Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC, .
WHY do we need Goretex in leather boots?
I've been on the hunt for new hiking boots all summer long. I've been after two things actually:
1) Full leather hiking boots
2) Lighter hiking shoes
(So please don't let this be a debate about boots vs shoes, because I have my uses for both, and I am having an equally difficult time finding shoes that fit and don't hurt, and boots that fit and don't hurt).
I've been to MEC, Valhalla, REI, 3 Vets, and AJ Brooks, plus a few running-oriented stores; I've spent many hours and many days, tried on everything, sent clerks running back and forth, bought and returned several. I finally found the one pair of leather boots in Vancouver that kind of, sort of fit, as long as I change the insole, buy a whack of Dr. Scholl's products to grip, modify, hold down, cushion, etc etc etc., and learn a variety of new lacing techniques.
I am trying to convey that I don't have the luxury of saying, "Oh, I want this feature, but not that feature (ie goretex-lined)" because I just have to grab what fits and be grateful I'm not barefoot due to the lack of availability of something shaped for my foot.
Thus I am forced to accept goretex in my leather boots, even though I don't want it, because it's next to impossible to find them without, and even if I did, it would greatly narrow down the selection fit-wise.
My new boots are Meindl, as were my last two pairs. The difference is that these new ones have a goretex lining; they all do now. They are SOOOOOO uncomfortably hot!!! Feels as though my feet are in a furnace.
My question is WHY??? My last two pairs of Meindl boots were completely waterproof without the goretex. I waxed them of course, but my feet stayed completely dry as I waded through shallow streams, hiked in deep mud and sloshed through puddly intertidal zones on the West Coast Trail, snowshoed and went out in all kinds of weather. Other people had wet feet; mine were completely dry. And my feet were warm enough but not hot.
Also, the waterproofness and breathability of Goretex, even if its presence were warranted, cannot possibly last the lifetime of a leather boot that lasts a decade or more. Ever had a Goretex jacket that stayed waterproof for 12 years? Me neither. And jackets are easier to keep clean.
Now it seems non-Goretex leather boots are all but phased out, gone the way of the dodo bird.
I asked at one outdoor store why this is, and the response was that the Goretex liner protects the leather on the inside of the boot, which would otherwise become brittle and crack from the salt in your sweat. I call BS on this one, since I've never had that problem before. He said you can counteract the excessive sweat you produce with a Goretex liner using special socks. I say you can do one better and get rid of the Goretex. I did buy the socks and I like them, but they don't make your feet less hot.
I asked at another store and was told "marketing." Seems the general population is so impressed by the Goretex name that the boot manufacturers put it in because a boot without it just won't sell. "Oooh, has Goretex, must be good."
I find the latter explanation more plausible, though frustrating. I wrote to Meindl to implore them to return to making boots without Goretex, and said if they did I'd be first in line to buy. I never heard back.