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  1. #1

    Default Waterproof Boots or Not? NOBO starting May 1st

    I usually only wear my waterproof boots (Danner Mountain Light) if I think it's going to be really wet or cold. I can stand in a puddle of water and nothing gets in. I love them. I liken hiking in them to driving a monster truck. I just plow through anything. They're pretty comfy too. But in the summer months they can be overkill.

    For summer hiking, I prefer the ventilation of my non-waterproof boots (Merrell Moab Ventilator). Super lightweight, comfy, robust and lots of ventilation.

    Any thoughts on which will be good for a NOBO starting from Spring on May 1st?

    Is the trail really that wet and muddy? Are my feet going to be constantly soaked if I go with the Merrells?

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Not just no but he'll no. Just one opinion.
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  3. #3
    North Georgia Wanderer soumodeler's Avatar
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    Non waterproof trail runners are my go to for everything except snow.

    I want a shoe that is light, breathable, and dries fast.

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    Registered User Huli's Avatar
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    +1 to both above

  5. #5
    scope's Avatar
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    Everybody above is correct. Take the Danners for now, switch to the Moabs later. You'll appreciate the plow-through now as well as the resistance to dew. Everyone is right, though, you'll eventually want the Moabs, I just see no reason to wear them out now when the Danners can be of some use.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

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    synthetic tennis shoes.

  7. #7
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    No to waterproof.

  8. #8

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    Waterproof would be useful in the snowy Smokies in March. Other than that, stick to non-waterproof boots, something that supports your feet the way they need support. If the Moabs work for you with a full pack, go for it. But skip the Goretex, just make sure you have a pair of socks you can keep dry to change/swap as you go.
    Back to the Earth I screamed, and no one listened.
    Back to the Earth I lived, and they all followed.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huli View Post
    +1 to both above
    #2 to both...

    If you choose the waterproof ones, you might ask your loved ones to pray for your feet... (JK)... You need breathable shoes that can easily dry after getting wet. (Yes, you will get wet. Put your shoe in a bucket of water and then wear it for a hike. That would be what the waterproof shoe is like.)

    As another poster advised, keep an extra pair of socks to change into to help the drying. (Personally, I have three pairs of socks on a distance hike: one on and two in my bag).

  10. #10

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    The advantage waterproof shoes have is that you can stride right through puddles on an otherwise dry day, and keep your feet dry. So many wet & muddy areas are completely blown out because weekenders dont want their clean shoes dirty, or by more serious hikers who've just dried their trailrunners, so they tiptoe around the mud, which just makes it all worse. Waterproof shoes are as much for the trail as they are for you.
    Back to the Earth I screamed, and no one listened.
    Back to the Earth I lived, and they all followed.
    https://smokebeard.wordpress.com/about/

  11. #11
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I just splash through water in my trail runners. My feet get wet. No big deal. They dry in a few minutes, unless I'm constantly in mud puddles. Hiked up Rumford Whitecap last weekend. The trail is pretty much a stream bed and this time of year is all snow melt. Still no big deal. Feet got cold. They warmed up once we got out into the sun. I.Did.Not.Die

  12. #12
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    Wear what you wany
    It wont make much difference

    Not everyone is capable of learning thru others experiences
    Some have to learn to things for themselves

    Plenty of places to buy new shoes along way
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  13. #13
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    Have you tried waterproof shoes before? I tried a pair once - couldn't get rid of them fast enough. It was like walking around with my foot in an oven. Having them full of water would be even better. They'd never dry.

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    Default Waterproof Boots or Not? NOBO starting May 1st

    I prefer a pair of well oiled, leather boots with a gusseted tongue. You can still stand in ankle deep water but don't get sweat trapped in them like gore-tex. Keeping them clean and oiled on a thru hike could be a pain though.

  15. #15
    Registered User ggreaves's Avatar
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    steer clear of waterproof boots. after a few hours walking around in them, your feet will be soaked with sweat. And don't buy into the goretex hype about breathability. It doesn't work. Period. Anything that's waterproof will keep you sweaty on the inside. That's why a lot of raingear has venting and pit zips. Because in spite of being touted as breathable because they're made of goretex or eVent or whatever flavor of the month, they trap moisture and heat.

  16. #16

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    I've been struggling for a long time trying to avoid the discomfort of wet feet. I've used everything from bread bags, waterproof socks, and was about to try waterproof shoes. I bought a pair last fall, but they are way to heavy.

    Then I ran across Andrew Skurka's blog about keeping feet dry. Basically, it's impossible. He did however recommend protecting the skin against water with Bonnie's Balm, a waxy paste that prevents water from penetrating into the skin. I decided to give it a try.

    I coated my feet for a couple days, then put on my Moab Ventilators and went to the state park nearby after a heavy rain. I intentionally walked through ankle deep puddles.

    I'm convinced this is the answer. Feet got wet, yes, but no discomfort. Forget the waterproof shoes and socks.

  17. #17
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Mesh trail runners, merino wool socks = happy feet, wet or dry. Your feet and boots will get wet, period. No matter how waterproof they are. (Note that every pair of boots and trail runners sold comes from the factory with a big hole in it, which allows water inside the shoe when it rains hard enough for long enough. Which it will on the AT.) Mesh trail runner dry quickly and wool socks keep the feetsies warm when they get wet.
    Ken B
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  18. #18
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    I found the thought of wet feet is much worse than the reality of wet feet.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  19. #19
    GSMNP 900 Miler HooKooDooKu's Avatar
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    I always wear waterproof boots. But that is because I do the bulk of my hiking in GSMNP. While the AT is a ridge trail, the bulk of GSMNP trails cross numerous streams and feeder creeks. Then there is the humidity which can make plants along side the trail wet even when it hasn't rained in a week.

    I wear thin nylon liner socks with thick wool socks with waterproof boots, and even when hiking in the middle of summer, I don't have a problem with "wet" feet.

  20. #20

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    Well ventilated trail runners. Even those Moabs are overkill, IMO.

    If it's wet enough for long enough your feet are going to get wet anyway. Better to have shoes that dry out quickly while walking.... think about how long it takes leather to dry!

    Not to mention the constant weight penalty every single step from wearing unnecessarily heavy footwear.

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