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Thread: Gore-tex in leather boots

  1. #1
    Initiate Alex. Apparently.'s Avatar
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    After having been given a new pair of gore-tex lined leather boots, I started thinking (it's all-right, nothing serious has happened yet!). Ok, so gore-tex is waterproof and likes to claim it's breathable. Leather is waterproof and is not breathable? (Correct me if I am wrong).

    In a nutshell Leather is waterproof on it's own and less breathable than gore-tex so the membrane is just an expensive waste.

    (P.s. i have been walking in plain leather - no gore-tex - boots for a long time and have had dry feet all the time!)

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch Neil H's Avatar
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    Your are probably right about leather - as long as you treat it right and its thick enough. As for gore-tex in boots yep, i reckon its so the manufacturers can use all the different fabrics out there (such as thinner leathers to make the boot lighter) with more stitching across the boot, which are obvious weak points (apparently for a better fit) and still claim the boot is waterproof.


  3. #3
    ‹bermensch Neil H's Avatar
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    I had a pair of Scarpa's (made from virtually one piece of Nubuck) and they didnt have any waterproof lining, they lasted approx 4 years (and i wore them every day not just for the hills, including in the summer!) and i never got wet feet once, i only had to retire them because the vibram heels completly went. Them boots went everywhere, including up Coniston Old Man 3 times, and Great Gable 3 times!
    Suffice to say i have not yet been able to replace them. Either for comfort or toughness. Scarpa's current boots are rubbish and more like high heels than walking boots.



  4. #4
    ‹bermensch
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    Which Scarpas are rubbish and more like high heels?!

  5. #5
    Widdler jonjo's Avatar
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    Tiggered: I have to agree with you on the case for leather. I have used the same full grain leather boots for 14 dry years and am very wary about breathable membranes (Gore tex and tke like). I hate the idea of walking all day with sweaty feet. I do believe that a bit of TLC and Aqueous Nikwax go a long way to keeping us leather fetishists happy!

    Cheers!

  6. #6
    Initiate MarkyB's Avatar
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    Leather IS breathable (isn't breathable a crap word!) surely!?

    Maybe not with an inch thick coating of grease on the outside but that is by the by.

    I have gore tex lined Meindls and non-goretex Scarpas - the Scarpas are heavier but apart from that I have dry feet in both.


  7. #7
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    leather is "breathable" because it isn't waterproof without treatment.
    a goretex lining allows manufacturers to make more "fashion" type boots with lots of stitching etc which means they can make them cheaper. a well designed one piece leather boot is expensive to make and isn't "fashion". just a well tried and tested design that works. leather only lets in water through seams (if it's allowed to) or through the leather when it becomes waterlogged. with modern boots such as scarpa sl's you would probably have to stand around in a deep puddle for a few days or even weeks before this would happen.

    i hate goretex lined footwear and in my opinion is only suitable for winter beacuse it is far too hot any other time of the year. they're good for weight freaks.

    plain leather boots with not too much stitching can be effectively "waterproofed" (that much hyped obsession) by using conditioning wax along the seams with it being melted into them with a hair dryer. of course, with some boots this may change the colour of the leather. if this bothers you then perhaps you need a hobby that doesn't involve quite so much mud.

  8. #8
    Initiate Alex. Apparently.'s Avatar
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    I see...

    why dont they just gore-tex tape the seams in the leather, save weight and money!

  9. #9
    Initiate MarkyB's Avatar
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    Tiggered,

    On a 'good' full or near full thickness leather boot that is not necessary.

    Membranes are often used to effectively waterproof boots made of much thinner leather. With the reduced thickness of the leather the waterproofing provided by the membrane is needed everywhere, not just on the seams.

    Membranes are effective in waterproofing fabric boots.

    I have no axe to grind for, or against, boots with membranes - I think it's a case of horses for courses. It's good to have a choice isn't it.

  10. #10
    ‹bermensch Neil H's Avatar
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    Marcus - I tried the Scarpa Delta's (in fact i still have them sitting in the back of the cupboard doing nothing, size 42 if anyones interested) and they were pathetic. There is no way i would go on the hills in them, the heel is too high which is dangerous becuase they are clumsy and they dont give, i tried breaking them in for 5 months and they just wont go, and the reason i suspect is because of the new style thicker vibram that scarpa put on them compared with the older boots they use to make.
    Everyone's different of course but i will not go on the hill in something i dont like just because it has a logo on it.

  11. #11
    Initiate MarkyB's Avatar
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    I have not tried the Delta Neil, it looks like a softer SL but with seams!?

    I have heard good reviews of it though, boots are such a personal piece of kit though you have to find something you like!

    I have always used Scarpas but my latest set of Meindl's seem so much more comfortable.

  12. #12
    Initiate Alex. Apparently.'s Avatar
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    yeah..

    what is thick and what is thin? I've been going on plain boring old issue assault boots for long time and they've been fine. They are about... ooeerr lemme see.... 4mm thick. My new ones are downstairs covered in cr*p so I can't be bothered to measure them! but i think they are same/thicker.

  13. #13
    Mini Goon Jan  Obdrzalek's Avatar
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    Just to add - Goretex allows manufacturers not only to use thinner leather, more seams, but also leather of lesser quality (you would be suprised by the difference a good leather can make, and there is only so much of really good leather available). I once had boots where the left one was significally more waterproof then the other, and the problem was definitely in leather, not the seams.

    On the other hand, if you are using wax on your boots (like I do) breathability is decreased to a level where there is no difference between having and not having a membrane in your boots. So I tend to buy the boot which fits, Goretex lining not being the main thing I look for.

    Justy one more thing, leather on "good and sturdy" leather+goretex boots is usually 2.2 - 2.8 mm thick, comparing to something like 4mm on traditional "one piece, one seam" leather boots.

  14. #14
    Goon Richie S's Avatar
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    Seems to me to be a way of making ya feet sweat and charging you more for it.
    Having said that it's handy for lightweight boots.

  15. #15
    ‹bermensch
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    Neil - I only ask because I've found high-end Scarpa boots to be extremely well made, still. I do have problems with some of the newer Vibram sole units - especially the ones they've used on the (Eastern European built) ZG65s, which are very slippy on wet rock (the boots are ideal for Peak bogs though).

    The other Scarpa boots I have (Freneys and last year's orange perils, the Pro Ascents) have excellent soles and faultless construction.

    Compared to what you could buy 15 years ago, I think modern boots are for the most part a massive improvement, especially in terms of weight and comfort. I'd agree that the main benefit in a waterproof membrane is that it should allow the boots to be lighter than traditional leather ones. I'd never wear them in summer though.

  16. #16
    Goon Windscale's Avatar
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    My non-full-on-extreme-lets-climb-some-frozen-waterfalls-winter boots are a pair of Zamberlain something or others with a Gore Tex liner. I've worn them in everything from hot summer days to cold is it ever going to stop raining days and I've found them very comfortable.

    Even on very hot days I've never found I had an issue with sweat build up. My only real worry is that one day I'll end up stepping in something too deep and then the waterproof liner will be a real pain in the bottom I expect!

    I don't know how lightweight they are but I think I may have in in a spreadsheet somewhere if it's really relevant.

  17. #17
    Ultra King ptc*'s Avatar
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    I've used both plain leather and gtx lined leather for years, lined is too warm in the better weather and the leather softens after repeated treatments and leaks after a while if you don't treat it, and thats 3.2mm full grain with the only seam at the heel.
    What I do now is wear my kevlar and gtx or leather and gtx in the winter, leather and gtx 3 seasons and fabric and gtx in the summer, no faffing with treatments.
    The last unlined boots I had were the buff coloured Lasportiva Makalus, I treated them with the non softening stuff from nikwax and got wet feet.
    For Scottish hills I'm afraid I can't see past a liner now, although I would like to try a pair of event lined boots to see if the breathability is better.
    Merino socks definitely help me too.

  18. #18
    Mini Goon Jan  Obdrzalek's Avatar
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    Just forgotten to add one big advatage of modern, more lightweight boots - almost non existent break-in time. Full grain, one piece leather boots take their time to break in.

    Stephen: Yes, boots with liner are a real pain once the water gets in. Well, that's life.

  19. #19
    Initiate MarkyB's Avatar
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    Tiggered.

    CABs are pretty poor boots, an improvement over CBHs alright but not much.

    If you are serious about wearing a uniform get a decent boot, look at Hanwag, Lundhag, Danner or similar. Don't be tempted into the Hitec Magnum camp.

  20. #20
    Initiate julian b's Avatar
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    Well ive been using Zamberlans hbs (non goretex) for donkeys years in all manner of weather and recently bought an updated pair of the same.Never get wet and are just good quality basic boot.Weight seems fine to me .

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