This is a preview of a member exclusive premium article.

How much water do popular lightweight backpacking shoes soak up, how quickly do they dry, and why should you care?

Adventure racer Isaac Wilson says in Backpacking Light print magazine Issue 3, "We've also looked at how our feet function best. Is it best to keep them dry, and then maybe sweat a little bit, or is it best to let them get wet, and dry naturally? And we've definitely found that drying naturally is better. Human skin is one of the most waterproof, breathable substances ever created. It's fantastic. If we allow our feet to do what they're supposed to do naturally, we end up with fewer blisters, fewer problems, less sweat buildup, and fewer sock issues."

John Vonhof, in his article, Hot and Bothered: Foot Care in the Heat, in the same issue, recommends breathable and fast-draining shoes, wicking socks, and various tricks of the trade to keep your feet healthy when hiking in hot weather.

The problem is that feet that are moist for a long time are more prone to blisters and things like athlete's foot. Even if you aren't fording creeks or walking through wet grass, quick drying shoes are important to foot health as, according to John Vonhof, "the most common cause of wet feet is perspiration." With these thoughts in mind, I set out to measure how well various shoes used for lightweight backpacking lose moisture weight during hiking (through draining, pump action, and evaporation) after they've been submerged underwater and thoroughly soaked.


  • Introduction
  • Shoes Tested
    • Salomon Tech Amphibians
    • Timberland Delerion Low with Gore-Tex XCR
    • Inov-8 Terroc
    • Inov-8 Flyroc
    • Montrail Hardrock
    • Timberland Delerion Pro
    • Inov-8 F-lite 300
  • Testing Method
  • Test Conditions
    • Table 1. Test Conditions
  • Shoe Drying Time Data
    • Table 2. Direct Comparison Data
  • Crunching the Data for Insight into Shoe Drying Properties
    • Figure 1. Water Weight Loss over Time
    • Table 3. Shoe Drying Rate
      • Observations Figure 1 and Table 3
    • Figure 2. Combined Shoe and Water Weight Loss over Time
      • Observations Figure 2
    • Figure 3. Water Weight as a Percent of Dry Weight
      • Observations Figure 3
  • Field Observations
  • Conclusions
    • The Details
  • Data Tables for Figures
    • Table 4. Left and Right Shoe Average Water Weight (oz), and Drying Rate
    • Table 5. Total Weight of Shoe and Water, Left and Right Shoes Averaged (oz)
    • Table 6. Water Weight as a Percent of Dry Weight, Left and Right Shoes

# WORDS: 3000

--- End of free preview ---
Member Exclusive

A Premium or Unlimited Membership* is required to view the rest of this article.


* A Basic Membership is required to view Member Q&A events