticky. Ones on a backpacking boot will have a deeper tread design, and will be able to take more abrasion. However, they will also tend to get very hard in cold weather.

The green dot on some Vibram soles shows that it's a harder compound.

You'll see a similar thing with Salomon. They currently have a proprietary Contagrip sole on most of their hiking boots. It's soft so the boots are comfortable right out of the box, but that means it wears down quickly. I have an older pair with Mountain Contagrip, much heavier with deeper lugs. After a few years of almost constant use, they show few visible signs of wear.

3:06 p.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Good deal peter. Thanks for the info. Guess I picked the right ones for the sandstone here in Rocksylvania.

The terrain here can wreck a pair of boots in no time flat.

So looking around I found this:

"The green dot signifies a dual hardness compound which means the sole would be more durable and harder and may not grip as well as a single hardness sole. The red dot signifies fire compound. The Style #100 is available in our Fire & Ice compound which offers good heat resistance and slip resistance."

Guess I could have just Googled it lol. Duh.

9:19 p.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the information everyone!!  I started looking at boots on line and am planing on checking out REI this weekend.  I plan to try on a lot of different brands and try to get an idea on how sizes run and what fits the shape of my feet.


I looked at some Hi-Tec's on line, the Cascadia eVent, but they don't seem to be to available, i think they are a older model.  I was also looking at the Lowe's Zephyr GTX boots.  

But I am not sure I am even going to buy a new pair for this trip.  I would hate to not have them fully broken it to my foot and get a bunch of blisters.  That would royally suck.

I post this weekend on how the sizing goes and what fits, then maybe we can look at specific boots!  Maybe. :)

Wolfman

9:37 p.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman, is the Cascadia the synthetic model(green?) They make the all leather Rainier as well. If my mind serves me right they are eVent as well.

9:59 p.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth said:

...In my experience with deep mud (I'm a Mainer and an authority about little except mud!), anything short of logging boots and waders will be soaked and muddy shortly, so it's worth focusing on something that's comfortable filled with mud and drys in a reasonable amount of time.

 Seth, you don' know nuttin' about REAL mud! I thought I knew about mud until I lived in the Deep South and encountered Yazoo Clay (yes, it is so special, it has its own name in the soils sciences community). It makes such sticky substances like adobe and caliche look like thin soup. I had a few too many experiences getting out of a canoe onto the river bank or crossing a levee to launch the canoe and finding after 3 or 4 steps that I had a 4 inch ball of the sticky stuff on the bottoms of my boots (well, at least it made me instantly taller 8=>O). You had to peel it off in layers. There aren't any lugs deep enough for Yazoo Clay, except on the 4WD tractors they use in the fields down there. You might think with it being so sticky, you would have no problem walking down the river bank to the water and your canoe. Wrong! I also had the slipperiness of axle grease. For all the canoe trips we went on, at least one person went sliding right into the river with the canoe they were carrying.

I know, you know I josh people a lot. But this is one of the few instances where I am serious (well, ok, semi-serious - the stickiness and slipperiness of Yazoo Clay is legendary. Look it up on the web. It is most notable because of the extreme range of expansion and contraction when it gets wet and dries).

  http://rip.trb.org/browse/dproject.asp?n=6322

http://geosciences.msstate.edu/people/lynch/yazoo.htm

http://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/showthread.php?1307-Mississippi-Mud-Clay

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/shrubs/msg0723343714330.html?2

10:07 p.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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There was this redish colored clay we use to run into in Wv. That was pretty nasty stuff. What ever clothing ya got it on it turned this funky(almost a terracotta color) red and it would not come out no matter what ya did.

That stuff was the pits.

If it didn't stick to ya it was so slick that walking on it was like trying to navigate a bobsled run on roller skates.

Bill any ideas on what I am describing here? I always wondered and don't know much about this type of stuff.

5:53 a.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah.

In Eastern Tennessee.   The Piedmont of the Smokies.

If you didn't stop from time-to-time, to scrape it from your boot lugs, you would be a couple inches taller.

Like reddish peanut-butter.

                              ~ r2 ~

8:47 a.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Wolfman, is the Cascadia the synthetic modeel(green?) They make the all leather Rainier as well. If my mind serves me right they are eVent as well.

 Yea that's the one.  I will look at the Rainier also, actually I will be looking at anything they have :)  On the Hi-Tec's I have had a few pairs and they seem to fit good, but when I did a store search I did not have much luck finding them in stock.  We'll see. 

Red Sticky Clay?  Yea I remember that stuff when I lived in Kentucky (Just out side Ft. Campbell.  It seemed to me that was what they had for soil back their! GREAT FUN in the rain!  NOT :D

Wolfman

9:36 a.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I wondered about those boots. I have a pair of their Altitude IVs. Fairly cheap when I compare them to some of my other boots but for what I paid for them and what they are they held up well.

I used them for landscaping, and work. After 3yrs of non-stop abuse they are finally trashed. The soles are toast, they are delaminating everywhere.

Some may knock them, some may praise them. From what I have personally put them through I can't say anything really bad about Hi Tec footwear as a whole from my experiences based on the above.

They held up alot better than my Keens(Oregons, Pyrenees, etc.)

10:49 a.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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I lookad at the various boots shown on REI's site and my choice for a week on a BC trail, WCT or wherever, except in deep winter, while humping a pack for a week's trek would be:

Zamberlan Tofane

Zamberlan Vioz

La Sportiva Pamir

Lowa Camino

Asolo TPS 520

These offer the support one needs while carrying a pack, especially on steep trails while descending and should be carefully fitted, broken-in INSIDE your home and treated with Obenauf's LP. The Gore-Tex liners are an abomination, but, most boots now have them and you should choose based on FIT FIRST.

Get your boots,Micro-Spikes and trekking poles at the same store and fit it all together BEFORE you hit the trail. Do NOT "break-in" your boots on pavement as this will round the edges of he lugs on the soles and this is slippery death on big.fallen logs, boulders and so forth.....hard experience talking here.

10:58 a.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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On Dewey's point...

I never really understood why people wear their high end hiking/backpacking boots as a daily wear footwear on concrete sidewalks and asphalt around town.

The same people then say "they wore out too quick." Ya don't say...

Ya may as well take a bench grinder to the soles. You will end up with the same ending result in the long run.

Dewey is one of those folks that I pay attention too(may not always agree although I do/can understand his points/approach.) He knows his stuff that is for sure. His(as well as a few others) feedback was the reason why I bought my Hille Soulo.

12:09 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

..I never really understood why people wear their high end hiking/backpacking boots as a daily wear footwear on concrete sidewalks and asphalt around town...

They need them to climb in and out of their custom monster 4wd trucks (that likewise have never seen dirt).  Surely they are compensating for something...

Ed

11:15 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Surely they are compensating for something...

Yea Lack of Brains!  :D

Thanks for the suggestions Dewey;

Zamberlan's; really nice boot, but for now out of my price range. Well heck really they are all out of my price range, even with the discount.  I do understand that a high quality boot will last a long time, or at least should last a long time.  I guess I'm just not ready to go to that level yet. 

So this is what I came up with after looking around to day.

Hi-Tec Rainier eVent WPi Hiking Boot; although I did not get to try this boot on I tried several other Hi Tec's and the 12M all fit my feet.  $160 +20% off.  REI

Merrell Phaser Peak Hiking Boot; Fit is nice and sug, maybe verging on tight, but I think they would "relax" a little with the more I wear them.  $155 +20% off.  REI

Salomon Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot, these are a nice boot but really pushing the cost range! $220 +20% off.  REI

Vasque Wasatch GTX Hiking Boot, these fit good in the socket, but I could feel the eyes for the laces through the top of the boot.  I don't think that would go a way. $185 +20% off.  REI

Their was a few at a couple other store that were OK, but probably a much lower quality boot if price is any consideration.  Most were form $50.00 to about $75.00.

Of course I don't have to get any of these boots and I don't have to get a pair from REI, but with the 20% ending April 15, I think it's now or much later.  Maybe I should just wait and hopefully get a better pair next year at the end of the season or something like that.  The boots I have now will work, and do fit my feet good.  ??  Always what to do! :D

Wolfman

11:12 a.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I wear mountain boots in town and in the bush every day as I must compensate for my right leg being almost 1.5 "" shorter than the left. I wear an "orthopaedic lift"and need the support offered by such boots.

I don't usually drive in 3/4-1ton 4x4s in town, but, will sometimes use of of my buddy's trucks and both of my closest friends drive such rigs daily. I will never buy another "commuter car" and my next vehicle purchase will be a rigged Toyota Tacoma 4x4 as these are practical vehicles here in BC.

I have pulled out more than a few vans and sedans mired on BC highways and bush roads driven by people with no experience of deep snowfalls almost year-round and my 4x4 did not seem a compensation for some emotional lack at those times.

Just sayin', sometimes appearances can be deceiving.

11:25 a.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah, some people do actually use their vehicles for their intended purpose. I can see Ed's point too. 

Here in the city people buy 3/4-1 tons and jack them up. Throw humongous rims(22") on them with the low profile off road tires and keep them clean as a whistle.

I guess they are going for the show truck look. 

1:09 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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This boots in the city talk is exactly why I have a couple pairs for different situations. I keep a pair of lower end ones to kick around the city, walking the dogs through muddy ravines, yard work etc...These are easily replacable, they do not have significant value to me and require little to no break in time. I do know those people you are talking about though, but if you'll excuse me I need to take my Land Rover down the street to the coffee house......

 

(side note- my next pair will be the Zamberlan Nuvolao's, one of the few Zamberlan models with no gore-tex)

1:39 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

This boots in the city talk is exactly why I have a couple pairs for different situations. I keep a pair of lower end ones to kick around the city, walking the dogs through muddy ravines, yard work etc...These are easily replacable, they do not have significant value to me and require little to no break in time. I do know those people you are talking about though, but if you'll excuse me I need to take my Land Rover down the street to the coffee house......

Lol, that is exactly what I use my Keen Oregons for. Sometimes they see dayhikes.

(side note- my next pair will be the Zamberlan Nuvolao's, one of the few Zamberlan models with no gore-tex)

I like that boot from a general observation perspective. A bit pricey but then again what kind of price does one place on quality?

1:37 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Humans are a complex species. Compensating for personal deficits by displays of affluence or egregious waste is not limited to any one culture. That said, there is something both comic and repellent in seeing a Hummer sporting a conservation sticker. :)

Some few people require SUVs for their work or their physical handicap; others have simply decided that a Cadillac Escalade makes a superb mating display. I can only think that what a large SUV attracts is what the owner deserves. Poor thing :)

JMO, Y(extremely low)MMV  :)

4:14 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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so much info here. you could write a good book with all this info. imo i would never use Obenauf's LP or any other wax based conditioners on gortex boots. while wax based conditioners are de rigueur for full grain leather, they will eventually plug the pores that make gortex work. ymmv

happy trails 

4:32 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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lazya4 said:

so much info here. you could write a good book with all this info. imo i would never use Obenauf's LP or any other wax based conditioners on gortex boots. 

I agree with this logic to an extent on full leather boots that utilize a membrane such as Asolo's 520.

At the same time if the boot is a combination of synthetics as well as leather Obenhauf's can be used on the leather portions of the boot. 

Leather over time will retain moisture and that moisture retained will add weight to your footwear. Also said moisture will eventually work its a way through the gore-tex liner after prolonged exposure. 

Remember, waterproof and breathable somewhat contradict one another.

A membrane such as Gore-tex cannot be 100% waterproof and breathable at the same time.

You can have one but not both. Gore-tex is a deterrent, not a guarantee. Treating the outer is still a good idea. 

For a full on leather boot with a membrane NikWax would probably be the way to go.

Also another good thing about treating the leather is that it helps keep the leather from drying out and cracking which will maximize the footwear's life span saving you money in the long run.

I used Obenhauf's on my Keen Oregons(the leather portions.) I have not noticed any change in the wicking aspect of the boot too date. 

5:41 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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So anyone have comments on the 4 boots I was looking at?  I realize that they are not the "Best" boot, but I would still like to know thoughts on them?? 

Wolfman

7:23 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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The Merrell isn't a bad boot. A friend of mine has a pair but he doesn't do much more than than dayhikes. They have held up well though for the past few years that he has owned them.

The Salomon seems to be a decent boot. The reviews are pretty positive about them. I think Patman may have had a pair(or the Cosmics.)

The Hi Tecs are somewhat of a mystery to me. I haven't heard much if anything about them and have not seen them on the trail. I have looked at them online and I believe I watched a video of them on youtube.

I question the quality of some Vasque boots now that they are outsourced. If I remember correctly I think I heard about some problems with the Wasatch in regards to them delaminating and wetting out real bad.

Plus a full leather boot with gtx scares me in regards to moisture management.

If it were me personally and I had to put my faith in one pair from the list I would probably go with the Salomon based on the feedback the brand receives.

8:22 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Dewey said:

...I have pulled out more than a few vans and sedans mired on BC highways and bush roads driven by people with no experience of deep snowfalls almost year-round and my 4x4 did not seem a compensation for some emotional lack at those times....

 It's the driver, not the vehicle, as you well know, Dewey. When driving to and from the Sierra on the Interstate, I see all manner of 4wd spinning out and in the ditch, sometimes upside down, along with front wd and rear wd. OTH, 4wd SUVs, do have an "automatic" braking system for slippery conditions - with 4wd locked in, just hit the brake pedal real hard, and it automatically puts the "high friction" side down, and aim straight for the embankment or guard rail to scrub off speed quickly.

But I have ridden with drivers in the 3rd world on bald tires who had no problem with mud and a foot of snow on the road (photo from Peru up in the hills) -


_DSC0872.jpg

1:33 a.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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I have a pair of the Salomon Quest 4D GTX boots. Love em! Theyve been holding up well in the rocky deserts I tend to hike.  "for me" they are extremly comfortable.

I have'nt got to try them in wet muddy conditions though. Patman may be able to give some insight on that, I believe he had a pair that he liked pretty well and probably subjected to more rain and mud then I could ever experience here in AZ.

12:07 p.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Salomon Quest 4D. Comfy right out of the box, and well worth the money. They are used as 3-season here, and they are one of the best boot going. One difference you'll want to notice is the wider forefoot and narrow heel. Nice having a midpoint lace lock so you can lace the foot differently from the ankle.

12:20 p.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Remember, waterproof and breathable somewhat contradict one another.

A membrane such as Gore-tex cannot be 100% waterproof and breathable at the same time.

You can have one but not both. Gore-tex is a deterrent, not a guarantee. Treating the outer is still a good idea. 

It is my understanding that the principle that Gore-tex uses is that water droplets are larger than the molecules of water that are held as water vapour in the air. The pores in Gore-tex are small enough to not let water in, but big enough to let water vapour out.

Treating the outer layer over the Gore-tex with a non-aqueous wax creates a vapourproof barrier. No water can get in through the Gore-Tex liner, but the Gore-Tex can't breath like it's supposed to, so your feet get soaked as sweat accumulates inside behind the wax barrier. This will also happen with an oiled leather boot that has a Gore-Tex liner unless it has fabric vents somewhere along the top (often along the tongue).

Been there, done that. See my review of the Quest 4D boots.

11:40 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Basic logic will tell you that if a membrane has any type of porous properties such as Gore-tex and is able to expel moisture whether actual water or vapor it cannot be 100% waterproof.

Water resistant, yes. Waterproof, no. 

I have not owned a boot with a membrane that has not failed over prolonged periods of exposure/wear.

Then you take into consideration how long it takes for a boot with a membrane to dry out if they do become completely soaked. 

The dry time is substantially longer than footwear that does not utilize a membrane. 

On a week long summer trip I wore my Keen Oregons. By day 2 I had bubbles coming out of the toe area of the boot everytime I took a step.

I suppose the Keen Dry membrane is only supposed to be utilized when it is "dry."

My opinion is a membrane just allows companies to cut corners in regards to attention to detail as well over-all footwear quality.

Typically one pays a premium for a boot with a membrane. I would rather that "premium" get spent on a boot that is of very high quality/attention to detail. 

I believe another reason people purchase a boot with a membrane is the convenience factor.

People just don't want to maintain their boots(or other gear for that matter.) 

Please keep in mind that this applies to a FGL boot. Not a boot that is a combination of leather/synthetics. 

I have had my Scarpas in some pretty wet environments(rain, snow, etc)and have not experienced wet feet once. 

Then again after any prolonged trip(week+) I clean my footwear(inside/outside) and treat them. 

Dependent upon conditions a product such as the one provided in the link below can be quite useful in regards to moisture management:

http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=672

11:46 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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I have treated all-leather boots, with the G-T membranes I detest, with Obenauf's because it made the boots more water resisitant than they otherwise were. It is not an "ideal" approach to the situation, however, IT WORKS and that is what matters.

I will not buy boots with such liners and have had a couple pairs to try during the past decade. They did not maintain their performance and so I waxed the "H" out of them. These were rather costly boots by "Timberland"made in the USA and used for light wearing around Vancouver and driving my 4x4 trucks into remote regions of BC as they were lighter than my usual choices in boots.

I would definitely choose all-leather boots for the WCT at any time of year and use as much Obenauf's on them as I could work into the leather. You WILL have wet feet every so often and this is why you carry at least 3 pairs of good socks and foot powder.

I have hiked the "East Slopes"of the Canadian Rockies and in north-central Albertan mud and muskeg. This is also not an rear where I would recommend G-T boots,in fact,I hate the things and consider them the biggest con game in the backpacking industry.....somewhat akin to the gleaming 4x4 SUVs beloved of the "latte" crowds in various North American cities, I am not keen on these toys,either and would never own one.

Good boots and REAL 4x4 trucks have quite a lot in common and the difference is apparent to anyone with some experience in wilderness and isolated regions. Simple, rugged, well-maintained and practical in design.....Scarpa M3s and Toyota Tacoma "basic" trucks are examples.

11:48 a.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Basic logic will tell you that if a membrane has any type of porous properties such as Gore-tex and is able to expel moisture whether actual water or vapor it cannot be 100% waterproof.

Water resistant, yes. Waterproof, no. 

I have not owned a boot with a membrane that has not failed over prolonged periods of exposure/wear.

Then you take into consideration how long it takes for a boot with a membrane to dry out if they do become completely soaked. 

The dry time is substantially longer that footwear than does not utilize a membrane. 

ON a week long summer trip I wore my Keen Oregons. By day 2 I had bubbles coming out of the toe area of the boot everytime I took a step.

I suppose the Keen Dry membrane is only supposed to be utilized when it is "dry."

My opinion is a membrane just allows companies to cut corners in regards to attention to detail as well over-all footwear quality.

Typically one pays a premium for a boot with a membrane. I would rather that "premium" get spent on a boot that is of very high quality/attention to detail. 

I believe another reason people purchase a boot with a membrane is the convenience factor.

People just don't want to maintain their boots(or other gear for that matter.) 

Please keep in mind that this applies to a FGL boot. Not a boot that is a combination of leather/synthetics. 

I have had my Scarpas in some pretty wet environments(rain, snow, etc)and have not experienced wet feet once. 

Then again after any prolonged trip(week+) I clean my footwear(inside/outside) and treat them. 

Dependent upon conditions a product such as the one provided in the link below can be quite useful in regards to moisture management:

http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=672

 Exactly and the "eVent" shortie gaiters Evan makes are also VERY useful in keeping boots and feet dry.

1:00 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Crampons for mud ,  anyone ????

7:18 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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The rationale of GTX in boots is simply profit-based. As a profit tool it has the following advantages over FGL:

  • Lower cost of materials
  • Easier access to materials - just sweep the floor and you will have enough colored scraps for the next model year
  • Allows new designs each year. There are only so many ways to make a serviceable, single-piece upper, FGL boot with minimal stitches; however, there are an infinite number of combination of superfluous stitching, colors, and fabric and plastic choices for GTX-type boots.
  • Planned obsolescence. With all that exposed stitching and materials that degrade quickly in UV, they won't last long.
  • Less need for trained labor. The skills of choosing, stretching, and tacking leather - plus the strength required - are avoided.
  • Modernity. Leather is "old-fashioned".

So, people pay top dollar for a boot that gains weight in every puddle, because the vapor-barrier/waterproofing is on the inside. The FGL boot doesn't gain weight in walking (although it may seem to). Only superb marketing would convince the very people who shorten the handle on their toothbrush to save weight, that they should carry excess water on their feet? :)

Just one opinion based upon reason, not experience. Perhaps if I had once worn a GTX-inner boot, a positive experience would sweep aside all the bullet points above.

8:47 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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IF somebody wants a shiny 4x4 jacked to the heavens. So be it. I don't think we can judge a person and belittle them because they don't do what we might do. I can tell you the Sherpa and porters here would look at our gear bags and perhaps have the exact reaction. They may think it excessive that you have a flusher on your toilet. We all have our likes and that is a good thing. Live and let live and help each other. Sorry. Just had a  dose of reality I guess. I am sure not trying to be self righteous.

9:45 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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giftogab,

I didn't notice anyone judging anyone in this thread. The silliness and hypocrisy of humans was mentioned, but not addressed to individuals. Do you yourself not find it both amusing and sad to see a massive, shiny 4X4 wearing a bumper - or rear-window - sticker advertizing the owner as a member of a conservation group, a fishing organization, a hunting organization, or supporting our troops in Iraq? The 6mpg vehicle is sending a totally unnecessary amount of carbon monoxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, which then contributes to acid rain and other deleterious conditions injuring the very environment the owner purportedly wishes to protect. And, of course, because this vehicle is burning so much in petroleum products - diesel or gas - the owner is merely providing more support for some of the very countries which count themselves enemies of the Western world (including Saudi Arabia in that number). I do not intend that last remark as political. Consider it a dose of reality.

Look at the number of large SUVs in the employee parking of a high-tech company. Most of those commuters drove to work alone; yet the company and its employees will probably be "environmentally conscious" in their re-cycling. We are indeed a funny species.

I am not suggesting we prohibit anyone from buying a necessary vehicle; nor would I deny someone the right to spend their money as they want. However, when they are unnecessarily polluting the public air and water destined for our collective children and grandchildren; they should have a darn good reason for doing so, not just hubris or Freudian insecurity.

Ultimately, TANSTAAFL rules.

10:08 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Sorry, Rick, but your 'basic logic' ignores the science behind Gore-Tex:

"The GORE-TEX® membrane is the heart of all GORE-TEX® products. It contains over 9 billion microscopic pores per square inch. These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, but 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule, which makes the GORE-TEX® membrane durably waterproof, while allowing perspiration to escape from the inside. An oleophobic, or oil-hating, substance is integrated into the membrane, preventing the penetration of body oils and insect repellent that could otherwise affect the membrane."

Yes, in fact it CAN breath, since the pores are large enough to let water VAPOUR out. And yes, it's waterproof, since the pores are too small to let water DROPLETS in.

Not trying to pick any fights here, but that's 'basic physics' not 'basic logic'.

Obviously, any fabric can be compromised. I've seen Gore-Tex boot liners damaged by orthotic insoles and once even by a lady whose toenails were too long! The fabric can tear or get worn through over time, which is why it's always protected by at least one extra layer. Foot powder can clog the pores, as can body oils.

11:10 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Peter, I was a supervisor for a hydro blasting company years back. We had contracts with a fuel refinery where we went up monthly and hydro blasted the fuel rods. Well, in all the years I did this not once did I have a gore-tex boot that didn't fail nor did I ever see anyone else's boots not completely wet out.

Redwings, Rockys, blah blah blah. They all failed.

Now mind you this was from the backspray from 20k, not a direct hit(a direct hit would have caused more problems than wet feet like dismembering limbs.)

We ended up recommending everyone going to overboots because regardless of where we were, or how much pressure were were pumping out, gore-tex always failed. There was not one person who had dry feet.

Gore-tex had a 100% failure rate. Mind you the the gear that we wore not only had a cuff that went down inside the boot but the outer "gaiter" also had hook and loop closure to cinch it down.

Now before you say "its obvious that water was making its way up the pant leg and in to the boot" we found that when we used a rubber overboot of the same height (10") we had no problems other than our feet smelling like an old car tire at the end of the day and a lil damp form sweat but they were nowhere near as wet as they were in a gore-tex boot.

Gore-tex is over rated. Yes, it works ok for somethings such as hats, or maybe even a jackets but in boots it fails rather quickly due to the high abrasion levels it has to deal with from inner foot movement, plus when you combine it with a full leather outer it doesn't breathe.

I refer to those as disposable footwear. If ya don't do multiple long distance trips a year and maybe are more geared towards less frequent, shorter trips, gore-tex maybe fine.

And just remember, anything can look great in theory, on paper, or in a controlled environment. Its real world use that makes the difference.

Like I said if it can let water vapor out it can also let it in under the right conditions when exposed for prolonged periods.

...when I am on the trail for a week+ during a winter thaw here in the North East if one does not take the necessary precautions such as a vb sock and gaiters your feet will get wet.

That is a guarantee.

11:14 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955,

Another aspect of the physics of man and GTX is that a man has most of the sweat producing pores of his feet on the soles of his feet. This moisture, in order to be converted to water vapor for penetration through GTX, must increase in temperature. The permeable plastic bag that is GTX insures that the interior of your boot stays hot enough to maintain the water in a vaporous state. I don't want hot feet; but they are necessary for the proper functioning of GTX.

[This is why you don't have GTX tents, there are too many vents for the internal heat to escape; nor do you want to sit in enough heat to convert, and maintain, all sweat and breathing in a vaporous state. A properly-vented dual-wall tent allows dispersion of the water vapor just fine, while keeping the internal temperature moderate. Hence, GTX provides no benefit as tent material.]

Those who wear leather-lined FGL boots may not realize that their feet are comfortable both because the liner is passing water vapor but also because most of the sweat is being wicked out of the boot through their socks, or the vapor is pumped out of the book at the ankle through normal walking. It is, after all, vapor. The same dispersion holds true for GTX-lined boots, but GTX makes you suffer hot feet regardless.

After walking often enough in sandy, dusty areas, the interior of any boot gets dirty. The dust clogs the pores of the GTX membranes, and since these are inaccessible behind a lining, they cannot be wiped clean. OTOH, non-GTX lined boots can be cleaned of this dust and their pores will continue to allow some vapor to escape.

Any logic that made its way into this post is balanced by basic physics.

11:32 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:


I am not suggesting we prohibit anyone from buying a necessary vehicle; nor would I deny someone the right to spend their money as they want. However, when they are unnecessarily polluting the public air and water destined for our collective children and grandchildren; they should have a darn good reason for doing so, not just hubris or Freudian insecurity.

Ultimately, TANSTAAFL rules.

 My point is perspective. The people I have been with the last 10 days would consider your socks excessive. So you can rail about pollutants while still consuming at a rate far beyond your own need but less than giant bumper suv guy. Just sayin'

11:32 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Gee, I was adding details to my post to clarify it, and you guys were already jumping on it!

The big question here seems to be not whether it works (in fact it does what it says it will do) but a misunderstanding of HOW it works.

As overmywaders says, in order for sweat to get out of the boot, the feet have to be warmer inside than out. That creates a high pressure/low pressure that pushes the water vapour through the membrane. As to having hot feet, that's not usually a problem in the alpine.

I mentioned my review of the Salomon Quest 4D. If you read it you will see I made the same assumption as Rick describes. The fabric on the surface of the boot got soaked, and that created a vapourproof barrier. While the Gore-Tex was in fact not letting water in, it was unable to breathe through the wet nylon. The dampness of my feet was from sweat accumulating not from any failure on the part of the fabric. Using an overboot or applying a non-aqueous wax creates the same situation. I use a water soluble wax on my full-leather boots, and while it improves water resistance, it still lets the Gore-Tex liner breathe.

11:46 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

peter1955,

Another aspect of the physics of man and GTX is that a man has most of the sweat producing pores of his feet on the soles of his feet. This moisture, in order to be converted to water vapor for penetration through GTX, must increase in temperature. The permeable plastic bag that is GTX insures that the interior of your boot stays hot enough to maintain the water in a vaporous state. I don't want hot feet; but they are necessary for the proper functioning of GTX.

[This is why you don't have GTX tents, there are too many vents for the internal heat to escape; nor do you want to sit in enough heat to convert, and maintain, all sweat and breathing in a vaporous state. A properly-vented dual-wall tent allows dispersion of the water vapor just fine, while keeping the internal temperature moderate. Hence, GTX provides no benefit as tent material.]

Those who wear leather-lined FGL boots may not realize that their feet are comfortable both because the liner is passing water vapor but also because most of the sweat is being wicked out of the boot through their socks, or the vapor is pumped out of the book at the ankle through normal walking. It is, after all, vapor. The same dispersion holds true for GTX-lined boots, but GTX makes you suffer hot feet regardless.

After walking often enough in sandy, dusty areas, the interior of any boot gets dirty. The dust clogs the pores of the GTX membranes, and since these are inaccessible behind a lining, they cannot be wiped clean. OTOH, non-GTX lined boots can be cleaned of this dust and their pores will continue to allow some vapor to escape.

Any logic that made its way into this post is balanced by basic physics.

 Oops, I have done it again, my bad!

I have had and used G-T tents since Early Winters first offered the "Light Dimension"and have three ID models at present as well as having had a Bibler (original) for some years. I have found them to be VERY useful and, in some situations, superior, overall, to double walled tents.

G-T works fairly well  in shell clothing and tents and bivies. It is great for mitten shells and some gaiters and hats, but, eVent is better for many uses.

G-T is USELESS for boots for the trail under discussion, I would never use such boots here in BC, again and strongly advise against them. Buy GOOD all leather boots, use Obenauf's thoroughly and enjoy the BC coast for the beautiful and largely unspoiled wilderness that it is.

Rubber boots work well in early season on the BC coast, but, they are not the best choice.

11:47 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

Gee, I was adding details to my post to clarify it, and you guys were already jumping on it!

The big question here seems to be not whether it works (in fact it does what it says it will do) but a misunderstanding of HOW it works.

As overmywaders says, in order for sweat to get out of the boot, the feet have to be warmer inside than out. That creates a high pressure/low pressure that pushes the water vapour through the membrane. As to having hot feet, that's not usually a problem in the alpine.

I mentioned my review of the Salomon Quest 4D. If you read it you will see I made the same assumption as Rick describes. The fabric on the surface of the boot got soaked, and that created a vapourproof barrier. While the Gore-Tex was in fact not letting water in, it was unable to breathe through the wet nylon. The dampness of my feet was from sweat accumulating not from any failure on the part of the fabric. Using an overboot or applying a non-aqueous wax creates the same situation. I use a water soluble wax on my full-leather boots, and while it improves water resistance, it still lets the Gore-Tex liner breathe.

So with that being said where is the real benefit to having a gore-tex membrane in a boot?

From a longevity perspective it does not last even if it is initially doing its job the first few times out, abrasion from foot movement basically destroys it over time, it retains moisture longer when trying to dry them out, the membrane becomes clogged with dirt making it no better than wearing bread bags in your boots, etc, etc... 

Seems that the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

This hearkens back to my whole convenience thing. My Scarpa SLs do not have a membrane and treated(I use Obenhauf's) they are just as "water resistant" as a boot with a membrane and will typically outlast a gore-tex boot in regards to the inners grenading over time. 

I suppose sometimes less really is more? 

12:08 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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The real benefit of having Gortex in a shoe is that cold wet rain is a lot different that warm sweat against your feet.  If you take liner socks, you can simply swap out once a day and when you are ready to swap again, the first pair will be dry.  You can't do that if your entire boot is soaked because the socks will be instantly wet (very).  Been there, done that.

In truly wet environments, I much prefer Gortex.  In dryer climates where rain is possible but short lived, then a non-gortex shoe is better for me.

Gortex is good.  So is Event.  But it depends on how the shoe is constructed.  My Montrails leaked.  My Salomon's haven't.  In fact, I wore them every day for 8 months in wet snow while getting to work and they are still 100% waterproof.

To the OP, his question is specific to the WCT.  I will be there again (for the 6th time) this May and have posted some suggestions on the Trip Planning thread about shoe choice.  Avoid hard soled Vibram (there are many different types of Vibram) because if it is slippery you will likely spend some time on your back.  Avoid really deep lugs.  While good for mud, the mud on this trail includes very slippery boardwalk and logs that you will have to traverse and the lugs will take the slippery mud with you on the wood.  This is where most injuries on the trail comes from (approx 100 evacs annually).

I think a lighter hiker is the way to go with a good set of mid gaiters.

 

12:21 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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One of the three worst falls I have sustained in my decades all up and down the BC Coast was when I stepped onto a huge mossy log in the mountains behind Ocean Falls, BC and slipped and fell several feet. I was only 23 at the time and just "sucked it up" as there were four other young guys with me, two from England and two Hungarians.....as a native BC mountain boy, I had my "pride" to consider......

More than forty years later, I would NOT walk "sticks" without some sort of metal spikes on my feet and even on the relatively "tame" WCT, falls are a VERY serious concern and one to constantly guard against.

I have one pair of boots, heavy Meindl "Geologist Boots",designed here in Vancouver, by people I knew 30+ years ago, that I bought in 1976 and wore a lot on the west coast of V.I, and on the northern part of the island,as well. While heavy, these were lighter than the leather "corks" that the loggers wore and I used them a lot in all seasons "home" in the Kootenays, another wet area of wet B.C.

They are semi-retired now, although I still like them for splitting big rounds of "Doug Fir" and such endeavours, but, they wore like iron and NEVER allowed my feet to get wet. I used "Beeseal Plus" from M.E.C. on them and now Obendauf's and the FGL just did not leak when treated in this manner.

I would also suggest using synthetic socks over my preferred merino ones in this situation and while they will not completely dry in a rainstorm, they are "drier" than any others I have used.

12:22 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Cain't we all jest git along ?  --  Rodney King, American mediator

In-any-event, there is much useful information here.

                                     ~ r2 ~

12:33 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

Just one opinion based upon reason, not experience. Perhaps if I had once worn a GTX-inner boot, a positive experience would sweep aside all the bullet points above.

The Quest 4D are one of the most popular new boots around, and they have a full Gore-Tex liner. They are very comfortable and no warmer than a much heavier pair of leather boots.

I agree with all your points. Obviously marketing is a big factor, and buyers are convinced that they need Gore-Tex whether that is in fact true in all cases. Like a Vibram sole, it's a name-brand upsell.

That being said, it really does work and a lot of people like it. Like any liner, GoreTex has its limitations, but the real test is whether it works for you in your application.

12:37 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

That being said, it really does work and a lot of people like it.

And with a quick search there are many you will find that do not. Gotta love personal opinion and preference. W/o it we would all probably be wearing the same thing. 

Like any liner, GoreTex has its limitations, but the real test is whether it works for you in your application.

I agree with this 1000%(I would say 100% but being there are 10 of me I have to take that into account on my percentage base. :)

12:50 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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One point about G-T boots and other such gear, you will NEVER seen any BC-native working on the coast in logging and fishing and even most prospectors wearing these. When, you are "out in it"EVERY day, for weeks without a dry day and earning your living in such conditions, then, you find out what really works.

I do not care what anyone chooses and have no interest in RR's ...controversy" as I have far better ways to use my time than that. However, since I have had such poor performance from the G-T boots, I wanted to present that as one aspect of a,hopefully, productive discussion.

 

2:05 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi Dewey - regarding the 'tame' WCT with its 100 ladder systems, suspension bridges, and log bridges, I simply use my trekking poles as additional grip in slippery situations and pack reasonably light.  It works well in places like this (Josh McCulloch stock photo):

 


west-coast-trail-log-bridge-0306.jpg

You cannot wear spiked shoes on this trail so as not to destroy it.

Considering the WCT is relatively 'tame,' and you have not had a chance to hike it, I extend an invitation for the 3rd week in May of this year.  It would be nice to meet.  There will be 4 of us.  Let me know.

2:50 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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You certainly CAN, as suggested in my various posts on this thread, carry and use "Microspikes"/"Kahtoolahs",- on the logs- as I do on the various trails in "The North Shore Mountains" here at Vancouver.

The conditions are identical in respect of walking on slippery wooden structures and some logs. I am a retired BCFS-AFS employee and have walked logs for over 50 years, I am more than familiar with this entire area and it's conditions.

By the standards of MOST of BC's wilderness, the WCT IS ...tame...and friends of mine have sought my advice on trekking it for over 30 years. I simply am not interested in it for the reasons I mentioned.

I am not going anywhere until my home renos and yard re-work is done and am then planning to go to the Yukon, with a friend, much younger than I, but, a working pro in mineral exploration and also to the Kootenays in the later spring.


I also suggested trekking poles and use them in any hiking I do and even use my C3s for training walks with a loaded pack here in East Van. I think that they are a great invention and would not be without them. I have never suggested wearing spikes of ANY type on the trail soil and simply find even the suggestion ludicrous.

So, have a good one and maybe try some of BC's other trails, given your time spent on the WCT. One would be to traverse "The Earl Grey Pass" alone,  as I did in '78 and another would be to hike alone across "The Valhalla Range" as I have done a few times.

"The Valhallas", especially crossing "The Devil's Couch" sans climbing protection and alone, will show you what I mean by "wilderness" and give you an experience that you will never forget. I hope to be there,again, in August of this year and may spend two weeks alone there, if my wife's health permits my being far from home for that period.

So, that's where I am at and will be, hope you have a great hike on the WCT, that is nice country and the high usage does help keep the value of preserving our Canadian wilderness in the forefront of our national concience.....Harpoon, notwithstanding.

3:28 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I think that this thread is getting away from the purpose posted by the OP and I am not going to comment further, with one exception, as I have given the advice I consider worthwhile.

The exception, is that I NEVER "take anything for granted" as decades of solo work and recreation all over BC in remote wilderness taught me. So, I called the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve at Ucluelet, BC. and received a statement from the manager that using "Microspikes" as I suggest IS perfectly leqal and acceptable under current regulations.

She, cautioned against wearing them on rocks, however, I like to think that any person reading this forum would understand that and use them only on slippery wood. This level of caution may seem excessive to some, but, it has served me and many of my colleagues well for decades and I always prefer "Safety First".

7:06 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Dewey,

Thank you for the thorough research. If you saved someone from a slip, that may be the slip that otherwise was a broken limb or worse.

I hate slippery conditions and even good Montagna bloc soles sometimes make me feel like a pig on ice. The Microspikes sound like a must-have to me.

10:44 a.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman, I just read this thread or I would have commented earlier. I agree with peter1955 about the Salomon Quest 4D boot: I think it is a good product. However, my experience was limited. I was only able to wear that model for about 6 months (I did put a lot of miles in mountainous conditions on them).

I stopped wearing them when I started getting severe toe rub in the toe-box on the side (my little toes on both feet were becoming swollen, red and angry). My initial reaction was that boot had somehow shrunken. I contacted Salomon about it and while they commented that what I thought I had experienced was unheard of to them, they sent me a new pair with no questions asked (speaks very well of their customer service I think).

The story ends with me realizing that my feet had grown a size or more (the boots didn’t shrink). I’ve been a size 8 for most of my adult life but now I’m about a 9.5 depending on the footwear. I was having the same issue with most of my other footwear: it was all too small now.

Since my revelation, I can now no longer fit comfortably in that particular model at any size (when I get them large enough for proper toe-box space, the heel is way too sloppy).

This was a huge bummer to me because until that happened I had been happier with that boot than with any footwear I had tried previously.

Sorry for taking all the bandwidth to say, yes- I think that’s a good product and certainly worth taking a good long look at.

To other points listed: those boots are quite hot but not any more so than any other I’ve ever worn. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the product long enough to really speak to its durability.

They performed well in all the normal condition that I encounter, but like all the other boots I’ve worn they were not very good at slick logs, boards and the like. In my personal experience nothing beats a softer soled trail runner for gripping slick surfaces and rocks etc… but those come with other inherent disadvantages of course.

Hope this helps.

Patrick

12:08 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Now that Kayland doesn't import to US anymore, I will probably have to go back to Scarpa SL3s. At least they don't have Gore-Tex in them.

11:41 a.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Patman said:

The story ends with me realizing that my feet had grown a size or more (the boots didn’t shrink). I’ve been a size 8 for most of my adult life but now I’m about a 9.5 depending on the footwear. I was having the same issue with most of my other footwear: it was all too small now.

I started as a 9.5-10 and I'm a size 11 now. If you start getting sore toes, that's the first thing to look at. I threw out two pairs of boots, one pair of sneakers, and a pair of aqua shoes last year because my toes had started banging into the ends. Didn't help the frostbite on my big toe, either!

11:54 a.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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jad said:

Now that Kayland doesn't import to US anymore, I will probably have to go back to Scarpa SL3s. At least they don't have Gore-Tex in them.

If you are looking at boots w/o gore-tex there are a few companies that still make them. 

Off the top of my head:

Scarpa SLs & the new Activ(coming in the fall), Asolo 535s, Lowa Baffin, Alico Tahoe & Summit, Limmer, Merrell makes a few models now...

I am sure there are more out there but those are just a few off the top of my head.  

1:42 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey All, I just wanted to let you all know what I ended up doing and what Boots I decided to go with.

So on Sunday (the last day of the 20% discount) I headed down to REI in Seattle. What a mad house, but I guess Saturday was even more crowded, something about a running shoe thing.

I was their a good 3 hours trying on boots.  I tried on everything they had in my size except the expedition boots.  And the light weight "hiking" boots.  So that ran from about $400 for the La Sportiva Pamir to the mid $100's.  It's kinda funny but I guess I have strange shaped feet, cause most of the higher end boots did not fit me at all.  The La Sportiva Pamir were OK, not a great fit, but not bad compared to a lot of the rest.  But the boot that fit really well and was half the cost of the La Sportiva's was Vasque Bitterroot GTX, yea I know a Gortex boot, but you know how few boots they had with out Gortex!!

Vasque Bitterroot GTX


b75a7fa4-767c-4195-b5a5-1092836a072b.jpg
Well that a big Picture!! :) Reduced it some to fit the page!

The fit on these was very nice right out of the box, better then anything else they had.  Given that some of what they stocked was out of my size.  So for a list of $200 less the discount I think I got a good pair of boots for $160.00.  I just hope they last a few years. 

I did try on the Vasque 520's and two other Vasgue styles but the did not fit as well as these.  In fact the 520 was down right painful. :(  Don't now why other then they are designed with a lower "Socket" (the area your foot goes) I found this was a problem on a lot of boots.  Where I could actually feel the eye loops and lacing on the top of my foot.  I even tried on larger boots, but no luck. 

Oh well, Good thing is I found a pair that fit good and hopefully will last.  After the WCT I will post a review on the boots and my other new gear.

Thanks for all the help and insightful comments.  Oh and the Gor-Tex discussion too!!

Wolfman

1:30 a.m. on April 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Glad you found some boots Wolfman! Looks like a nice boot. I used to wear Vasque boots years ago. Then my foot changed or the boots changed  or maybe both, I dont know, but couldnt wear em anymore. I have'nt even tried a pair on in many years, maybe its time to try them again. Heck could'nt hurt.

Ive gotten to the point I hate to shop for boots. I have large feet myself (14) and selection tends to limited. I wind up just asking them to bring out what ever they have in a 14 and go from there. Some stores that means only 1 or 2 pairs to choose from. 

 

9:30 a.m. on April 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Looks like a nice boot! I like the halfway lace lock. I've given up on the fabric/leather combos - at least with full leather you don't have to worry about waterproofing as long as you take care of them, and they last a lot longer.

But it's all about the fit!

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