I carry two different kinds of footwear when camping or hiking: one for the actual hike and one for wear while in camp. This is geared towards normal/warm weather hiking and camping. Arctic or cold weather is a different ball game.
Out with the old kung-fu shoes. These are the real deal! Waterproof, sturdy and hurts like hell when you get kicked by one. The pair you see in the photo are about a year and a half old and have seen countless miles of hiking and general daily usage. As you can see, they’re still in pretty good condition. Highly recommended!
And yes, I can hike, run and fight in it. I heard good things about other boots, but I like the tough construction and relative comfort of this boot. As for some of the ultra-comfortable boots… I’m not entirely sure that they would have the sort of protection I would like.
HIKING BOOT INSOLES
Now mine are faded and peeled to death but even after almost two years of continuous usage, they feel great. The photo is what I grabbed off the internet since if I posted mine, you probably wouldn’t be able to recognize it off the shelf anyway. A good boot is as only as good as the insole in it and this insole, I swear by. It’s one of those revolutionary hard insoles which may sound counter intuitive, but trust me, for a guy with a lot of wear and tear, this thing has been a godsend.
Some of you wise guys might go “oh, then how come you’re in a wheel chair at the time of writing?” Guess what? I was wearing a pair of shoes with a different insole at the time I injured myself.
Camp shoes are traditionally slippers, and for years I have used slippers while in camp. Others have used sneakers. I understood where this was coming from. Those who wore slippers wanted to dry and powder their feet while in camp. Those who wore sneakers wanted comfort with less risk of injuring one of their feet by accidentally kicking a protruding tree root or something of that nature. But how about both? That’s why I switched to a Croc knockoff. I assume that a real Croc would be just as effective (at about 20 times the price). Although it’s foot drying power is not as good as an open slipper, I find it infinitely more comfortable and gives fairly basic foot protection. I find it to be the perfect compromise between the two.
The one you see here is almost three years old. Rarely does $1 do so much.
A Note About Shallow Rivers and Crocs (the footwear, not the reptile)
The other benefit of having a pair of Crocs comes when fording a shallow river. It allows you to go on a hike without getting one of your two pairs of boots or your sneakers wet (which adds weight and is a pain in the ass to dry). Dries quickly, stays on your feet well under water, and has made my river-crossing life much easier after I adopted it.
The other important factor in hiking or outdoor mobility is socks. Personally, I have found the best hiking socks to be Army standard issue black/olive drab socks which have a very tight foot part and a not so tight ankle and leg part. The reason why I find this superior is that it cuts down on friction on my foot.
Another addition that helps with fighting blisters (especially if your heels are a source of problems) is a heel sock like so:
Wearing this under your sock helps cut down the “rubbing raw” feel on your heel down to nothing.
Of course, tests continue and as I discover better gear, you’ll find it here!