trail running through water in 30-45 degrees….help!

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Home Forums General Forums Speed Hiking and Fastpacking trail running through water in 30-45 degrees….help!

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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    Jennifer Mitol


    Locale: In my dreams....


    While backpacking, when the temps get into that dangerous range (stuff is still wet…but it’s really cold!) then out come the bread bags…in snow I have some gore-tex socks I use to help keep my feet dry and that has always seemed to work well.


    Now that I am doing a lot more trail running than backpacking (thanks Texas…) and our weather here in Austin is now mid-30s in the am and relatively wet all the time…now I wonder what does one do for running?  Obviously I’m sweating a lot more than I would when backpacking…would I still use the bread bag strategy?  I can’t imagine that goretex socks would be at all beneficial on a cold/wet run, but maybe I’m wrong??


    Lester Moore
    BPL Member


    Locale: Olympic Peninsula, WA

    Hi Jennifer,

    Here on the Olympic Peninsula in winter, where it’s usually wet, wearing regular socks works fine for me for day runs. The key is to dry out the shoes after every use or they start smelling really bad. I also put a few drops of tea tree oil on each foot and rub around prior to each run – this cuts down on the bacterial and yeast/fungal growth during a long wet run.


    Ben C
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kentucky

    If I’m running in Austin temperatures,  my feet are staying warm no matter what.  I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten cold feet there. But generally, in the cold,  I am best suited with just enough sock to stay warm and let your feet get wet.

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Thicker wool socks work like a wetsuit for me – they aren’t dry after going through water, but they warm up again in a few minutes. Especially for day runs, launder them when you get home and put the wet shoes on a PEET boot dryer ($38 the last time I checked) – we all have them up here.

    Keep dry shoes and socks in the car and maybe a cotton towel from home.

    Tagging along with Manfred & Sons for their first day in the Brooks Range and I crossed a very cold, very fast river about 90 times that day. When the crossings were minutes apart, my feet didn’t warm up, but 15 minutes after a crossing and they felt fine.

    Ito Jakuchu
    BPL Member


    Locale: Japan

    I tend to have cold feet, but have been fine with Smartwool socks.

    Though, if there is a dusting of snow or lots of almost ice puddles/rivers, a GTX lined trail runner can be a bit warmer (even though they don’t keep my feet dry).

    Don’t tell me you have only one pair of trail runners :)

    If I have to run through a lot of snow (with microspikes) the GTX lined runners with a (Rab neoshell) gaiter works good for me.

    Mike M
    BPL Member


    Locale: Montana

    Late to the party :). Thick wool socks are key for cold/wet running (or hiking for that matter) and thanks to Dave C I am also sold on tall socks in the winter- surprising amount of additional (or perceived???) warmth

    I agree- the one time goretex shoes are handy is cold/wet for the exact reason they suck at any other time- they don’t breathe and thus are warmer (and if new and you don’t go over the shoe- unlikely, drier)

    Matthew Alan Thyer
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific North West

    Thick wool socks and shoes that drain well. Also, look for tights or pants that done wick water up your legs.


    In wet this makes all the difference, in snow tough button up. Over lapping pieces at the joints, water proof shoes with thick/insulating soles, and a layering system will fix similar problems

    Ralph Burgess
    BPL Member


    If you want to try the option of trying to keep your feet dry, look at Inov-8 Roclite 286.   Designed for fell running in the UK,  they are as light and comfortable as trail runners, but ankle-high & GTX.  Perfect tread for sloppy conditions.

    They fit my foot perfectly – which means they have a wide forefoot but snug heel.

    I have done some running in these, and I’m planning to experiment with them in winter for snowshoeing.  At present, I use trail runners with the 40-below overboots for snowshoes, but that means if I need to take the snowshoes off in mixed conditions, I have to strip down to just the trail runners.   The Roclites should be equally comfortable with the snowshoes on, and if I have to take the snoeshoes off I’m in something waterproof and ankle high, and they are good on snow.

    Jennifer Mitol


    Locale: In my dreams....

    It’s still hot as &%$! here in Austin, but I plan on really ramping up my trail running mileage this winter. I was thinking of trying the Altra neo-shell lone peaks (LOVE the lone peaks!), but I was looking at the roclites, too.

    Winters here are pretty wet and not cold enough to freeze – just cold enough to be that perfect miserable 32/rain (I’d MUCH prefer snow!). I never liked getting my feet wet in those conditions, because my toes just never, ever warmed up.

    Some nice suggestions on an old thread I’d forgotten about – thanks for bringing it back up!


    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Jennifer

    First off, you cannot keep your feet dry. Period, end of story, it’s all over. Even if you breadbag like mad, sweat will get you. Our socks come back damp in mid-winter after running for just 1 hour. Forget it. Anyhow, it’s not water that is a problem, it’s being warm that matters.

    The secret to being comfortable (having warm feet) is to keep your LEGS warm and to have your shoes fairly loose. If the blood flowing down your legs is warm and is not restricted by tight shoes, it will warm your feet. That’s it. (Unless you are standing around doing nothing, of course.)

    My left hand was much colder than my right hand when skiing. I took my wrist-watch off and my left hand warmed up fine. Beware restrictions on blood flow.


    Justin Baker
    BPL Member


    Locale: Santa Rosa, CA

    Waterproof socks like the rocky goretex socks over wool socks will keep your feet warm in the conditions you describe. Footwear with a very flexible sole also really works your foot muscles which keeps your feet warmer.

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