Are You Ready Series: Essential Footwear

Surviving the harsh elements of nature is a hard thing to do.  Surviving the harsh elements of nature without a good pair of shoes is next to impossible.   Waterproof boots will protect your feet from the natural elements (water, heat, cold, snow, etc).  Hiking boots are designed to give your feet the necessary support they need to help you move, stay aligned with your body, and protect you from weather elements.

Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Boots that have flexible soles and deep tread are the best type of shoes to have as far as walking/hiking in nature go.  There is much debate on whether to purchase all leather boots that are fairly heavier or light weight hiking boots.  Several studies have shown that wearing one extra pound on your feet takes as much energy as carrying five or six pounds in a backpack.  Keep in mind of the terrain of the location you will be in to make the right decision of the type of footwear that should be purchased.  There are many reviews of hiking boots to determine what is the best choice.

Worn out boots that have not been tended to can do an insurmountable amount of damage on the feet.  In James Wesley, Rawles book The Patriot, the character Doug was wandering around in the harsh extremities of nature with worn down boots that were falling apart at the seams.  After walking a very long  journey, he made it back to his home and dug up a cache that he had buried way before the collapse of the country and found a spare pair of combat boots.  In all of the items that were in the cache (coins, batteries, face paint, soap, vitamins, food, etc), he was most thankful for putting in a spare pair of boots.

Points to Find the Best Boots For You:

  • Select boots that are designed to provide the support and protection you will need for the most difficult terrain you expect to encounter.
  • Choose boots that are designed to support the load you expect to be carrying.   The heavier your load, the more support you will need.
  • Remember that hiking boots do not have to weigh a great deal.
  • Consider the various advantages of fabric-and-leather boots and all-leather boots. Fabric-and-leather boots are lighter and easier to break in, but all-leather boots offer added protection and durability in rigorous terrain, as well as being water resistant and breathable.
  • Top-quality hiking boots, are made with a Gore-Tex® lining that keeps water out while allowing perspiration to escape.
Source –

R.E.I’s website has some further tips to think about when choosing the right pair of boots.

Take Care of Your Boots, and Your Boots Take Care of You

Many backpackers and soldiers carry nylon gaitors to protect their boots from water when walking through wet areas.  There are ways to winterize the boots to keep them protected from the elements.  Carrying an extra pair of laces would be a good thing to keep in mind as well.  As laces seem to weaken and break well before the footwear does.

Not only is it important to have undamaged shoes to protect the feet, but have an appropriate fitting shoes as well.  There are stories of children who grew up during the time of the Depression and did not have good shoes to wear.  In a personal Depression example, my grandmother wore shoes made from tires that her father made.  They did not fit, but she did not complain as she was thankful just for having those.  She wore tight fitting shoes for years that did a number on her feet.  As a result, she had to have countless surgeries to help her hammer toes.  Her feet are now deformed as a result of wearing tight fitting shoes.  This is a prime example of why good footwear is important.

When preparing to buy footwear for children, footwear can be purchased on clearance two sizes larger than what they wear.  Then buy another pair of shoes that are two sizes too big.  By using this method, if there is more than one child, shoes can be passed on.  Worn out treads, cracked leather, and rotten stitching can create ways for nature to seep into your shoes.  It is important to take care of your footwear.  In the Special Forces Survival Guide, the Royal Marines have a tip for caring for boots:

Stuff wet boots with newspapers and dry them in a warm, airy place, through not in direct hear, which will bake and then crack the leather.  In winter, rub silicone or wax over the laces to stop them from freezing when they get wet.

Nothing can end a great outdoor experience faster than painful blisters, pinched toes or even injuries caused by inappropriate hiking boots.  By taking care of your shoes, you are essentially taking care of your self.  Investing in a good pair of waterproof boots is a lasting investment.


Related Articles:

Are You Ready Series: Emergency Medical Supply

Are You Ready Series: Emergency Water Supply

Are You Ready Series: Emergency Clothing

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published November 28th, 2009
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4 Responses to Are You Ready Series: Essential Footwear

  1. william says:

    hello, boots are not cheap. You will pay 3 times for cheap boots and suffer every step. # 1 toughen up your feet, work around the house and yard bare foot you will learn where to put your feet. This will help you when the 60# pack is on your back, Boots that will work well are a choice, Fashion is not a option, Shoe grease can be burned as a candle so if you carry anything in the pack it has to serve 2 porpuses ..Extra lace’s extra long, move the lace in the eyelet weekly so as to even the wear on them. Your weight,pack and distace is like your car, cheap tires = lots of flats.

  2. Ed says:

    I had a pair of Vasque hiking boots that I wore for 3 summers of backpacking and a couple tripps up Mt. Fuji. They really didn’t have more than a hundred miles on them when I put them away and changed activities in my life. 10 years later, I pulled them out of a box in storage and put them on. Oh man did they feel good, so I wore them to work. about mid day, the cushion material under the rubber sole deteriated and powderized. Both heels fell apart and left me with rubber hanging off the boot. I had to duct tape them to make it through the rest of the day. Vasque wouldn’t honor a return.
    I strongly recomend less man made materials. Stick with leather boots, they can be resoled when they ware out.

  3. Robert says:

    Also when buying boots always go and try them on in the evening after you have been on your feet for hours, and the more hours you can be on your feet the better. Walking around makes you feet get bigger. Nothing worse than buying boots that fit good only to find out after wearing them a few hours that they start causing pain. And buy them at least one size bigger than what you find ideal and wear either 1 pair of thick socks, or my favorite, 2 pair of thinner socks(but not super thin)

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