The Vault Regulars

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Leaking boots?

I received a pair of Merrell Chameleon 5 mid fabric boots FOC almost a year ago to the day. I have been exceptionally pleased with them and i have used them continuously throughout the year.

During the year i have suffered Tendonitis and sore ankles and eventually went and got some advice about using Superfeet insoles. I bought the green option and have used them ever since.

My foot problems gradually reduced but it wasn’t long after that my Merrell boots started leaking. I just put it down to wear and tear and carried on wearing them regardless of having wet feet. I used them on this years TGO Challenge and didn’t have a single foot problem. They suit my feet and i can put up with wet feet.

However, i had a bit of a niggle in my mind that the hard edges of the superfeet insoles may have contributed to the membrane wear and caused the leakage. I couldn’t prove this of course without taking the boots apart.

Last week it all became clear. On a 10k local walk i felt my right boot was a bit loose and checking when i got home i found that the inner fabric of the boot had worn away, clean through, exactly along the edge of where the heel side of the superfeet insole touched. There is no doubt about it that although the superfeet have helped me physically they have drastically shortened the life of the waterproof membrane and now the boots themselves.

I did take a photo but with the problem being deep in the boot and the fabric is black the photo doesn’t do it justice.


blogpackinglight said...

Sand off the edges of the Superfeet? Expensive alternative is to get some Sidas Conformable insoles. They may cost, but they'll last forever and don't have sharp edges. I've used Superfeet in all my Salomons and not had a problem.

Alan Sloman said...

I've noticed in the past that my Custom-fit Superfeet do this to boot linings and so have always gone for leather boots with no linings. I think the advantages of the Superfeet outweigh the scuffing of the leather linings though.
Membranes in boots always fail in the end so I avoid them.

AlanR said...

Hi Robin, I haven't found the superfeet particularly sharp just tough and not pliable. I guess that in reality expecting a membrane to cope is asking too much in hindsight.
I will look into alternatives.

AlanR said...

Hi All, there are so many ways that boot membranes can be compromised it makes you wonder why they still make them. Maybe the wheel is on its last spoke and leather is coming back.

David said...

Gone back to leather uppers myself after problems with leaking in several pairs of fabric type boots (they just had the insole that came with the boots though). I still went for boots with a membrane - so far so good.

AlanR said...

What did you go for David?

GeoffC said...

Interesting, I never considered that edge as a source of wear from the inside. I've been using lined footwear for ages and the liner always fails before any other part of them, but I'm sure that's because in our case we often walked very footwear-hostile terrain where the laces/tongue area gets constantly ground down by little sharp plant tares, especially near the toes which is always where we first feel the ingress of water.
When my custom orthotics wore out I switched to off-the-peg Gaitway insoles which have been excellent so far.

AlanR said...

I have never seen Gaitway insoles. Where can I look at them Geoff?
On membrane boots the toe nails can be a big source of failure. I hear that Hanvag have a problem in this area yet to resolve.

GeoffC said...

I got mine from Shuropody. They have quite a few outlets, I got mine on Deansgate in Manchester. ( The staff seemed knowledgable and helpful. I use the 3/4-length ones.

AlanR said...

Thanks Geoff. Thats easy enough for me.

David said...

I got a pair of Meindl Kansas GTX Alan. Not sure how long they will last but had them since May and they have been well used already. I suspect they will start leaking soon as the last 3 pairs all leaked within around 2 to 6 months or so. At least with leather you can give them a good slathering of wax to put of the inevitable. I just use the rubbish insoles that come with the boots btw which incidentally are a poor fit and after what you said do wonder if poor fitting insoles have been the cause of my boots leaking in the past.

AlanR said...

They are nice boots David and I would be very upset if they leaked within 6 months. I think I would return them if they were mine. I wish boot manufacturers would provide decent fitting footbeds instead of the rubbish they all provide. The footbeds is just as important as the sole.

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