Inov8 boot experiment – part one

This is not entirely your usual blog post, but I thought it would probably be worth sharing this experiment with everyone in one shape or form.

Firstly, a little background; about a year ago, I purchased some Inov8 Roclite 286 GTX boots for use on the Spine Challenger. These are very lightweight boots, really for all intents and purposes they’re just high-topped fell-running shoes, and as such I didn’t expect them to last all too long.

I’m pleased to say that structurally, in the main, they’ve held up pretty well, including a full recce of the Spine Challenger course (bar the last 15 miles from Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes), and 86 miles of the Spine challenger proper. However, Inov8 don’t make these anymore, so as a review this is pretty much useless…

The tread is pretty much in-tact, and the uppers look almost fresh, aside from a penny-sized abraded patch on the left arch. However, they’re not waterproof; every time anything mildly damp so much as looks at them, my feet are wet, and with an impending trip to Scotland, and a lack of pennies in the bank, I decided that the best option would be to look at creative methods of boot-reproofing.

So began a couple of days of thinking, and by Tuesday (11/04/17), I’d decided that the best option would probably be to order some water resistant breathable fabric from Pennine Fabrics (based in Bentham near Lancaster), and stick this to the inner.

As always happens with these things, I ended up discussing the issue with Stu Hamilton, of OMM event organisation fame, and he asked why I wasn’t just reproofing the outers.

“Well, because they’re light mesh fabric uppers, I can’t just polish them”

“Er, what about Greenland Wax?”

“Aye, good idea!”

So with a cheeky £8 fix presenting itself, I thought it couldn’t hurt to give it a bash. Later that day (yesterday at time of writing) I popped down to LD Mountain Centre in Newcastle, and, as well as enjoying a nice chat about running with the chap behind the till, I purchased a block of Fjallraven Greenland wax.

Another important piece of information is needed here – I’m currently studying for a PhD in physics and materials, and as such I have access to some rather useful lab equipment. In this instance, a large oven which had already been extensively used for dirty processing.

Securing the permission of the lab technician to use the oven for my slightly odd experiment; “you want to bake your boots? Er, ok”; I proceeded to dry them out from their washing in the morning, give them a good rubbing with my newly procured block of wax, and stick them back in at 57°C.

About 20 minutes later, I retrieved the boots. They don’t really look any different, indicating that the wax has been absorbed nicely into the outer fabric, and it’ll be time for rounds 2 and 3 tomorrow. Nice waxy Roclites.

It’s hoped that this will at least alleviate the wet-foot issue – I’ll let you all know as soon as I’m back from Scotland.


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