Cooler weather feet musings

Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by Shewie, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    After a bit of a damp and chilly trip to Wales last week I've been thinking about my feet routine on colder trips, not so much around deep winter but more the shoulder seasons when the weather can be changeable. Most of the year I wear a light trail shoe with ankle gaiters and do the wet feet thing, come October time I switch to a synthetic boot then full leather for winter. Watching the forecast for a few days I decided last week that my Salomon X Ultra Treks (full height synthetic boot with Goretex liner) would be a sensible choice for the ground conditions, my Welsh trekking experience is limited but I know the terrain is similar to the Lakes and there would be a mix of dry and wet trails with plenty of ankle deep bog off-piste and a good chance of wet snow on the higher ground, that's pretty much how it panned out.
    The Salomons have served me well since I got them last winter, two or three extended Cairngorms trips and plenty of Lakeland in between, they've been my go-to choice for shoulder season trips. The Carnedds last week gave them another good test, after a couple of days though the leather and fabric outers were saturated and then they became damp, not so much of an issue when walking but when it's getting on for dark at 4pm there's quite a lot of standing about in the evenings. As well as feeling cold and clammy the main issue for my boots was the large padded area above the ankle, it had basically turned into a sponge despite wearing my OR Croc gaiters, this then leaches into my trousers and base layers. The other two guys in the party were having similar damp or leaking issues afaik.

    Stupidly I have options at home which would've given me toasty dry feet in the evenings, but I'd looked at the forecast and didn't really think to pack anything extra for standing around camp or nightime excursions, my bad. My socks for the four day trip were ..
    • two pairs of Injinji liners
    • two pairs of Darn Tough crews
    • a pair of warm Bridgedales for bed
    What I should've done was either pack a pair of waterproof socks such as my Sealskinz or MOD mvp liners, packed some camp shoes (Vivo Ultras) or even a couple of bread bags, taking off soggy boots and socks at camp and then putting on a dry pair of camp socks with the liners/bags over the top.

    As an aside, I've just been messing with the 120g lay flat tubing I use for Instaflators, a two foot length twisted in the middle and slipped over the foot makes a nice strong two layer bootie, I'll try them next time I'm out but if anyone wants some let me know.

    So what are your footwear choices and routines this time of year when the nights are long and the feet are cold and wet, hotels and staying at home don't count :)
    Henry, OneBeardedWalker and Chiseller like this.
  2. edh

    edh Thru Hiker


    Pair of Dexshell for when in camp (for that hour wandering around wishing it did not get dark so quickly before retiring to cook and watch films).

    They do what is needed - don't need a separate camp shoe personally.

    I need to try longer walks in Dex/similar as always got on with other waterproof choices - though I note some on here suggesting the lack of stretch is an issue(?).

    Cascadias usually if cold and dry. GT mids otherwise. For week + trips I've yet to (re)make my mind up. Weekends don't really matter.
    Shewie likes this.
  3. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I hope the post hasn't already left I'd try some bags.
    Next time I'll pack my Gaiters and spare sealskins/Alpkit socks.
    My drymax socks helped a lot and the cheap tog bedsocks are the egg on my steak:thumbsup:
    I concur that under those particular conditions, a pair of camp shoes are worth they're weight.
    If you've to leave through the night to tighten sil shelters or why , sandwich bags don't cut it and cold wet boots arnt a pleasure....
    Ps. Picked a new pair of sealskinz up today. Just in case
    Shewie likes this.
  4. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    For more than one night out and in the expectation of cold + wet conditions I'd do the Sealskins and Vivo Ultras same as you.

    Wet trouser bottoms - uurgghhh :sick:. I revert to 'oldfashioned breeks' with long socks whilst walking - change to spare powerstretch leggins plus sealskins + vivos at camp.
    Yup, folks stare but I'm happier without a pile of cold wet fabric flapping around my ankles.
  5. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    On my PW treks (lots of bog!) I wore army goretex bootliners with thin socks or dexshell hiking socks with very thin liner socks. Result; wet boots but dry feet. The 'waterproof' sock would be damp but I dried/aired these every night. I don't take camp shoes as I simply haven't found the right pair yet. Sometimes I wear gaiters as well.
    I sleep in dry/clean 'spare' socks.

    Have I been lucky? Maybe.
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  6. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I slept with my damp/wet sealskinz inside my pile trousers...woke up with dry toasty sealskinz :thumbsup:
    Shewie likes this.
  7. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    My Scarpa Marmolada's struggle a bit when it's wet snow (typical for suede). That was properly wet snow, in near 100% humidity...... nothing was drying very quickly. Coupled with the fact I'd forgotten to don gaiters when leaving the car, the trews bottoms were getting soaked from the blown snow and the wet wicked into the ankle and wet out the boot inner. The cloud and fog finished the boot wetting job.

    I take Croc copies and a change of socks for most trips; It was a pair of Heatholders inside this weekend. I can't stand wet footwear all night anymore, it brings on immersion foot for me quite quickly.
  8. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    I bought some heatholders for sleeping as well but haven't used them yet. Always wear dry socks at night inside my down bag.
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  9. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

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  10. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Nokkian Finntrim bog - trotting wellies -

    built on a walking last... Lighter than leather boots.

    100% waterproof - excepting the large hole in the top, of course :cautious:

    (Silvermans best priced UK supplier that I know of )

    Can happily do a weeks walking , or more in them..
    Good grip, on steep muddy paths too.

    Why skirt round puddless, when you can stomp on through ?? :)

    But dexshell are a comfy alternative to wear in yr trail shoes - over - and also keeping dry - your lovely darn tough, knee high florals underneath.:inlove:

    Agree with Cathy re 3/4 lengths of some description .

    Although it's not beyond the wit of woman to roll up full length trews, to calf height, when necessary. :geek:

    Plastic bags, over dry socks, inside wet trail shoes, in camp... Not such a sweet, and stylish option .but it's OK.

    And of course dry socks in bed...
    Who puts wet socks in their sb?? :eek:
    Shewie likes this.
  11. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    Damp socks in a synthetic bags works well.
    rikdon likes this.
  12. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Dexshell keep my feet warm and dry in wet Cascadias - but unfortunately not in speedcross as they don't have the soft mesh. My dexshell also work over liners if needed. Luckily bog is rare wherevI hike but snow and flooded areas from snowmelt are common.
    No problem with wet trouser legs as I rarely ever walk without trouser legs rolled up (I don't get cold below knees as long as walk). I roll them down for breaks when cold.
    The flat tubing sounds intriguing....
  13. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Mmm, it will dry them off a bit, yes, but it's not very nice for your feet to have to sleep in them though.

    But I guess needs must, sometimes.
  14. benp1

    benp1 Summit Camper

    I don't like taking spare shoes, nor socks for the evening. I have socks (sometimes heatholders) for the night but don't want to get them wet in wet shoes, so tend to just sit around in wet socks and shoes till bedtime

    Most of my trips are bikepacking so i'm limited on space. I've found bags sometimes let the damp through still (e.g. subway bags or breadbags), could it be when standing in them the hydrostatic head forces the water through? I'd love to find a GOOD long, narrow bag I could put my foot into. That would be worth the weight for me. I have waterproof socks but pointless carrying those for the evening only, the outer gets wet and I just have to carry them around
    Shewie likes this.
  15. shetland_breeder

    shetland_breeder Ultralighter

    As others have said - non-'waterproof' shoes and waterproof socks - Sealskins or Dexshell according to taste, with or without thin merino liners. Then a pair of warm fluffy sleep socks carried solely for that purpose.

    Feet will be (should be) warm and dry in the morning. Damp waterproof socks and liners on the last thing before you set out.
    Shewie likes this.
  16. Meadows

    Meadows Section Hiker

    I always have dry socks for bed. I take breadbags/placcy bags in the summer and seslskinz for the rest of the year.
    Shewie likes this.
  17. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    For really cold or wet weather, when putting on wet socks could lead to a cold injury or they just won't dry naturally, putting a pair over a hot Nalgene works very well. They can obviously smell a bit funky, but better than getting frostnip or worse.

    For winter Arctic travel, when a cold injury with wet socks is just about guranteed, I dry my socks by my chest overnight, as it's the warmest place with the best airflow.
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  18. maddogs

    maddogs Trail Blazer

    What kind of dexshell sock are folks using? I've not come across them before and there's a bewildering array on their website

    Are they notably different from SealSkinz? I have a couple of pairs of SealSkinz for mtbing and always find them cold and damp after a couple of hours; either from sweat, or from water wicking up and over the cuff then down the inside.
  19. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Aldi. Got mine for £7/pair last time. They let water in after a few wears/hours and take eons to dry...... so, just the same as Sealskinz. :biggrin:
    maddogs likes this.
  20. MyHatGandhi

    MyHatGandhi Summit Camper

    If they all eventually let water in, thus becoming cold and damp, wouldn't it be better to concentrate on a couple of layers of warm socks just to keep feet as warm as possible?

    Last March I wore two layers of light xsocks in the snow (wasn't pleasant) so I'm activity considering waterproof, but it seems a bit pointless if the end result is the same.

    Unless I'm missing something else? :)
  21. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    You could well be right. :)

    Everyone is different though, and we all have different levels of circulation and acclimation, different footwear fit, levels of foot swelling, different footwear materials and designs.

    Primarliy, our feet are kept warm by our blood flow. If this warming blood is impeded in it's flow by constriction, feet get colder Ergo, the basics for keeping feet warm are to have toe 'wiggle' room and not cram feet into tight footwear. An extra pair of socks can be very effective, they can also constrict blood flow and actually make feet colder than wearing a single pair that allows the blood to keep flowing.

    Assuming we have minimised constriction, it's good to then look at reducing conduction of heat to the cold floor. This is best done by ensuring the footwear keeps a layer of trapped still air against the skin of the foot. Sealskinz et al., can be an effective way of achieving this, as can a humble plastic bag over socks(bread bags etc)

    My biggest gripe with waterproof socks is that they eventually let water in...couple with the fact they take ages to dry and when wet, are much less effective, they become more 'wet pack ballast' than sock.

    So, using the very warmest sock system you can get, that keeps your feet the driest and doesn't impede blood flow is the ultimate way to keep warm feet. Easier said than done though. :)
  22. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I don't rate waterproof socks for doing any mileage in as the membrane gets knackered too quickly, but plenty of others get on fine with them, I use them once I've stopped for the day, if I remember to pack them.

    Either ankle length light Sealskinz for wet trail shoes, or longer heavier Sealskinz or MOD mvp socks for boots in the cooler months.

    I've just picked up a pair of Rab VB socks in the black Friday sales, I'll see how they go for winter camping
    Teepee likes this.
  23. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Not seen those before. They could be good. I wish there was a sock like my trusty RBH Vaprthrms that had the seams sealed in some way, they would be the ultimate. The Vaprthrms eventually let water in through the seams.
  24. MyHatGandhi

    MyHatGandhi Summit Camper

    Brill. I think I'll try the ankle waterproof sock solution for camp, and warm socks for hiking.

    Seems like a good method.
  25. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker


    I used to wear dunlop work-wellies with decent insoles for treeplanting, always warm and dry feet, in the end you can't beat footwear like that, only downfall is the weight.

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