I’ve written before about the kinds of characteristics preppers should look for in a pair of shoes or boots. There are definitely a lot of factors to consider, including what kind of situation you’re prepping for and the environment you’re living in. And there’s a good chance that whatever benefits your choice of shoe has, there are going to be drawbacks as well. There isn’t any kind of footwear that is perfect for all situations.
With that said, perhaps the most important quality a prepper can for in a pair of shoes is durability. That’s because no matter what kind of shoes you buy, they’re probably not going to be collecting dust in your closet. You’re going to want to get your money’s worth, and use them. And if you’re going to be using them on a semi-regular basis, they had better still be in good condition in the event of a serious disaster. So if you’re in the market for a really durable pair of boots, here’s what you should be looking for.
The Sole And Heel
There’s only one characteristic that practically guarantees that the sole of your boots won’t wear down quickly. Your soles need to be made out of high density rubber. It’s also surprisingly difficult to find shoes with this trait, because most people in our society don’t spend a lot of time on their feet. They’re not walking several miles a day on pavement and concrete.
They sit at work, they sit at home, and in-between they sit behind the wheel. So they’re more concerned with how comfortable their shoes are, rather than how durable they are. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find shoes that have both qualities. The more dense your sole is the less comfortable it will be, because it lacks flexibility. So if you decide to buy really durable boots, make sure you invest in a really comfortable pair of inserts
But I digress. If you’re willing to overlook that, and you still want really long-lasting boots, you’re going to want a really tough and dense rubber sole. When you’re picking out boots, try to bend the sole. If you feel a lot of resistance, then it’s probably very dense. Also try knocking on the rubber with your knuckles. If it’s really tough, then it’ll probably sound like you’re knocking on wood, and it’ll probably sting your knuckles a little.
Also, consider the tread. It should have a significant surface area. If there’s a lot of space between the treads, then it will wear down faster. And skip boots that have air cushions in the soles. As the tread wears down, you’ll wind up with deep gaping holes that rocks will get stuck in.
The upper portion of your boots are the most important. While soles can be replaced, uppers are more difficult to fix. Once they wear out you’ll have to buy new boots, so choose your upper carefully.
The longest lasting material for boots is also the oldest material to be used for footwear. You want leather, and not just any kind. It should be made out of full grain leather. You’ll know its full grain when you feel it. It has texture. Most leather boots on the other hand, are smooth.
Skip boots with uppers that are mixed with other materials like canvas or nylon. Those fabrics will wear out faster than the leather. They may breathe well, which will also help your boots last longer, but they’re not necessary. Leather also breathes fairly well, especially if you take my next piece of advice.
Look for pull-on boots, rather than boots with laces. That’s because the upper portion of these boots is mostly just one piece, so there aren’t many weak points. Boots that consist of multiple pieces of leather and fabric stitched together, have many ways of unraveling. Every stitch and eyelet is a liability. And yes, leather boots that can be pulled on will breathe very well.
Aside from that, you should consider the cost. Not all expensive footwear is long-lasting, but long-lasting boots that are new will probably cost at least $150. And it should go without saying that you should buy American. There are good brands overseas, but if a shoe company has managed to avoid moving its operations to another country, it means that it has a good reputation. People are willing to pay top dollar for their products no matter what, and they love their shoes for very good reasons.