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Light Frankenboots

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  • Light Frankenboots

    I did Whiteface and Esther on Oct 27th. There was 4-6 inches of snow from the top of Marble Mountain up and a fair bit of ice. I started with my Pearl Izumi N3 Trail with microspikes in my pack. I never ended up putting the spikes on. I was more careful than I would have with spikes, but it was manageable. Of course after 4 hours of this my feet got wet from snow melting through. After
    all they're just mesh trail shoes. But it made me think that I'd like to hike in trail shoes even in the winter.

    So I hacked together an older pair of Patagonia Forefunners, some sharpened sheet metal screws to try it first, a pair of Vaude waterproof cycling gaiters and sleeves from an old down jacket I was keeping for projects. And that's how my frankenboots were born.

    The bottom components of the gaiters were cut and I glued it around the sole with aquaseal. Covered the edge of the fabric and a bit higher with shoe goo as a wear surface. Very simply repurposed the sleeves of an old 600fp down jacket to make crude removable 3oz down liners for the boots. Although the gaiters are waterproof, there is still a velcro at the back which is not, so I applied a DWR coating on the down liners. These will obviously be used with VBL socks.

    The whole affair ends up at 15.5 oz per boot for a size 12 . That's a 22 oz savings per foot over my Asolo 535s with Kahtoola microspikes. From a metabolic cost standpoint it's the equivalent of taking over 10 pounds off my pack!

    If all works fine I'll swap the screws for 1/2 inch kold kutter or holiday ice racing studs for better traction and durability.

  • #2
    I admire the creativity. Please update us on how they work.
    Adopt a natural resource. Give back.

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    • #3
      Did Wright, Algonquin and Iroquois today with these. They did a very good job at keeping my feet totally dry. Bite on ice is totally insufficient going up unless flat footed and barely ok going down. I need spikes on the ball of my foot and I'll go with longer atv ice studs. One very pleasant surprise though is the absolutely sublime traction on wet rocks both up and down. I've never felt anything like it. I could go much steeper than any hiking shoe I've had, even on dry rocks. I think the pattern of screws I used makes it so that the rubber still contacts and sticks with a good sized patch, and the screws give that additional bite you need to keep the rubber from starting to slip when it's steep. I will seriously consider adding screws to my trail runners for slide climbing.

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      • #4
        A bit of a re-invention of climbing boots from bygone days, no? If "hobnail" and "tricouni" are unfamiliar words, prepare to have them rock your world:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobnail
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricouni

        ​... and they go back to Roman times with spiked sandals: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligae

        ​Good luck with your experimentation!
        Looking for Views!

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        • #5
          There's a man in Wisconsin that makes specialty screws for this exact purpose. They have spikes on the screwhead to bite into the ice. I'll try to remember his name.

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          • Natlife
            Natlife commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm aware of Icespikes that are specifically marketed for that. But on looking at pictures of them I realized that they are pretty much justs like 1/2 inch Kold Kutter or Holliday ice racing screws. The MF44 screws also look interesting.

          • t.farrell
            t.farrell commented
            Editing a comment
            They're better than ice spikes (they actually had a spike and not just some crap duck bill). It's just some dude not a 'company.' Wish I could remember...

            Most outdoor shoe brands have at least one model with tungsten carbide spikes...but then that's another pair of shoes to buy.

        • #6
          Originally posted by Natlife View Post
          ....... I will seriously consider adding screws to my trail runners for slide climbing.
          Dont do that instead buy rock shoes or approach shoes, the right tool for the right job.

          8000m 0/14

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          • Natlife
            Natlife commented
            Editing a comment
            It's only ever the right tool until someone comes up with a better one. Seriously not sure about approach shoes though, they're scary on wet rock.

          • nangaparbat
            nangaparbat commented
            Editing a comment
            If you want to use something that was used in the early 20 th century and now was discarded because rubber sole give more purchase and do not scrape rock, Your choice.

          • Natlife
            Natlife commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm not exactly rocking Mallory's boots here, but ok. We could talk about this till we're blue in the face, but in the end, feet dont lie. I encourage everyone to experiment and draw their own conclusions. Happy hiking!

        • #7
          Used these coupled with gaiters for Marcy yesterday. I was only wearing Stephenson fuzzy stuff VBL socks. The down liners were way too warm and I removed them mid hike. It felt great hopping down the mountain in light footwear as if it was summertime, even better with the snow smoothing things out! Going down from the Phelps trail junction up Marcy to the HPIC parking took me 2h45 over 6.7 miles. And I wore snowshoes (albeit light ones at 2.5 pounds for the pair) for half the distance all the way down to the Phelps Mountain trail (That's confusing but it's two different trails).

          For those that switched from leather boots to trail runners for summer hiking, the feeling going to these boots is exactly the same. I love them and I already bought a pair of lighter runners for version two. I'll use Nike Fly Knit 3.0 which I'm going to grind the sole flat and aquaseal glue to a pair of slightly larger vibram soled icers extreme, leaving a gap for the insulating liner to go all the way down to the rubber sole and using a better and higher gaiter with a storm proof front zipper)

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          • #8
            Very I nteresting! Just curious if you take a pair of back ups with you the first time in the little monsters turn on their creator.
            "...he went because he felt the call of the wilderness, a call ever irresistible to him in whose veins flows the blood of the explorer." Warren W. Hart

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            • Natlife
              Natlife commented
              Editing a comment
              On this model there is not much that can go wrong. There is no way the fabric is ungluing from the EVA side of the sole. Mcnett aquaseal is amazing. Maybe poking a hole through the fabric, but it's really tough gaiter material. Worst case I end up with regular trail runners, which I know I can manage without issues for 2-3 hours when wet in single digits. If I get cold I just run harder and pray I dont break a leg

              Honestly I would love shoe manufacturers to build something like this. A super light trail boot with removable insulation that is comfortable from 40 to -40.

          • #9
            Aditionally this winter I did Street and Nye, an overnight in the single digits (thank god for vbl socks!) with 14 miles of snowshoeing and also Marshall with these. I still love them.

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