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Hiking Shoes- Waterproof vs. Non Waterproof

So I have a question about hiking shoes.  I currently own the Salomon Speed Cross III Trail Runners.  I LOVE them.  They are built to wear on a 10 mile trek fresh out of the box.  No break in time, no blisters.  The only thing I don't enjoy about these shoes is I chose to get Salomon's version of waterproof fabric (I don't believe it's Gore Tex but it still claims to be breathable).  Over the years, I have found that these waterproof shoes don't breathe, so my socks eventually get soaked even when it isn't raining.  AND when it does rain, like a full on down pour, my socks will get wet regardless. 

I don't think there really is such a thing as waterproof hiking shoes because my socks will get soaked when it's dry from sweat, or the rain will eventually seep through.  PLus, when it does rain and my shoes get soaked, they don't dry out completely overnight.  I'll still be hiking in wet shoes in the morning while my buddy's shoes are bone dry.

Does any one else have a similar experience? 

4 Replies

Hiking Shoes- Waterproof vs. Non Waterproof

I've never done a long hike (triple digits) but I've done several shorter ones.  I used to think big, supportive waterproof hiking boots were the way to go.  I got talked into a non waterproof (low cut, super light) trail runner though and have never looked back.  I really don't miss the "support" and have learned (as you have) that waterproof shoes aren't always waterproof but they're always heavy and they take FOREVER to dry.  My trail runners are always light, even wet, and they dry fast.  

Just my two cents, but the non waterproof  trail runners have me spoiled.

Happy trails!

Hiking Shoes- Waterproof vs. Non Waterproof



It sounds like we have similar experience.  I can't wait for my current Salomon Speed Cross Trail Runners to wear out....I'm 100% going to stick with the Speed Cross line but I won't be getting their "waterproof" version of it!

Hiking Shoes- Waterproof vs. Non Waterproof

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. This is a pretty big debate in the outdoor world - waterproof vs non-waterproof - Breathability in footwear (even with a great product like gore-tex) isn't great. Footwear gets dirty which tends to clog breathability even worse. When they do get wet, it's hard to dry them.... I am in the camp of "they are gonna get wet anyway, they might as well dry faster!" but it is a decision most people have to make for themselves. But your experience is right on the money. At the end of the day do what works for you. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hiking Shoes- Waterproof vs. Non Waterproof


Thanks for the input!  Makes me not feel as crazy knowing some other folks have the same mindset about the low cut trail runners!