Ski trip footwear - inexpensive options.

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
3,991
439
Lancashire
I might have asked something similar last year but I ran out of time to sort it so I made do. In the end temperatures soared to +4°C.

This xmas/ new year's ski trip is to Sweden and a little further north at Are. I'm expecting colder conditions say -15C. So need something better for my footwear.

Last year I used Salomon mids with very thick and warm socks. Obviously very slippery on snow and ice. Using the car winter compound tyre idea I'm looking at getting proper winter boots. Trouble is I'm unlikely to use them outside of winter ski trips. Need cheaper options.

I don't like snow boot looks. I cannot justify £100 + for 6 days in real snow per year. Is there any cheaper option? Something I could wear in the uk too? I'm thinking something that could pass for normal boots then i can wear about town I'm UK winter.

We're going to be mostly skiing possibly with a bit of walking about the town. It's not for walking in the countryside.

I am tall, 87kg with narrow size 9.5 feet. As such I break dance on the smallest patch of snow! So I am looking for something not like the Sorel moon boot style with lower half out of rubber. Something looking like hiking boots, either Salomon x ultra style fabric boots or modern street style such as I believe high tops. What do swedish people wear in winter in such resorts?

So anyone got any recommendations?
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,116
426
Canada
Sorels are OK for what you are after ... general sloping about. Kodiaks, too, but you can get by perfectly well with Muck boots or Grubs. Vibram soled, neoprene wellies for everyday use, with much warmer options available too ... but be aware, the insulated options are for the really really cold and will melt your bones in the summer ... or even UK winter
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,249
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If you find your chosen footwear slippery on ice and compacted snow, you can buy a kind on strap-on studded contraption. Some cover a larger area of the sole, most are just a studded wide ( 3 cm?) strip.
Most elderly people wear them to avoid slipping and breaking the hip. Very useful!
Loads of designs, some look like you are going to climb K2, but most people have something like below.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
3,991
439
Lancashire
Tbh I'm more worried about grip. Vibram soles aren't much better than contagrip soles on the boots I have. Last year I struggled in Norway with them in resort.

I know there's softer rubber compounds available that's made for cold. Salomon do them but I'm not that impressed with them. Sorels obviously will have this winter rubber. Really don't like them. Vanity I guess, but I really don't want a wellie look or something half rubber, half leather like most sorel pac boots.

I know of a good ski retailer that does apres ski / snow boots but there's very little about sole compound.

Btw I know from experience how much of a difference compound makes. A few years back when the lakes has a long, cold winter for the area I walked twice down the same track off the hills over two weekends. First with winter boots and no cramping, second with fell shoes and no crampons. First time I was slow and slipping over all the way down the hill for over an hour. Second time in the soft compound fell shoes I was able to walk normally down the hill without slipping and took half an hour or less. A revelation!

It's that difference in grip but with street shoes if you like. The swedish must use something better than just summer boots with good lugs for mixed UK terrain in spring to autumn use. In Norway last year I saw locals in what looked like high top trainer style footwear. Normal street footwear but grippier. Anyone know what that could be?
 

baggins

Full Member
Apr 20, 2005
1,347
131
45
Coventry (and up trees)
I've not tried it, but there is a school of thought in recent years that wearing a pair of over sized regular hiking boots (with space for extra socks or a felt liner) can work well. As long as the boots allow plenty of circulation and are still a good fit, i can guess that, in conjuction with gaiters, they should work well.
As i said, i've not tried it, but the theory seems sound.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,249
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Recent years? Nah, age old. My winter boots are two sizes larger than the summer ones. Space for a thick insole, extra thick woolen over socks, and still soace for movement.
The Winter Pro's, the Saame, their traditional winter 'beak boots' are very oversize, to have space for the insulating grass.

To be frank, gaiters are not needed, if the footwear are half high or calf high. No need to walk in deep snow, pavements nd paths are well cleared or compacted!

My winter footwear, all through my life, had either a lugged ( Vibram or Vibram looking) hard rubber sole, or a waffled soft rubber ( latex) sole. Slippery.
Also had a cool retro boot, with leather soles and metal hobnails. Not slippery.

Now, this may sound stupid, but it is the walking technique that is more important than the sole. You need to step down firmly. It is something you learn from childhood.
Many tourists stem gingerly to avoid slipping, and do just that!

But do not trust the guy that lives in sunny Caribbean...
Send a PM to member SGL70, he lives up there......:)
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
3,991
439
Lancashire
So is the soft, winter rubber grip real or spin? Car tyres there's a real effect with winter compound.

Or is it simply sole grip pattern? I wore Salomon x ultra mids lined with thick socks. Warm enough but despite aggressive and deep grip pattern it slipped. Locals in Norway last year seemed to have relatively little grip pattern on their boots. I figured the compound of rubber was the reason they didn't slip. Their boots weren't even much higher cuff than my boots. Btw Salomon claim the contagrip sole is equivalent to vibram.

Btw when we were in Norway it was warmer than normal. Minus 4C rising to plus 4C. Snow was compacted mostly and town had layers of compacted snow/ ice with lots of gravel. It was the thin patches that were most slippy due to freeze thaw. Unusually warm so I doubt Sweden this xmas will be like that.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
3,991
439
Lancashire
I trust you Janne. Where you are now doesn't mean what you learnt growing up in Sweden and visiting Norway irrelevant. I'm just trying to understand. British don't do cold well. We just don't get enough of it. Unfortunately.

I wish I'd grown up in Sweden. My grandad was Michigan born and bred not far from the Canadian border. Winters were cold there. Dig yourself out of the house snow. Drain cars of all liquids or light a fire under it cold in some winters. Every street had someone with a big truck and snow plough to look after themselves. It's hard to imagine that in Lancashire.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,249
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I joked! :)

It is difficult to transmit skills you got from childhood. Difficult to verbalise something we take for 'normal, standard' .


We had the problem with our son, when we took him to Sweden skiing for the 1:st time. In fact, we went to Are!

Hopefully it will be cold ( below freezing) as watery slush is hell.
If it is nice and cold, it is dry. As you do not plan to do any crazy stuff with your family, you can in fact buy some cheap, oversize boots or shoes, and wear several layers of socks.
The main thing is you can wiggle your toes. You and wife will be fine, but you need to be vigilant with the little one. They do not understand the danger of losing the feeling in fingers, toes, ears and nose.
And if your child is like our son, he will not listen either!
Him crying when the feeling is coming back could be heard aver the whole county!
Yep, he was building a snow man, and plainly refused to listen to dad and mum!

One footwear I used to wear a lot when I lived in the Arctic was the Converse canvas shoe, ankle high. Around 3 sizes to big.
The sole was not so slippery.
My best shoes were Bally, the model with the zip in the rear .Very stylish. But expensive, and the Latex sole dissolved in spilled petrol or diesel.
Be happy you live in the mild British climate. Gentler on your body!
( and you have pubs! And fantastic Ales and Bitters!!!!!!)
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
3,991
439
Lancashire
And those ales don't cost £10+ per pint!

As I live near the lakes I'm doubly blessed. It's possibly got the best pubs in the country! Even the increased popularity and visiting southerners haven't meant all the good pubs became bistro pubs. There's too many that have made that overpriced change for my liking. I'm thinking of you Drunken Duck!

I'm grateful mid week I'm in a mild country due to the commute. But come weekends I wish we had colder winters. We get slush for the coldest days of the year at worst. Lakes is nice though with their snow.

Colder climes you don't really get wet. On our few cold winters I've experienced the lakes cold enough you could roll in the snow, get up and stay dry just by brushing off the snow like dry dust. There's a reason my grandad's town had houses with open verandas. In winter you go into them and brush the snow off before going inside.

Two colleagues went on a business trip to Florida for a conference. Then they had to divide to see two customers quickly. One in Texas but the other Calgary. Since it was winter the senior guy got Texas. The other guy went to Calgary mid winter with only a business suit for warmth. He told me that snow was blowing down the street like dust it was so dry. Locals wore jeans in three country and leather jackets that were rare warm. They had the right clothing. Also verandas and covered shop entrances to allow snow to be brushed off so you keep dry inside too.

Btw I once went from a very warm February in the UK to gothenburg and sub zero. Business suit, shoes and only shirt with summer suit for warmth. Must have looked like idiots by the locals who were all wrapped up. Strangely I never felt that cold.

I now pay more attention to temperatures and weather conditions. Good kit keeps you warm.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,116
426
Canada
Things have changed over time. But, for fishing now they sell waders with boots on the end, or socks (Simms, Patagonia etc). Socks are for putting into boots specially designed for walking around in rivers. Slippery is not a problem for them boots. Usually they have little aliminium spikes. Sometimes I think some leisure clothing areas are just miles ahead of others.

(That said, I tried a boron rod the other day, and I kind of made a disapproving farting noise)
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,119
1,279
McBride, BC
Some 68 of my 73 years have been spent with snowy winters.
Look at the tread pattern on Sorels. They are designed and built like that for a reason.
Maybe you can find something similar in cheaper foot wear.
Mostly, our snow is like flour or sugar. Not at all wet.
Just brush it off like sand. Done.

Back into my house, just stamp your feet and take off your snow boots.
The snow melts on my floor and adds much needed humidity to the dry air.
No big deal = it dries up. Every winter is the same.

Ice is ice and damn slippery on any continent.
Fall and break an arm or a hip and you will soon wish you spent a little more for safety.
Even a badly sprained wrist will break your stride for weeks to come.

I wear snowmobile boots if I feel the least bit concerned for my stability.
The tread pattern is a field of star-shaped lugs.
Take off my socks and jump in barefoot. Off I go in -20C.

I really did consider add-on cables or spikes but never got around to buying them.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
3,991
439
Lancashire
Last year I wore hiking boots a half size bigger for thicker socks. Worked for temperature but being Salomon boots their sole isn't very good on compacted snow or ice, even melting compacted snow was iffy. Decent, deep tread but useless in the cold. Summer tyre effect perhaps?

There was a period when Haglofs became a popular outdoor brand in the UK. At about the same time another swedish company called Icebugs started distribution deal in the uk. They were trail shoes and boots with different models for use in different seasons. Better winter rubber with or without carbide spikes. The spikes on some models could be removed for tarmac use when not needed. Others the spikes could retract into the sole when hitting a rock. Before I could get the cash together they stopped selling in the UK and I couldn't find anywhere selling them into the UK from Sweden. That was a decade or more ago. They were designed for running in obviously since swedish people obviously don't hide away when the snow comes like a lot of UK people.