June 21, 2017

Why You Need Waterproof Hiking Boots

There’s no need to let your feet suffer in wet hiking conditions. Opt for waterproof, breathable boots for a more enjoyable hike.

When I was just starting to hike, I never considered waterproof boots. That’s probably because I hiked close to home in Phoenix and hardly ever saw any bodies of water, let alone rain. Then, several years ago, I started expanding my hiking range and eventually moved to central Alaska, where the elements and landscapes were much more wild and unpredictable. Waterproof hiking boots became a no-brainer, and have since been my staple—and not just in “the last frontier.”

The following sections will explain why you should consider waterproof hiking boots, with tips for how to choose the right ones for you.

why you need waterproof hiking boots

Combat the elements with ease

Hiking through puddles isn’t exactly enjoyable if you end up with wet and cold feet, and can’t dry them until you finish your hike. With waterproof boots you don’t have to hesitate—just jump right in and splash around like you’re a kid again. We all know how fun that is.

Where there are puddles, there is rain. Whether it’s sprinkling or downright pouring, waterproof boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable. This is important, especially if you’re hiking in winter, as frostbite can pose a danger. In general, hiking with wet feet can quicken the onset of blisters. So keep those puppies dry!

Don’t let winter stop you from exploring the outdoors. Waterproof hiking boots are great in snowy conditions, too. Read on for boot suggestions for a variety of weather conditions.

You can wade through ankle-deep streams

Wearing waterproof footwear, you can confidently cross shallow streams or bogs. There’s no need to hop awkwardly from stone to stone, hoping you don’t miss—unless you find that fun. Just plow right through! Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry when submerged in water, as long as the water isn’t so deep that it’s pouring over the top of your boots. In that case, let’s hope you’ve brought gaiters, an alternate pair of creek-crossing shoes, or are willing to accept wet feet.

From personal experience, sometimes it feels as if my socks are getting wet when my boots are submerged in water, but it’s just because the water is cold. That cooling sensation often brings about an imagined feeling of dampness. I always find that if I take my shoes off to investigate, my socks are dry.

If you’re wondering what makes GORE-TEX® footwear waterproof, this explanation will give you a good idea.

Breathable, waterproof boot technology is advancing

The term “breathable” gets thrown around a lot when discussing outdoor footwear. Breathability refers to the boot’s ability to let water vapor from your sweat escape while preventing water from external elements from getting inside. If your feet feel clammy after a hike, then your boots probably aren’t very breathable.

When hiking, you don’t want waterproof boots unless they are also breathable. Imagine hiking in a pair of rubber boots: since rubber is a naturally waterproof material, your feet would not get wet from external sources. You could stand in a puddle for hours and no water would enter the shoes. However, rubber isn’t breathable at all, so your feet would become moist with sweat after hiking for a while. And nobody likes moist feet—or the word moist.

All GORE-TEX® boots are breathable in addition to being waterproof.

Waterproof boots are designed for every weather condition

There’s a lot of decision-making that goes into a hiking boots purchase. If you’ve decided on waterproof boots but don’t know where to go from there, the information below will define a few options, depending on the climate you’ll be hiking in most.

In 2014, GORE-TEX® footwear with SURROUND® product technology was introduced, providing all-around breathability for moderate or warm hiking conditions. If you don’t want to spend too much time looking into different waterproof technologies, GORE-TEX® SURROUND® footwear is a safe bet. Merrell’s Capra Venture Mid boots for women and men or The North Face’s Ultra GORE-TEX® SURROUND® Mid boots for women and men are two solid choices for active hikers.

 

Here’s a quick breakdown of other waterproof options:

GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear is best for warmer climates and a high activity level. For dry and cool feet, check out the Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX® Hiking Boots in men’s and women’s sizes.

GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort Footwear does the trick in moderate-to-cool hiking conditions or changing weather. La Sportiva’s Thunder III GTX® Boot for women and men is designed to keep feet dry and comfortable in a wide range of conditions.

GORE-TEX® Insulated Comfort Footwear is ideal in cold or snowy conditions. These boots have an insulated inner lining. For warm and dry feet, consider Lowa’s TRIDENT II GTX® boots for men or Ecco’s Torre Semi Mid GTX® boots for women.

Of course, waterproofness is not the only element to look for when choosing hiking boots. Check out this guide to choosing hiking boots for a rundown of all the features.

Why GORE-TEX® brand waterproof hiking boots? Because you can have more fun!

Simply put, waterproof and breathable hiking boots can allow you to have a more comfortable and fun experience outdoors. When you don’t have to worry about wet or clammy feet, it’s easier to stay present in the moment and enjoy your surroundings. I love being able to effortlessly hike through rain, mud, streams, snow, and other wet conditions when wearing my waterproof boots.

Once you’ve got your feet covered, make sure the rest of your body is protected. My beginner backpacking guide has a section about clothing that can help you choose your hiking attire, head to toe. If you’re just getting into hiking, check out these hiking tips for an introduction. Most importantly, get inspired, get outside, and have a good time!

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