3 forum posts
Hi Everyone! First, thanks for taking a moment to read this (it's a little long) and share any thoughts you might have!
My topic today is boots for winter. I could use some advice.
My current gear: Scarpa GTX Kailash and Mountain Hardware Pinnacle Gaiters (I honestly love the crap out of both of these pieces of gear, however.
My problem: No traction in the snow/ice/slush and freezing feet.
What I do: Wilderness search and rescue, off trail, back country, through briers, snow drifts, swamps, streams, up and down, left and right. We train and use K9s to find missing hikers, campers, hunters, subjects with Alzheimer and Autism, etc - if you're lost and you're no longer on pavement, we get called in. I follow the dog's nose, so if it exists, my feet are going to step in it, on it, through it, or over it. I'm in the mid Atlantic US so I have to be prepared to be out in both the mountains of VA/WV/PA and the Great Dismal Swamp.
Things I need to take into consideration:
I'm a women's US size 5 to 5.5, EUR 35 to 35.5 aka, absurdly small, I also have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel. good times. :)
I rarely have to stay out multiple days, but an overnight is possible, and I have no problem putting my wet boots in a dry sack and cuddling up with them at night to keep them from freezing. Boots are used 2 to 4 times a week for training. I don't have a lot of time for maintenance, so I'm thinking it's best I stay away from leather without a goretex class wpb. I know myself and I won't remember to regularly waterproof them.
When I'm looking for boots, I'm finding that what they call 'snow boots' are made for women walking to and from their car - there is no way they are going to hold up to the abuse I put my feet through. 'Hiking boots' aren't warm enough. The few 'winter hikers' they make don't seem to promote confidence for waterproof. I don't mean to seem like an equipment snob - if I could find boots for $70 that would really hold up to the abuse, I'll buy them - but the North Face Iceflare GTX boots probably aren't going to cut it for me. If was sticking to trails, I'd be all over something like that, but I'm off trail.
I'm starting to feel foolish looking at mountaineering boots for use on (at least half the time) 5 to 10 foot contour intervals, but I'm not sure where else to go. The trouble I have with some of the mountaineering boots is that they are made for high altitude areas where there isn't any liquid water, so they aren't overly concerned with puddles and slush... And the other half of them are definitely WAY too technical for my needs. I need the boot to move with my foot and have some flexibility.
Surely they make a boot that is light, somewhat flexible, warm, and water proof, that can hold up to some serious abuse? I will pay for whatever works. I'd rather buy one pair of $400 boots than suffer through 3 pairs of $150 boots that don't work, if possible.