Author Topic: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane  (Read 1199 times)

El Principe

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Hello all

I recently had an epiphany: boots with a waterproof membrane are TERRIBLE for regular wear. Why? Because the damn membrane invariably fails well before the end of the life of the boot (at least, in my experience).

This leaves you with a boot with a useless membrane, which runs hotter, and doesn't do its job of keeping water out.

I still keep a waterproof boot in my gear arsenal (gore-tex only), but only wear it when I NEED protection from significant wet and rain.

For all other use, a non-membrane boot is a better choice.

I don't usually ask for gear recommendations, since doing research is part of the fun, but literally EVERY walking boot out there features some kind of membrane (and not to mention many of those goretex knockoffs are bad).

I confess I recently tried the Timberland Euro Hiker Sensorflex - and the leather is actually AMAZING and does a brilliant job of keeping water out - but unfortunately it doesn't feel like a true hiker boot. It's a touch too soft and lacks grip.

Therefore, if anyone can recommend a non-membrane boot, preferably in brown nubuck leather, that would be amazing.

Thank you.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #1 on: 05:54:08, 22/08/19 »
There is a version of the Scarpa Delta that does not have a Goretex lining. There is also a Goretex lined version. I was looking at this for myself, as I donít see the point of a waterproof liner for leather boots. Unfortunately, Scarpa boots are now too narrow for my feet, despite me wearing an older line for many years. Either my feet have spread, or Scarpa are making narrower boots.

kinkyboots

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #2 on: 07:01:29, 22/08/19 »
The Meindl Borneo 2 MFS is probably the most well known boot on the market which has a leather lining and no membrane. It's oiled nubuck and needs regular waxing to maintain the waterproofing.

The Hanwag Tatra II is another option worth considering. It's brushed nubuck and is available in both Goretex and leather lined versions in 3 width fittings.

The Oboz Sawtooth Mid is another unlined boot worth considering and is available in both unlined and B-Dry lined versions. It's a brushed nubuck/fabric combination boot.

I would not personally recommend brushed nubuck unless you intend to wax it as brushed nubuck is very difficult and time consuming to maintain and keep looking good. In my experience the waterproofing sprays available for use on brushed nubuck only work for a very short time before the boots need spraying again.

If most of your walking is low level the Altberg Defender military boot (regularly available on eBay) is another unlined boot worth considering (it has a fast drying Cambrelle lining) but it's a full leather boot not nubuck. It has limited ankle support which is why I suggest it's only suitable for low level walking.

As always the bottom line is that regardless of what you might like and how deep your pockets are at the end of the day it's what fits your feet that matters.

Pitboot

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #3 on: 07:54:52, 22/08/19 »
Another recommendation for Hanwag Tatra II. They are very comfortable boots, the best I've had for many years.
If I should fall to rise no more,
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Over the hills and far away.

Ridge

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #4 on: 08:32:25, 22/08/19 »
I have the Meindl Borneos. I find them very comfortable but you may hate them. I bought them purely because I wanted a non-lined leather boot.
I've had them for a long time now and they have never let water in. I wax them when I get home any time that they have got significantly rained on, but they have handled 5 continuous days rain without failing.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

El Principe

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #5 on: 18:13:45, 23/08/19 »

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I love the look of the Meindl Borneos - exactly the style I'm looking for, complete with the rubber rand around the edge.

I have the Meindl Borneos. I find them very comfortable but you may hate them.

Why would I hate them? I notice they have that traditional "low to the ground" midsole - how does the cushioning hold up?

The price is quite steep, I'm holding out for something more in the £100-£150 range which matches my criteria, since I'm not really a serious walker (my sport is running, but I like to get out on walks on off-days/weekends).

As far as waxing goes, I won't touch anything that is not SMOOTH LEATHER with wax, i.e. suede, nubuck or even "full grain" leather. It wrecks the texture and cosmetic, and I'm also skeptical about the effects on its durability/performance.

The alternative is to use a spray for conditioning and treating non-smooth leather. There are very few, in fact perhaps only one, designed for this: Saphir Medaille D'Or Suede and Nubuck Renovateur Spray. This contains oils and waxes that condition the leather, add water-repellency, and will not alter texture. You can then follow up with Saphir's own DWR spray (Saphir Invulner) or a performance DWR spray. I use the latter for performance boots: Fibertec Shoe Guard Pro-X.


You can use this system for both gore-tex and non-goretex, non-smooth, leather boots.


Hope this helps

kinkyboots

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #6 on: 20:04:39, 23/08/19 »
The price is quite steep, I'm holding out for something more in the £100-£150 range which matches my criteria.

If that's the case you are likely to be either very disappointed as you will almost certainly not find any or have an extremely long wait and be extremely lucky to stumble across a shop which is either closing down or disposing of stock at reduced prices in your size.

The only boots which are full leather with no waterproof lining which are currently manufactured by any company have already been posted above. To my knowledge no more options exist and the prices of those that do are unlikely to come down any time soon. Your budget limit of £150 is too low for the specification you are looking for and from what I can see needs increasing to around £175+.

Secondhand hardly worn models via eBay etc. is possibly an option worth considering to get down within your budget range?

Mel

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #7 on: 21:26:37, 23/08/19 »

Here you go El Principe - a non-lined leather walking boot


As a "non-serious" walker, these would be perfect.  Plus, there's no need to use £13+ waterproofing spray on them, you can just use regular shoe polish.


Saved you a fortune?


You're welcome  O0



No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.co.uk/

Ridge

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #8 on: 22:54:09, 23/08/19 »
Why would I hate them?
I only said MAY hate them. I just meant that what is wonderfully comfortable for me may not be right for your feet.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

wobblyknees

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #9 on: 22:57:45, 23/08/19 »
but literally EVERY walking boot out there features some kind of membrane


Not true. Nearly all of the major reputable brands offer a choice of lined and unlined hard grained leather boots.
Our household has a mixture of both and we have never noticed a difference in waterproofing provided they are kept well waxed. We usually use either mink oil or Meindl Sports Wax (not together).
Most of my lined boots are so old, the lining has decomposed and my big toe has worn a hole through it. They are still waterproof.

kinkyboots

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #10 on: 09:25:24, 24/08/19 »
Nearly all of the major reputable brands offer a choice of lined and unlined hard grained leather boots.

That's just not true and I hate to disagree but no they definitely don't and haven't done so for many years.

It appears that since competitors to Gore-tex's waterproof liners became more widely available the outdoor footwear industry collectively decided without any consultation which I'm aware of that we all need and must have waterproof liners in our full leather boots regardless of whether we want them or not and they have pretty much gradually all but done away with any models which don't have waterproof liners in them.

I look forward to seeing your list of unlined full leather boots from "reputable" brands which are still currently available.

I'd really like to be proved wrong but other than maybe a couple of obscure examples I'm pretty confident that there won't be any more to add to the list below.

Meindl Borneo 2 MFS
Hanwag Tatra II
Scarpa Delta Leather (end of line with very few still remaining in odd sizes around the country)
Scarpa SL Active (3-4 season crampon compatible)
Altberg Defender military boot (low level walking only)

lostme1

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #11 on: 19:34:48, 24/08/19 »
I was looking for this a few years ago all the boots I found, as Kinkyboots list, were heavier than I wanted for the walking I do. Why do manufacturers insist on imposing boots on us.
Years ago I had scarpa leather boots without wateproof lining and I had never had a problem with water ingress. Now my feet are hotter in boots with a waterproof lining and also damper with perspiration.
These boots are made for walking.... so long as the rest of my body agrees

wobblyknees

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #12 on: 11:21:03, 26/08/19 »
That's just not true and I hate to disagree but no they definitely don't and haven't done so for many years.


My apologies. I was totally unaware that that change had come about. It's a good few years since I bought hard leather boots.

kinkyboots

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #13 on: 12:17:21, 26/08/19 »
My apologies. I was totally unaware that that change had come about. It's a good few years since I bought hard leather boots.

Absolutely no apology is required.

It's more a matter of the list of available full leather boots without a waterproof liner being correct for anybody else who might stumble across this thread looking for info.

Judging by the rate at which full leather boots without a waterproof liner seem to be vanishing from the market it may not be too long before this type of boot is gone forever.

Why do manufacturers insist on imposing boots on us.

Like you I'm certain that there's a ready market for high quality full leather boots without waterproof liners and I'm surprised that more manufacturers haven't spotted this obvious growing gap in the market and taken full advantage of it.

Having said that I'm equally sure that most manufacturers will base their manufacturing decisions purely on sales numbers and profit margins and I think that you can ultimately lay the blame at the door of the marketing departments who have somehow managed to convince the vast majority of their customers that waterproof liners are a "must have" essential feature.

wobblyknees

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Re: Leather walking boots WITHOUT a waterproof membrane
« Reply #14 on: 22:53:17, 26/08/19 »
I have no more unlined boots to add to your list, kinkyboots. I had a quick scan of Lowa and Altberg websites. It's remarkable how the choice in unlined boots has almost disappeared. I suspect manufacturers are generally using thinner leathers and relying on the lining to provide more waterproofing.