Want to increase your survival odds? Then you’re going to want to read this article.
What have you got on your feet right now?
Hopefully if you’re inside you’re wearing a pair of socks or nice slippers. If you’re outside, you may have some sneakers or dress shoes on.
Now imagine that whatever you have on your feet right now are going to be on your feet for the next 180 days. And this footwear (whatever it is) will help bear the load as you carry survival gear into the scariest situations.
If you’re less than pleased with the footwear you have currently, then it’s time to select a more durable choice for when SHTF.
In order to help, we want to give you some information on selecting the best boots for a crisis.
In this case, it’s less about selecting the “perfect” brand, and more about identifying the key components that make the perfect boots for when SHTF.
Ask anyone who’s ever had to trek over long distances (like soldiers in the Army, or avid hikers) and they’ll be the first to tell you – if your feet kill you, then you may end up wishing you were dead.
That’s why we wrote this article on how to…
Increase Your Survival Odds By Putting These On Your Feet
Factors To Consider
Selecting boots is not a simple process – there’s a lot to consider. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a pair for survival:
- Weather Resistance
- Waterproof – make sure the pair has a waterproof guarantee. It should also have a gusseted tongue which will stop seepage from getting into the lace holes
- Fit & Comfort (including breaking them in)
- Long-term Comfort – especially during long days on your feet and crossing lots of different terrain
- Uppers (part of above the sole) – consider either leather or nylon blends. A Leather and synthetic mesh combination is also good, since it’s lighter than an all-leather upper, and provides structural support.
- Breathable Liner – These help pull moisture away from your feet, keeping you dry longer. This also helps avoid blisters and chaffing.
- Strong, Durable Lacing System – The eyelets, hooks, and D-rings should be built to last. Make sure they’re strong and sturdy – these will be undergoing lots of constant stress.
- 550 Paracord Laces – you may need to add these yourself. Durable laces are vital for your boots’ success – you don’t want them breaking on the trail. 550 paracord is much stronger than your typical laces, and has about 100 different uses in a survival situation if you decide to remove them.
- Sole – Choose the type that’s best for the terrain you’ll be crossing. If there’s a lot of steep hills on the trail, you may want heel and toe brakes. Self-cleaning treads are great for keeping your balance on muddy, slippery, or rocky spots. Flexibility and shock absorbency will also come in handy if you’ll be running and/or jumping.
Key Terms To Know
It may be surprising to you, but boot shopping is not what it used to be. There’s a ton of terminology that’s helpful to know when you’re at the store, so that you can best explain your needs to the person helping you.
Carbon Rubber – a type of rubber that’s been chemically changed to be more lightweight and durable. Great for shock resistance.
Crampon or Snowshoe Compatibility – some boots have a unique design which allow integration of crampons (traction devices) or snowshoes. Crampons are excellent for digging into ice, and snowshoes are built for walking on heavy, deep snow.
Gore-Tex – A lining material containing multiple layers. Promotes dryness by removing the moisture on the inside of the boot from sweat, and preventing moisture from the air and the elements from getting in. This liner is also great for warm temperatures (sheds heat) and cold temperature (traps and insulates heat).
EVA – A very dense and durable foam that acts as a shock absorber.
Collar – the part of the boot that spans the top of the shaft. Can contain padding on either the inside or the outside, which helps to protect your ankle from impact. It also makes the fit more comfortable, and prevents dirt and debris from coming inside.
Midsole – the layer that’s being sandwiched between the sole and the upper. Provides structural support for the bottom of your foot.
Self-Cleaning Treads – an efficient tread pattern which opens the spaces between each tread as you walk. This helps the tread to remove debris (like caked-on mud, pebbles, etc), therefore allowing for more balance when walking on slippery areas.
Heel Brake – a tread design that allows for your foot to gain a better grip as your heading down steep areas.
Rand – a rubber strip that lays over the seam connecting the sole and the upper. This is typically on water resistant and waterproof boot styles.
Gusseted Tongue – a tongue sewn into the boot behind the lace eyelets. This tongue creates a blockade between your foot and the water and debris attempting to get in.
Outsole – the part of the boot that touches the ground. This is stitched, cemented, or both to the boot’s upper.
Insole – The layer that comes in direct contact with the bottom of your foot. The insole is typically removable, and can include anti-shock, antimicrobial, and/or pressure relief capabilities.
Heel Cap (or Heel Counter) – helps hold the heel in place and prevents it from slipping up and down while you walk.
Neutral Foot Position – when you’re standing up straight and your weight is evenly distributed. The ankle and feet are forming a straight vertical line. This position reduces strain on the back, knees, hips, and feet.
Shaft – the section of the boot that travels up the leg. The shaft height measures from where the boot meets the sole to the highest height up the leg. Sometimes, the measurement of the circumference will also be taken into consideration. This is the distance around the widest section of the shaft.
Toe Cap – an additional piece of material that has been added onto the toe of the boot. Protects the boot from wear and tear.
Vibram Outsole – a diamond tread pattern providing outstanding traction. Also known as the “Lug Sole”
Shank – Metal (or plastic) strips which build the arch of the boot. The shank can be full-size (running the entire length of the boot) or 3/4 length, which stops once it hits the ball of the foot.
Torque/Torsion Control – the boot structure’s resistance to twisting at the ankle.
Vulcanized Rubber – rubber that helps prevent loss of elasticity and prevents deformation as changes in temperature occur. This is a natural rubber that has been changed by chemicals. This process makes the rubber harder, more durable, and longer lasting.
Suede – the softest material in comparison to leather and nubuck. Is the result of brushing the inside surface of leather.
Nubuck – the result of roughing the grain surface of leather. This make it stronger and more impervious to water and abrasians.
Full Grain Leather – stiffer than suede or nubuck. Refers to leather that not been brushed or roughed on either side.
All this knowledge is great to have, but it can be a real pain to search for boots that meet your expectations. Here are some highly recommended brands/styles from The Bug Out Bag Guide to consider:
Survival Boots For Men
Survival Boots For Women
Great Deals On Survival Boots
You don’t have to necessarily pay an arm and a leg for good-quality survival boots. Keep in mind, you do get what you pay for – however, you can often find great deals online and in-store. Check out options like eBay, Zappos, Sierra Trading Post, and local consignment stores for discounts.