Imagine speeding down the German Autobahn at over one hundred fifty miles per hour in a brand-new Ferrari. The several hundred thousand dollar racing machine is limited only by what you can do with it. Now imagine your car is equipped with a set of bald and unbalanced tires. In this case your safety is in serious jeopardy. This is because the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It matters not how finely tuned the automobile is when the few square inches of rubber it rides on are in disrepair. The same is true when it comes to the few square inches of rubber that protect your feet in a survival situation.
As we’ve discussed before, each individual is likely to either be mobile or stationary in a time of crisis. Whichever your preference the necessity for quality footwear should not be underestimated. It doesn’t matter how many work tools or backpacking supplies you’ve amassed, when things get ugly and you are required to work outdoors or hike twenty miles everyday, you will have made a terrible blunder if you stare down at a pair of fifty dollar tennis shoes on your feet.
THE NEED FOR BOOTS
Without proper footwear you can easily develop blisters or ankle sprains that will render you completely useless for weeks. In a survival situation that could mean death. Better to find the right type of boots for your survival plan now than to be found wanting later.
As an individual with very limited resources I make sure to balance any survival gear I purchase with practical utility. That is to say I rarely buy gear that I would only use in a worst case scenario. This is because while we can read the writing on the wall, there is no guarantee that the upheaval will be as bad as our imaginations can conjure, or even if it will directly affect us as greatly as those dependent on the current system or living in certain geographical locations. Therefore, I cannot justify spending money on items I may never use. Powdered milk and MRE’s are a couple examples of foodstuffs that preppers like to stockpile despite having virtually no use outside of a survival situation. I do not advocate spending money, time, or space on purchasing products that only serve a purpose if or when the shit hits the fan.
This is why I will be focusing on the process of purchasing either hiking or work boots. And while I understand that military grade combat boots are universal in times of war, they simply make poor hiking or utility boots for peaceful scenarios. On the other hand both hiking and work boots can suffice in combat scenarios.
I think it is safe to say that government will not be abolished in one brilliant campaign, or protest, or money-bomb. And being an anarchist activist is not just about being anti-government. It is a lifestyle choice. The government dies a little each time an individual chooses free and open source software over proprietary software or each time one encrypts their email and anonymizes their web traffic. Each time one chooses to engage in a healthy outdoor activity over spectating corporate entertainment the state loses a little bit of revenue and subsequently a little bit of demand for corporate health care.
Survivalism isn’t just about preparing for pending doom. It’s about better enjoying the here and now in such a way that better prepares one for social, political and financial storms. Buying combat boots that you’ll likely never wear is the result of misplaced priorities. Buying hiking and work boots that will be used for outdoor adventure and home improvement is an investment in not only your present but also your future.
PICKING YOUR BOOTS
After you have determined which survival tactic you would most likely adopt in a crises you can purchase the proper type of boots accordingly. Hiking boots lend themselves to mobility as work boots are better suited for the stationary.
There are a few nuances of purchasing boots that must be respected. Failure to do so could result in a foot-care disaster. It is for this reason that I highly recommend purchasing footwear in person and never online.
It is very important to make sure that you get the exact size of boot correct. It will likely not be the same size as your other shoes. In order to properly determine your boot size you must wear the required socks. Let me repeat that you must wear the required socks. This means that when you go shopping for your boots you should make sure to wear the exact types of socks for trying them on as you would for actual use. If you do not do this you will not be able to properly gauge the size of the boot to purchase because you will be wearing the wrong thickness of socks.
For hiking boots you will always wear two pairs of socks at the same time. Remember that many people make poor decisions when it comes to proper foot care and will not practice this sound advice, so do not feel weird for doing the right thing. When it comes to hiking socks be sure to avoid cotton like the plague. It retains moisture, causes terrible friction and poorly insulates the feet against extreme temperatures. Be sure to wear thin, wicking socks that touch the skin. This will prevent moisture buildup and help to prevent blisters. The second layer of sock should be a thick wool. The two layers of socks will increase cushioning, prevent blisters and allow for greater thermal regulation in times of extreme temperatures.
Understand that thick wool socks are to be worn even when temperatures are very high. Your feet will not overheat or cause overheating of the body. If you remove your wool socks you will no longer be wearing the correctly sized boot which will cause ankle insecurity as well as blisters. Having your boot correctly sized for two layers of socks, including a woolen layer, will allow you to switch to a heavier wool sock in extremely cold temperatures without sacrificing the comfort of your boots. It is best to wear short wool socks in the summer time but to also possess full length medium and heavy duty wool socks for deep winter. Remember to wear both layers of socks when trying on your new boots.
The next step is to find the right type of hiking boots. Many people wear hiking shoes on the trail. Under no circumstances do I recommend relying on hiking shoes in a survival situation, nor do I recommend them even for casual day and overnight backpacking trips. They are tempting because they are so lightweight and easy to put on and remove but they offer absolutely no ankle support and will devastate your feet if you are carrying significant weight on your shoulders. Be sure to find quality waterproof boots that cover your ankles and is designed for carrying heavy loads.
Knowing how to get the correct boot length is every bit as important as every other step. I suggest purchasing your new hiking boots from your local REI. They have lifetime money back guarantees, good products, knowledgeable and enthusiastic employees, and strong rebates for members, which I recommend becoming. But aside from that, they usually have an inclined phony rock to walk up near the boots section. That rock isn’t just for show. After you’ve put on both of your boots, not just one, walk up and down that phony rock. It will tell you whether or not you are wearing properly sized boots. If you find that your heel rises up from the back of the boot at all during ascent then you know you are wearing too large of a size. And if you find that your toes are touching the front of the boot on descent then you are wearing too small of a size. It is paramount that you find a pair of boots that neither allows your heel to rise up in the back nor press on your toes in the front during incline. Failure to wear correctly sized boots will spell disaster for your feet. If you purchase the right type of boot, correctly sized, and with proper socks, your new footwear should feel as if it is an extension of your body, requiring very little breaking in.
For work boots I recommend finding a local boot store. It doesn’t need to be corporate if you take my advice on the type of boots to purchase, as you’ll likely need to order it from the factory anyways. The purpose of going in is to make sure that professionals help fit you with the right sized boot. Most people nowadays wear short work boots that barely cover the ankle. But I find that logger boots that extend well beyond the ankle offer the best protection and comfort. Logger boots protect much more of the leg for people who use chainsaws or have to weed eat in rattlesnake country. Pant legs can even be tucked in to better protect against ticks, mud and water. And if the worst case scenario does arise you can easily engage in combat in these boots. But be sure to wear the proper socks when trying them on at the store. You’ll only be wearing one pair of socks for work boots but they’ll run you around ten dollars per pair. They’ll be a lot thicker and longer than your standard fifty cent pair of everyday socks, but they’ll protect you from blisters. Remember to always avoid the blisters.
Following these steps should make you very happy with your new pair of boots. If you already own the right type of boots for your survival scenario, congratulations. You don’t need to spend any money this month. But for those of you lacking proper survival footwear I strongly encourage you to procure them as soon as possible. In survival situations many things can be improvised, such as food, water, and shelter. Footwear, however, is one item you do not want to improvise. If your footwear lets you down it could easily remove you from the game. Don’t let that happen.
Your new boots should also encourage you to spend more time outdoors. Perhaps you’ll only go hiking or do serious outdoor labor one-half dozen times per year. But even if that is the case, the bright side is that your new boots will make your time outdoors more pleasurable. They will also be there for you in times of emergency, and they’ll likely last you the rest of your life.