Hiking boots

11:53 p.m. on September 4, 2013 (EDT)
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Do you prefer high top or low top hiking boots, dry weather boots or waterproof ones, steel toe or composite or soft toe. What size boot do you wear compared to what size is your foot?

I am considering a boot for hiking this winter, in usually mild snow conditions tho it may be wet on sunny days. I wear a size 14 boot but have a 13 foot. I like toe and heel room when hiking off trail.

I prefer to buy inexpensive boots like second hand from Goodwill when I can. I am fairly frugal when it comes to clothing,shoes and sneakers, when I find my 14s in the stores. 

I plan to be hiking primarily on very soft sand/silt and /or soft to hard sandstone's. until early winter then limestone,sandstone's and shist  (Grand Canyon)

Does a silk liner work to help keep one warmer in a sleeping bag and are they wind proof when used alone? 

Answers will be acknowledged...

6:44 a.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Gary, what temps are you going to be subjecting yourself too?

9:50 a.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Do not use steel toed boots for winter. You'll freeze them off!

4:31 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter1955 said:

Do not use steel toed boots for winter. You'll freeze them off!


When working in cold temps for extended periods I typically use an ANSI certified composite toe. 

A true steel toe will suck the heat from your toes very quick. 

My advise is unless you truly need a safety toe boot they provide little to no benefit anywhere other than in a work environment in the colder seasons.

For general outdoor wear I would definitely opt for something else.  

5:17 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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About the silk liner, I have one of those. Got it on MEC's gear swap for $10! Money well spent, even if that degree of luxury does seem a bit weird in the woods...there sure aren't silk sheets on my bed at home. :)

And to my surprise it does seem to add some warmth! My motive was keeping the bag clean. But it kills the clammy-sticky, chilly-shiny feel of the bag material, and I think it cuts draftiness too. Never slept in it by itself but I bet it would act like a full-body windshirt. It's a dense material even though it weighs nothing.

Never would have gone looking for one if I hadn't found it so cheap, but boy am I glad I own it.

7:07 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Gary what is mild snow conditions? Trying to figure the best boot For the conditons.I have had zero luck for any outdoor gear at Goodwill.Trying to figure who would have the best deal for you in boots..

9:34 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Well, there is no Goodwill close to me anyway. 

Mild snow conditions means it snows then it seems to all melt away before it snows again, does the same thing on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and in Flagstaff, both are on the edge of a plateau or rim country as where I am going this winter (see map and aerial below), with warmer air rising from the depths. The Skutupah Terrace and the Glendale Bench I will be on sometimes are about 6000 feet above sea level.


Glendale bench and Skutumpah Terrace topo


Same area in aerial view both from my Mapcard.com site.

I will also be hiking in the canyon in between (lower center) elevation around 5200 feet ASL

I order everything off line as I am too far from the big towns to go by bike. So suggest a retailer.. I use backcountry.com and REI a lot. 

10:01 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I used to work summer and winter as a faller on a logging crew.  Our crew boss made sure we wore all of our safety gear, including steel toed boots. Some people complained that they were too cold, but the boss would often rap our toes with a sledge hammer he carried to make sure we had them on. After that we all wore our steel toed boots... And none of us froze.

I heard the same thing about steel shanks in climbing boots, but the evidence is little more than anecdotal.

Gary, I used to wear heavy, traditional boots like Asolo Tundra. When they finally wore out, after more than a decade, I started wearing lite weight boots from Hi-tec. They were very comfortable, and wore out in a year. So, I bought another pair which also wore out within a year. Needless to say I switched back to heavy, rough out leather boots and haven't regretted it.

11:07 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I used to wear Asolo boots when I was really into backpacking back in my 20s and 30s, I too went to the lighter,cheaper boots from companies like Hi-Tec and others I bought in department stores like Kmart and Walmart. Uppers out lasted the lowers. 
 I am willing to wear heavier duty boots to protect my feet from injury and the weather. I am thinking water proof/resistant ones I don't have to oil or wax like the ones I wore from 83 to the 03 when I last hiked 7 months a year in the Grand Canyon.

I see there are composite hard toe boots I guess made from hard plastic that does'nt get as cold as steel toed ones? 

I prefer the low top boots to the high top ones as in canyoneering the slopes are angled and high top boots are uncomfortable when hiking up or down steep trails and sandstone ridges.

11:41 p.m. on September 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I used to wear steel-toed, steel shank Sorel workboots in the oilpatch at temperatures down to -50C. They came with felt liners and heavy rubber soles. Nice for working outside, but heavy and not that warm.

When the new composite boots came out, I got a pair of Baffins of a similar design but with the new materials and thicker liners. The temperature rating went to -100C and the weight was substantially less. I still have them, and I'd never go back to steel toes for a winter boot.

That being said, I don't see why you'd want to wear heavy work boots at all, given a choice. 

12:05 a.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I dont want heavy boots, 2 lbs on the foot is like 4 lbs on the back. I want a sturdy shoe that will help me support my body and pack when I am heading to base camp, but light enough for general dayhiking which is what I will be doing 90% of the time. I won't be carrying my pack heavy but from the road to my base camp site, then day hiking everyday up and down side canyons, up sandstone slopes (where friction will help) 

The landscape here is soft sandstone. I large stone thats looks strong and solid enough to hold one weight often crumbles underneath ones body weight when you step on the stone.

I want waterproof so it I have to hike thru snow they won't get sogged with moisture, experience I had with hiking in the Sierra 33 winters ago. Then the boots I wore had to be waxed or oiled to keep them dry, and it had to be redone every so often.

I know wet weather boots have changed over the years since I was a serious backpacker. My last big multiweek  hikes were in 2003.

12:44 a.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I would say go with one of the all leather asolos, stay away from the gortex lined ones though. they have them on REI.com.

7:06 a.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Why not Goretex?

8:33 a.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Personally I like Gore-Tex liners inside boots, but while I don't hike in desert terrain, I could see that they might get hot under some circumstances. 

Because I wanted to be sure that my feet stayed dry, I bought leather Salomons with Gore-Tex inside, then waxed the leather. 

9:29 a.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I have Keens (Gypsum Mids) with goretex and I like it. Waterproof but not sweaty. These boots have quite a lot of mesh, however, which is where the 'breathable' part comes in, but I'm not sure if the mesh would play well with sand. The goretex would keep the sand out of your socks, but maybe it would collect in the mesh? As far as sweatiness goes, a lot of that is taken care of by good wool socks anyway.

Also, reviews are mixed on Keen's traction, the soles are a proprietary rubber and not Vibram. I've not had any trouble, but it sounds like you might want to take traction pretty seriously where you are, Gary.

How about traditional desert boots? Maybe there's a reason why those crepe-soled suede boots were always the footwear of choice in deserts? Then you'd need a goretex sock or a bread bag liner for waterproofness, though...hm.

12:39 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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In the Monsoon here, an SAR friend of mine was up mountain and was deluged> Got so wet even the folding money in his walet was drenched. Only thing not wet? His feet, stowed safely in his gortex lined boots. Just sayin'.


I always want to wear low, but find that I need high. I am a big girl and with any pack on my ankles really wear down on a long hike. So it is high for me even if not leather. I use Keen, much to some of my more accomplished packers shagrin.... >*cough*< RICK AND BHIESER >*cough*<


1:57 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Using a Keen mid right now, the mostly leather upper Erickson PCT. Waterproof enough to walk through ankle deep water and stay dry but a few days of rain soaked through them. Treated with beeswax now so that won't happen again. Having soaked them I can vouch that they worked well wet and dried quickly when I got the chance.

I will vouch for the traction issues Islandessmentioned. They are pretty good on wet rocks but a wet mossy bog board made for a challenge and smooth ice on frozen puddles was like hot butter.  Definitely something to keep in mind if you are looking for a Winter boot.

2:31 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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To answer your question about Gortex.Some people think gortex hinders the drying process of your boots and take longer to dry.You been wearing running shoes for hiking how many years now Gary? Alot of people are going to trail runners for non winter hiking..You were ahead of the curve Gary..

3:29 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Another issue with gtx liners in a boot is that over time sweat clogs the pores in the membrane inhibiting it's ability to breathe.

I personally go with a full leather boot with no membrane and just take care of the weather resistance myself w/Obenauf's.


I did snag up the La Sportiva Lhotse for deep winter type trips. They are gtx so this is going to be break from the norm for me. 

5:56 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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The sandstone slopes are not so much as wet but have a lot of eroded sandstone on them, sometimes hard to get any traction like walking on tiny marbles. The sand stone here is very soft after eons of sun and rain exposure. And the soil that erodes from it is even softer like a talcum powder and when it gets wet its like clay. The Indians made good pottery out of it. I want to experiment with it this winter around the campfire.

9:28 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I definitely wouldn't get goretex for the desert.  Besides the membrane not being able to dissipate the perspiration as quickly as necessary, all that dust and tiny dirt ends up clogging the membrane and basically turning it into a plastic bag around your foot.  I've spent a little time in the Southwest.  The first time I was out there was with goretex boots.  I was cursing them shortly from the beginning.  I'm surprised I didn't get jungle rot, and I'm not the biggest sweater you'll find.  I've never had my feet bark so loudly and hotly .  Subsequent trips were with all-leather, no membrane, waterproofed boots, and I didn't have that problem again.  I'm biased.  I don't care for goretex much at all.  I don't know much about new boots, so I'll now bow out and let the more informed continue to be your guide.

I seem to remember someone recommending the Lowa Baffin Pro boot.  Can anyone confirm that?


9:55 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I get the idea ya'll think I am in the desert? I am in a dry area but not a desert. The country I will be in about 10 miles east of Mount Carmel Utah and 20 miles east of Zion NP is covered by sand,sandstone, towering cliffs of the same,Junipers,Cedars,Pinon Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Sagebrush. There are Elk, Turkeys,Mountain Lions, Black Bears, deer, Mourning Doves,ravens, Big Horn sheep, mountain goats, rattlesnakes,gopher snakes,Bald Eagles,Turkey Vultures,etc. Like in some deserts there are Prickly Pear Cacti but no Saguaros,Cholla. I hope the cacti have lots of fruit this fall/winter. They are very good to eat and make juice from.

I will be base camping around 5200 feet and hiking up as high as 8000+ feet. The climate in summer is in the 90s with nights down to the 50s. In winter it is about 50 days and 20 nights. Snow falls but not in huge amounts. Its generally dry snow. 

I will be in the SW area of the Grand Staircase between the Pink cliffs,White cliffs and Vermilion cliffs. In some areas there are natural hoodoos of layer sandstone capped by hard rocks. There are concretions of sand material,Mokui Marbles:


Mokui marbles range in size from centimeters thick to inches.


The Pink Cliffs, also called the Sunset Cliffs.


These are part of the White Cliffs, you can see the kind of country I will be in below them


The Vermilion Cliffs, below them is desert like country with few plants or water. The Colorado River is below them 30 miles south of me and 20 miles south of where I will be. The tops are the lower areas that I will be on between them and the White Cliffs.


The canyons of the upper Kanab Creek look like this above.

11:39 p.m. on September 6, 2013 (EDT)
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I'd still avoid goretex.

June 20, 2018
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