Gore Tex vs non-Gore Tex Trail shoes

3:51 p.m. on March 30, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
8 forum posts

Hi, I am looking to buy a pair of trail shoes and cant decide between Gore Tex, non-Goretex, and normal leather. I was looking at either the Merrall Moad Ventilator gore tex or the non- gore tex or the patagonia drifter (non-gore tex leather). I will be mainly using the shoes for climbing aproaches in pleasent weather however last year while hiking down Indian Pass in the Adirondaks the trail was very wet and swampy at time I had swamped my leather gore tex boots (water came in through the top) which I currently own. With that said, for such scenario is it worth having a waterproof tail shoe? or is it better to have a more ventilated one which would dry faster? Is a plain leather shoe more breathable than a mesh gore tex one? and is something like the moad ventilator GTX being gortex with a lot of mesh a good compramise in water protection and breathability?

4:04 p.m. on March 30, 2009 (EDT)
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

My own thinking on this is pretty much as follows--note that you're probably getting what you're paying for here--

Gore-Tex is useful in keeping one dry when it remains between the person wearing it and the water. Once the water does an end-run (or, in the case of boots, a "top-run"), it's probably worse than useless, as it takes longer for the boot (and what's inside it) to dry than without the GT. For these reasons, I like to have an alternate pair of shoes, sandals, etc. if I know my feet will be completely submerged. (Not that I always do this, mind you.) But letting a pair of sandals dangle from the pack while I march along with dry feet seems to me highly preferable to slogging along in wet boots, socks, etc.

If one can't change footwear, though, at least consider pausing long enough to change socks and get rid of the water actually sloshing around in the boot. Use of a liner is, I think, a good idea in help limiting friction and hence blisters. But this is also where the quick-draining shoe might come in handy, too. A quick stop to dry everything as well as possible, change socks, and so forth, and even with a still-wet shoe, it's gonna be a lot better than walking around with buckets of water tied to one's feet.

My bottom line: Keeping the tootsies warm, dry, and blister-free is high on the list of keeping myself happy.

5:46 p.m. on March 30, 2009 (EDT)
26 reviewer rep
119 forum posts

I went through this about a month ago and ended up going non GT. Look into the stumptown 12.5 if you decide to go with a non GT shoe


10:30 a.m. on April 1, 2009 (EDT)
5 reviewer rep
47 forum posts

Non gore tex dries much quicker and is my choice

10:48 a.m. on April 1, 2009 (EDT)
92 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

For warm weather hikeing seasons i much prefer the non gt versions myself.There is a big diff in how hot my feet get.I think it is a sad deal that all boot manufacturers are getting on the gt bandwagen,needlessly.

1:41 p.m. on April 1, 2009 (EDT)
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

Just have to comment on your pic, tentman. Looks like you're wearing that cloud as a sort of chef's toque. That means you're in charge of food next trip!

5:02 p.m. on April 1, 2009 (EDT)
58 reviewer rep
352 forum posts

I've never been dry after a day of hiking in the rain in gore-tex boots or shoes, period. I've been tree-planting for 4 summers and spend every summer outside, so if there was a way to stay dry in boots, I haven't found it yet. I even drilled holes in the side of my boots to drain some water out!

The Gore-tex (and other brands) lining usually lasts for about 3 days of intensive use before wearing out and letting some serious water in. Add the weight of the water and you're loggin bricks with every step. They also take about 3 times longer to dry, and will get your feet wet from perpiration when it's not raining. It's like a loose-loose situation.

For comfort when hiking, sandals with wool socks are pretty good because they are super comfy when wet and dry fast. I use them for spring hiking when i have to cross a dozen streams a day. Getting your feet wet feels nice and refreshing! The next best thing are running shoes for the same reasons. And last but not least, boots without a goretex liner.

You might want to look at Neos overshoes too. They're light for hiking, fully waterproof and really comfy. It's easy to put them on when you cross swamps and they go up to your calf. We use them here for boreal forest swamps, but they don't last that long for 90$. Another option are good old rubber overboots, the kind your grandpa might still have. They work awesome in swamps with running shoes.

11:53 p.m. on April 1, 2009 (EDT)
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Been backpacking for 25 yrs. I prefer a higher quality Full Grain Leather boot without Gore Tex. I waterproof myself with a quality waterproofer and the boot seems to breathe much better this way.

IF you buy the cheaper multi peice, over stitched, scrap leather /suede upper type boot, you will benefit with Gore Tex in the short run, but once soaked through they do take much longer to dry out, and these type boots do not hold up well in heavy use. In my experience the boots with Gore Tex are hotter.

Any water crossing above the tongue gusset in any boot will result in wet boots. Keep extra wool socks handy, this will make life much more bearable. I change twice a day regardless.

I also take a pair of camp sandals or mocs and give my feet a break around camp, also gives my backpacking boots a chance to dry well if I have been in knee deep water. Most times I cross deeper water in my mocs to keep my boots dry. Boots without Gore Tex dry quicker if you've been in knee deep water.

I carry fishing waders in winter, and can wear these for stream crossings if I choose, which solves several problems.

There is no perfect boot, but for general backpacking I prefer a traditional full grain leather boot without Gore Tex, a good liner sock followed by a medium wool sock, or in winter, a heavy expedition weight wool sock.

5:36 a.m. on April 2, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
693 forum posts

I agree with Trouthunter. I would only add that, if you don't linger in the stream, FGL boots with a leather liner will not soak up as much water as boots with a fabric liner. The interior leather is slightly waterproof and if you change your socks immediately after over-topping the boot you may find the boots are still fairly dry inside.

1:44 p.m. on April 2, 2009 (EDT)
4,534 reviewer rep
6,037 forum posts

I agree with trout on full leather boots being superior. I tried a pair of Goretex-lined boots and found my feet got very wet (sweaty) very quickly. Barb has found the same thing, and she generally has colder feet than I do. If I know I will have stream crossings, I often carry a pair of Tevas or "water socks" for the stream crossing. If I didn't bring them, I take my socks off before crossing, then empty the boots out and dry the insides with one of the small pack towels after crossing, then put my socks back on. Only time that didn't work well was in the Smokies (GSMNP) where we crossed a rather wide, but shallow and slow flowing river that was 4 feet deep in places (I relayed the packs across on my head, then piggybacked Barb across - she's 5 feet tall and would have had to swim otherwise).

12:48 a.m. on April 12, 2009 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
42 forum posts

Have you tried gaiters to maybe prevent "swamping"?

Not a fan of Gore-tex. Especially in shoes or boots. As noted by most of the above posts: too hot, wet feet from the inside, relatively short "effective" life span. Have a pair of mid height nonGore I think they are the Merrel Moab Vent. They breath well, dry ok and keep fine debris out. Use my trail running shoes more often. Keen (?Humbolt?) from couple years ago. They fit my feet nice, breath better and dry quicker than the Moabs. Negatives are low-cut and don't last.

8:31 p.m. on April 12, 2009 (EDT)
4,534 reviewer rep
6,037 forum posts

I use gaiters almost all the time - short gaiters in summer with trail running shoes to keep the dust out, taller gaiters for hikes with lots of shallow stream crossings, "pro" gaiters for snow travel and expeditions. Of course, the gaiters don't keep the dust out when you are wearing the usual "too much mesh" trail running shoes - it comes through the mesh.

10:43 p.m. on April 17, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
15 forum posts

Gore tex is the way to go

8:42 p.m. on April 19, 2009 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
8 forum posts

I think for my my expected use being mainly durring the summer in warm dry weather, I am leaning towards the regular moab vents, since gotex boots did not help seem to help any how if the get swamped as mine were last year, this was for the 90% of the time when its hot a dry my feet will be most ventilated, and for the times when I have some swamping hiking to do, if they get wet i'll simply change socks at the end, and they will hopefully dry out quickely. Most of my intended hiking is to reach climbing destinations so it is likely I would bail in rainy weather anyhow.

Thanks all for your input.

April 1, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: Tatonka Sherpa Dome Tent Newer: What is a good saw to get for camping/backacking
All forums: Older: Tips for Ecuador Newer: Book Recommendation: Walking with Spring