Wearing waterproof shoes and clothing can feel life-changing in wet and cold conditions. When it comes to shoes, waterproofing, functionality, and comfort are the three most vital features to look for.
Luckily, Gore-Tex has been a pioneer in making waterproof membranes since they invented expanded polytetrafluoroethylene in 1969. But, if you need a men's Gore-Tex shoes alternative brand with even better features we have the perfect one for you: Vessi.
Let us tell you why.
A Brief History Of Gore-Tex
Before we can discuss why Vessi should be an alternative brand you consider, we should first talk about what Gore-Tex is and how it came to be.
The Gore-Tex brand was launched in 1958 in Newark, Delaware, by Bill and Vieve Gore. Bill wanted to explore an untapped potential that was polymer polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and use it to make better fabrics with superior weathering capabilities and durability.
In 1969, his son experimented on and discovered the expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, which they would later call ePTFE. The material turned out to have the best features, including low water absorption. As a result, the company soon registered its ePTFE patent and set out on a journey of industry-changing waterproofing technologies. So successful they were that NASA commissioned them to create the suits astronauts wore during the 1981 moon exploration mission.
In the company's early years, they concentrated on making waterproof fabrics and inventing new technologies. Things like coming up with the GORE-SEAM® tape to seal jackets to make them fully waterproof. In 2010, the company introduced their Gore-Tex Surround Footwear technology and started offering waterproof and breathable shoes. Something that was a quite an impossible match before.
Today, Gore-Tex shoes offer breathable and flexible uppers for the best fit. They also feature ventilation on the side-soles that allow even more breathability by letting out moisture and heat. While you can find some of the best waterproof footwear options out there, these shoes often need great care to maintain their waterproof abilities.
Pros of Men's Gore-Tex Shoes
From a reputable brand trusted by NASA
Lightweight and breathable
Rigorously tested before being sold
Waterproofing technology wears off with time
The Best Alternative for Gore-Tex Waterproof Shoes: Vessi
While Gore-Tex is a solid and effective fabric for shoes and jackets it comes with limits. For instance, the Gore-Tex shoes need a lot of care and frequent cleaning to preserve the waterproofing. Which is probably not something you want to worry about all the time. This is why Vessi shoes are likely better suited for your needs.
Firstly, all Vessi shoes are waterproof. But, unlike the Gore-Tex technology Vessi uses their patented Dyma-Tex and Dyma-Wool technologies for waterproofing. This membrane is waterproof not because of harsh chemicals but because of how the knit is woven in the first place. It has tiny pores large enough to allow air and moisture to escape and encourage breathability but small enough to prevent water from entering. At the same time, because the waterproofing is woven into the knitting you don't have to keep them clear for that to work.
As a brand, Vessi is also passionate about climate change and sustainability. So, besides working with factories with a low carbon footprint, the brand also sources vegan materials to use in manufacturing.
Vessi shoes, manufactured and sold by the company, may offer better quality consistency, unlike Gore-Tex shoes. With Gore-Tex, you will find different brands using different upper materials that could affect the membrane's durability. With Vessi, the company also designs the most suitable upper fabric to go with the membrane, making the brand a better alternative to men's Gore-Tex shoes since the waterproof membrane will not puncture or wear out with time.
Pros of Vessi Shoes
Rubber soles and a herringbone grip for stability and traction
Made with waterproof Dyma-Tex technology
Sizing can be a little tricky
Best Vessi Shoes for Men
If you find yourself on the search for high-quality sneakers Vessi shoes are your best option. They are all waterproof and stylish so you know you have the best pair for your needs.
If looking for new, stylish footwear, you have many reasons to purchase these Vessi Chelsea boots. They're constructed using a 4-way stretchy knit plus a white rubber sole with the best grip for different surfaces. The upper also features the company's Dyma-Tex waterproof membrane, so you are guaranteed to stay dry and warm all day.
Another prominent feature of these boots is their easy on and off design thanks to the vegan leather pull-tabs placed for convenient wearing. Once on, the boot fits nicely around your foot, while the high traction rubber soles are lightweight and provide cushioning. The boot also features a firm heel counter which is ideal for maximum support.
If you're on the Vessi site be sure to grab the Weekend Sneaker if you want to keep your feet dry all year round. These shoes also feature the brand's Dyma-Tex waterproof membrane integrated into the upper fabric.
In addition to being 100% waterproof, they also come with a flexible rubber sole with an effective pattern for the best grip on slippery surfaces. A lace-up design also ensures you get the best fit while being breathable and stylish. The best part? They're machine washable.
If you need a shoe for those adventurous days, these Everyday sneakers are a great option. They are waterproof, lightweight, breathable, and have the best soles to keep you moving without any strain.
Using the company's Dyma-Tex waterproof membrane on breathable and flexible uppers, you're guaranteed to enjoy dry and warm feet when navigating wet grass or puddles. In addition, the shoe comes with an improved midsole designed to arrest landing impact, while larger rubber zones on the outsoles offer abrasion resistance. A herringbone grip on the outsole also aids your grip on any surface.
Living in the city means you don't necessarily need bulky winter boots when the wet weather comes. But, that depends on what alternative shoes you have available. If you choose these Vessi Cityscape sneakers, you'll be covered when walking on city streets without slipping or getting your feet wet. These sneakers come in three colour options to match your clothing, and they also have a pretty affordable price tag.
The shoes have flexible and breathable uppers and are made with the company's waterproof membrane that blocks water molecules. Vessi sneakers do not use a coating, so you are guaranteed breathability when you sweat. The shoes also have flexible rubber soles with a herringbone grip that provides great traction. In addition, a lace-up design and a sock-like fit ensure elements do not seep through the ankle collar.
Like other Vessi waterproof shoes, these also use the Dyma-Tex waterproof membrane to block water molecules. The shoes come with anti-bacterial insoles so you can stay fresh even when wearing them daily.
The soles are lightweight and bouncy to keep your feet supported and comfortable even on the busiest days. In addition, the upper hugs your foot tightly at the ankles to keep all elements for maximum comfort.
Factors to Consider When Buying Men's Gore-Tex Shoes
a) Type of Gore-Tex technology used
Gore-Tex makes different waterproof membranes for different shoes. These include:
The Gore-Tex Infinium Thermium membrane for casual and leather shoes. With the membrane, your feet and toes stay warm in extreme conditions outdoors and will also repel water to protect your feet.
The Gore-Tex Invisible Fit membrane. This technology is used to waterproof sport shoes and sneakers. When integrated into the upper fabric, the membrane also reduces pressure points for a comfortable fit. It is ideal for knitted uppers for the best breathability.
The Gore-Tex Surround for casual shoes. Designed for kids and casual sneakers, this membrane is their most lightweight version while keeping your feet dry and fresh.
The Gore-Tex surround for outdoor shoes. If you want to buy new hiking shoes, this membrane is your best technology. It waterproofs your shoes while keeping the uppers breathable for all-day comfort.
b) Type of footwear
When looking for the best Gore-Tex shoes, you need to consider where and when you will need to wear them. First decide if you'll need office shoes, hiking shoes, trail running shoes, walking shoes, backpacking boots, or sneakers and go from there. Each of those types of shoes may use different Gore-Tex technologies designed to improve functionality for their different environments, so you should look into that as well.
c) Footwear components
Before buying your Gore-Tex shoes it would be useful to first learn what each part of a shoe is called and what it's for.
Uppers. The uppers of a Gore-Tex shoe, apart from being waterproof, also need to be quite flexible so you can get the best fit. In addition, a lace-up design also guarantees a better fit, while a padded tongue will keep you warm and protected from the laces. The breathable upper fabric also guarantees the added waterproof membrane does not make the shoes hot, even in warm climates.
Midsole. This component is vital for a shoe's stiffness and shock absorption. A soft midsole helps the shoe absorb landing shock, so there is less risk of an injury whether running, walking, or hiking.
Outsole. When looking for a Gore-Tex shoe, it is best to find a rubber outsole. Generally, when the upper repels water, the water flows down to the outsole, so you will need a good grip to prevent slipping. Rubber has good traction and is also ideal for good cushioning and durability. Getting an outsole with a herringbone or another pattern improves grip on different surfaces.
d) Shoe fit
When buying any walking, running, casual, or hiking shoes, getting the best fit is paramount to prevent injuries and discomfort. When buying a waterproof or Gore-Tex shoe, understand the sizing guidelines to know if they are true-to-size or if you need to choose a larger or smaller size.
Frequently Asked Questions About Men's Gore-Tex Shoes
a) Are all Gore-Tex shoes waterproof?
Yes, they are. The Gore-Tex membrane is excellent at repelling water as long as you keep the shoes clean. Luckily, the technology does not deplete the shoe's breathability or flexibility.
b) How can I preserve my Gore-Tex shoes?
The secret to preserving the Gore-Tex membrane is frequent and gentle cleaning. Without cleaning your shoes, the membrane can become compromised by elements that would foam, plus the coating and reduce breathability.
To clean your Gore-Tex shoes, you will need a cloth or soft brush and lukewarm water. You can also use detergent or stain remover depending on the dirt levels. Once you clean the shoe, you can use a boot drier or leave the shoes to air dry. Just be sure to leave them in a cool place.
c) Why is Vessi's Dyma-Tex the best Gore-Tex alternative?
As we mentioned at the start of the article, while Gore-Tex is one of the best waterproof membranes in the market it has some competition. Dyma-Tex, the waterproof membrane designed by Vessi, might be even better since it's lighter and won't come off over time and with use.