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Boot Question

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Boot Question

Postby gary c. » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:31 am

I've been shopping around for a new pair of BP boots. I was thinking about a pair with Gore-Tex lining but someone said that Gore-Tex will make your boots hot, I read it somewhere also. What do you guys think? Is Gore-Tex more trouble than it's worth?
Gary C.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Boot Question

Postby BSquared » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:14 pm

Hi, Gary. I recently bought a pair of light-weight Goretex-lined boots especially for hiking in the tropics, despite the conventional wisdom about their being hot. I purposely got them a little smaller than my regular boots so I could wear a single pair of fairly light-weight socks instead of my usual two-pair heavy/light system. I haven't taken them to the tropics yet (I'll report in April), but my break-in walks haven't shown them to be too hot in normal Southern Maryland weather (read: damn hot, at least sometimes), and they're definitely waterproof. So far, so good.

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Re: Boot Question

Postby oldranger » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:44 pm

Gary

That is a great question. For the past several years I have been hiking in the now discontinued Merril Pulse mid boot which is not much more that a mid height running shoe. I have used two versions, one that simply indicates "waterproof" and another that has a gortex-liner. The gortex boot seemed a little cooler. After a year (three backpack trips and numerous day trips) the sole of the gortex boot started to separate from the upper. I was soon to depart for a week long Sierra trip and I didn't care for Merrill's replacement for the pulse so I ended up getting a similar boot with a slightly higher top from Wolverine. It was labeled "waterproof" with no indication of breathability in the liner. The boot worked great and I am thinking about ordering a similar wolverine boot with a gortex liner. By the way the boot handled Sawmill and Taboose passes and some off trail day hikes just fine.

I've been wondering what other people look for in a boot. In my younger days I used to do a fair amount of cross country travel on routes with lots of talus and some routes that approached class 3. I still do a lot of cross country but try to avoid a lot of talus when carrying a pack. I also carry a much lighter pack--max of 35 if hiking solo, usually less with others given the ability to share cooking equipment. I am aware that my lighter boots don't provide as much support or protect the bottom of my feet as much as my old stiffer all leather boots but I don't put as much stress on them.

Now a days my primary criteria is light weight and comfort right out of the box. I have been impressed with how well the liners keep out water in wet conditions. The downside is these lightweight boots are not as durable and the midsoles seem to deteriorate at a couple hundred miles. My old leather boots seemed to go for 500 to 700 miles of High Sierra travel.

I hope others can respond to both Gary's and my thoughts. Gary I don't mean to hijack your thread but you got me interested in what other people think about footwear for the Sierra.

Mike
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Re: Boot Question

Postby gary c. » Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:36 pm

Mike, your not hijacking my post at all. I was hoping for replys like yours and would like to hear anyone elses opinions along the same lines. I don't have a lot of knowledge or experience so I was hoping to learn a few things. Searching the net I've come across two main ways of looking at todays options when it comes to boot buying.

Option one: Buy a good pair of all leather boots and with resoling they will last for years and years. Leather boots if treated regularly will reamain as waterproof as anything else will. The down side is that leather does not breath as well, will cost more, and weigh a lot more than leather/nylon boots.

Option two: Buying a good pair of leather/nylon boots will save you a lot of weight and require little or know break-in. Leather/nylon boots breath better than leather except that the boots with waterproof liners can get overwelmed if you push it hard enough that there breathability can't keep up with excess sweating. I think that this is wear the claim to them being "hot" comes from. Everyone seems to agree that Gore-Tex out lasts all the other waterproofing for synthetic boots. The down side hear is that they do wear out and not many of them can be resoled.

I think that I would prefer liter boots even if I have to replace them more often. If my legs and feet are not as tired at the end of the day it would be worth it.

oldranger wrote:
I am aware that my lighter boots don't provide as much support or protect the bottom of my feet as much as my old stiffer all leather boots but I don't put as much stress on them.

The ones that I'm looking at have a steel shank and built-in latex ankle support. It seems like this should cover any needs for support?

Gary C.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Boot Question

Postby hikerduane » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:59 pm

I tried some Vasque boots with Gore-Tex over 15 years ago or so, I thought they were hotter then regular boots. I grew up around agriculture, so I have always had a pair of work boots around. I didn't feel they kept my feet dry enough, so the small town clothing store where I bought them had me test them for water proofness, which they failed so he gave me a credit towards some non-Gore-Tex boots, of which I have had two pairs of now. Both, Vasque. The first I had resoled by Wilson's Eastside Sports in Bishop, quick turn around. When they resole them, they have to pull some of the boot towards the bottom, which resulted in them being tight around the top of my toes. I only wear them around my property, to finish wearing them out. For the second go-around, they are almost shot again. I guess I received my moneys worth out of them. I used Montrail Hardrock, trail runners the last three years. Last summer on my partly off trail trip I wore them. Very pleased with their performance, helps to have a load around 30 lbs. With the trail runners, you just have to be able to move quickly if you jab a rock in the instep area. That only happens now and then. By the way, the most expertise I have ever had was with my local store, he measured my feet by going with the instep not just the length. For water proofing my existing Vasque boots, I use Nikwax, have mixed feelings about it though.
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Re: Boot Question

Postby paul » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:19 pm

I've had a few pairs of Gore-Tex boots, both all-leather with gore-tex and fabric/leather with Gore-Tex. I did not find any significant difference in breathability with any of them - none of them breathed worth a damn, and none of the converntional leather boots I ever had breathed worth a damn either. The gore-tex boots were completely waterproof - for about a year or so. I found that the waterproofness did not last as long as the boots did. Nowadays I do not backpack in boots at all - I go with trail running shoes, and I like the mesh uppers for maximal breathability. I find my feet stay drier in those than in boots. I would consider Gore-Tex to be a low priority factor in your boot decision - first find the boots/shoes that fit the best, and if you are lucky enough to find two pairs that fit perfectly (I have never been this lucky), and one is gore-tex and the other is not, then get the gore-tex boot.
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Re: Boot Question

Postby maverick » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:46 pm

Try some E-vent boots instead of Gore-Tex boots, they are just as waterproof but breathe
much better.
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Re: Boot Question

Postby gary c. » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:12 am

Thanks' for the replys. I bought a pair of Gor-Tex lined Montrail hiking boots that I found on sale for $59, normal price $170. I always have a hard time finding boots that fit because my feet are are a little narrow and my right foot is more than a half size longer than the left side. Since these boots are on the narrow side I ordered them a half size over to wear with my hiking socks and it worked out perfect. I always swore that I would never order boots but at this deal I figured that I would just return them if they didn't fit right. The site guaranteed satisfaction or my money back and I have bought from them before so I took the chance. I went and tried on other Montrail boots also before placing my order. In any case they fit great and I saved a hundred bucks to boot :D
Gary C.

Here is what I bought.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=482323
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
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Re: Boot Question

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:36 am

Hello folks. I've joined this thread a bit after the fact, but I figure I'll throw in my two cents. I've hiked in boots with Gortex liners and without and I don't seem to notice much of a difference in how hot my feet get. The choice of a boots is always a question that includes what one wants to do in them. As the years have gone by I have become distressed with the lack of selection or availability of the more rugged boots that were once fixtures at the likes of North Face or REI. I find that the most rugged boots generally available at REI today are much lighter and more comfortable out of the box than yesterday's armored tanks (legendary boots such as Raichle Eiger or the notoriously uncompromising Asolo Yukon) that were once my standards, but they do offer much less support when boulder hopping across talus with a full pack. That having been said, I'm getting a bit soft myself, and a good part of me is willing to compromise the security and comfort on the rougher off trail stuff (boulder hopping, nasty metamorphic talus sidehilling, with full pack, or needing a boot rigid enough to attach crampons) for comfort on the easier off trail and trailbound hiking. Accordingly I haven't owned a real bruiser boot since my last pair of Eigers became way too small after an ill-advised 3rd resole in 2002 (a sad thing when your best-ever boot becomes your most hated boot). Not to sound too much old school, but I can't help noticing how poorly the modern light and medium weight (medium weight today is yesterday's lightweight) wear. The delamination problems mentioned by Old Ranger are very common. Another thing I notice is the drop off in the quality of the sole rubber. Whereas the old Vibrams would slowly wear down by abrasion the modern rubber is more brittle and it tends to chip or crumble in little chunks, or sometimes not so little chunks (more free replacement boots).
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Re: Boot Question

Postby gary c. » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:06 pm

GB, it's a good point you make about todays soles not holding up as well. I've also noticed that the lug is not as agressive on newer boots and wears down faster. I'm sure it's another way of getting the "out of the box" weight down a little more. A good selling feature but at us the consummers lose.
Gary C.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: Boot Question

Postby kgw » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:17 pm

Reminds me of my Lowa alpine boots purchased at the Sports Chalet in Inglewood, oh, about 40 years ago! :eek: I could toe-point on 1/2" wide ledges with those boots, and they lasted for years. . .I just bought a pair of Patagonia Huckleberrys: a low-cut approach style shoe. My last pair died on last fall's trip up Big Pine Creek: I had to tie the sole to the upper half-way in!

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Re: Boot Question

Postby sierranomad » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:30 pm

Sigh.

My first pair of real backpacking boots (Vasque Skywalk) were comfortable out of the box, gave a spring to my step, and lasted over 10 years.

Subsequent boots I've purchased haven't been as comfortable, supportive or long-lasting.

Since I'm planning on doing the JMT this summer I've been doing a lot of research trying to find a boot like the first pair I had. I talked to Campmor's Customer Support and he told me that since Vasque and other boots have gone to China their quality has gone down considerably and they (Campmor) are getting considerable returns. He suggested Asolo (though they are now being manufactured in China, too). But in viewing reviews on Asolo boots online I find that more than a few have the same complaints: soles that delaminate and/or wear out quickly.

You'd think that if you spend $200 on a pair of boots you could get something that would last. I guess I'll go to REI, take a few hours of the salespeople's time in trying out boots and "cross my fingers" that they'll take me from Yosemite to Whitney.
Jon

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