gore-tex in boots??

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Doing14ers
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gore-tex in boots??

Post by Doing14ers » Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:14 pm

I am looking to get some new boots and it seems like so many of them nowadays have gore-tex. Gore-tex in boots has always seemed crazy to me. Wouldn't any pores always be clogged with water and dirt, making the boots non-breathable? Breathability is super important to me. Would appreciate feedback on how people experience has been. Thanks!
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ker0uac
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by ker0uac » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:13 pm

Doing14ers wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:14 pm
Gore-tex in boots has always seemed crazy to me. Wouldn't any pores always be clogged with water and dirt, making the boots non-breathable?
Yes. Next question.

:)
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Hiker Mike
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by Hiker Mike » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:40 pm

Doing14ers wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:14 pm
I am looking to get some new boots and it seems like so many of them nowadays have gore-tex. Gore-tex in boots has always seemed crazy to me. Wouldn't any pores always be clogged with water and dirt, making the boots non-breathable? Breathability is super important to me. Would appreciate feedback on how people experience has been. Thanks!
I have used Gore-Tex boots for years and never noticed any breathability problems in the mountains. My hikes have been in all manners of conditions and seasons. I would not buy a boot without Gore-Tex. They certainly keep my feet comfy in bad weather. Keep in mind that I always use high quality socks. No cotton socks!

My first Gore-Tex boots were Vasque Sundowners and I could not believe how great they were compared to the previous boots I had used.

Mike
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by CaptCO » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:50 pm

This is only my second winter, ever laying eyes on snow in my life. Anyways, I feel Gore-Tex is indeed a catch-22 material. My freedive spearfishing buddy, who is a seasoned Green Beret instructor, feels a rain pancho is more essential than a Gore-Tex jacket. That being said, after using Walmart cotton/poly clothing last season, GT (goretex) belongs in CO. During these harsh winters, a non insulated boot will provide more protection than an insulated boot. With the combination of extra wool socks, it’s your safest bet at keeping your toes imho. I actually finished most of my summer peaks with Sportiva Spire approach shoes (goretex waterproof). I never sweated out my socks or had reason to retire them early. That being said, 3M insulate is impressing me more and more every trip. So many variables in the mountains and each season deserves its own “cache” of gear. See you out there

Alec
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by pvnisher » Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:13 am

Gore tex is a thin sheet of plastic with tiny holes in it. Imagine a grocery bag.
It doesn't get clogged with dirt because it's in a sandwich between the leather outer and an inner liner.

That said, your feet will occasionally get damp as the liner certainly inhibits evaporation. It's a trade-off between sweat, evaporation, and protection.
You can get away with using wax on leather shoes, which will be more breathable then a liner, but also takes a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

I wear goretex and it's competitors when it's expected to be wet or snowy, or the temps are cool and dry enough to keep my feet dry.
I try to use unlined, breathable footwear if it's hot or humid.
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ker0uac
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by ker0uac » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:18 am

Goretex in boots is somewhat of a recent thing. Since GTX is a proprietary material, it's in their best interest to put it everywhere (I wonder if there are GTX lined backpacks?! probably...) and convince you need it. What they don't tell you is that GTX, like all other similar fabrics, is waterproof to a certain extent only. Once it gets really wet, it will stop being waterproof.

So lets' think of the scenarios you might encounter and how GTX can/cannot help you:

1. Summer, no precipitation expected:
- Pros: none
- Cons: GTX will make your feet sweat so much
2. Summer, mild precipitation expected:
- Pros: none
- Cons: If you are not wearing pants, it will rain on your legs/socks, making your feet wet. If you are wearing pants, GTX will make your feet sweat so much
3. Summer, heavy precipitation
- Pros: none
- Cons: If you are not wearing pants, it will rain on your legs/socks, making your feet wet. Plus, really heavy precipitation will eventually make your boots so wet as to lose its waterproofness. You could counter that by wearing pants and gaiters, but then again, you will sweat so much.
4. Winter, dry terrain:
- Pros: it will keep you warm, but good socks could achieve the same thing without GTX.
- Cons: just mild sweat which can over time make your boots smell but I guess not a huge deal
5. Winter, wet terrain:
- Pros: GTX excels here coz sweat won't be a huge concern and you will be constantly in contact with snow. Also gaiters are a must to keep your socks dry. But if you are constantly postholing, then your boots will eventually get so wet as to lose its waterproofness
- Cons: just mild sweat which can over time make your boots smell but I guess not a huge deal

So for winter, wet terrain on a 14er, I would lightly recommend GTX but heavily recommend a good sock system. But for more challenging objectives, sweaty feet might be the least of your concerns, and in that case, go with GTX. I know plastic boots have fallen out of fashion, but I still prefer it for more challenging winter conditions. More breathable and won't lose its waterproofness and it provided better stability and crampon fit.
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by druid2112 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:55 pm

ker0uac wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:18 am
Goretex in boots is somewhat of a recent thing.
Not sure I agree with that. I bought a pair of all-leather Zamberlans in 1996 (and just recently retired them after 20+ years - along with my Stratocaster, best purchase EVER!) and they were made with Gore-tex. Never had an issue, plenty breathable, just great.

Eventually, the Gore-tex breaking down after all those years and making them no longer waterproof was one reason they got retired. But I wouldn't consider Gore-tex in boots a drawback in any way.
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by Barnold41 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:29 pm

I have some Danners with GoreTex and have nothing to complain about. They get used in the spring, summer, and fall, and work well for what I do with them. I switch between them and some runners pretty much all year, depending on the terrain and the weather.
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by nyker » Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:46 pm

druid2112 wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:55 pm
ker0uac wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:18 am
Goretex in boots is somewhat of a recent thing.
Not sure I agree with that. I bought a pair of all-leather Zamberlans in 1996 (and just recently retired them after 20+ years - along with my Stratocaster, best purchase EVER!) and they were made with Gore-tex. Never had an issue, plenty breathable, just great.

Eventually, the Gore-tex breaking down after all those years and making them no longer waterproof was one reason they got retired. But I wouldn't consider Gore-tex in boots a drawback in any way.
Agree, I had a pair or early Asolos with a suede like outer which had Gore Tex that I bought in the early 1990s, also recall seeing some jackets had it then and those had huge GORE TEX letters on them.

The bigger issue I have had with Gore Tex in general is not sweating but it losing its waterproofness. I have found it best in short burst rain storms under 3 hours, in lighter rain or better in wetter snow that's not as penetrating.
I remember doing some long hikes where it rained the whole time wearing fairly new jackets with gore tex and I was just soaked each time after a few hours, so my belief in its long term waterproofness is not huge.
Happiness then was packing backup clothes and then changing either at night or when the rain stopped.

Boots too, I feel that when new the waterproofing works great, but if I don't reapply some type of waterproofing after a season of use, the next time I am postholing in wet snow for a while, the boots are wet through and through and usually to my outer sock, and if stay out longer, my sock liner also.
Maybe just bad luck
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by Bean » Wed Jan 06, 2021 6:21 pm

nyker wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:46 pm
I have found it best in short burst rain storms under 3 hours, in lighter rain or better in wetter snow that's not as penetrating.
...
Boots too, I feel that when new the waterproofing works great, but if I don't reapply some type of waterproofing after a season of use, the next time I am postholing in wet snow for a while, the boots are wet through and through and usually to my outer sock, and if stay out longer, my sock liner also.
With jackets, the face fabric wets out, which is why DWR and keeping the jacket clean is so important. The membrane doesn't let water through (physical pressure aside) but once the fabric wets out there's no more moisture transfer away from your body. Same deal with boots, but you also have the issue of snow pushing/rubbing against the shoe.

IMO the best solution is to be in a dry climate and not need to worry about waterproofness. FWIW I almost never take a hardshell, even in the snow.
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ker0uac
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by ker0uac » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:18 am

nyker wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:46 pm
druid2112 wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:55 pm
ker0uac wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:18 am
Goretex in boots is somewhat of a recent thing.
Not sure I agree with that. I bought a pair of all-leather Zamberlans in 1996 (and just recently retired them after 20+ years - along with my Stratocaster, best purchase EVER!) and they were made with Gore-tex. Never had an issue, plenty breathable, just great.

Eventually, the Gore-tex breaking down after all those years and making them no longer waterproof was one reason they got retired. But I wouldn't consider Gore-tex in boots a drawback in any way.
Agree, I had a pair or early Asolos with a suede like outer which had Gore Tex that I bought in the early 1990s, also recall seeing some jackets had it then and those had huge GORE TEX letters on them.
I am sure some hiking boots have been sold with goretex immediately after the fabric was discovered in the 1970s. What I am saying is that the transition from double plastic boots, which are naturally waterproof with removable liners, have happened recently as single boots became more advanced. Baruntses, Spantiks and Koflachs were the norm in the past and they are all double plastic boots with no goretex. I still prefer double plastic boots but there are some benefits to the single goretex boots like evos and nepals.

Goretex in jackets and pants make sense because ideally you wouldn't be climbing under constant heavy precipitation. So you would put on your hardshells temporarily while hunkering down or making your way to shelter, and then remove them afterwards. Whereas with boots, you don't get to put them on and remove them as precipitation comes and goes. That's the problem.
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Doing14ers
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Re: gore-tex in boots??

Post by Doing14ers » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:14 pm

Thanks for the feedback. My takeaway is that Goretex is seeming to be OK for most ppl but that it really provides no benefit. I have had pure leather boots for 20 years...snow seal them in the winter (waterproof) and let it wear off for the summer (breathable). Has worked great. But the boots are worn out now. Now everything is Goretex. I suspect somehow Goretex is telling these companies they have to put it in ALL their products or they can't have it at all...any many ppl will move on to another brand when they don't see Goretex, so the boot companies are forced to take the deal. Just guessing, but it seems plausible. Elsewise you would think they would have non-Goretex alternatives. It annoys me...at this point, I'd even pay more for non-Goretex boots leather boots but I can't find any. If anyone has suggestions, pls let me know. Anyways, just ranting and thanks again for the feedback.
Last edited by Doing14ers on Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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