Hiking in wet footwear

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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby smahurin » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:01 pm

Ya, I might feel differently later in life, but I really really dislike heavy boots. I'm a big proponent of low cut trail runners or light hikers. Big heavy "backpacking" boots are just a lot of weight to lug around on your feet. An extra pound on your feet seems to add up much more than several pounds on your back, but I know some people like the over the ankle support of a mid or full height boot.

I also prefer a gore-tex or membrane lined trail runner personally. I just like the little extra weather protection as I hike through mud or cross streams or cross snow. However, there is a trade-off. A membrane (gore-tex or other) shoe inherently won't breathe quite as well and don't dry out quite as fast. So when your shoes get soaked from hiking through drenched grass (any membrane wets through eventually) it can take a little while longer to dry out. I always pull the insoles out of my hikers to help them dry when they get wet. Plus again, its another reason I like light hikers. If you have a light hiker that isn't full leather, but has at least a mix of synthetic it will breathe a little better and therefore dry faster. I've never had issues with soggy shoes the next day after getting soaked through. But I suppose if you're tasked with hiking through the rain and soggy foliage for 3-4 days straight there just isn't any footwear that is going to keep your footsies dry.

I'll put in my little plug for Oboz footwear which I'm in currently. I think their proprietary membrane, Bdry, seems to be both more breathable and more waterproof than any gore-tex liner I've ever been in. But ultimately the most important thing is a shoe has to fit, and not everyones foot will fit any particular brand. Oboz fit me, which is why I currently wear them, but their membrane has been impressive as an addition.

Edit: yes and at least 1 extra pair of socks are a must in my opinion, when backpacking.
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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby Jay w » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:48 am

I use both shoe and boots. The big problem I have with shoes is that the soles are not stiff enough. So the tendons and ligaments in my feet get tired, and the pads get bruised. There is also more risk of ankle injury. The problem with boots is the wt, but my last pair is not that heavy (compared to shoes).

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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby smahurin » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:30 am

Jay w wrote:I use both shoe and boots. The big problem I have with shoes is that the soles are not stiff enough. So the tendons and ligaments in my feet get tired, and the pads get bruised. There is also more risk of ankle injury. The problem with boots is the wt, but my last pair is not that heavy (compared to shoes).

Jay


Both are true. And I admit it is possible to find relatively light weight boots. Alot of companies now manufacture a mid height boot in the 17-20oz per pair weight, which really isn't a huge difference from a light hiker/trail runner typically in the 12-17oz range. There are a few manufacturers that make low top hikers with stiff shanks and soles though, oboz (my plug again) but probably the stiffest outsole I've ever seen on a low top light hiker are on salewa shoes. They must have a crazy stiff shank in there, as their outsoles on the alp and mountain trainer are absurdly stiff. But they have a fairly euro fit, that might be too narrow for some (including me).
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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby PeteE » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:18 am

Jay w wrote:I use both shoe and boots. The big problem I have with shoes is that the soles are not stiff enough. So the tendons and ligaments in my feet get tired, and the pads get bruised. There is also more risk of ankle injury. The problem with boots is the wt, but my last pair is not that heavy (compared to shoes).

Jay


I believe Jay w and I wear the same boots-a Salomons model. Heff936 recommended Salomons to me.
I weighed mine just now--just under 4lbs for the pair.

So a question I asked myself is, "How many days will I need the ankle support of my Salomons vs. How many days will I be walking through a creek or wet vegetation?"

Personally, at my age, I need the ankle support FAR more than I need to save a couple pounds on footwear. A twisted/broken ankle on the trail would truly suck.
I can't imagine scurrying around off trail in scree and talus, or boulder hopping in light weight "trail runners". I know I don't have the ankles for doing that--and frankly I doubt many "average" hikers do either.

Not going off trail you say?
One can easily turn an ankle on the best groomed trails. It happens all the time to "somebody". Step on the odd rock wrong in your lil light weight trail runners while gawking at the scenery---and there you go...a messed up ankle and a miserable hike.

So, if you have really strong feet, ankles, etc. and don't mind wet feet with all that implies, light weight trail runners may work fine for you.

However, if you are an old geezer like me and in just average condition, I would recommend you stick with sturdy boots with good arch support as well as ankle support.
I have found that good quality boots, whether leather(like my old Asolos) or my current Salomons, to be plenty waterproof for 98.44% of my hiking.
If I know I'll be crossing creeks, as on a backpacking trip, I carry crocs.
I think some people obsess way too much about "weight". Think of the extra weight of good hiking boots as helping build up your strength 8)

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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby Heff936 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:04 am

I have been tempted to try a light hiker or trail runner for backpacking but so far I have stuck with more supportive boots. For stream crossing we always bring a water shoe that also doubles as out camp shoes and this has worked well, though it take time to switch out for a stream crossing. I think one of the most overlooked aspects of any trial shoe or boot is the insole. I have only purchased one pair of boots in my life that had an adequate insole and those were only made for a couple of years. Now I always replace the insole with Superfeet replacement insoles. I have a weak arch and these are essential equipment for me.

In terms of my feet getting wet, they are always going to sweat whether the boots are goretex lined or leather. it's important to pull out the insole and let the boots dry out at camp and during lunch breaks if the weather cooperates. We also bring gaiters. We have had more problems with wet overgrown trails than rainfall but gaiters help keep our socks from pulling water into our boots in either case.

Footwear is definitely about personal preference and knowing what works for you.
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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby smahurin » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:17 am

Agreed. There isn't necessarily a right answer for footwear, but there are certainly wrong answers for specific people.

I also like insoles with some arch support. Its annoying that 95% of shoe companies use a worthless insole. Treksta makes my favorite stock insole as it has nice padding in areas and great arch support, but their arch support is actually built into the shoe last also, you don't just get it from the insole. Solomon and Oboz have okish insoles, I'm sure there are others out there too that have something more than the standard cardboard insert you're supposed to toss instantly. Still no companies stock insole matches a superfeet or sole` in terms of arch support.
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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby joybird » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:10 pm

Heff936 wrote: We also bring gaiters. We have had more problems with wet overgrown trails than rainfall but gaiters help keep our socks from pulling water into our boots in either case.

Footwear is definitely about personal preference and knowing what works for you.


Ditto Heff.

As for insoles, I have found that my feet don't tolerate ones with a high arch, like the Green model from Superfeet. The Blue works great for me, but you're not supposed to use Blues with a goretex boot because the plastic ridges on the bottom will ruin the goretex. I wish they made the Blue with a goretex-friendly bottom!

In the absence of that, the stock insoles in my Lowa Renegade GT boots are actually not too bad for me (I have rather flat feet). Once soaked they seem to take a long time to dry out though, so I contacted the company and was able to order a spare set of the insoles. They've proven to be a very worthwhile addition to my bag when I'm traveling or hiking day after day after day and may not be able to get wet insoles fully dry before I'm back out in my boots again.
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Re: Hiking in wet footwear

Postby Heff936 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:33 pm

joybird wrote:
Heff936 wrote: We also bring gaiters. We have had more problems with wet overgrown trails than rainfall but gaiters help keep our socks from pulling water into our boots in either case.

Footwear is definitely about personal preference and knowing what works for you.


Ditto Heff.

As for insoles, I have found that my feet don't tolerate ones with a high arch, like the Green model from Superfeet. The Blue works great for me, but you're not supposed to use Blues with a goretex boot because the plastic ridges on the bottom will ruin the goretex. I wish they made the Blue with a goretex-friendly bottom!

In the absence of that, the stock insoles in my Lowa Renegade GT boots are actually not too bad for me (I have rather flat feet). Once soaked they seem to take a long time to dry out though, so I contacted the company and was able to order a spare set of the insoles. They've proven to be a very worthwhile addition to my bag when I'm traveling or hiking day after day after day and may not be able to get wet insoles fully dry before I'm back out in my boots again.


I have been backpacking mostly in Chaco Beckwith boots. Chaco had these made in Italy and they were a great leather boot made from a single piece of leather. they came with these wonderful footbeds that I like as well as Superfeet if not even better. Unfortunately they only made those boots for about 2 years and then sold out to a Japanese company that promptly stopped making these great boots. Those have been the only commercial footbed that didn't need to be replaced. I wasn't aware that the Superfeet Blue were not compatible with Goretex boots. That seems strange to me but I'm glad you let me know.
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