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Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

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Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby JWreno » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:36 am

My son and I cannot use footwear in the summer that has a waterproof membrane. When we do our feet sweat too much and blister. We go for breathable but the trail duff really grits out the socks. This is especially bad on the trail sections where the trail is covered on talc like fine powder. We use low rise gaiters to keep the pebbles and dirt from coming in from the top. The worst duff I have ever seen was coming into the Emigrant Wilderness from trailhead east of Pinecrest.

Any suggestions for a light boot that is breathable but a bit more impermeable to fine dirt?



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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby sparky » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:49 pm

I wear highly breathable low tops, with pants and no gaiters. I have zero problems with "duff"? I honestly have never understood gaiters, but again I exclusively wear pants.

I mean a couple times a day I empty a few pebbles that find their way in, every now and then some pine needles but definitely not enough to warrant gaiters, or wear shoes specifically to combate that. I wash my feet a few times a day anyway. I carry 3 pairs of socks, one worn and two in pack. I wash a pair of socks daily.

By "grit out" do you mean getting dusty? My god man you are livin' out in the dirt, and you are surrounded by water!! :wink:

Moab ventilators....they only last me one year, but the breathability and quick drying fabric plus the fit, (mainly the fit) I have no need for another shoe. They do not hold up to sharp eastside scree though. Tears them to shreds. If you stay on trail, talus, or granite of course they will last years probably.

Seriously, I cross a creek, pull out the insole, squeeze and much water as I can, set them in the sun, and after a 20 minute nap they are just damp. I put on my dry socks and my feet stay happy. If I am doing a bunch of creek crossings I just leave them on and wear the daily washed socks that I have drying on the back of my pack. I also wear a thicker "cushion hiker" wool blend sock. This specific sock might help keep out duff and damp shoe...no idea but it works like a charm :wink:
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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby JWreno » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:47 pm

I am talking about the dirt that goes through the socks in between my toes and embeds itself in the body glide. I also try to do a shoes/socks off feet in the creek every few hours just to keep the skin health up.

I use the really low gaiters such as the 'Dirty Girl' style that just keep the cheat grass, pine duff, and pebbles out of the shoes. These only go about 4 inches above my low tops. I find when I don't wear the gaiters I have to stop a lot more to get the annoying stone out of the shoes.

Yeah, I guess I am trying to find a happy medium between clean but absolutely sweated out socks and dryer but completely filthy socks inside and out. I just want a shoe that allows the feet to breath but cuts down on the dirt that makes its way to the insides of the socks.
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Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:21 pm

i just wash my feet.
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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby sparky » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:51 pm

+1

Oh yeah body glide...that changes things. I dont use that stuff, i imagine that is a dirt magnet. Maybe try to get away from that stuff to solve your problems
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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby freestone » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:44 am

Anything all leather and with no Gortex. The Vasque Mantra? Dirty Girl gaiters will keep the pebbles out, but nothing will stop the fine dust. I frame it as rest stop to enjoy the view and dip my feet for a quick soak. Trail Runners are a snap to take off and on quickly.
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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby oldranger » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:38 am

As stated in another thread Lowa Zephers with a Gortex liner work for me. But everyones foot is different. I use gators as they really keep my socks and inside of my boots clean when wearing shorts (most of the time). When hiking in the winter and wearing long pants gators are usually not needed. I rinse out my socks every night then hang them on the back of my pack if they are not dry. Sometimes I use liners sometimes not (especiallly on layover days). My wife, who wears low cut hiking shoes, will change out to dry socks as many as 3 times a day because of problems with sweating feet and blisters. She, too, uses gators to keep the dirt and dust out.

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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby JWreno » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:09 am

Yeah, we are kind off addicted to body glide. I have gone 3 weeks without any blisters when using it. Without it I don't seem to do as well. I also use it for thigh chafe prevention. I know it makes the dirt stick. I have done the trail runners for 10 day trips, but I don't like them if we do any off trail. I also have an issue with Plantar fasciitis on my right foot and I seem to do better with a shoe that has a firm arch. I have been using a lightweight mid cut highly breathable boot that does well except that I can pour the dirt out of the shoe every time I take them off after hiking an dusty section of trail.

If we are pushing more than about 15 miles in a day I will do a sock change for extra happy feet about mid day. I always have 3 pairs so I have at least one spare pair dry and ready to go. One of the best things about summer in the Sierras is how clothing dries out quickly after a wash.
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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby Ska-T » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:42 pm

I, too, have been wrestling with this question since switching at about the turn of the century from traditional leather boots to lightweight modern shoes made with cost-saving mesh. The breathable mesh shoes allow gritty dirt to penetrate my socks and cover my toes, which leads to blisters. I am convinced of that without any hard data. :whistle: Further, a little accidental water over the tops of the mesh shoes soaks the feet completely and wet socks leads to blisters. On the other hand, a Gore-Tex (or similar) lining results in extra heat and sweaty feet and that leads to blisters.

What is the solution? I don't know, but for now I am using low top Gore-Tex shoes. The low cut allows some of the heat to leak out. I also use Dirty Girl gaiters much of the time. I'd like to see the shoe makers use more leather in the lower half or two thirds of the shoe, and mesh on the top. This would be a heat and moister compromise and would make the shoes more durable in scree & talus.

A membrane or fabric that has larger pores to keep out the dirt but not the moisture would be worth hiking in for a research project. Shoe designers feel free to call me.

-Scott
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Re: Footwear Breathable but Duff Resistant

Postby freestone » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:38 pm

If you want clean feet and have an aversion to frequent foot baths, go with a leather low-cut shoe and wear gaiters. Avoid nylon mesh. plenty of choices out there... Vasque, Zamberlan, Keen just to name a few. I have a pair of all leather Merrill Realm chuka boots that would even work as unconventional as that may seem. No padding, simple, light, and best of all, no foot slippage or toe bag. They also make a low cut version of the same style. Its a dirty world out there, and its hard to avoid.
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