Don't let DEFEAT be caused by failure of
are your primary mode of transportation, your support and your way in and out
of most wilderness areas. An uncomfortable and ill-fitting pair of boots is
like having a flat tire on a car with NO spare and you are 100 miles from
nowhere. The car is basically useless and if you are in the outdoors and you
got bad boots on, so are you.
very important. They shield and protect your only bipedal resource of support,
navigation and transportation.
Some of the
points to consider when buying a new pair of boots are:
- SHOP AFTER
DARK - your feet tend to swell more at the end of the day, just like they will
be when you are on the trail.
- TAKE YOUR
OWN SOCKS - take the socks or combinations of socks that you will normally wear
when you are on the trail with you when buying boots. This way you get the
- DON'T GET
TRAPPED BY THE NUMBERS - one company's size 10 may be another company's size
11. Try on different sizes. Measure your feet in the store with that metal
device that measures length and width and your left and right foot. It is
called the "Brannock Foot Measure". Don't rely on just length.
DON'T GET LONGER - wiggle your toes after tightly lacing up the boot. Your toes
"should not" come in contact with the front of the boot. Boots will stretch in
width, but they will not grow longer.
- GET A PRO-
don't buy boots that you are going to spend a long time in the field, or in wet
or wintry weather from any un-knowing clerk. Get the "pro" in the store to fit
you. Tell him where and how you are going to wear the boot and ask directly
what would he recommend. If you buy mail order make sure they have a return
policy, just in case they do not fit.
- BREAK IN -
wear all boots for a period of time before going into the outdoors. Make sure
you don't buy more boot than you need or less boot than you need for your
outdoor situations. New boots need a break-in period. Leather has to warm up to
shape itself and fabrics have to have some time to bend and contour to your
- ASK and
ACQUIRE - know something about insulation materials, water repellency, upper
materials, boot height, laces etc. Read catalogs, visit web sites, ask friends,
get as much information as you can and then you will not be befuddled in the
store. These are "your feet" and only YOU will be able to pick the boot that
meets your comfort level and terrain needs.
- SOCKS -
are extremely important to the overall comfort and in some ways as important as
your choice of boot. Don't wear your everyday socks on the trail, and don't
wear cheap cotton boot socks. Invest in a good high quality pair of socks that
will allow your feet to breath and wick away moisture and provide adequate
cushioning. Read the labels. A sometimes good rule is the more expensive the
sock the more comfort and protection it might provide. ASK for help. HINT: Buy
two pairs and if you are out for a long day of walking, stop mid-day and take
the time to change your socks. You won't believe the difference this makes in
your comfort level. Also it allows your feet a chance to breathe and gives you
a clean fresh feel for the remainder of the day.
- LACES -
always buy an extra pair of the right length when you buy your boots and put
them in your trail pack. If perchance your laces break on the trail you got
them. If you need to lash, tie or bind something on the trail you can use this
extra pair of laces.
- CARE -
always follow and adhere to the care instructions that came with your boots.
Use only high quality cleaners/conditioners. Don't store wet or damp boots or
leave them in your car trunk or truck.
weather - fabric/leather uppers and mesh panels
weather - all leather uppers with insulation
- REAL COLD
weather - Plastic double boots or "pac" boots
weather- waterproof/breathable liners - fewer seams
weather - non-waterproof fabric mesh panels, lower cut
terrain - above ankle, curved sole and stiff shank
- STEEP or
ICY terrain - stiff soles, deep treads, high cut
terrain - springy feel, low cut moderate stiff sole
terrain - insulation, deep treads and high cut
- LOOSE ROCK
or for climbing into tree stands - sticky rubber treads, flexible forefoot,
good ankle support.
caustic, loud and somewhat ill-mannered D.I. yelled at me in boot camp many,
many years ago, an army DOES NOT march on its stomach as you may have heard
"Private Maggot", it marches on its feet. I will always remember that
SERGEANT MAJOR SIR!
outline is intended only as a source of some basic and general information.
Please take the time to visit the web sites of various boot manufacturers and
explore other media areas for additional information.