Coming into winter I’m doing my boot checks.
How many of you do too?
Checking for damage, function, and wear.
- Sole / Tread, Sole Bonding aka No leaks.
- Body Leather, Body leather Uppers
- Waterproofing intact
- Steel Toe cap, Steel mid sole protection plate
(Both optional, usually only in working boots only)
- Inner shoe fabric, Inside ankle padding, Padded collar
- Heel stiffener, Boot Tongue
- Laces, Eyelets hooks, loops, or combination
- Insoles, Waterproof Gaiters, Ice spikes.
- Socks, Dusting powder, boot polish or Dubbin stock.
Cause just like Moses, who built the Ark BEFORE the storm, it makes good sense to check things before the main event.
A word on socks.
Would you wear cotton socks in the winter?
I’m hoping you’ve all said no but why not?
Cotton socks they have little insulation value and are designed to wick the moisture off your feet. At that point they lose all insulation properties. Worse still, once a cotton sock is wet, it begins to coat your foot with a nice film of perspiration aka water.
And the alternative is:-
Socks made of wool, fleece, and similar type synthetic materials must be used.
The reason is if the socks get wet (due to a sweaty foot), the socks themselves do not lose their insulating properties.
Additionally, the various styles of synthetic socks are also generally far thicker than a standard thin cotton sock, allowing the sock to absorb far more moisture.
Now it is claimed that they will dry themselves out using your warm feet.
I treat that comment as a bit daft so when out walking, it’s a good idea to keep a spare pair to change into if you are going to be sitting round.
Me (being very firmly attached to my feet) takes that basic thought a little bit further and I carry two spare pairs. One on, One for sleeping, and one to change into if I’m stopping with the sweaty socks being placed in an inner pocket to dry out from my body heat.
Finally, one pair or two?
Two if it’s cold only the first pair is a really thin pair made with fine wool or a synthetic material, NEVER COTTON.
The idea is to allow free passage of dampness into the outside sock and ultimately the insoles. YOU MUST WICK MOISTURE AWAY FROM YOUR FEET!
They serve a few purposes.
- To help cushion your feet from impact damage.
- To protect the inside of the shoe from friction wear
- To provide an extra layer of insulation
- To help wick the moisture away from the foot.
To that end they are usually a synthetic fleece or wool type.
Only they also have spares. One on and one for stopping.
Picked carefully the boot can get slightly wet and a change of socks and insoles will help to prevent your precious heat wicking away.
Finally boot care.
Keeping boots clean, waterproof, and well lubricated, boot polish and dubbin are good items to carry plus a brush to work the polish in.
This is nothing about being ‘posh’.
A clean boot will help to prevent mud and other crud adhering to its surface.
Only what do you do with your boots at night?
Well I clean them off, polish them, put them in a boot bag made from breathable material, and pop them into the bottom of the sleeping bag. Therefore they keep warm all night.
Some advocate leaving them out to air.
OK lets look at that.
Hot sweaty boot and cold air makes it “rain” inside the boot. Thus it stays wet.
Even worse, if it’s cold enough the moisture freezes and in the morning you will pop your nice warm foot and clean dry socks into a cold frozen leather popsicle.
Only what happens when or even if it warms up.
The ice melts and you have wet feet.
Now does that sound like a good idea in winter?
Finally dusting powder.
I always carry anti fungicide foot powder.
That goes onto the foot before adding the socks NOT into the shoe.
Why? I have sweaty feet like most people have.
Moisture and heat is an ideal breeding ground for fungus and nothing ruins your mobility better than a bad fungal infection which, in most cases, is a bitch to get rid off.