Gore-Tex - Guaranteed to keep you dry!
A Gore-Tex shoe or boot is completely waterproof as high as the Gore membrane reaches up the shaft. Thanks to the distinct liner material used with the membrane, you can clearly see how high up the membrane is. All Gore-Tex membrane seams are sealed with special tools, making for a 100% waterproof joint. If you’ve used wellingtons in the past, you can definitely feel the difference when moving to a pair of Gore-Tex shoes: unlike in rubber boots, moisture from your skin has a route out, through the Gore-Tex membrane. It’s wise to always wear technical socks with Gore-Tex shoes to ensure the best possible moisture transfer rate.
Gore-Tex has a solid reputation as a result of years of hard work. Of all the membrane brands Gore-Tex has proven to be the most reliable one in frequent use and harsh conditions. With any shoe brand, Gore-Tex equipped shoes are always the top of the line. As using this particular membrane is an investment for shoe makers, they are highly motivated to make the best shoes possible. Gore also carries out extensive product testing. Whenever you see a product with a Gore-Tex logo, you can be sure the model has been thoroughly tested.
Surface? Membrane? What exactly is it? We often hear people referring to Gore-Tex as if it was a surface material, or even a surface treatment. In truth, footwear with Gore-Tex always has a surface material on top of the membrane. Only after the surface material has soaked through, does the membrane start fending off external moisture. Surface materials, be they leather or textile, carry a durable water repellency treatment, which helps the footwear breathe better. This treatment loses its strength over time but is easy to renew at home: Nikwax, for instance, makes excellent shoe care products.
Gore-Tex footwear is popular wherever terrain tends to be wet. In Alpine regions, for instance, things are usually drier than in the marshy forests of Finland or Sweden, or in the rainy British isles. The advantages of Gore-Tex boots over wellingtons are clear: they don’t make your feet sweat nearly as much, and they can be made to support your feet and ankles in a much better fashion. A solid hiking boot helps keep your ankles in check even in the rockiest of terrains, while carrying a heavy pack.
Gore-Tex membrane makes life easier in lighter footwear as well. Wet spring and fall conditions are no problem when you’re whizzing around in a pair of running or hiking Gore shoes.
A valuable tip for Gore-Tex shoe users: remember to keep your toenails short! Long toenails, especially ones that point a bit upwards, can sometimes damage the membrane by wearing through the liner material.
Generally Gore-Tex footwear demands little care. The membrane itself is maintenance-free. Surface materials on these shoes can, however use a bit of attention: it is wise to keep leather hiking shoes and boots well impregnated and an occasional application of Gore-Tex compatible shoe wax will keep them in good tick. For shoes with textile surfaces, just keep them clean and make sure to dry them after use in a place and position where they can dry fast. Never, however, keep shoes on heated floors. The continuous elevated temperature can wreak havoc on the mid sole.