How Important Shoes For Survival? | Survival Footwear

shoes for survival

Are Important Shoes for Survival?

Yes – as long as you’re wearing the correct type of footwear. Slippers or sneakers can serve you well enough at the bare minimum, but it’s a well-known fact that boots are best for all-around general use (and survival) because they are as sturdy as they are versatile.

Make sure to pick out the correct type of pair, though, as wearing the inappropriate type could possibly cause you immobilizing injury.

In times of crisis, an individual can be moving or stationary. You may be walking long distances to get away from the threat, or maybe you are staying put while maintaining your homestead.

Everything has been prepared to help you get through the first crucial 72 hours including your bug-out bag.

You've seen to it that you have all the provisions and the skills needed to ensure your survival. But have you thought about your feet?

It may not seem like it, but survival footwear is one of the most important items you can have.

Finding The Proper Survival Footwear

Being ready does not only involve the materials and the skills; you also have to be in great shape. So it's important to have the right survival footwear for whatever might come along.

Your regular sneakers will not be helpful if you are headed for the hills. The same can be said about working around the house fixing things.

Flip-flops or sandals would have no place in tough and demanding situations. Here is part of an interesting article on choosing the right survival shoes for SHTF.

Proper Footwear For Survival

Imagine speeding down the German Autobahn at over one hundred fifty miles per hour in a brand-new Ferrari. The several hundred thousand dollar racing machine is limited only by what you can do with it.

Now imagine your car is equipped with a set of bald and unbalanced tires. In this case, your safety is in serious jeopardy. This is because the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

It matters not how finely tuned the automobile is when the few square inches of rubber it rides on are in disrepair. The same is true when it comes to the few square inches of rubber that protect your feet in a survival situation.

As we’ve discussed before, each individual is likely to either be mobile or stationary in a time of crisis. Whichever your preference the necessity for quality footwear should not be underestimated.

It doesn’t matter how many work tools or backpacking supplies you’ve amassed, when things get ugly and you are required to work outdoors or hike twenty miles every day, you will have made a terrible blunder if you stare down at a pair of fifty dollar tennis shoes on your feet.

THE NEED FOR BOOTS Without proper footwear you can easily develop blisters or ankle sprains that will render you completely useless for weeks. In a survival situation that could mean death.

Better to find the right type of boots for your survival plan now than to be found wanting later. As an individual with very limited resources, I make sure to balance any survival gear I purchase with practical utility.

That is to say, I rarely buy gear that I would only use in a worst-case scenario. This is because while we can read the writing on the wall, there is no guarantee that the upheaval will be as bad as our imaginations can conjure, or even if it will directly affect us as greatly as those dependent on the current system or living in certain geographical locations.

Therefore, I cannot justify spending money on items I may never use. Powdered milk and MREs are a couple examples of foodstuffs that preppers like to stockpile despite having virtually no use outside of a survival situation.

I do not advocate spending money, time, or space on purchasing products that only serve a purpose if or when the shit hits the fan.

It is true that logger boots would be the most versatile survival footwear, but your choice will greatly depend on the crisis situation you are in.

You have to find the best compromise between safety, comfort, and durability, so your decision-making skills will be tested.

Always think long-term and always think of how your shoes can help in your survival. Finding the right survival footwear can truly make a huge difference in your life after SHTF.

Do you have a favorite pair of hiking boots or other survival footwear? Let us know in the comments. Then check out these related articles from our site:

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 15, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

21 Responses to :
How Important Shoes For Survival? | Survival Footwear

  1. Rugged hiking books can be marvelous for traveling long distances over rough terrain. I love the pair I have. If waterproof, they can make it easier to cross shallow streams.

    But the article fails to mention Rule One with all hiking boots. Break them in before you need to use them over any distance. And somewhere on any short list for hiking boots is to size them a bit larger than your regular shoes, so you can wear two pair of socks. That reduces the impact, lessens rubbing, and in cold weather keeps your feet warmer.

    Also, investigate and make a decision about including a shank of some length for stiffening those shoes. If you’re going to be on rough, rocky terrain or scrambling up rocks, the stiffening can spare your feet a lot of strain. On flat trails and city streets or sidewalks, however, that lack of flexibility can make running more difficult.

    I used to do a lot of hiking and mountaineering. The shoes I wore were quite heavy, but they more than made up for that by the protection they provided. The last thing you want in a survival situation is injured feet.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Across Asia on a Bicycle

  2. tim mcphillips says:

    I prefer danner recon boots, they are all leather, goretex lined and thinsulate added for warmth, the linings help wick moisture away from your foot to help reduce heat and prevent blisters. they have great boots but stay away from the Chinese models, make sure it says made in America and has the flag on it.

  3. marlene says:

    I was told by several workers that steel-tipped shoes are dangerous. They said that when something heavy fell on their foot, the metal tip cut through their toes and severed them. So it seems the steel-tipped shoes are good for protection yourself in a physical fight, but not for workers in heavy equipment, loading, etc. FYI

    1. Allen says:

      I’d rather have my toes cut off than have my whole foot crushed flat.

      1. rebelyankee says:

        LOL! You think so??? The bones in your crushed foot might heal, your toes are gone FOREVER. When that semi tractor or trailer axle comes down on that steel toe, it crushes the toes, lacerating the skin to the bone, leaving you in absolute agony unable to remove the boot, which will have to be cut from your foot.

        Only time I felt more helpless was when a 3″ rivet mandrel, virtually a nail without a head, came through the bottom of my boots sole running across the apron literally nailing the boot to my foot. Unfortunately without a head to grab, I had to have a fellow employee dig around in the sole with a long nose plier to grasp that mandrel by the shaft, and pull it out, before I could get the boot off.

        Only thing more fun is a 2″ red hot remnant of discarded arc welding rod going down your boot. CLUE: Enjoy the aroma of burning flesh, and grit your teeth while it cauterizes everything shut, because you scramble to remove that boot, and that remnant is gonna burn you in a few more places on the way down to your toes where it will settle before you get that boot off. LOL ;^)

      2. Bob Joslin says:

        Steel toe boots “protect” only your toes, not your foot. Depending upon how and what falls on the boot, they can literally cut your toes off, or damage them severely. The steel does not protect the top of the foot. The toe box on a well made pair of boots usually provides ample protection without the need for steel. Steel also robs a LOT of heat from your feet, which are often the first things to get cold. In a winter situation in northern climates you are more likely to get frostbit toes than crushed ones. You can not walk without toes, but pretty much only shuffle. They are used for balance and propulsion – pay attention to how much you rock forward on your feet and push off.

        I live and work outdoors and wear boots daily, and routinely use and am around heavy equipment, axes, chain saws, etc. None of my boots are steel toed, and I won’t wear them and unless absolutely required, don’t recommend them for anybody. Danner Pronghorns properly sized (good boots, lousy laces)usually require little break-in and are good medium to light-heavy duty boots; if you use them a lot a good pair of heavier boots such as Whites (expensive), Weinbrenner (slightly less expensive, very durable, Kevlar stitching), or Chippewa (good for the price) are all good. Do NOT buy cheap boots!! Get stitched-on soles or high quality (Danner’s listed may not be stitched but have lasted well (no pun intended). Sorry but expect to drop a couple hundred bucks or more into good boots, but overall, it is cheap life insurance and good boots taken care of can last for several years even with daily use. Don’t forget your family – it’s tempting to get cheapies for kids, but good ones can be handed down as they outgrow them (not ideal as each foot is different, but tolerable). Less expensive Danner’s are good for this application.

        Get extra laces, or carry paracord. Obenauf’s Leather Preservative will do a very good job of keeping leather goods water resistant and supple (don’t use mink or neatsfoot oil, overrated) and Obenauf’s can be used as chapstick, salve, and a fire-starter aid – very multi-use). And, as another writer said – carry extra socks! change them out often, even mid-day if/when your feet sweat and air-out and dry the original pair. And yes, I do re-wear them also, but wash or at least rinse them as often as possible. Two pairs on feet – one lighter one (cotton) and one heavier (good wool – “Smartwool” are good). Size the boots for two pair, and get used to wearing them. Make sure you have a big, “boxy” toe box – don’t cramp your toes = cold feet). As much as I like cowboy boots, they are NOT survival boots! Sorry to run long winded, but as Lt. Dan implies – take care of your feet so they can take care of you.

    2. Mouse says:

      Mythbusters has checked that one out and found it to be completely false. In testing, they found that an extremely heavy load dropped on non-steel toed shoes will crush the toes/feet flat; the steel toed boots protected the feet to the point where bones were broken, but there was no need for amputation.

    3. Barb says:

      I know they do make steel tongue boots, a better option than the steel toe boots. I haven’t worn any , but I imagine there is less flexibility with the steel tongue.

  4. Linda says:

    I recently bought surplus used military boots. They are already broken in, but were not badly worn. They also have very wide sizes – which is my #1 problem when shopping for footwear. I wore them to the county fair to test their wearability and they came through with flying colors. I’m not sure about climbing, but I can walk a long time in these. Hooray! My everyday wear are great, but these are my go-to survival wear.

  5. Walter says:

    Actually a pair of sandals or flip flops are a good idea. If you get you shoes or boots wet you will have to take them off and dry your feet, boots and socks. Keeping wet boots or shoes on will ruin your feet fairly quickly (speaking from experience in Vietnam). Sure you can walk around barefoot but that increases your chances of injuring your feet.

    1. Thibault says:

      I think that’s an excellent idea if you are in a place hot enough to actually keep your feet. Walk in the snow with these sandals and your feet won’t last long. Sounds like a good idea to carry an extra pair of boots in cold climates!

  6. Lawrence Moore says:

    M. Perry (and others) make excellent points. Nearly all boots will eventually be broken in, but some designs will create heel blisters more than others. You should be able to tell this long before boot is broken in – you can often tell by walking around in the boots inside the store for several minutes before you purchase. Wear your boot socks when trying on new boots and avoid boots that give indications of heel chafing.
    Article needs to discuss use of inner and outer socks to prevent chafing and wick moisture. The article also needs to discuss height of boot as it relates to ankle protection from twisting, abrasion and even animals (dogs, snakes). Twisted ankles are a common hazard, especially with lighter hiking boots that allow excessive twisting in the sole. Get a boot that limits the amount of sole twisting. Grab a boot’s bottom fore and aft with both hands and try and twist the sole – you’ll be surprised at how easily some “tough” shoes will twist.

    Larry Moore – backpacker for 50 years and engineer.

  7. Rex says:

    I found a pair of Danner hiking boots at a second hand store for $13. I have since seen them for sale for $189 and up. They were like new and have been the best, most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Even on hard surfaces, like concrete, they are great.

  8. Gunny says:

    Zamberlan boots are the most comfortable footwear I’ve ever owned. I have a pair for everyday wear and a pair for work. For me backpacking boots are comfortable and versital. They are a bit pricey but worth every penny. You can expect them to last for years and you can wear them all day.

  9. AKO says:

    Altima Milspec desert and wet weather pairs for me!!! I’ve used and abused th over the years and they are invaluable

  10. Chris N says:

    @ ‘A’
    “Socks! never put socks back on after wearing. They must be washed first”
    Socks can quite happily be re-worn. On Day 2,Take the socks off and swap feet, ie left sock on right foot, right sock on left foot. On Day 3 turn the socks inside out but keep them on same feet. Day 4 Swap socks over again. Using this technique ensures your feet are exposed to different sock fabric each day.

    I have found talcum powder to be of use in keeping feet dry, as opposed to anti-perspirant’s (which I have not used).

  11. I use a pair of surplus combat boots. Not the most comfortable but keep my feet safe.

  12. cmac says:

    In the case of the Katrina cops it was likely using the survival scrounging excuse to get as many pair of shoes/boots that they could.

  13. rebelyankee says:

    Yup, prepare preppers! BREAK THEM IN, before you need them, AND have more than one option IF possible. I employ several boots for different scenarios. My favorite hikers suited for Easten Tennessee terain are actually a boot designed for shop use by Mechanix.

    My SHTF all around one boot fits all choice is: a broken in pair of 13″ Corcoran jump boots, I’ve used and tested on all terain without fail, with the RIGHT socks.

    Then there are my Red Head insulated Mossy Oak 10″ hunting boots perfect for their designed purpose.

    My Sears Robuck & Co. mock toe, NO STEEL mid cut boot, and my Thourohgood pull on ranch boots fill the bill for everyday shop or yard chores as well as stream crossing early morning dog walks.

    Like one gun can’t bridge every gap PERFECTLY, there IS generally ONE that can damn near do it all, IF not perfectly, but sufficiently for MOST situations. In guns it’s the Mossberg 500 shotgun with little modification, in boots, IMHO it’s the Cocoran 13″ jump boot.

    How many pairs of boots does one man need??? Like guns, just one more :o) LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC DAMNED BE the TYRANTS

  14. Eric "Pappy" LeClair says:

    I would have to say that my favorite boots that I wear in rotation are Asolo hiker’s, Rocky SV2 climatrol hiker’s that came from the factory with cut outs for a blast match and wet fire tinder underneath the insoles, AKU 9in. Field boots, Cabela’s 8in. Hunting boots by LOWA, Danner RAT hot weather, Danner Desert Acadia, Bates USMC all weather GTX boot’s, HAIX GTX field boot, Bates model 950 Combat Mtn hikers. All of these boots have proven to be reliable footwear and have lasted for a long time

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