Dec 1, 2005 at 10:41 pm #1217273
I’m thinking that one could get away with a nice and lightweight winter footwear system by using neoprene booties such as these that are used by divers and such. For added insulation one could layer a VB and wool sock combo. This set up reminds me of military VB boots, but is much lighter. Of course, I have no idea if this will work. Any thoughts?
RoyDec 1, 2005 at 10:56 pm #1346340
Ok, not sure what happened to the post above but here is what I was trying to say… I think you could use some neoprene booties like those used by divers for winter footwear. for additional warmth you could layer a VB and wool sock combo. This is same idea that military VB(bunny) boots are based on… Any thoughts?
Here’s a link to the kind of bootie I am thinking of…http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2339&deptid=1169#
RoyDec 2, 2005 at 4:52 pm #1346389
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
I use the nrs neoprene bootie in winter. It is my default really cold setup. I use a synthetic liner sock and coat my foot with a strong deoderant like mitchum. If you have room in your boots a thermal insole will also help. It is important to air out neoprene, it can host a infection like trench foot.Dec 2, 2005 at 5:00 pm #1346390
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
Neoprene socks have a lot more flexibility for me. I can use them with running shoes, mountaineering boots, or cross-country ski boots as conditions warrant. I can also switch to more conventional socks when I don’t feel the need anymore.
I’d second the comment that it is extremely important to air out your feet and the socks with anything like this. Trench foot is not anyone’s idea of a good time.
I recommend these socks from Campmor over the ubiquitous Sealskinz:Dec 3, 2005 at 4:08 pm #1346436
>I recommend these socks from Campmor over the ubiquitous Sealskinz:
That’s the same URL as above. I found two hits for “neoprene sock” at Campmor. Could you re-post the URL at Campmor for the socks you recommend? Thanks.Dec 3, 2005 at 5:09 pm #1346442
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
aka “Seirus Neoprene Super S-T-R-E-T-C-H Socks”
Sorry ’bout that.
dwbDec 3, 2005 at 10:49 pm #1346453
Many Thanks for the replies everyone
Larry, I have a few questions…
1)You use the neoprene booties as your “default really cold setup”. How cold is really cold?
2)NRS makes several different styles of booties. Which ones do you use?
3)Lastly, How much do they weigh?
RoyDec 10, 2005 at 5:17 pm #1346803Dec 10, 2005 at 7:31 pm #1346806
>will neoprene socks and trail runners with gaiters work for the winter, or do I want trail runners and over boots
It mostly depends on the temperature. You have young toes, so they will probably stay warm at a lower temperature than my frost-nipped toes. The best way to answer your question is to get some neoprene socks and try them with your trail shoes and gaiters. Neoprene socks come in handy anyway (summer hikes with lots of stream crossings), so it’s not really a waste of money. You could also try a thin liner sock, a bread bag (cheapo VB), and a wool sock, and see how that works. If neither of those work for you at the temperatures you encounter in WV, then go for the overboots.
I figure the weight of my trail runners plus overboots is about the same as my Lands’ End Extreme Squall boots, so I’ll probably stick to the simple boot. I’m still trying out socks.
I wore Mysterioso M-Tech socks with my trail runners while snowshoeing this week, and they weren’t enough to keep my toes warm. Probably sufficient for snowshoeing above freezing.
If you’re going to use trail runners with snowshoes be sure to either carry a backup pair of warm boots, be able to hike out quickly, or have the time and equipment to set up camp. Frozen toes are no joke. You may not get frostbite, but if you frostnip your toes you will regret it for years.Dec 10, 2005 at 7:41 pm #1346807
I think I may try the neoprene socks with VB bread bags, and on the first few of my snowshoe trips, I will bring a couple extra pairs of heavy wool socks until I am confident in the warmth of my footwear system.
I tested out the bread bag under wool socks in my trail runners while shoveling snow and doing stuff outside this weekend, but at the end of the day there were holes in the toes, but they did keep me warm. have you had any problems with the moisture build up inside the vapor barior?Dec 10, 2005 at 7:52 pm #1346808
I’ll be doing this from skin out:
polartec power stretch socks (campmor item 14880)
neos villager overshoes (campmor item 44910)
outdoor research rocky mountain low gaiters (campmor item 14235)
northern lites backcountry snowshoesDec 10, 2005 at 8:18 pm #1346810
thanks for the info guys,
I will probably buy both the neoprene socks and neos overshoes eventually but for my first few trips, I will probbably use a wool sock/montrail GTX boot combo before experimenting with trail runners
***EDIT*** I will actually use my cheaper “Hi-tec” boots I got a Dicks sporting goods because they are much more comfortable and lighter too.Dec 11, 2005 at 10:36 pm #1346833
@pyeyoLocale: pacific northwest
The nrs sock I use is the 3mm expedition,item 2341. My size xl weigh 7 5/8oz. By comparision my seirus stretch storm socks weigh 2 3/4 oz. You need to add 1oz. for the synthetic liner socks for either.
I work outside 90% of the time in the central cascades of Washington State where we don’t see too much beyond 20 below but I’ve climbed in Canada in twice that cold and still have my toes. I don’t use the neoprene until it hits 5 degrees. my footwear varies from sorel caribous[work], salomon gtx[snowshoe], vasque 9000[climbing],ice bug mr4 runners[snoeshoe or running],or a pair of steger artic mukluks[snowshoe]. I make insulated insoles out of a foil faced material kinda like bubble wrap [it’s used to sound deaden and insulate duct work, car body panels, I’d have to hunt up a link but it can be found at most large lowes or home depots]
The different uses are directly related to whether I’m out for days or hoursDec 16, 2005 at 6:28 pm #1347056
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
I’ve used Serius and Gator neoprene socks extensively as both VBL and insulation with great success. I agree with the recommendation to air out feet when using non- breathable footwear. Before I crawl into my sleeping bag I peel the socks off my feet inside out and set them outside my bag to allow foot and sock to dry overnight.
Another product I’ve used extensively and had tremendously positive results with is GTX socks. Family members I’ve bought them for are similarly amazed by their power and versatility.
Layered over hiking socks they protect against rain, puddles and shallow creek crossings. In fact, standing in an icy creek with only thin cotton (death fabric) socks, GTX socks and boots on; it’s amazing how warm my feet remain. I ran 25 miles in the rain one day on the JMT with this set-up and had no warmth or blister problems (which I’m prone to). I also find my normally sweaty feet have no problem breathing through the GTX membrane even while my boot is soaked!
I much prefer GTX socks over GTX boots because one pair can be used in all my sandals, shoes and boots; footwear dries much faster when you can separate the membrane from the boot and let them dry separately; if the GTX is punctured (as mine was by cactus while hiking in the snow), it’s easier to patch and cheaper to replace than a pair of boots; and in dry conditions you can hike without the GTX making for much drier and more blister resistant feet.
For moderate temperature snow and ice travel (summer Sierra-Nevada in California) I have often used this very same set-up. I always have 2.1oz./pair scree gaitors (velcroed to my boots to avoid the problematic underboot strap) on my boots- on trail to keep dirt and stones out and in snow to keep the snow out of the boots. Despite my poor foot circulation I can hike all day in the snow with warm, dry feet with only one lowcut standard summer weight synthetic hiking sock under my GTX sock. If the terrain becomes steeper I strap on an instep crampon or 17.3oz. Camp XLC 490 aluminum front point equipped technical crampons (which come with plastic toe and heel cups to fit light non-technical hiking boots and trail runners). I’ve comfortably climbed long steep ice couloirs with no more than this light set-up.
My old GTX socks were made mostly of stretch GTX and so I was able to buy in my usual size 9. The current design utilizes only a thin stretch panel so I had to go up 3 sizes to a 12 to get them on. However, they weigh 2.9 oz. /pair and they work!
Rocky GTX socks $50 REI
Cheers, AlDec 17, 2006 at 3:38 pm #1371365
@bdavisLocale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
I am learning about snow hiking and camping. The vapor barriers scare me, especially the marine vapor barriers like sealskin. I never liked them on the ocean and quit even trying to use them because they were not pliable enough, hard to put on, and when water got inside were worse than my socks.
Cold, snow conditions make them even less attractive IMO. The articles about breathability make me think that there must be a way to have light weight footwear in three categories: 1) day trekking in no precip and below freezing (to whatever range, but for my purposes above or at 0 F; 2) muck, rain, sleet, wet conditions down to 20 F; and 3) deeper powder down to -10 F or more given any kind of wind or damp.
First issue is sole durability over intermittent rocks, asphalt, or hard surfaces and icy conditions (slippery at intermitent intervals) in all three categories. We have a mixed environment which changes based on going even a few miles and few hundred feet change in elevation.
Is there one boot or low top + gaiter combination that will handle these three categories? Or, what combination of boot or low top, socks, and gaiters will handle each category with the least weight and most functionality without using vapor barriers (given the perameters are staying dry, warm, and safe)?
My present hiking boots are tecnica waterproof barrier built in and my low tops Montrail CTCs. I have Steggers for the pure pleasure of hiking in "pure" snow and snow shoes for day hikes (Redfeather Hike 22s). I have LaCrosse snow boots, with some kind of liner, weighing about 2.25 lbs. each, 4.5 lbs. pair.
I just ordered some Integral Designs eVENT shorties and OR mid-wieght high top gaiters.Jan 4, 2007 at 6:47 pm #1373024
@alekatLocale: Wyoming, USA
Another option is the Crescent Moon Neoprene Overbooties. They stretch over your shoes. I've been testing them out extensively over the last few weeks and they are very warm for the weight (6mm neoprene). Here is what I found:
1) When they are warm, they are easy to stretch and put on over my size 10.5 trailrunners. When they are cold and frozen, such as on a second day of shoeing after camping, they are more difficult to put on. I will need to keep them in my sleeping bag.
2) They are warm enough to keep my toes very comfortable while moving – even at minus 20 (f). (And I only had on Smartwool socks and Goretex trailrunners under them.)
3) They stay on well while wearing snowshoes. On the other hand, they slip off my toes when I'm moving and not wearing snowshoes. I'll be making some mods with velcro to see if I can fix this.
Overall, I've been very impressed.Jan 11, 2007 at 12:05 am #1373883
I use thin neoprene sox as a VBL for my Sorrel feltpacks to keep the poly/wool felt insulation dry (& me warm).
Got to wear thin poly sox as liners & turn the neoprene (wet) sox inside out at night to dry inside my sleeping bag.
The feltpacks go in my long size sleeping bag on my feet so they're warm for morning. Dancing by your breakfast stove at -5F in cold boots W/ painful feet is NOT fun.
(Don't ask me how I know.)Jan 11, 2007 at 12:46 pm #1373961
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
Eric, in all your years of skiing, you must have at least tried the super-gaiter: a rubber rand around the lower part of the boot, the fabric part (insulated or un-insulated) extending to above the calf. With the sole free you can use the boot for whatever it was designed for, such as a ski boot using traditional 3-pin XC bindings, or a mountaineering boot, or perhaps even a pair of trail runner shoes. Do you like super-gaiters?Jan 18, 2007 at 12:01 am #1374752
Yes, as a gearhead I have a great pair of Thinsulate insulated supergaiters W/rubber rand, part of which even runs under the arch. I had to cut away a bit on the toe area to get my Telemark boots to fit the binding bail.
These supergaiters are WARM and need only be used in near zero or below temps or around camp. I've had them for about 10 years and had good service from them. Amazingly the light Cordura even has old generation Gore-Tex lamination.
They still look almost like new even though they were likely the 1st supergaiters available in the U.S.. Luckily they just fit over my new Scarpa T3 plastic Telemark boots. I absolutly needed them when my only B-C skiing boots were heavy leather Vibram soled Vasque Tele boots with no insulation.Jan 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm #3378499
Your original post asked about light neoprene diver’s sox.
The answer is not just yes but Hell YES! I’ve use these sox for more than 20 years as VBLs over very light polypro liner sox. They are warm and keep boots or insulated boot liners dry and also warm.
In fact here’s my frequent winter hiking footwear:
- BOOTS-> Merrill Moab Mid GTX
- VBL-> US Divers seam-sealed light neoprene diver’s socks
- LINER-> polyester or polypropylene thin sox
- GAITERS-> knee high Cabela’s GTX
This is a very warm and dry combination for temps down to about 0 F. as long as I keep moving at a moderate pace.
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