So, I'm somewhat conflicted on the topic. I generally prefer a well-made boot that uses one-piece leather construction, a design that's inherently water resistant, especially when the boot is well cared for and treated with a waterproofing agent like Nikwax. Better still is a boot with a true leather lining, something that's rare these days. Granted, this isn't to do with waterproofing but the boot's fita leather lining molds itself to the wearer's foot for a custom fit. Most boots today use Cambrelle, a fabric that works very well because it's comfortable right out of the box. The Baffin ($230; www.lowaboots.com), though, employs leather lining.
Having said that, I think that in areas where wet weather and minor stream crossings are a given, the Gore-Tex lining probably makes some sense. And some fine boots use it at a reasonable priceL.L. Bean's Cresta Leather Hikers, which have a Gore-Tex bootie, sell for the eminently reasonable price of $169.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →