Boot Check

Coming into winter I’m doing my boot checks.
How many of you do too?

Checking for damage, function, and wear.

  1. Sole / Tread, Sole Bonding aka No leaks.
  2. Body Leather, Body leather Uppers
  3. Waterproofing intact
  4. Steel Toe cap, Steel mid sole protection plate
    (Both optional, usually only in working boots only)
  5. Inner shoe fabric, Inside ankle padding, Padded collar
  6. Heel stiffener, Boot Tongue
  7. Laces, Eyelets hooks, loops, or combination
  8. Insoles, Waterproof Gaiters, Ice spikes.
  9. Socks, Dusting powder, boot polish or Dubbin stock.

Only why?
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!

Insoles.
They serve a few purposes.

  1. To help cushion your feet from impact damage.
  2. To protect the inside of the shoe from friction wear
  3. To provide an extra layer of insulation
  4. 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.

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7 Responses to Boot Check

  1. Rifleman III says:

    Paul: Boots for you, or the little lady? 😉 [*Brittius*]

  2. shtfprepper says:

    No matter how good a plan you have, it’s all for naught if you can’t walk.

  3. Mustn’t forget that diabetics need to look after their feet, whatever the weather or season, so good footwear is a must. Said goodbye to my trainers as they were leaking and the tread had worn too.
    Got my money’s worth though as I;d worn them practically every day since purchase!

  4. gamegetterII says:

    We can’t wear our steel toed boots outside in winter over here-they just don’t keep your feet warm in below zero temps. My feet froze the few times I wore steel toed boots outside in winter.
    They’re okay when walking,but when you are sitting for over an hour as in hunting our big game critters,such as deer,elk,and moose-your feet get cold and stay cold until the hike back out of the woods.
    I’ve got a pair of boots that were supposed to cost $189.00 USD,made in Italy,brand name is Karrimor, they’re 6″hiking/mountaineering boots-one of the best pairs of boots I’ve ever had.
    Got them from Sierra Trading Post for $59.00 including shipping.
    The boots have suede uppers and Vibram soles-soaked ’em with a whole can of Camp Dri in 3 applications,and they have not leaked yet.
    They don’t have any of the mens Karrimor boots at this time,but they do have some good deals.
    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/
    They are non-insulated,so I’m going to wear them ’till it gets cold-then breakout the 10″ insulated boots for cold weather-they were supposed to cost $179.00 that I got from Cabela’s for $69.00-including shipping,and a pair of merino wool socks.
    Cabela’s no longer carries those boots-but they do have a few great deals now…
    http://www.cabelas.com/
    Took a bit of hiking to break them in though,something with the way the seams are made causes the ankles to rub your ankle-right on the ball at the outside of your ankle-hurt like hell the first few trips to the woods-now that they’re broken in,they are great boots,nice and warm-have 1,000 grams of Thinsulate insulation.
    The uppers are pigskin leather,alI I have to do is treat them with mink oil after I clean them,no leaks last winter-just put a fresh coat of mink oil on them a few days ago-ready for snow and cold now.

    No way I can afford almost $200.00 (US)or a pair of boots-that’s freakin’ insanity!
    I just watch for the deals-when I know I’m going to need new boots,I start looking for the deals a month or so ahead of time.

    • Minus 15 Celsius a few years ago and I was still wearing my steels but had warm feet.

      The only reason why I wear steels is working boots are cheaper than hikers, last longer, and are easy on the feet over a long day.

      There again, they are also waterproof, chemical , crush and foot stab proof.

      For me it’s all about keeping mobile and above all DRY.

      • gamegetterII says:

        As I said,the steel toes are great as long as you are moving,it’s when you are stationary for long periods that they are no good.
        That’s why I look for the good deals-that goes for steel toes too-got a pair of Caterpillar brand steel toes for $39.00-that even beat the Wal-Mart price for decent boots.
        The higher end hiking and hunting boots seem to last much,much longer than the cheap ones.
        I’ve got a pair of Rocky brand pac boots with 1200 grams Thinsulate insulation that I bought in 2002,they are still in good shape.
        So,I’ve got 3 pairs of boots,the Karrimor hikers I wear daily,the 12″hunting boots I wear in winter,and the Rocky pac boots for brutal cold that we get in our NE Ohio winters.
        NE Ohio is one of only a few places in the world that gets lake effect snow in winter-the NW wind blows across the open waters of lake Erie,picks up moisture,then dumps snow when the wind pushes the moisture laden air to the higher elevations inland.
        Buffalo New York also gets blasted with lake effect snow-it’s great for those of us who snowplow in winter-until the lake freezes over-then no more lake effect snow.
        We get some brutal winters over here,snow measured in feet in many places.
        Arctic air drops down a few times every winter too-20,30 below zero for days at a time here-months at time in other states.
        So,my feet stay warm and dry all winter,I do still have the Caterpillar steel toes-which I wear when cutting up trees for firewood,splitting wood with a logsplitter,doing concrete work-anything where my toes could get smashed,and I wear the steel toes even if it’s cold.

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