Survival Footwear : Choosing The Right Shoes For The Right Situation

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Survival Footwear: Choosing The Right Shoes For The Right Situation

Those of you out there who have done hiking before or any sort of expedition, be it on moderate or rough climates and settings, will no doubt understand why having the right shoes in a TEOTWAWKI situation could mean the very difference between life and death. If you’ll find yourself obligated to travel a lot and carry heavy stuff with you, you’ll need to have the right provisions and gear for the job; and the right pair of shoes or boots is no exception. When it comes to survival footwear, wearing the right pair of shoes or boots will spare you a lot of trouble. There is no universality in this case, there is no one pair of shoes or boots for all scenarios and settings, but rather specialized products that will suit the wearer’s needs based on terrain, weather and distance.

When choosing yours, looks will be the last thing to consider. You’ll have to take into consideration insulation, durability, shoe size (make sure you get the right size or walking in the wrong size shoes will take itstoll very soon), the type of socks you’ll be wearing (normal or hiking socks), the terrain and weather conditions you’ll need the shoes or boots for and ultimately the fact the sturdy footwear will need to be broken in. They might not feel comfortable at first, but in time, you’ll get used to them. Price is also an important issue, especially for tight budget preppers like me, who never feel like spending more than they absolutely have to. There many products available on the market and the prices vary a lot. But know that “expensive” is not necessarily equivalent with “best” when it comes to survival footwear, so you won’t have to sell your soul just to afford a pair of trail shoes or boots.

Hiking boots

Hiking boots are the right shoes bring along for planed trips, especially if you’re planning on staying a bit longer outdoors; they work extremely well and will be very comfortable if you’re dealing with moderately rough terrain. They should be well built, fairly insulated and if you’ll be carrying some weight, they’ll be the best option you have. The sturdier the boot is, the more resistant it will be in the field. The taller boots are usually more durable and will offer better ankle protection. The best ones are partially waterproof and will be as comfortable as possible even after long walks on rough terrain. The Durand Mid WP is what I’ve been using lately and it’s probably the best pair I’ve had so far: it’s waterproof, breathable and it has an integrated heel cushion and midsole for better comfort.

Heavy duty hiking boots

This particular type of hiking boots takes the hiking game to a whole new level. They’re the best option for those who spend more time on the go then they do in their homes. They’re generally used for cross-country backpacking, be it on normal or very rough terrains. They might not be as light as regular hiking boots, but they’re the better option, as they’re tougher and better for people that are carrying heavy loads throughout rough terrains and settings. Choosing a pair of heavy duty hiking boots will require a great deal of attention from your part. These types of boots don’t necessarily feel comfortable at first, you’ll need to break them in first. So try them on carefully before purchasing and analyze whether they’re worth the money or not. The most serious stores have small areas that will simulate the boots performance on various terrains. The Asolo backpacking boots, with Gore-Tex inserts and Vibram outsoles are some of the best heavy duty hiking boots on the market; they’re pretty light too, as they weigh less than 2lbs.

Mountaineering boots

They’re the epitome of survival footwear, and  the first clear sign you get is in the price, as even the cheapest pair of mountaineering boots will cost no less than a couple of hundred bucks. As the name clearly shows, they’re suited for hiking in extreme and rough alpine terrain, at high attitudes and low temperatures.

They’re built to be heavy and rigid, but with good reason. Even the standard models have very stiff soles and shanks (in order to provide maximum protection to your feet and ankles), a multi-layered build comprised of rigid shanks for stability and protection, an insulating inner lining and a waterproof lining. The soles are very thick and rigid, built for maximum grip even on slippery surfaces. The Nepal Evo, by La Sportiva, is everything I just mentioned and more, with durable leather and metal lace loops and with an impressive overall built that will make it suitable for even the roughest conditions.

If what we’ve been looking at so far is a bit much for you, worry not. If you’re nothing more than an amateur hiker that goes on light hikes only, you can always buy a simple pair of regular hiking shoes. These are nothing more than improved sport shoes that will do well on regular strolls in the wild.

Unless you’re facing rough terrain on bad weather, you’ll have nothing to worry about. But whether you’re considering buying the simplest pair of hiking shoes or a state-of-the-art mountaineering boots, always try them on before buying. Unlike regular pairs of shoes, hiking footwear will require some wearing arround the house before you’ll get completely used to them.

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  • By John, December 23, 2015 @ 13:52

    Good article just needs a little further things to consider and do.
    1. Plastic boots will melt if to close to fire. Had a pair on with my feet close to fire. Well felt swelling on bottom of right foot; then explosion. I jumped up started stopping foot – they said I looked like a terrified Indian doing a one footed rain dance!
    Firefighters wear mostly if not all leather boots as does Forrest Service.
    2.Once a year I apply a leather conditioner/protector; more often if worn a lot and conditions are harsh. What I use is a natural stuff made for firefighters.Obenauf’s heavy duty LP. Made in Idaho water proofs and still lets leather breath, bees wax and other stuff-stinks though until it soaks in, I let it cook in the sun outside or use hair dryer until it is soaked in. Apply ONLY to leather parts NEVER Gortex areas. Many other quality products out there too. My boots last for many years – have to, I have an unpopular size 10.5 A-AA ski’s with tops. Found them Cabela’s in Bargain Cave and the Obenauf’s too. Size miss marked no wonder nobody could fir them! Danners no less!
    3. Other boots I can sometimes find(you should look for them too) and look for all the time are military issue. I had a great pair; got cut off because of MC accident-turns out out only badly sprained ankle. Boy was I pissed off. Haven’t found another pair in the last 9 years! Looking for black and desert tan suede. They have steel insoles and some have steel toes to boot(pun intended)
    4. Socks come next or at the same time as purchasing boots. Very important to try your boots on with the same socks you intend to wear the boots with; be it summer or winter. Chose socks carefully grasshopper, your life could depend on them. Cotton,wool,blends,synthetics,etc. Research carefully for your area and conditions you’ll encounter.
    It is often said that an army travels on its stomach- but they often walk there!
    If you can’t walk to safety or run from danger you become a victim for want of a good pair of boots.
    PS When I had lots of money I had custom made cowboy boots made for me by Toni Lama. Had casts of my feet- like I said big bucks; but fit like the proverbial glove.
    I was the first person to put Vibram souls on cowboy boots; 1968, Justin Boot company rep saw them in the cobblers shop and asked if I had a patent on them? Nope lost out again.
    My grandfather ran Buster Brown Shoes back in the day. When he retired it was the last time I got custom shoes from BB.
    Anybody want to donate?

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