Is the GORE-TEX waterproof guarantee real? We test the claim when Sue's feet get (very) wet

Wet feet while you are hiking?
Water squishing around in your boot when it's claimed they are waterproof?
Is GORE-TEX worth the additional cost when purchasing a hiking boot?

Sue gets new boots and great service because of the GORE-TEX guarantee.

We are a sceptical pair here at "Our Hiking Blog" and the concept of waterproof hiking boots has been high on our list of "urban myths". We have always accepted that our feet will get wet and have usually blamed it on water running down our legs into the boots or that the boots were, well, just not waterproof.

Don't get wet feet by [phil h]

Recently on Sue's solo Overland Track hike and Frank's Overland Track - what scenery? trip we both got wet feet, even though our hiking boots had GORE-TEX lining. This time, however, Sue had worn waterproof pants each day and these had been tucked over her boots, therefore the "water running down the leg" variable was excluded. She has great waterproof pants and her legs were always dry, even after walking several hours in the rain each day.

She arrived home complaining that she needed to buy new boots, even though her's where only 18 months old and still had a lot of life in them. We placed them in a sink full of water to check there was a weakness in the GORE-TEX lining, and yes, they leaked.

A few days later Frank's headed off to Tasmania and at the end of the hike there was a lot of discussion regarding wet feet. Everyone we had shared the huts with EXCEPT ONE had wet feet. This got Jono, one of the great crew we met along the way, a bit cross. Funny really, as his were the only dry feet in the group, but his partner Em's were very wet.

Jono subsequently emailed Frank with a link to GORE-TEK Customer service. He had contacted GORE-TEK and returned Em's boots for evaluation.

We discovered the :
The GORE-TEX® GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise - which is ......

If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness or breathability of our GORE-TEX® product then we will repair it, replace it or refund your purchase price.
We take this guarantee seriously. All GORE-TEX® garments and footwear — and only GORE-TEX® garments and footwear — carry the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise.
What does that mean? It means that no liquid from the outside will get inside to you. This includes moisture from wet grass you’re kneeling on to that sudden downpour you get caught in.

This claim sprang us into action and we returned Sue's boots to Snowgum. Sarah, the new manager in Geelong was fantastic. She sent the boots off to GORE-TEX for testing and within 10 days they had been assessed as faulty. Sarah then tried to source an identical pair of boots without success and as an alternative she offered Sue a credit note for the initial purchase cost! Sue then selected a current season boot and was given a great discount. The additional cash outlay was minimal!

So great customer service from Snowgum and GORE-TEX, new boots and two very satisfied customers. Now to sent Frank's off for evaluation, he did get wet feet wearing very expensive boots on his last hike.......


Ken said...

I have been to a talk by Gore and they do take the guarantee seriously. The material itself is very reliable, it is mainly problems caused by manufacturing which is paid by the manufacturer.

They also take their exclusion of products damaged by inappropriate use seriously. A lot of claims are for jackets worn while scrub bashing and these are rejected, as the leakage is due to damage by spikes etc.

Anonymous said...

So.. Did they test out okay?

Frank and Sue said...

Hi Ken,
Thanks for the comment. I agree, Gore do take their product very seriously and go to great lengths to ensure their product is used in the correct manner.

We had an issue with a Gore-Tex bushwalking jacket a few years ago, sent it off to them and they evaluated it. Recommended the correct cleaning process and all was solved.
btw, we have been able to look after our jackets really well since then. Basically gentle machine wash the jacket whan it is grubby and then throw it into the clothes drier on warm. The jacket cames out just like new. Simple and maintains the integrity of the fabric


Typh00n said...

I hike in Japan ( and am hanging up my trustworhty Timberland hiking boots for another pair. Since reading this blog, I have decided to go Goretex.

Thank you for the great article.