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 Post subject: Re: Boots vs Shoes
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 10:49 am 
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When I was a a paramedic in a violent ghetto (perhaps not entirely like the PAW some envision), I wore Rocky Paratroopers and with good reason: I can't count on all of my fingers and toes the number of times I had to walk down an alley full of broken beer bottle glass, to find a patient and pull them out / get them to the hospital.

I wear sneakers a lot, but for situations like SHTF, I'm a Rocky Paratrooper guy through and through.
-Neptune

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 Post subject: Re: Boots vs Shoes
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:26 pm 
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Sorry to revive this necro but I just bought a pair of 5.11 Speed 3.0. They are fabulously comfortable! My feet just melted into them and I had to see what people were saying about footwear. I read the whole thing and I am surprised that there is such a discussion on whether to use boots or shoes. Some of the answers blew me away. There is the idea that in a SHTF situation that there are going to be times that you can wear shoes. The reality which some people did mention is that you never know when you are actually need them. You might say, "Yeah, this looks like great terrain for shoes." and yo might end up with a pretty nasty puncture wound that puts you out of commission permanently! You might end up with a twisted or broken ankle that keeps you from bugging out quick enough. Why take the chance? The boots they have right now are quite comfortable, lightweight and durable enough to fit both categories. Granted mine are probably not as durable as my good ol' leather combat boots but if you take good care of them they should last a long time.

I'm not sure about the sole shank on these but the soles are pretty tough. They only weigh 760 grams each (less than 1.7 lbs each). they give me great ankle support and in my case keep my feet warm enough in winter and cool enough in the summer. Granted I wouldn't use these for deep snow trekking but they could provide some still very good protection. I bet if I spray them with never wet they will keep my feet dry in wet conditions too.

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 Post subject: Re: Boots vs Shoes
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:32 pm 
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This is a good thread and worth the necro raising!

So, I’m approaching 29 years of service and have spent much of my time in combat boots, jumps and more road marches than I could ever recall. I’m fortunately in charge of a desk at this moment in my career, but our recreational activities involve a lot of distance backpacking. We’ve hiked a little of the PCT when we visit my family, but we’ve been doing sections of the AT the past five years of so; typically 75-150 mile sections.

I’ve transitioned to “barefoot” footwear over the past several years and have become a pretty big advocate. I run and do a lot of work in barefoot shoes. Even my work boots are the Belleville mini-mil barefoot boots. I’ve seen markedly increased ankle strength, stronger calves and quads with no knee pain.

For trail running and hiking, I do prefer low-top shoes. I’ve found barefoot shoes are fine for short distances, but not for distance hiking. They just don’t have enough cushion and even though I’ve modified the way I hike and run, after 15 miles of pounding for several days, my feet get fatigued. I’ve stepped up to a little more support with Salomon shoes and haven’t looked back. I still run and wear barefoot shoes for short day hikes, but not distance hiking.

For serious SHFT work and combat, I’m still a pretty big supporter of quality boots. Support is really only necessary for heavy loads on uneven terrain, but if working or traveling through urban areas, the protection really becomes evident. What I’ve learned from wearing barefoot shoes (and sandals), is to really pay attention to where and how you step…this carries over with boots. Heavy boots do fatigue my legs faster and when at all possible and when I get a chance, I will swap out to barefoot shoes or sandals. I’m a big believer in balance, but I’ve also noticed when I’m in heavier, robust boots, I pay less attention to how I walk and get more careless with where I step. The most protective boots won’t protect you from stupid attention or poor attention to detail. Neither will barefoot shoes and avoiding areas where they require even more attention to how and where you travel.

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 Post subject: Re: Boots vs Shoes
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:25 pm 
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ROCK6 wrote:
Barefoot/minimalist stuff



your experience very largely reflects my own. Hard to find an evenhanded opinion on the subject, I welcome your lack of extremism! Reading over my previous posts on this thread (getting close to two years ago) my outlook has changed subtly, but not extremely.

I think there is much value in training/conditioning in as minimalist of footwear as possible, but then leveraging the extra protection when it makes sense. As many barefooters are fond of saying, shock and load has to go somewhere and tons of ankle support tends to just send stress upstream to the knees. But as anti-barefooters are fond of saying, the extreme care that barefooting sometimes requires isn't always practical.

I argue with barefooters that can't imagine a hobby/situation where boots make sense (like most of us they tend to have a hard time thinking outside of what they enjoy doing). I suspect they sometimes mold what they do to their footware choices rather then the other way around. I also argue with crusty old hunters that think a 10" boot with a totally rigid shank is the only way to carry weight over distance (there are plenty of guys in Salomon trail runners proving them wrong). If you argue long enough sometimes the truth comes out in the from of an old basketball injury or genetically weak ankles that means their personal experience is much less widely applicable then they imagine, but most often it turns out they have never tried anything different and just can't imagine anything else working.

While I will wear pretty minimalist shoes day to day (New Balance Minimus and Altra Lone Peaks are my current knock around town kicks) and will go just about anywhere with them (including rocky, sketchy off trail day hikes) I have noticed that multiday/high milage trips do leave my feet pretty tired at the end of the day.

What I have noticed in particular though is that the foot fatigue from "too little shoe" has an easier time resetting overnight (fresh feet by morning) then the soreness or blisters that can come from "too much shoe" (knee or hip pain usually gets worse as a trip goes on, and blisters only go from bad to awful). I was driven to low-top shoes mostly because of the blister issues I got from boots then anything else. I still wear big, full grain leather welted boots pretty often to keep my feet used to them in case I need them for something, and am a big fan of the non-disposable nature of a proper boot.

What I shoot for now is a shoe that offers lots of ankle freedom (I have good ankles and have never rolled/sprained them) but with good under-foot support (enough stiffness that a careless landing on a pointy rock doesn't equal a bruised foot). Mountain-specific shoes such as many of La Sportiva's runners, and I assume most "approach shoes" offer this kind of underfoot protection.

Part of the disconnect is that the majority of intelligent shoe discourse is centered around recreation, in which case a strong body and less shoe is often the most efficient, whereas in our (preppers/survivalist/doom'n'gloomers) case situational awareness and long term protection are huge factors. Sure I can knock out high-milage days with minimalist shoes backpacking just fine by staring at my feet all day, but do I want to be staring at my feet right before an ambush, or trying to dodge the pointy rocks while breaking contact? HELL NO.

I also notice I miss heavy boots (or appreciate them) most when trying employ my feet as a "tool" and not a mode of transportation. The last snow camping trip I was on I was wearing my very flexible home made mukluks, which are warm and comfy, but I noticed the acute lack of midsole the first time I went to break a branch for firewood with my foot. Sure, I had other tools and got by just fine, but I missed the ol' tried and true foot-hammer.


If you are a near-term prepper, just buying an extra pair of whichever shoe your feet are used to is probably the best bet, for long-term (or extra doomy) preppers, making the switch to more minimalist shoe now is probably advisable because it is pretty darn hard to craft a shank, PU midsole and Vibram outsole out of a deer or elk.


ETA: I think Evan Hill of HPG said one of the most astute things I have heard on the minimalist shoe topic, in mammals weight goes up more as a cubed function of size whereas surface area goes up more of a squared function. This means that a 250lb guy is likely to have more or less the same sized feet as a 150lb guy. Evan's anecdotal observation is that around 180 lbs is the line over which people are not well served by minimalist footwear, and it seems pretty consistent that minimalist advocates tend to be well under this line. There is probably a formula you could cook up about weight/shoe size and draw conclusions from.

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 Post subject: Re: Boots vs Shoes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:24 pm 
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RonnyRonin wrote:
What I have noticed in particular though is that the foot fatigue from "too little shoe" has an easier time resetting overnight (fresh feet by morning) then the soreness or blisters that can come from "too much shoe" (knee or hip pain usually gets worse as a trip goes on, and blisters only go from bad to awful). I was driven to low-top shoes mostly because of the blister issues I got from boots then anything else. I still wear big, full grain leather welted boots pretty often to keep my feet used to them in case I need them for something, and am a big fan of the non-disposable nature of a proper boot.

What I shoot for now is a shoe that offers lots of ankle freedom (I have good ankles and have never rolled/sprained them) but with good under-foot support (enough stiffness that a careless landing on a pointy rock doesn't equal a bruised foot). Mountain-specific shoes such as many of La Sportiva's runners, and I assume most "approach shoes" offer this kind of underfoot protection.


This has been exactly my experience. I do get the foot fatigue, but recovery is much faster. I don't get blisters anymore unless my feet get soaked and a neglect changing socks or drying out my feet and push on. I just decided a little extra cushion on the trail for 12-15 miles a day is necessary for both comfort and piece of mind. I still workout, run and do day hikes with my minimalist footwear as I continue to see better recovery, strengthened ankles and knees and my feet seem just healthier overall.

RonnyRonin wrote:
ETA: I think Evan Hill of HPG said one of the most astute things I have heard on the minimalist shoe topic, in mammals weight goes up more as a cubed function of size whereas surface area goes up more of a squared function. This means that a 250lb guy is likely to have more or less the same sized feet as a 150lb guy. Evan's anecdotal observation is that around 180 lbs is the line over which people are not well served by minimalist footwear, and it seems pretty consistent that minimalist advocates tend to be well under this line. There is probably a formula you could cook up about weight/shoe size and draw conclusions from.


This is interesting and I'll have to go look that up. I'm around 195, but it does make sense to a degree; however I would say that probably applies to anyone who is much larger. I wonder to if the improvement of modern footwear has caused changes in foot structure. I see some guy like Cody Lundin, who is well over 200 pounds, but his "real" barefoot style has adapted well for him. I know when I look at European footwear, they are often very narrow foot boxes where minimalist footwear often have larger foot boxes to allow your feet to spread for more surface area. Basic laws of physics; heavier objects with a small supporting footprint will have more stress. I'll stick with my barefoot-wear as often as I can, but like you, I still value a quality pair of boots for long term and having the available. I've been over some pretty rugged and harsh terrain in minimalist sandals. I learned that feet are pretty tough, but you do need to really pay attention. Sure, I would be comfortable in minimalist sandals, but if it was SHTF, I would be much better served with quality boots and will plan that way. Balance is key for me, but I love the conditioning improvement barefoot wear has provided me.


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 Post subject: Re: Boots vs Shoes
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:50 am 
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I'll second and third what a lot of people have said on here regarding boot superiority for a number of situations. I own a lot of shoes and I mean A LOT, some sensible and many not so much (insert female stereotype here), but if I know my feet are going to be exposed to bad weather, dangerous footing, or strenuous activity for any length of time I put on a pair of boots.

In my experience, even boots not made specifically for outdoor/work activity are still superior to shoes when it comes to supporting my ankle and keeping my feet dry. I have routinely gotten my feet soaked because of water coming up and around the top of my shoes, which doesn't happen with the taller profile of even ankle-high boots.

Additionally, I'm surprised by the OP experiences with sprains in shoes vs boots. My ankles like to roll (downside of being extra flexible) and the only times my ankle has rolled which I had speedy recovery time from or no injury have been the times I was wearing boots. Not only do they make it less likely to have the ankle roll in the first place, but they seem to keep the ankle aligned enough with the foot that even when a roll happens it does not cause the foot to bend at an angle that causes significant damage.

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