Feb 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm #1285997
Companion forum thread to:Feb 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1842628
@empacitatorLocale: Western Australia
Great article, thanks. A lot of good information in one place!Feb 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm #1842727
I use the same system and it always worked for me in 3 seasons, I even use them in summer.
Not fearing wet shoes / feet is probably to biggest step to enjoy hiking in such conditions.
The NSR Hydroskin socks are brilliant: they dry reasonable fast, insulate and are quite durable.
I used the wear a 2nd thicker woolsock for aforementioned conditions and neoprene socks work way better. The thin Hydroskin do not insulate that much if you are not moving though.
Btw the Hydroskin are quite good camp socks / shoes when they are dry.
Either just use them over your dry pair of socks to walk around camp or use them inside your wet shoes for pee breaks.Feb 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm #1842736
A note on socks: I've been using two pairs of Patagonias ultralight merino ski socks since around Christmas. They have as good a fit as the Smartwool ones mentioned here, but a higher nylon content and will I hope be more durable as a result. The Smartwools, wonderful though they are, barely last a season for me.Feb 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm #1842754
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
So how are the X-Countires holding up compared to the Crossleathers?Feb 22, 2012 at 2:23 am #1842857
Dare I ask on the subject of VB socks? I'm hesitant, imagine it might need a whole new article – actually read one here a while ago..
Any thoughts, opinions on it?
Just sad I'll need a second pair of running shoes, as my trail gloves fit perfectly with thin/medium socks. Neprene socks – if even finding a pair – probably won't fit, as you mentioned.
Splendid article, especially combined with Will's one!
Thanks!Feb 22, 2012 at 2:49 am #1842860
nice piece – but pretty much a rehash of what you wrote on your blog 2 years ago here http://bedrockandparadox.com/2010/10/03/backcountry-footwear-for-the-other-three-seasons/
MFeb 22, 2012 at 6:06 am #1842880
Thought it seemed familiar. Good article. And it is new content for this site. I'm sure we will be seeing more blog posts being reposted here from all over. I am totally fine with that BTW.Feb 22, 2012 at 6:30 am #1842890
As I took my first foray into winter backpacking this year, I had to rethink my footwear. Since I didn't want to plunk down a large chunk of money for a complete new footwear setup, I made do with what I had (except for new GoreTex socks).
I used my regular trail runners, but as one would expect, they were too tight with a liner sock, wool sock, and GTX sock. So instead of going out and buying a new pair of shoes, I simply took the liner out of my shoe. Done. It gave my foot the needed room and I really didn't miss the liner at all. Less foam to freeze as well.
Just something to consider.Feb 22, 2012 at 6:51 am #1842895
I've had really good luck w/ gtx socks and thin merino socks- am able to use my normal shoe w/o sizing up, I haven't had to ford anything that was higher than the socks though- the hydroskins probably trump gtx socks in those condtions
I've also had very good luck w/ Hydropel when hiking in wet conditions, the stuff really worksFeb 22, 2012 at 6:53 am #1842897
@tjaardLocale: Minnesota, USA
I have found Smartwool ski socks to be very annoying to wear, when I last tried them 2 years ago. They only come up to the fattest part of the calf, which means there is nothing to keep them from sliding down, and they do. Also it feels uncomfortable to have the elastic band around the calf instead of above it.
If they are truly knee high on David, his legs must be much shorter than mine.
Are the Pata socks any taller?
I have some Falke ski socks which are very comfortable as far as fit, but their wool content is so low, they are far less warm and pleasant against the skin, and they mat up much quicker than the high wool content socks, which is why I switched to the Smartwools a long time ago for backpacking.Feb 22, 2012 at 7:03 am #1842902
VBL socks are definitely a whole 'nother subject. Skurkas discussion on his site is darn good. I find them essential, but usually only wear them when it's consistently below 15 F or so.
The X Countrys are holding up well for a mesh shoe, but without reinforcements akin to a toe rand I've still gotten a few holes from deadfall and scrambling. Unlike the Crossleathers, I expect the uppers to be the limiting factor. The Crossleathers are the only trail shoe I've used where I can wear the tread down to nothing with the upper still intact.
Note that the only Smartwool ski sock I've found which stays put is the very thinnest one they make. The thin Patagonia sock is a similar dimension, perhaps a hair taller. I've no doubt there are some very lanky folks whom this leaves out in the cold.Feb 22, 2012 at 7:06 am #1842904
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
Great article, Dave. I had taken a lot from your original blog post and it's nice to see that information updated. Could you expand on the uses of the various thickness NRS socks? Sounds like the 0.5 mm would be the ideal for hiking specific trips. What is your pick for ones that include shoulder season packrafting?Feb 22, 2012 at 7:52 am #1842924
Like the previous post, interested in the thickness of the NRS socks. Also, as there are different sorts or laminates of neoprene. How waterproof/permeable and breathable are the neoprene? Say on a scale 0-10 you just invented – 0 being barefoot, 10 VB.Feb 22, 2012 at 8:48 am #1842960
Nice read. I'll have to try those NRS socks.
This article reminded me of this day:Feb 22, 2012 at 9:01 am #1842963
@martycLocale: Industrial Midwest
A very nice article. I read the one you originally wrote on Bedrock and Paradox and tried out your suggestions. I already owned the NRS hydroskin socks for boating.
This past weekend in 30-degree weather I took some folks out for a hike with a guaranteed stream crossing. All wore hiking boots with no alternative footwear (except my wife, an experienced hand, who brought Crocs for the crossing). All, except my wife, balked once they saw the knee-deep water. They thought their gortex hiking boots would only have to cross ankle deep water. We would have to turn back.
Just for the experience I waded the stream in the liner socks topped with the hydroskins in mesh trail runners. The others kept watching me expecting, I suppose, that I would either topple over and be washed downstream or begin howling in pain. Actually the part of my leg that did ache was the part above those Patagonia ultralight ski sock liners, which was exposed to the water. I walked around a bit on the far side, my feet cool but not really cold, then crossed again. As we hiked back I had to hike more briskly than the rest, deliberately scrambling up some hillsides to keep my feet warm. I needed to hike rather than stroll to stay warm.
I was so delighted that this worked that I declined a ride home and walked the 10 miles back to my house, my feet, socks and shoes slowly drying out, and still warm.
I took full credit for your clever neoprene sock idea, to no avail. The consensus was not that I'd hit on a great sock and shoe combination, but that I was plainly nuts. Probably both are true.
Cleveland, OhioFeb 22, 2012 at 9:36 am #1842985
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
Nice Work. and finally, a article without that sappy pc condescending lack of opinion so noxiously prevalent of late.
(vacco ran out of commas earlier in the day … all he had left was those hard to spell "little dot things" … )
i can't hardly wait to go bag me some nrs socks.
thank you !Feb 22, 2012 at 10:54 am #1843030
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
David, about the height of the base layer sock, I understand a calf/knee high sock will be warmer than a regular height one but I wonder how important this is and if it's worth the drawbacks. Does it really contribute significantly to keep the feet warmer?Feb 22, 2012 at 11:15 am #1843041
Strengthening your feet is talked about in the article, any suggestions for a training regiment for flat feet?Feb 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm #1843084
Ike, I use the Hydroskins for almost everything. If a packrafting trip is cold enough that I bring my drysuit (which doesn't have feet), I use my 2mm socks. And often wish I had a better drysuit. This does have some downside. After I took the final photo in the article (after 3 hours in the packraft getting soaked by the flooding river I was floating), I spent 10 minutes pacing around the gravel bar cursing and trying to get feeling back into my legs and feet.
The 3mm NRS socks have taped seams, and are effectively waterproof. So basically a 10. The 2mm non-taped socks are perhaps an 8 or 7, the Hydroskins a 5 or 4, and bog-standard wool socks a 1.
The warmth of knee high socks, however thin, is a strictly non-empirical opinion of mine. I'm sticking to it, but encourage everyone to experiment and find out for themselves.Feb 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm #1843085
Brian, I know nothing about flat feet, and thus can't comment if they'd demand anything beyond the ordinary.Feb 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm #1843109
@gorgar3141Locale: New Mexico
I have read countless articles extolling the virtues of minimalist synthetic trail runners with mesh sides. Typically authors (e.g. Dave) take the viewpoint that there is no room for debate—WP/B leather shoes/boots are never a good idea. I'll admit I've tried to drink the kool-aid, and have a few pairs of shoes that fit the BPL ideal (inov-8, etc.) But I find they just don't work for me and my local trails.
In New Mexico our trails don't have any of whatever that wet stuff is in these pictures. Just bone dry dirt and cacti and pricklies in all forms. My inov-8's are horrible in such conditions! Dirt and sand comes through the mesh panels and over the low cut sides even with tight fitting gaiters. They provide no protection against the prickly local flora. And they provide little rigidity for scrambling up loose, dry, rocky mountains.
When I'm hiking off-trail anywhere below 10k ft in NM I bring either Keen Targhee II Mids, or Asolo Fugitive boots (and gaiters too). Both have a WP/B membrane which works wonderfully in at wicking sweat from my feet when the relative humidity is <10% and the only water in a 20 mile radius is inside my pack. They provide support for scrambly sidehilling and arroyo crossing, the thick leather keeps out cacti, and the high sides and WP/B membrane keeps the fine dust and sand outside my shoes and my feet safe from blisters. When there are no trails there is also no compacted soil, so I find stiffer boots are not as much of a problem, and in fact they seem to help.
Just thought I'd share my alternative viewpoint on all this. I am trying to lighten up my footwear, and have had some success in the alpine, but every time I'm out moving cross-country in the NM desert, my minimalist trail runners end up holding me back.Feb 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm #1843135
@smackpackerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Thanks for the article Dave, timely and insightful for me as I prep for an overnight this weekend. Typically when I expect to posthole for any length of time (as I will for at least the last 4-6 miles Saturday) I robotically reach for my GTX boots, smartwool socks and knee high gaiters; with new optimism I'd love your opinion on safely/comfortably swapping my beloved, large enough non-GTX trail runners into this scenario, w/smartwool and GTX socks? I've never considered wearing trail runners in "deep" snow. Neoprene socks aren't likely an option on short turnaround. Temps expected in the 20s, rain for the first 2500' and 7-9 miles. Thanks (and to anyone else with experience here) & cheersFeb 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm #1843138
deletedFeb 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm #1843146
I've had good luck w/ wet and dry snow w/ GTX socks and a thin merino sock (I use Darn Tough ones)- and trail runners you need gaiters obviously if the snow is of any appreciable depth- these were in temps in mid teens to 30's
the one thing I haven't to do, as Dave mentions in his article, is ford any streams above the height of the gtx sock, I think if that is the agenda then neoprene is probably warranted
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