Boots for really long walks

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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woodsghost
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Boots for really long walks

Post by woodsghost » Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:17 am

Just curious what y'all's experience and thoughts are on an idea.

I'm interested in long walks...or patrols....in a zombie infested world. But I've been thinking about foot care in such a land. Most of my experience with long walks has been using USMC RATS boots. I have worn out/destroyed 1 pair, worn out pair 2, and I'm wearing down pair #3. So I've been thinking about using boots, foot care, and difficult circumstances.

I'm thinking specifically about long walks with a pack and rifle in more rural areas. Similar enough to hunting, camping, exploring, patrolling, or any other activity which might reasonably be done in a world gone crazy.

Some of the foot care advice I got was to clip toe nails strait, wear thick or thin wool socks, use teatree oil or powders as needed to manage moisture and fungal issues.

I've been dealing with a lot of dew in the mornings when going off trail. I've also been dealing with water obstacles and living in boots after getting those pretty wet. Of course one can deal with this by changing socks, by using gortex boots, or by toughing things out. I have noticed that the foot sweat also causes issues with moisture control, both in warm and cold climates.

I was thinking last night that the Altama canvas/leather jungle boot with thicker wool socks and maybe mesh insoles in the bottom would do a lot to ensure dry feet or at least feet which quickly dry when they get wet with dew, river crossings, and rid themselves of sweat easily.

I'm not interested in gortex right now because I don't feel they ventilate well and capture sweat and create as much problem as they solve. But...I have not used gortex boots much and maybe I'm wrong. I tend to think of gortex boots being good for short durations (24 hrs) or when there is constantly more water outside of the boot than inside the boot (constant raining means more environmental moisture than comes from sweating). But I'm open to being wrong.

Anyway, I'm curious what other foot care tips people care to share and what people think might be a terrific sock/boot combo for rough days, unpredictable terrain, and the dead walking.

Thanks!
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:19 am

I tend to stay away from goretex boots as well (except they are so much easier to find used and cheap, so only when I can). Goretex in boots is really destined to fail; WPB membranes need to be cleaned to work properly and the constant repeated flexing in same spots further dooms them to early failure. Goretex boots are often warmer and dryer initially but by trapping sweat you end up with colder feet in the end. In some snowy conditions I've had better luck with thin synthetic socks and mesh trail runners (defeet aireaters and la sportiva mutants usually), I can't yet explain it but it seems to work. some trips I've managed to walk my socks dry after slushy snow, sometimes I've had to put awful smelling wet socks in my sleeping bag at night to dry.

Something I recommend trying to almost anyone who will listen is waterproof socks, some people have good luck with the sealskins, but I like taller woven socks like the kokatat launch socks (I haven't used them, but a homemade version that was similar). works for shallow water crossings and eliminates any need for a gaiter. The main thing is they can be left off the 80%+ of the time you don't need waterproofing on your feet and thrown on easily when needed; the other big advantage is they can be cleaned, and replaced periodically as needed, without scrapping a whole boot. The overall shoe system will dry much faster as well since you can separate the layers.

With few exceptions (mukluks or double boots in deep winter) I have pretty much switched to mesh trail runners for every outdoor pursuit, either la sportiva mutants or bushidos. They are "mountain running" shoes which means aggressive tread and decently tough uppers; as with any eva midsoled shoe they are somewhat consumable but the lifespan has been quite good for me and the frequent local sales mean I can stay a few pairs ahead. As a friend of mine is fond of saying strong ankles and good biomechanics is the best ankle support money can buy, and I have virtually eliminated blister issues by switching from boots to shoes.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by RGR SNAPLINK » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:29 am

Like the Ronny Ronin (hey Luke, long time), I stay away from Gore. In the summers I like a variant of the jungle boot, currently for me its the Salomon Forces version. Fall and spring in Oregon I wear Scarpa Kenesis, which have become my favorite boot hands down. THey have a gore liner I believe, but are all leather so I mitigate moisture by using leather treatment in the form of Snow Seal. In the winter I have to be very careful as I have an old frostbite injury from the Army that plagues my left big toe, so its extra socks and insoles for me and 400gm Thinsulate insulated Kennetreks that I got on sale years ago. Again, I use Snow Seal on them too, and try to keep my movements slow and deliberate as to not sweat.
I have a pair of Rocky waterproof socks I keep in my winter overnight kit, for much the same reasons mentioned above. I like to throw them on for a mid-night piss as well when snow is on the ground and I don’t feel like putting the boots on I’m drying by the stove.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by Dragon80 » Wed Dec 25, 2019 4:06 am

I'd say it all depends on climate and type of use overall. I personally love Salomon goretex boots and that's primarily what I use. I go with a 3D shank based on how much I normally ruck (heaviest 60-90lbs range) otherwise I would go with their 4D for more stiffness when carrying even heavier. I do have a set of their jungle boots for the middle of the summer, but still prefer their GTX. I don't think all goretex material and boot makers are created equal, I have tried half a dozen others and none last as long as Salomon nor maintain their waterproof'ness. My first Salomon Comet 3D GTX boots lasted 3 years or so and over 1,000 miles of use which was a majority on trails with 25+lbs on my back. They are still going, but they lost waterproofing at the bend of the toebox (only at the corner by laces) which I used Nikwax waterproofer and got back. I may shoegoo them next time they lose it, but I picked up another identical pair for a steal so the old pair became my backup.

My next pair will be Lowa Zephyr's, have wanted to try them for a while, so maybe soon.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by moab » Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:32 pm

Andrew Skurka (world class hiker and trekker) swears by trail running shoes. He's trekked across the US, alaska and a few other places. His theory is he's going to get wet feet no matter what. So you might as well choose something that dries out as fast as possible. On the trail while your walking as well as at camp. He also swears by Luko tape and some foot balm that he sells on his website. That I think is legit as it is made by hand by a friend of his in small tins. He gets wet feet regularly. But uses the foot cream to mitigate any damage to his feet. And his trail runners dry out at night very fast. He says he does go thru them. And usually needs resupply during long trips. But that's his strategy. It also includes muliple pairs of socks. That he changes regularly. Which is a must no matter what your wearing.

I think a lot obviously depends on where you live. There is a trade off between real vibram sole boots and others. As long as vibram soles last. Normal hiking shoes will not. So you have to take that into consideration. I have a pair of vibram soled USAF boots for a long trek or bug out. The downside being they are heavy. I'm sure I can't run as fast or as long in them. But they will last. a lot longer than a trail runner or normal pair of hiking boots.

I haven't tried them in years. But have been considering those vibram soled just above the ankle hiking boots in leather. Like these but darker:

Image

I'd treat them with some form of waterproof oil. Mink oil or the like. And have the ankle flex of a hiking boot. But the ruggedness of the leather upper and the vibram sole. I'd also carry waterproof gaiters and perhaps some goretex socks. They are hella expensive. At least from Danner. I still have $185 of Danner bucks from that $20 referral program they used to run. But still can't find a pair onsale that I can afford to buy with my bonus money. They are like $300 boots in high quality. Cheaper from other sources. But I think I'll stick with Danner.

My regular hiking boots are Merrell. Comfort out of the box. And I use leather uppers so they can be waterproofed to some degree. But like I said, I have leather , vibram military boots as back up in my preps.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by MPMalloy » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:26 am

I've been trying to get Speech-to-text to work. No joy so far.

When I was in, we didn't have much choice for footgear. We used jungles, and I guess that's what I'd go with, if I could find an Orthopedic pair. Right now the VA is paying for my footgear, so I shush & drive on.

1. Mission drives gear; terrain/environment drives clothing (footgear).
2. Proper fit. I can't state that enough.
3. Proper hygiene. Wash your feet daily. Change socks often. Air everything out when you sleep.

Learn to use moleskin/Tincture 'o Benzine. :wink:

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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by drop bear » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:52 pm

I have had a lot of luck with sneakers. Generally trail running style.

Which also tend to be the footwear of choice for those super long walk guys.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by moab » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:08 pm

MPMalloy wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:26 am
I've been trying to get Speech-to-text to work. No joy so far.

When I was in, we didn't have much choice for footgear. We used jungles, and I guess that's what I'd go with, if I could find an Orthopedic pair. Right now the VA is paying for my footgear, so I shush & drive on.

1. Mission drives gear; terrain/environment drives clothing (footgear).
2. Proper fit. I can't state that enough.
3. Proper hygiene. Wash your feet daily. Change socks often. Air everything out when you sleep.

Learn to use moleskin/Tincture 'o Benzine. :wink:
I've been using speech to text a lot lately. Works for maps and text. But the google assistant works well for opening apps etc. etc.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by Towanda » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:16 pm

Carry moleskin and apply it at the first sign of a hot spot. It will stop a blister from forming and deaden the pain.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by harris80544 » Wed May 06, 2020 1:35 am

Yeah i agree boots are really helpful when you have to walk on mountains especially i love the company GTX is the best products ever!! but the sometime it makes the cost is too high!!

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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by Lettuce Pray » Thu May 07, 2020 11:22 am

To me it really depends on the weight and the mileage you need for the day (or month). I absolutely wear running shoes for a day hike or such an activity that only requires 25 pounds or so. They are quieter, quicker to dry, and I can move quicker if the situation calls for it. But if I had to move some serious weight like an INCH or moving a lot of meat I would use the best pair of stiff boots that fit properly. For me that means the good' ole black combat boots that Uncle Sam gave me almost 20 years ago. Yes they are leather and do not dry fast. But I can mitigate that somewhat with foot powder and fresh socks. They fit my narrow feet and it is hard to find boots or shoes that do. I still use them from time to time on day hikes just to make sure that they still fit and the leather does not get too dry. Because they are so stiff, they help me to avoid turned ankles on uneven terrain. Best of luck.

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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by MPMalloy » Fri May 08, 2020 10:50 am

I'm looking for genuine Ortho boots, atm.

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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by Mags » Fri May 08, 2020 2:11 pm

Great responses thus far. I'm gonna hit a couple bullets.

I have "walked/worn" issued Jungle Boots dry during training on Okinawa and operations in the Philippines. Did the ol' wet pair, dry pair far as socks go. Not much you can do about wet feet/footwear in the jungle. Do what you can. Keep "dry socks" dry as you can. Air and care for your feet often as possible. Stay away from sealed boots whether Gore-Tex or spray on waterproofing.

Several "thru-hikers" swear by thin wool socks, (Merino Wool.) Some add a thin synthetic liner sock and swear by this system.

A few young hard chargers I know have recently completed Army Ranger School. (Within the last year.) Couple of them liked Garmont Boots. Comments were, lighter yet stable. They don't slip around on the foot. These dudes humped a lot. With some serious poundage.

Lots of hikers, even "thru-hikers" are going away from heavy leather hiking boots. Instead leaning towards "trail runners." Both the low and 3/4 styles. Two quality brands that come to mind, Merrell and Salomon. I have several pair of Salomons. Their heavy hiking boots with Gore-Tex, 3/4 trail runners and a pair of low trail runners.

I purged all of my socks. Various styles, materials, thicknesses etc. I now have a few pair of both "Smartwool" and "Darntough" brands Merino wool socks. A few different styles and thicknesses. I couldn't be happier.

Hope this helps or gives you ideas.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by MPMalloy » Fri May 08, 2020 9:03 pm

Mags wrote:
Fri May 08, 2020 2:11 pm
Great responses thus far. I'm gonna hit a couple bullets.

I have "walked/worn" issued Jungle Boots dry during training on Okinawa and operations in the Philippines. Did the ol' wet pair, dry pair far as socks go. Not much you can do about wet feet/footwear in the jungle. Do what you can. Keep "dry socks" dry as you can. Air and care for your feet often as possible. Stay away from sealed boots whether Gore-Tex or spray on waterproofing.

Several "thru-hikers" swear by thin wool socks, (Merino Wool.) Some add a thin synthetic liner sock and swear by this system.

A few young hard chargers I know have recently completed Army Ranger School. (Within the last year.) Couple of them liked Garmont Boots. Comments were, lighter yet stable. They don't slip around on the foot. These dudes humped a lot. With some serious poundage.

Lots of hikers, even "thru-hikers" are going away from heavy leather hiking boots. Instead leaning towards "trail runners." Both the low and 3/4 styles. Two quality brands that come to mind, Merrell and Salomon. I have several pair of Salomons. Their heavy hiking boots with Gore-Tex, 3/4 trail runners and a pair of low trail runners.

I purged all of my socks. Various styles, materials, thicknesses etc. I now have a few pair of both "Smartwool" and "Darntough" brands Merino wool socks. A few different styles and thicknesses. I couldn't be happier.

Hope this helps or gives you ideas.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by Halfapint » Fri May 08, 2020 9:23 pm

I’ve been using some Hitech (sp) boots for working on the property they are hands down some of the best boots I’ve had as far as comfort. Almost zero break in period, and they’ve last 2 years of hard, HARD work. I took them hunting last fall and they were not water proof unfortunately. I’m sure I could seal them up but a week of wet weather and 12+ hours of walking my feet were fine. Only one day did my feet get the least big uncomfortable.

But my go to boots when I’m hiking and stuff are my all weather Asolo boots. I bought my first pair around 2002, and they finally failed me about 2-3 years ago when I went and picked up another pair. I lost them for about a year (hence the other boots for hunting) but they are hands down the best boot I’ve ever hiked in. The last pair probably had 10,000 miles on them and the leather was still good. But the glue holding the soles on crapped out. I squirted in a bunch of shoeglue but it didn’t help. Thought about going to get them resoled but the cobbler wanted nearly as much as new ones.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by Lettuce Pray » Sat May 09, 2020 7:29 am

I have wanted to try some Injinji sock liners paired with Darn Tough sucks that I already have. Does anyone have any experience with these?

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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by RonnyRonin » Sun May 10, 2020 6:39 pm

I think I've said this somewhere on ZS before, but there is one significant problem with quality boots that I have noticed from countless testimonials;

If you buy good boot, by the time they wear out the company you bought them from is likely completely different from when you bought them. Today 2-3 years is a LONG time and a company may change owners, CEOs, factories, lasts, and countless else multiple times and may only be the same company in name. Vasque and Danner are two particular brands that had a fantastic reputation for years and then customers returning years later found the quality had gone down hill significantly on some models (but not others). I've heard this complaint for many brands, and conversely I've heard tales of previously shoddy brands upping their game and bringing shockingly good boots to market.

Whats my advice here? one of two things: 1) if you find a pair of boots you LOVE, be sure to buy a second pair as soon as you are sure that you love them; they might not be the same boot when you wear them out. or 2) when you boots are giving you the first signs of trouble start searching for a new pair before you need them, and assume you are starting from scratch. Whatever research you did or reputation you remember from the last time you bought boots is probably obsolete.

I'd hesitate to recommend stocking more then two pairs as your foot can change sizes over time and I've seen brand new in box boots disintegrate on their first wear from being stored too long (bought my mom a REALLY nice pair of all leather Lowa boots in which the midsole crumbled to powder after one lap around the house).

I used to rely on Salomon Quest boots, which are little tougher then running shoes in their midsole so they were a bit on the consumable side; to salomons credit the boot was largely unchanged for years but I shopped for lightly used boots and actually kept 2-3 pairs ahead as I didn't trust them to hold up long term. I have found my foot shape and preferences actually change faster then I can wear out quality leather boots so I have stopped staying so far ahead, but I make sure I have several pairs of good runners at any one time so I'm not caught without a few years of footwear if something disrupts industrial shoe production.
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Re: Boots for really long walks

Post by MPMalloy » Sun May 10, 2020 6:49 pm

One of the new pair of shoes from the VA gave my foot a blister & I didn't know it until after it popped. :? I don't care to argue w/the VA, but this issue might have to go up the chain. :ohdear:

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