Monday, 29 March 2010

Waterpoof footwear and breathable fabrics

So, if Goretex and eVent are breathable does that mean when they are put in shoes they are just as breathable as in coats? Well, the membrane is as breathable but generally your feet will feel hotter than in a pair of non waterproof boots. The reason is quite simple, your feet generally get very hot and achy, especially after a long days walking and the boots do not have anywhere for the heat to go.

The only hole in your waterproof boots in filled with your foot and the hot air cannot escape from there. The waterproof membrane is breathable but there is soo many layers of padding, membrane, leather or fabric and plastic heel cups that its hard for the moisture vapour to escape.

So what are the best shoes to wear?

Well the first question we are asked is are these boots waterproof? Of course the boots which are waterproof are the ones which are less breathable than the ones which aren't. My recommendation is that if you need the guarantee that your feet stay dry then buy waterproof boots. Leather ones such as the Meindl Burma GTX are guaranteed waterproof and should you damage the Goretex in a few years time you can wax them with Sportwax or Nikwax and make them as waterproof as any other leather boot.

If you are going to a hot place and need some boots which are breathable (and want more support than sandals) then I suggest you a leather boot without a membrane or a lighter approach shoe such as a Merrell or Salomon.

Please let me know your experiences with boots.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Is eVent more breathable than Goretex?

eVent is the waterproof membrane which is rapidly gaining a cult following. It is being used by niche outdoor clothing brands who are looking for a product which is very breathable. British firms using eVent include Rab and Montane. You will never find a manufacturer using eVent and Gore-tex. Allegedly, WL Gore have exclusivity clauses to prevent a supplier using both. (I have heard of one company that uses both - any guesses?? Nike).

I have tried most jacket fabrics now and through testing I have found eVent to be the most breathable, waterproof fabric I have personally tried. My Rab Drillium jacket is so breathable that I am able to cycle in it. I am a cynical person and only ever cycle in pertex smocks or soft shell jackets, this is after some sweaty experiences in Paclite and other waterproof jackets. My eVent jacket has been great though. I keep wondering whether I am working hard enough in it as I cannot get any level of condensation to build up in it.

Some have criticised eVent's durability but we have not had an unusual level of returns on this fabric. In my opinion, and I am not a lab, eVent is far more breathable than Goretex Paclite. However, I am unable to notice any difference in the breathability between heavier eVent jackets such as a Rab Bergen jacket and GTX Proshell. I think this is that in the 3 layer jackets (those without a drop liner) I have worn have been when I have worn more layers and not had the membrane close to the skin as I have worn base/mid layers and the condensation level is therefore further away from me.

Another advantage of eVent shells is there comparativly low prices. You can buy a fully featured mountain jacket such as the Rab Latok Alpine for under £250.

Let me know your opinion

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


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