Monday, October 11, 2010

Picking The Best Boots

The quality of footwear has decreased greatly over the years as companies are trying to find ways to lessen cost. Most of us wear what are essentially disposable shoes that cannot and should not be repaired. Footwear is the most important article of clothing. While we should go barefoot as often as possible, since it is natural and strengthens the feet, harsh environments often require the protection of footwear. Boots are ideal over shoes since they provide ankle support when needed, prevent stickers from attaching to socks, and stop snake bites if necessary.

What to look for when buying boots:
  • All leather (durable and breathable)
  • Triple stitched on the main pieces of leather
  • Deep tread (for traction)
  • Polyester or nylon thread (does not fray or rot like linen thread)*
  • Small number of leather pieces (the more pieces to a boot the more chances for a seam failure)**
  • Rebuildable welt construction (where the upper leather is stitched to the sole; makes rebuilding easier)
  • No Gor-Tex (prevents full breathability and the pores get clogged up)***
*If there is a stray piece of thread on the boot, take a lighter and see if it melts; if it does, it is synthetic and ideal.
**Some high quality boots are made from a single piece of leather. These are expensive and unusual. So normally look for 3 to 4 pieces of leather in a boot.
***Just use a product like Sno-Seal to make boots waterproof, by the end of the wet season it should wear off and you have a breathable pair of boots again.

Some brands that are fit most of these criteria:
  • Redwings (Specifically model 608 [scuffs pretty bad though])
  • Whites Boots
  • Doc Martins (They are often build more for style than practicality)
  • Altama (Specifically model 4157)
  • Carolina
  • Hand Made Boots
  • Double H
  • And others
Some types of boots that commonly fit most of these criteria:
  • Logger (Have an exceedingly high heel and are heavy)
  • Western aka. Coyboy (Comfortable but lack traction [so you can get out of the stirrups easily])
  • Moccasins
And when possible (for the health of your feet):
  • Vibram Fivefingers
  • Huraches
  • Sandals
Picking long lasting footwear is an important part of Thrivalism.

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