- Nov 18, 2017 at 12:28 am #3502703
Seth DBPL Member
Needless to say winter is tough. Shorter days wet clothes and cold to mention a few things. I’m having a dilemma with my footwear. As of last winter I always camped with my 400g boots using vapor barriers and things to keep them as dry as possible. Waking up to a block of ice to put my feet into seems to be the norm for me. But I’m working on it.
Last weekend we hiked and it was between 10-20 degrees with a negative windchill. I used my la sportiva wildcat 3s with a heavy sock. Lots of water and ice but being conscious any wet shoe dryed pretty quick. But any colder/damper and that shoe sock combo wouldn’t of worked. There was no more room inside for anything.
I knew a hike with the dog today would be pretty muddy and wet. So I wore my go to Moab gtx. Mind you Moab ventilator and gtx has been my go to up untill trying trail runners last year. But man are they uncomfortable. I’m really done with them. Also though the la sportiva aare pretty tight.
So who uses a gtx or neo shell trail runner in the winter months. Hiking? Camping? What’s the lowest temp/worst conditions you’ll use them in? Micro spikes? Snowshoes? Winter camping in snow?
im thinking of switching over to a summer and winter pair of altras because the la sportiva only feels good on flat ground after long miles. Looking for info on any trail runner in winter, wide toe boxes and warmth in extreme cold. Not really interested in how you feel about your feet freezing off in running shoes in 3 feet of wet snow. Thank youNov 18, 2017 at 4:40 am #3502732
jared hBPL Member
What do you mean by extreme cold? Altra Neo Mids are nice for winter hiking in snow and slush, and have decent room for warm/thick socks. So far, low teens have been fine as long as i am moving, but a little sloppy for more technical terrain. GTX surround is really nice, but not sure it is used in a trail runner (love my La Sportiva Synthesis mids). Those are the most breathable WP shoes I have tried. Trail runners will never be that warm because they will have little if any insulation. Maybe try a warmer sock (WP, power stretch, expedition wool), and taller–keeping your shin warm can add a bit of warmth to your shoes. Between those two and my Salewa snow trainers, I have been into the single digits without issue, but cannot stop for too long without busting out my down booties or insulated over boots. Below zero and i am using mountaineering boots, but maybe you can push those further than me.Nov 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm #3502749
Seth DBPL Member
I would say extreme cold would be single digits and lower as it seems for atleast myself the wind and weather seems to cut through me more so colder then 10* compared to the teens.
Would that be the average that a trail runner shouldn’t be worn below 0*? Do you size up your winter trail runners to add layers or Is this counter productive and maybe finding a hiker with some more bulk for warmth Is a better move?Nov 19, 2017 at 7:50 am #3502875
jared hBPL Member
i have run in -15* in the Altras (and a few others), and hiked/snowshoed steep hills/mtns around there, but that is way too cold if I am just hiking flat/rolling terrain at a moderate pace. for this, 0* is probably pushing the limits in my lightweight hiking/trail runners, but doable. i do bring lightweight overboots with me when it gets this cold (some custom down ones that i can use moving or stationary…my winter savior), so could go lower, but i have warmer boots and do not want to risk frostbite.
i do prefer the Altra Lone Peaks for all but really technical stuff (no or poor rock plate, looser fit) and snowshoeing (i only use showshoes on steep terrain, and need a stiffer sole). La sportiva or Salewa is my go to for that type of hiking/climbing. Flat/rolling, Altras are great. And work with spikes (i love STABILicers…made in Maine, lots of models/applications).
Getting the most out of my Altras (or any shoe) has been trial and cold, cold error. A few things to maximize warmth: mid height is warmer…obviously; find some insulated insoles or footbed liners, and make sure you try your shoes on with them (big help); put a piece of foil under your insole, reflective side up (more noticeable cycling, but still beneficial with hiking shoes); try thicker wool/fleece socks (whatever fits, can boost warmth a good bit); and lightweight overboots (can be very warm depending on material). You can also try chemical warmers…hothands makes both toe and footbed warmers that are quite warm. I do not like to depend on them regularly, but I have used them the very few times I know I am exceeding the limits of my setup. And I almost always carry a pair for feet and hands in my emergency kit.
Other things you can do: start with warm feet; keep your core warm; keep your legs warm and protected from wind, especially shins (essential while cycling below in cold weather, some benefit hiking); if you plan on a long stop, bring chemical warmers, down booties, etc… to keep warm; stay hydrated; stay fueled (especially fatty foods, for me at least).
These things, in various combinations, have kept me warm in fairly cold temps. Like I said, I rarely push my hikers too low, but my cycling shoes (standard vented, uninsulated), snowshoe boots, summer weight mountaineering boots (Salewa Raven 2), and even my rock climbing shoes have been comfortable much colder than intended by boosting their warmth.
And I never ‘size up’ to just wear a thicker sock. When trying on any shoe, I wear whatever sock I plan to use with them (usually mid-weight wool), and adjust size based on activity (e.g. extra length for steep descents and kicking into ice/snow or narrower for climbing/scrambling). This is especially true with my Altras, which would get way too sloppy in the toe box and heel if I sized up. If I cannot get the warmth I need out of a lightweight shoe, even after boosting it with whatever tricks I can find, I would much rather get a different shoe/boot that fits well.
Last thing, a little off topic–in your original post, you asked about winter camping. I usually bring camp shoes for a few reasons (if I have time to wear them in camp): comfort; foot rest/recovery in a wider shoe; cleaning/drying my hikers; warmer shoe when stationary; ability to wear warmer socks. I use Salewa capsico insulated shoes. They are WP, primaloft insulated, slip on with a collapsible heel and laces, wide fitting, and decent tread for snow and ice. I have the low version, but them also come in a boot. If I don’t have time to walk around in them, I just stick with my down booties.Dec 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm #3505673
Mike MBPL Member
for running I’ve found any goretex trail runner (that fits well) combined with slightly thick (and taller) wool socks (Darn Tough full cushion) do the trick to ~ 0. Almost always combined with Microspikes or running snowshoes. This includes runs to 20-ish miles (3-6 hours depending on terrain and snow).
For all day snowshoeing, same shoes with 40 Below TR Light Energy over booties
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