I put this report in a separate blog post because I think it’s a big deal. Not because of the boot, which is really just a simplified TLT-6 made from Pebax instead of Grilamid (same shell as Dynafit Neo), but because of the liner. For years, various ski touring boot companies have been working on the sweaty foot problem. Solutions seem to usually involve making the liner with a Gore-tex interior sock that helps moisture from warm moist feet end up outside the comfort area and in the liner foam next to the shell. In other words, (the claim is) when you dry your liners they’re wet on the outside instead of the inside (and of course need to be removed from the shell to dry quickly).
So what’s the problem? Why don’t all ski touring boots have these “dry” liners? In my view the challenges are many. For starters, the modern dry liner needs to respond to thermo molding. Yet at the same time it has to be exactly the right foam to move moisture from your foot, through a membrane, then “breathed” out into the exterior liner foam. Getting all those ingredients to work together is tricky.
Interestingly, back in the early 1980s the red Dynafit touring boot (made famous as the first boot to be manufactured with tech fittings) had a Goretex liner that actually provided a bit of function in keeping your feet dry. It was a wimpy, non-molding liner that wore out quickly. But I remember it well and how comfortable my feet were in terms of swamp action, despite the fact that many people found the boot super difficult to fit.
In any case, we’re excited about this technology (something like it is offered by Scott as well, and we’ve not done enough testing yet to have a good take) and we’ll get a pair of these boots into a “swamp foot” testing situation just as soon as the injection molding mills of Montebelluna allow.
Regarding the name of the boot, it alludes to the fact that guides spend max hours in their boots and problems with foot moisture run the gamut from cold feet to actual medical disorders such as immersion foot.
The wet question is of course can we swap this liner into other boot shells we might like better? I’d imagine that’s physically easy, but no word yet on if the liners will be readily available in retail. No idea yet on MSRP but availability will begin during fall of 2015-2016.
Following is the official spiel, edited for clarity and brevity:
Ski touring specialist DYNAFIT in partnership with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) has developed a new ski boot, the Winter Guide GTX®. Thanks to an intelligent liner, this boot will keep feet dry and warm… Big innovation (here at WildSnow we agree) with Winter Guide GTX® is the liner. A layer of GORE-TEX® membrane allows moisture to escape through ventilation perforations to the surface of the liner. Besides the moisture control and the quality of the liner, the Winter Guide GTX® offers a long list of other features that are characteristic of Dynafit boots. The Pebax shell with its Flex Tongue Design enables unique cuff rotation as good downhill flex (Wildsnow: always the challenge with tongue boots). The Ultra Lock Closure System 2.0 allows quick transitions between walk and ski modes with one flick… (WildSnow: I’m not sure how important the following is, but no reason not to clarify) Certain Dynafit products are developed together with the IFMGA mountain guides as a partnership, and have an integrated IFMGA (IVBV) “tested and approved” logo at retail — as does the Winter Guide GTX®.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.
Thanks for all the great info!
With my clear see-thru PU plastic alpine boots I noticed a whole bunch of moisture between the plastic and liner on a day when I wasn’t skiing thru a bunch of pow so where did all that moisture come from which made me wonder if moisture gets into the boot from condensation ?
From your feet. Your feet transpire moisture in huge quantites.
Goretex works by moving water vapour from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. So when you’re skinning wind and airflow remove the water vapour from the air outside your jacket, and maintains the concentration gradient that keeps the Goretex shifting moisture from the inside to the outside.
With a Goretex ski boot liner the plastic boot shell will hold the moisture vapour in the gap between the inner and shell. The air outside the membrane will become saturated and the Goretex will stop ‘breathing’.
I think I’ll save my money for some of those Superlight 2.0 bindings.
Like Steve I find it hard to believe that it will make much difference when the moisture is still trapped by an impermeable plastic shell. Perhaps a bit of moisture will be wicked up to the exposed bit of the liner at the top of the cuff.
If you suffer from sweaty feet perhaps using anti-antiperspirant on them would help.
gotta chime in the same thing as much as I do suffer from swamp foot. Maybe I need to trash my RAB eVent latok shell that is in great condition for whatever this year’s flavor of waterproof breathable is but while there has been great progress from rubber yellow rain slickers it is a game of diminishing returns it seems at this point, $400 per iota of improvement of tech. I’m fit and not a sasquatch but if I’m going uphill I’m going to sweat. Hard shells are better than they were but they’re no soft shell. unless there is a fan or vent that brings fresh, dry air into a boot…
I use a high quality .5mil plastic bags like you’d find in whole foods produce section (not the wimpy green-tinged bags though). Frankly those do a great job.. liner sock + bag.. dry liners, feet don’t trench after a full day. problem solved.
Good comments you guys. The only way to know if this works will be to test it. In my opinion it’ll work to one degree or another, as I’ve already experienced the “dry liner” effect with the ancient Dynafit liners I refer to in the blog post. The main thing to remember is that the moisture is transferred out from your foot as vapor, then is supposed to condense in the outside liner foam and in the space between shell and liner. At the same time, the movement of your liner in the shell is supposed to have a bit of a pumping effect to help freshen up the air so the process can continue. I’ll work on getting my hands on some of these, as well as the Scott liner. The test will be incredibly easy. Just put a regular liner in one boot and the “dry” liner in the other. Note any difference at end of day. Lou
What about a perforated shell?
I’ve never had much of a problem with this…but a friend of mine solved it by fashioning a footbed with silica gel. He put it between two layers of felt and then stitched it together. Worked great!
I have some regular old goretex socks that i use of wet coast summer hiking. From what I understand having the goretex closer to the heat source allows more effective vapor transmission through the membrane? Might as well try some different sock layering + goretex socks to see if there’s another way to slice this pie. Will report on findings. Won’t spare the liners from getting moist but might save the feet. 🙂
I liked the Gore-tex liners in the old TLT4 boots, but my feet didn’t stay dry. Keep expectations low, and they might be exceeded :).
swissiphic has the clue why they might work. To drive moisture through goretex there has to be a vapour pressure gradient. Even if both inside and outside the membrane is 100% saturated there will still be a vapour pressure difference if the inside is warm and the outside is cold. However the moisture has to go somewhere – it will condense on the cold shell so the outside of the liner will get pretty soggy (and eventually if it wets out the goretex then it will stop working).
On a cold day I wonder if you might end up with liners hard frozen to the shells!
Ventilating through a Pebax shell defies reality. Does this come from the same genius who came up with the (short lived) binding vibration dampner switch?
The new Salomon touring boot (Mountain LAB or whatever it’s called) appears to have some venting on the shell over the forefoot, and the Maestrale RS has metal mesh vents on the upper rear of the cuff, so it looks like boot makers are toying with a couple ways to deal with wet feet. I’m skeptical about all of these (boot vents and gore-tex), but hopefully someone figures out something.
Stewart, good point, but nobody is saying the Pebax needs to breath. The idea is the liner still gets wet, only it gets wet on the OUTSIDE of the Gore-tex layer, with your foot dryer on the inside. No way this will result in totally dry feet as your sweat has to evaporate first to transpire through the Goretex, but I’ve tested similar configurations over the years and I’m sure it’ll work to some extent. The question is if it’ll work to the extent of being something we’ll all want… Like I said, incredibly easy to test. Lou
Never mind the liner, I’m more interested in the shell. Would a TLT6 made out of pebax be easier to punch than one made out of grilamid? How would the flex and weight compare? I’m in the One now but would love to go to a softer boot with a shorter BSL that can be worked easily by a bootfitter to the extent that I need it. BTW, I’m splitboarding in them so I don’t fit neatly with the typical skier needs.
Simple solution to the issue of moisture trapped by the shell – drill plenty of holes. The weight saving will also reduce the magnitude of sweating!
Jason, are you under the impression that Grilamid is difficult to punch? It’s super easy to work with, way easier than Pebax. Lou
@Andy: The MTN Lab has a fabric overlay in the shell closure area, but I think its purpose is waterproofing, not breathing. It skis really well, though.
What about a pack that ends swamp back? I hate that clammy feeling I get from my pack.
Nothing on this post for about 11 months. Any new thoughts out there? I have a pair of older Dynafit ZZeus boots which I love! Except – sweaty, wet feet. No matter the temperature, despite intuition liners, custom footbeds, antiperspirant – day’s end my liners are wet on the inside, outside, and even sometimes some snow (?frozen sweat?). I’ve put duct tape over the front (like we used to do with the old Lange boots). Really interesting comments above – totally agree with the GoreTex gradient, and at some point, without any air movement, you get 100% saturation.
Thanks for any comments – sweaty me!!
Hey Jamie – I’ve not toured in the Guide. Looks nice enough – but swamp foot is not a real problem for me – or rather, it isn’t anymore. At the risk of stating the obvious: have you considered that perhaps you are too hot generally? I see this all the time. I’d go so far as to say that if you are sweaty up top – you are dressed too warmly. A lot of the guys on here love to bag on the tight Euro-Look, but after fighting it for many years after moving over here -I’m a convert now. Even non-racers really build up a lot of heat going uphill and a dedicated touring outfit can really make a diffference. I rarely go out with anything more than a softshell windbreaker really and some softshell pants. I’m lightly dressed. For comparision – this is the kind of clothing I might wear on the porch on a summer night! I do have a puffy – but that is only for the top and the way down.
In addition – I swear by merino underwear and socks. That’s made all the difference for me – and I never have this problem anymore. That stuff is expensive, I know, but it works, and it does not stink. I can wear one or two pairs for a week or more on hut trips. I know this sounds gross – but no one notices, and I am comfortable, and have much less to carry to boot.
Maybe this will help you? IMO – if you are sweaty when you get to the top (normal, recreational touring, not racing) then you are probably too warmly dressed – or wrapped in non breathable clothing. (Gore-Tex – as good as it is, cannot compete with a nice softshell in this regard.)
Maybe it’ll help you….
Good points Wookie, first step is indeed controlling body heat. I see guys here uphilling in t-shirts on fairly cold days, they have it going on! Wool socks help, and once of the basics for guys with foot moisture problems is to simply carry a dry pair of socks and put them on mid-day during a lunch stop. The breathing boot liners do make a difference, but not as much as one would think because of the plastic boot shell.
I’ve got sympathy for Jamie, as my feet sweat like crazy in just about any situation. For example, while traveling I have to wear mesh shoes or I get very uncomfortable very quickly.
As a test, I often drive to the trailhead in my ski boots. The sweat is indeed a problem in that scenario, only way to mitigate is to leave the boots very loosely buckled and be sure the floor heat it turned off!
P.S., I’ll try to get going with some testing of the Winter Guide liner. This one did slip through the cracks over the past months due to our hectic pace here. Lou
On mornings when I’m anticipating firm conditions, I like to put my crampons on at home. I find it saves time at the trail head. I’m told this is unsafe but I also wear my helmet so I figure it’s a wash. (I’m kidding. Driving with a helmet on could impair your hearing.)
This is an interesting take on a liner.
In my experience, the more breathable something is, the colder the garment (in this case liner) is. In the context of feet, where they sweat no matter what, I would say a closed cell liner is the key to warmth, as it creates that swamp environment which is just wet and warm. The same concept applies to vapor barrier socks, since none of the moisture can escape, there’s little evaporative heat loss. Not to mention everything but a liner sock being bone dry after a tour!
The idea of keeping your body dry and sweat free is obvious, as you can layer up and down as needed, but with feet, you can’t adjust your layering at all once youre on the tour. This is why the closed cell liners as so important, as they keep that microclimate around your foot warm. All I see the gore tex liner doing is keeping your feet a little dryer and being substantially less warm.
I would think these liners would be best suited as a complement to an Intuition liner, these gore tex ones for spring touring where you are actually trying to keep your feet cool instead of warm, and the Intuitions for normal winter use/big mountain use.
I am looking at the purchase of a pair guides from gentleman in Bozeman, Mt. He claims to be a 10-10.5 foot sizes 27.5 and he says they are too small. I am a 9 – 9.5 27 and I am wondering if they will fit me. Does the Guide run big?
Little help out there….anyone…anyone?
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