My previous Gore-Tex boots stayed waterproof for several years, until the soles wore out. My newer Gore-Tex boots are only about 18 months old and they already leak! What is your experience with durability? Also is there a good way to make them waterproof again? Silicone spray didn't work, and most other products seem to be mainly for leather (although some mention fabric boots too). I don't want to spend much, I might be better off buying new boots.
Loc: Northern Illinois, USA
Not sure about Gor-Tex but I have been using Thorogood logger boots for many years. They have kept my feet dry when trudging through deep snow for 6-7 hours a day on weekends with no complaints. They are made so they can be re-souled if you have a cobbler near you.
I think since the boots are constantly flexing in the same places, the W/B membrane wears out earlier than it would, say, in a jacket. I don't think there's any way to repair it, but you could add some water repellance with Nikwax for Fabric & Leather. Waterproof socks could be used to get some extra life out of them, although they're expensive.
My Keen Targhees lasted quite a few years, but were only used on backpacking trips and very occasionally at home. They eventually started leaking. I had several pairs of Lowa boots (Klondike and Renegade) that came apart before the Gore-Tex ever failed.
If you need them for snow camping, new boots are probably in order.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead
I agree that Gore-Tex boots don't seem to last as long as they used to. I think the main culpurit is shoes are being designed to be lighter and more flexible. As Bill mentioned above, you get flexing in single wear points that cause the waterproofing to break down. More flexible boots will wear quicker like that. I also agree with Bill that it would be difficult to truely reseal that type of failure.
Since this is a hiking forum I will give a shout out to the idea that many (most?) backpackers have given up on waterproof boots. I find lightweight breathable shoes work better for back packing. They let your feet breath. Waterproof boots don't (shouldn't!) let water in but they also don't let water out. If you are hiking long distances getting the sweat out of your shoes is more important for keeping your feet dry. Walking through water? Light weighter hikers dry quickly. If water gets over the lip of a water proof boot it is held in for the rest of the hike.
Obviously you do what works best for you, but I wanted to throw that out there if you hadn't thought of it before.
Actually I have switched to breathable trail runners for backpacking. My feet get wet from sweat on long hikes, so waterproof boots aren't very useful to me. But I still use waterproof boots for day hikes and dog walking. It is amazing how wet my feet get from dew on the grass, when walking the dog just after sunrise. :-)
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