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I live in the wet Northeast and go up/down scree, bouldering, and am above treeline a lot. We have snow from September until May. There was still snow in some valleys last week. My position on boots has evolved radically in the last few years. (Although I am female, I live on a farm, so boots are a thing.) I wear steel-toe, steel shank short cowboy boots for logging, sawing, fencing. I would not want to walk a long distance in them – they are too heavy and they don’t lace on, so they can’t be unlaced. They are excellent protection for heavy farm work. I grew up wearing regularly sno-sealed, all-leather boots for anything recreational outdoors – think Vasque Sundowner. Fewer seams mean they have a physical barrier to water. I’ve worn rub spots in the leather on bad hikes. They are heavy. They are (nearly) indestructible. I’ve worn out a few pairs, but they are tough and take a lot of miles. But when I wore out my last pair, I decided to give those newfangled trail running shoes a shot. I cannot believe how light trail running shoes are. For a stream crossing, they dry out. Worst case, they dry out overnight. Remember, water higher than the top of your boot/shoe will go in. My leather boots sometimes took days to dry which meant putting on wet boots in the morning (ugh). I haven’t missed the ankle protection, even when wedging my foot between rocks and clanking my ankle into things. For Winter running on road (slush), I had been using a pair of Innov8 Rocklites (goretex lined). Since trail runners were such fun in the Summer, I started wearing them in the Winter too. Last Winter, I switched to winter trail Hokas. The Hokas don’t dry out as fast as the Solomons, but they keep a bit more off my toes too.  I add gaiters for more snow protection. When it gets really cold (5F or below), I add overshoes for extra insulation. I can add crampons to my overshoes too. They are amazing. Nothing beats overshoes for Winter warmth. Since they go over my existing shoes, I don’t have to worry about fit and comfort. I may never hike in boots again. Seriously.

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I live in the wet Northeast and go up/down scree, bouldering, and am above treeline a lot. We have snow from September until May. There was still snow in some valleys last week. My position on boots has evolved radically in the last few years. (Although I am female, I live on a farm, so boots are a thing.) I wear steel-toe, steel shank short cowboy boots for logging, sawing, fencing. I would not want to walk a long distance in them – they are too heavy and they don’t lace on, so they can’t be unlaced. They are excellent protection for heavy farm work. I grew up wearing regularly sno-sealed, all-leather boots for anything recreational outdoors – think Vasque Sundowner. Fewer seams mean they have a physical barrier to water. I’ve worn rub spots in the leather on bad hikes. They are heavy. They are (nearly) indestructible. I’ve worn out a few pairs, but they are tough and take a lot of miles. But when I wore out my last pair, I decided to give those newfangled trail running shoes a shot. I cannot believe how light trail running shoes are. For a stream crossing, they dry out. Worst case, they dry out overnight. Remember, water higher than the top of your boot/shoe will go in. My leather boots sometimes took days to dry which meant putting on wet boots in the morning (ugh). I haven’t missed the ankle protection, even when wedging my foot between rocks and clanking my ankle into things. For Winter running on road (slush), I had been using a pair of Innov8 Rocklites (goretex lined). Since trail runners were such fun in the Summer, I started wearing them in the Winter too. Last Winter, I switched to winter trail Hokas. The Hokas don’t dry out as fast as the Solomons, but they keep a bit more off my toes too.  I add gaiters for more snow protection. When it gets really cold (5F or below), I add overshoes for extra insulation. I can add crampons to my overshoes too. They are amazing. Nothing beats overshoes for Winter warmth. Since they go over my existing shoes, I don’t have to worry about fit and comfort. I may never hike in boots again. Seriously.