Monday, January 28, 2019

Big Black Cadillacs

























WRSA is doing a piece on boots.

"Conan: What boots are best in life?"

Location, location, location!

 Where are you using those boots?
For what?
When in the year?
What's the weather like?

Answer that, first.
Make triple-damned sure you got them in the correct size, and get fitted by someone who knows WTF they're doing, if you can't work it out for yourself.
Assume resupply will be a fond dream of happier days.
Then, buy six pairs. Per person.
Yes, REALLY.
Because in SHTF times, a man with one gun probably knows how to use it, and a man with one pair of boots is going to be barefoot in short order.
You have no idea how fast boots wear out until you blow up a pair.
Let alone your last pair.

Then break each pair in, in rotation, one day at a time.
And replace the laces for all of them with actual multi-line-stranded 550 cord, in the appropriate color.

Boots with the wrong socks are a disaster waiting to happen.
You're buying a walking system, not "a pair of boots".

Socks in layers. Enough to change multiple times per day. (Minimum 3x).
Cotton kills. It also blisters.
Wool is king.
Good wicking synthetics are queen.
And with 6 pairs of boots, you should have about 20 pairs of socks, of any and all types.

A full care, clean, and polish kit.

Both boots and socks need blow-out kits:
Shoe Goo is worth its weight in gold.
Spare 550 lacing (buy bulk reels).
Leather awls and heavy upholstery lacing for repairs.
Sewing kit for socks.

And your boots aren't broken in until your feet are broken in, and your body, especially muscles and tendons from your quads down.

Your blow out kit for feet is called Spenco blister gel pads.

And Moleskin. Not "molefoam".
(Get the industrial-sized 4-yd. tube roll, not the overpriced little pussy squares they sell at Le Boutique Targét and WallyWorld, if you have any ability to do so.)
And small, sharp, precise set of scissors or two to trim the moleskin.
New Skin.
Foot powder or corn starch.

Foot first aid:
 a frickin' foot surgical kit to trim nails, shave calluses, etc.
That'd be the big toenail clippers, a smaller pair, big cuticle scissors, metal nail file, couple of pair of small (5") mosquito hemostat to dig out pieces of ingrown nail or embedded small splinters and foreign bodies, pumice stone, a few straight needles for draining blisters, and Betadine© or generic povidone-iodine to clean and disinfect blisters, ingrown nails, cracks, etc.
A 1" roll of cloth first aid tape to buddy-tape broken or banged up toes to their healthy neighbors.

And yes, even duct tape.
Works on boots.
Works on feet.

Anything else that works for you to treat your feet properly, such as:
Footwash basin
Lotion
Bag balm
Epsom salts
etc.

If your feet, socks, and boots aren't working together, you're screwed.
And if you can't maintain them and care for them, you're going to be.

You can no more get by with "just boots" than you can get by with "just a rifle", without any magazines, sling, optics, cleaning gear, lubricants, spare parts, tool roll, and ammunition.
Systems, not items.

Advanced Class:
How to put a lot of your EDC survival items into your footwear, including hidden or custom pockets.
Things like a button compass.
A razor or other very small blade.
A few fish hooks and line.
Snare wire.
Flint/steel.
Handcuff key or lockpick(s) or shim(s).
Short length of hacksaw blade
A gold or silver coin or two, and/or a couple of greenbacks rolled into a section of drinking straw.
Etc.

I'm not talking about turning your boots into a fireman's turnout coat cargo pocket with a 77-pc. Craftsman tool kit and getting ankle and knee injuries from the weight, but a few, small, nearly weightless items that might save your life is always a great idea.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

No laces, pull on's. One pair per day good. cotton socks in pull on's good.Blow out's in pull on's good for dry days, rest for rainy days. Good boot oil used. duct tape works.

Baldrick said...

Weirdly enough, we've found that Magnum boots work for everything. In particular the Stealth Force 8.0. In a machine shop, out in the fields cutting brush and gardening, just walking, it's the best all-rounder. It also costs a lot so I wait for sales. I usually have 3 back-up pairs at all times for everyone in the house, I'll up that to 6 now. The greatest thing is they're true to size. A lot of brands will SAY 13, then the husband ends up with pinched toes. Magnum says 13, they mean it.

Because I'm into macrame (don't judge, it's selling like hotcakes right now), we have enough cordage to replace shoelaces for YEARS. Some of it may eventually be the wrong color ;) LOL! I have a TON of black line cord but it might run out eventually. At some point we're looking at navy blue, green, whatever color ;)

Husband has access to all sorts of adhesives at work, some of them work well on shoes, so when work decides that the adhesives have "expired" he brings the adhesive home. (In his industry they're pretty particular about dates to meet FDA regs.) When we had less when we were younger with two young kids, he made one pair of these boots last 5 years, and that's with everyday heavy use. They're sturdy, but the adhesives helped.

Suggestion for sock purchases: Black Friday sales. No kidding. I stock up every year on socks (we have LOTS of socks stashed away in packaging) on Black Friday sales. Everyone else is buying electronics, I'm buying socks and other useful items. Quality socks and undergarments are some of the few things that retailers actually DO price down during that time. That being said, I'd learn how to darn in a SHTF situation. I even have a darning egg. Really. VERY handy.

Anonymous said...

Very good topic to bring up. Making shoes from scratch after things go sideways will be a huge challenge. Much better to stock up now while you can and be ready just in case. And if things don't go wrong, you have shoes that you needed to buy anyway - everyone wears out their shoes eventually.

Thank you sir - looking forward to reading the comments / discussion too.

RandyB said...

I'd add Barge Cement to that list. Red label, that is.

Buy boots in the afternoon after your feet have had time to swell. Can be up to half size different. The boots pictured are the best all leather boot .mil ever fielded. Scarce now though, at least in useful sizes.

2D Ranger battalion recommended spraying the feet with Arrid XX anti-perspirant and using PediDry, IIRC. Kept sweat down. Not end of the world thing, maybe, but will help while it lasts.

Your thick oversock can be replaced with a GoreTex sock over the poly undersock if you don't run GoreTex boots. Short term only. I've done that for years because once that liner gets wet, it stays soggy for some time.

Great advice on blister kits, etc.

Ned2 said...

Danner makes the best snowpak boots out there.
Altama for everything else.

Socks are actually more important, as is keeping your feet dry, clean and free of minor injury such as blisters.

Pat H. said...

They're LPCs, leather personnel carriers.

I do need to get a pair of very warm and water resistant boots resoled, they're the type to which you can do that.

Multiple pairs of winter and warm weather boots are the deal, buy quality.

Bram said...

I used to drive a Cadillac.
Now I'm humping with a pack.
Woah, woah!
Woahhhh!
I used to drive a Chevrolet.
Now I'm walking everyday.

Anonymous said...

Danner Acadia's were VERY nice. Good height, great colder weather walking boot.
There are "dive socks" (75% wool/25% cotton) on sale at surplus places for about $3/pair, work great with polypro liners. The quarter cotton isn't bad at all.
These and the old (green) jungle boots are the best I've found if you're gonna be real wet. Best boots to swim in as well. Last wore mine for a "Tough Mudder" but they're still a valid choice. Course can't get six pair anymore, not the real ones.
Bought a pair of Limmer boots now breaking in. Don't think I can afford six pair of them.
I wear Merrel's everyday but they won't hold up to what's likely coming.
I actually like the boots I got issued with my DCU's. Wear them hunting.
Boat Guy

Mike M. said...

One deference to your boot article, ditch the 550 cord and get fireproof kevlar boot laces. Pretty much indrestructable. I use them on my wildland fire fighting boots, all my other boots and will never go back.

Berglander said...

Mike, the 550 cord switchout isn't for strength or durability. You make two laces that are twice as long as a normal lace (12' or so), then if you lose or ditch your kit you've still got a 12' cord, after you take both off of your boots, cut one in half, and end up with a 6' lace in each boot and a 12' piece of 550 cord and its guts for whatever you need.

Lee Van Queef II said...

FLASH!

You have 30 minutes to get you and your shit into a pre dug improvised fallout shelter/LP-OP. Only this is Texas and your A.O. is filled with camouflaged, roving, self-reproducing, self-sustaining, heat-seeking, scent-seeking, biological land mines. And they like dark places underground where it's cool.

Crotalus atrox has commandeered your life line and you're wearing what?

This:
https://www.chippewaboots.com/footwear/footwear/field/snake/23913

We've had wild land fires that fire fighters abandoned due to escaping rattlers. Guess what happens in SHTF? Yeah. Fire.

And cactus. And other shit at ground level that can stab right through that comfy Danner boot.

Jonathan H said...

I've tried using 550 cord and had problems with the laces staying tied, even when double knotted. Don't assume all 550 cord is the same - test what you have (or bought) to make sure it works.

ADS said...

I work in factories, on my feet all day. I'm rough on boots. A tip for prolonging their lives: Have multiple pairs, rotate daily so they have a chance to dry. It sucks buying three pairs of boots at a time but they'll last longer than three sequential boot purchases.
RTV rubber/gasket making compound is also effective for shoe repair.
Gel insoles are amazing and do wonders to reduce fatigue.
A dress sock worn beneath your "real" sock is a great preventative measure vs blisters.
Keep wax on hand to maintain the waterproofness of leather boots.

Stealth Spaniel said...

Okay, girl question. I have hiking boots, and I like them because they don't hurt my feet: Bearpaw and HiTec.They are called boots, but they don't cover my ankles, so I guess that I need real boots besides my Tony Lamas. What do women buy? Cuz I can't see myself in those GI Joe's pictured. I'm learning about cotton socks as they do NOT keep your feet dry. So far, the hiking boots have kept my feet dry, splashing on walks with the spaniels. (Yes, I found great dog booties for rough terrain.) I almost got bitten by a fully grown rattler 2 years ago so I assume that's why the GI Joe's are so high. Okay, the crowd can go full throttle on the comments.

ADS said...

Just read the wrsa thread, someone mentioned toenails. I've had chronically ingrown toenails for a long time, finally had a podiatrist pull them and kill the nail bed so they don't come back. Consider doing the same while the medical system is still a thing if ingrown nails are a problem for you. Infected toes in nasty boots in grid down conditions is liable to get serious. I've had to pull a toenail mid-shift with pliers before. Can't recommend it.

idahobob said...

Danner Acadia's with Darn Tough socks. Winter pacs by Schnees, of Bozeman MT.

KISS principal.

Unknown said...

If you are worried about snakes and normally wear low-cut boondockers, I suggest you get some snake gaiters. That will provide more protection than most boots will against snakes. They do get hot, and you need to measure your calves to ensure proper fit. They're good to have in snake country, and work well against small dogs, too!

Anonymous said...

Fox River Xstatic for sock liners. Silver impregnated.

Smart wool Mountaineering (Merino) for outer socks.

Feet washed frequently with hot water and soap (preferably with triclosan, or failing that add a little chlorhexidine), and nail beds scrubbed with (nail or surgical) scrub brush. Reducing bacterial colonization is an important process.

You can easily evaluate someone's personal hygiene as soon as you see how they care for their feet.

lineman said...

Email sent...

Pat H. said...

My latest pair of boots.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002L4K9Y/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Aesop is correct, I need several more pair of these, they are very nice with the inserts that they come with.

Baldrick said...

I'm looking at all of these more expensive boots and I'm going to say, from experience alone on our end, we'll likely stick with the Magnums in this household. 7 acres of some serious terrain (Sierra Foothills), massive weather variables from -20 to 105, rattlers (though our chickens and roosters tend to kill those with a quickness), husband walking around all day here and on his feet in machine shops, in clean rooms, in R&D labs, and LIVING on his feet (he is not a sitting down kind of guy), my son wandering every inch of this property and going gold panning and fishing on the regular (Yuba and American rivers), and these boots just hold up.

In more rugged terrain they're good to go for at least 3 years until my husband and son literally wear holes in the soles. Bonus side - they're comfortable. There's not a huge wearing-in process. My husband has "flipper feet" - a very wide toe space (seriously surefooted), and though some people think the composite toe makes THEIR feet look like clown shoes (I read a review), for people like my husband with massive feet, the boots actually accommodate his feet. No blisters EVER with them even with MILES of walking. Neither husband nor son has ever even asked for an extra insole.

I'm really reticent to try Danners or anything else for twice the price when the Magnums have served us well for so many years. I might take the plunge on one pair of Danners but I dunno... seems if a certain brand is working for someone for years it might be best to stick to what you know and are comfortable with and that work and hold together. If that's Danners, awesome. For us it's Magnums. I am looking around though, and might try some other brands on them. Knowing my husband though he's going to ask me to return anything else "..and just get my damn boots, please." ;)

Darrel said...

Danner Grouse boots.

Anonymous said...

300 for boots....my wildland fire boots cost less than that and fire shit always cost double. as for combat, you can get Bates or Bellville new surplus, mtn. hikers or full top summer or goretex for 40-100. by three pairs. www.glennsarmysurplus.com has good deals on real mil surplus

Anonymous said...

GTG: Crispis boots (1 pair, favorite and looking to buy more) (look for sales or open box for discounts), down under foot beds (prefer blue, use in all footwear).

Much prefer down under footbeds compared to superfeet.

Zamberland (2 pairs): USA customer service is defunct. They will flat ignore you. Each pair of boots had issues but were well made with good materials. Will not buy again. Mainly bought as they claim they can replace soles. Dealing with their customer service (USA and Italy), zero confidence this repair process will function well.

Lowa (3 pairs): All 3 pairs squeaked, 2 pairs out of box, 1 pair eventually. All were donated to goodwill for multiple reasons. Disappointed on so many fronts. Will not buy again.

One overlooked parameter is boot height, especially when moving cross country / off trails, especially loaded. 8 inch min, not too much of a reason to go greater than 10 inch.

Consider peoples experience and perspective if they offer brand recommendations. They most likely are not as "game" as you are and probably expect less as it is 'good enough' for them.

If boots squeak from the inside, try saturating the inside area with an rubbing alcohol-lanolin oil mix.

Anonymous said...

If you work on your feet every day you might want to consider custom made boots. There are more people making them than you'd think in this day and age. The price, while expensive, isn't nearly as bad as you might imagine it would be for a boot made to fit each of your feet precisely and customisable to your individual requirements. They'll cost you a damn sight less than the tires on your truck and last much,much longer. Plus they're pretty much rebuildable if they're not too trashed.