In order to improve your chances of survival in times of crisis, it is very important to wear the proper type of footwear. Poor footwear can restrict your movement to a significant extent. When seconds matter high mobility is everything.
In addition, you will lose a lot of heat through your feet if the shoes you’re wearing are not properly insulated. Not wearing the right kind of footwear during times of disaster can lead to a host of potentially life-threatening problems ranging from cuts, bruises, sores and infection. In extreme conditions the complete absence of footwear could be a death sentence.
Keeping that in mind, here is a summary of important factors to consider when choosing a new pair of survival footwear.
Ensure a proper fit
The best way to determine if the footwear is a good fit for you is to actually try it on (obviously) and walk around the store wearing the shoe. Don’t depend on shoe sizes stated by the manufacturer as this can vary by brand. Interesting fact, many people actually have one foot that is somewhat larger than the other, so base your decision on sizing footwear with your larger foot. Leave enough free room in the shoe. Around half an inch from your longest toe in the front and an eighth of an inch in the back from your heel. Proper fitting footwear should provide plenty of room to wiggle your toes without feeling loose or overly spacious.
In the event you do not feel comfortable in a pair of footwear you otherwise really like, just bite the bullet and move on. Don’t buy shoes hoping you will get used to them or that they will magically start to fit with use. However, keep in mind that a proper fitting shoe will take some time to settle and will eventually mold to your feet. You can ascertain an estimation of the actual fit by wearing, re-lacing and walking a few steps in them. Most reputable retailers will refund the full value of the shoes if they become uncomfortable or begin to hurt your feet even after a few days of usage.
Can you run well in your “survival” shoes?
If you enjoy running you already know the importance of a high quality pair of shoes. The physical act of running can put up to 5 times the amount of your body weight directly on your feet. Extra cushioning is often present in good running shoes to help help mitigate this extreme force. Even if you are not much of a runner, you should be able to easily run at full speed in the shoes you plan to wear in times of crisis. If running is your only means of escape you definitely don’t want to be caught in a heavy pair of steel toed work boots. In addition, the shoes you select must be slip-resistant and have soft midsoles to offer proper cushioning to the ankle.
Does the footwear adequately protect your feet?
Let’s be real. Flip-flops are cool, comfortable and perfectly acceptable for lounging around the pool on a hot summer day. But they cannot protect your feet from the hazards you might face in unfamiliar locales and times of danger. In addition to offering better grip, cushioning and flexibility to the feet, a survival shoe must be able to withstand long hours of commuting. For you ladies, I would imagine it would be downright unbearable to walk 500 miles in high-heels. It’s necessary to get footwear that has a flat sole.
Can your footwear take a beating?
Follow form over fashion. Survival footwear must be rugged and very durable. Style doesn’t really matter, unless you’re going for camouflage. Quality survival footwear will have to sustain harsh weather, filth, rugged terrain, water and sweat while at the same time providing excellent support to your feet. A good pair of shoes will always be made up of high-quality material, be it leather or canvas.
- “Muck” Boots: Knee-high, insulated rubber boots made up of odorless synthetic rubber, which makes them ideal for situations where you face exposure to stagnant ground water.
- Snake Boots: Buying a pair of knee-high snake boots is necessary if you plan to take shelter in a jungle or areas of dense foliage in times of crisis. Since most snakebites occur at foot level or ankle, these shoes keep you covered.
- Hip waders: Similar to oversized muck boots. Hip waders can keep you warm and protected in rivers and higher levels of standing water, provided you do not trip over a log or step in a hole!
- Jungle boots: These were military issue canvas upper boots that became popular during the Vietnam War era. These shoes are known to offer brilliant ankle support and have aggressive tread to keep you stable on muddy trails. Since these shoes dry very quickly, they are ideal for locations that are hot, humid and swampy.
Durability, mobility and comfort are the primary criteria for buying survival footwear. Don’t let fashion trends, pushy salespeople or deep discount deals push you to buy something not suited for your situation. It’s important to feel the fit, material quality and wearability of your footwear before purchasing, which can make shopping online a challenge. If possible, try out the exact pair of shoes/boots you’re considering in person before making a purchase from an internet retailer.
Some specialty brick and mortar shoe stores have simulated conditions setup in their stores to help you get a feel for the actual footwear performance in real-life situations. I also recommend testing your desired shoes/boots with hiking socks and your favorite backpack to gauge their comfort under the weight of a heavy pack.
In order to save yourself from buying misfit footwear, consider taking the help of sales person and get your feet measured at the store. Remember that some time and thought put into selecting the proper gear can go a long way when it comes to surviving in the harshest conditions.