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Hiking boot...waterproof or not?


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Boots vs shoes is kind of a personal thing, I've tried both prefer the boot for most situations, won't try to rationalize it. Having said, that I may pick up a pair of trail runners for an upcoming road trip this summer to have just in case I need them.

Leather, if kept up well and periodically treated, strikes a good balance between water resistance and breatheability. Unfortunately, its hard these days to find all leather boots that don't have a Goretex lining. Goretex has a stranglehold on footwear not unlike the Corn industry's stranglehold on the food industry.

I've used two all-leather upper, non Goretex boots for many years. One was an old (but new condition when I acquired them) pre-Goretex pair of Danner Mountain Lights, the other a very similar pair of Italian made Alico Tahoes. Both, so long as I took care of them, periodically cleaned them and applied water proofing- Nikwax worked quite well- proved to be very water resistant and yet breathed well. I rarely had problems with damp sweaty feet. On a couple of occasions with one of theses boots, for a deep creek crosssing, I took off my socks, removed the insoles and wore the boots through the stream. Wearing the boots again with dry socks and insoles, I hardly noticed that the boots were soaked and they dried out in short order. I'd be reluctant to do that with a Goretex boot.

Since then, I've switched to an all leather boot that I really like an all regards- Lowa Renegade GTX- except that the Goretex is clearly not as breathable. I've been having more issues with sweaty feet with these boots, though I've found a way to manage it. I haven't fully tested the water resistance of the new Lowas, but I anticipate it meeting my expectations. My work boots are Keen, with an all leather upper, quite similar to my old Danner hiking boots, and a Goretex lining, and in all but the heaviest rain or deep water (I work at water reclamation facility) do I need to don my rubber boots

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