bushcraft shoes

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Degrorobogo

Member
Sep 25, 2003
15
0
The Netherlands
Greetings :-D ,

this is a topic I don't find a lot of info on. The more I read about bushcraft the more I realize most people leave their technical nylon stuff at home and venture in the outdoor with woolens. The more wool I wear the more I am convinced it can't be beaten.

But what about shoes??? Is there such a thing as an ideal bushcraft shoe. I am used to wear heavy Meindl boots (C categorie), but find them to be be bulky and heavy, especially when moving close to the ground (when tracking and such).
Could you tell me if you have a favourite brand of shoes you wear specifically for bushcraft.

Curious!

Cheers,

Gilbert
 

bigjackbrass

Nomad
Sep 1, 2003
497
30
Leeds
As much as I often advocate natural materials, there's really nothing wrong with wearing a pair of synthetic training shoes (sneakers) in the woods. Good wool socks will make any footwear more comfortable, too. There are too many factors to take into account for anyone to be able to say "Buy these, they'll be perfect for you," and fit is one of them. I would suggest that if you do a lot of hiking through the woods then go to a decent camping outfitter and try some of the new lightweight boots - fabric or leather, it really doesn't matter (Brasher make some good ones, and there are quite a few from Hi-Tec which are better than you'd expect for the price). On the other hand, if you expect to do some walking but not real hiking then you might be better off with a lightweight pair of training shoes, which are certainly easy on the ground and not fatiguing. Indeed, you may find that if you're not moving around too much a pair of wellingtons will suit you admirably, or something like the Maine hunting shoe which is a rubber "foot" with leather tops extending up the leg (www.llbean.com).

And if you really fancy going native then proper moccasins are worth a look. You can even make your own relatively simply, and there are patterns in any number of outdoors books. "Cache Lake Country" by John Rowlands has a pattern for Cree moccasins, and is a wonderful read too.

More than any other factor - waterproofness, durability, style - what you are looking for is comfort. You probably already own a decent old pair of shoes reasonably suitable for the task, so I suggest trying a few forays wearing those and making notes about what you like and don't like about them in a woods environment, which will guide you well when you come to part with your hard-earned on a new pair. But don't get too caught up in getting "proper" bushcraft footwear. There is no right answer, and ultimately it's not the gear that will make bushcraft worthwhile to you.

Jack
 

Keith_Beef

Native
Sep 9, 2003
1,331
238
52
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
Is there anywher that I can get old-fashioned hiking boots?

When I was in the cubs, then in the scouts, I had some stout wlaking boots. Pale creamy-brown eather inners, dark brown leather outers, thick tongue. My mom still has a pair that I outgrew, about twenty years ago.

These things are considered heavy in comparison with modern synthetic boots, but when I was 12 or 13, we used to walk 25 miles wearing these boots. And they were really comfortable, neither hot nor cold (with two pairs of socks, one thin and one thick) and were really long lasting.

Could get new soles put on them easily.

A good thick coat of dubbin, and they were waterproof for crossing streams (when the stepping stones were covered by 3" of floodwater).

So, does anybody make these in the UK now? And where can I find them?


Keith.
 

alick

Settler
Aug 29, 2003
632
0
Northwich, Cheshire
Hi Keith
That sounds like a very typical design for leather walking boots - commonplace when I was a kid 30 years ago and not specific to any one company. I can't suggest any UK makers, but agree that leather boots can be much more durable and waterproof than modern fabric / suede types - though usually lots heavier.
If I were shopping for quality leather boots today I'd start with the current ranges from Scarpa and Meindl. You might try Zamberlan too.
If you want somewhere local, check out the outdoors department of La Samaritaine, near le Pont Neuf, they keep good kit. :biggthump
Cheers, Alick
 

bigjackbrass

Nomad
Sep 1, 2003
497
30
Leeds
Limmer boots are superb examples of the old style of hiking boot. Even with the current trend in hiking toward shaving every ounce Limmers have legions of devoted fans, and they also custom build boots. I know you can get them in New Hampshire, but I'm afraid that I don't know a UK distributor. www.limmerboot.com is the company website, and they might be able to help. Given the cash I'd be wearing some. I've tried them on and they ooze old fashioned quality.
 

PC2K

Settler
Oct 31, 2003
511
1
34
The Netherlands, Delft
i got asolo gore-tex XCR A-type shoe's, they kinda feel like sneakers, but have beter grip and they keep mine feets nice and dry wenn i walk through small pools of water. Works very well in urban situations too ! they are mine EDC shoes.
 

Neil1

Full Member
Oct 4, 2003
1,317
61
Sittingbourne, Kent
I use a pair of Meindl Borneo for most conditions, these are superb, probably the best I have used (and I have used most over the years, Zamberlan, Timberland, Danner, Scarpa, Issue,Aku, etc). These are the best for getting from point A to B in comfort and with dry feet under most conditions. Leather lined, theres no membrane to wear holes in, all you need to do is look after them.
For very Cold/Wet conditions I use Lundhags Ski March boots, these have mesh insoles and room for three sets of woollen socks.
For pure Bushcraft, Tracking and time around camp I have a pair of handmade boots from Chuckle Shoes of Exeter. Barry (ex RM) who runs it designed a very lightweight boot made from a single peice of leather, for his own use. My pair have been slightly adapted to my specs )I'm about to have a leather gaiter added too).
They are made to the shape/size of my feet and are superbly comfortable. They are quite weather proof, but theres plenty of room for Goretex socks if conditions dictate. I would recommend these as the perfect bushcraft boot.
Neil1
 

Neil1

Full Member
Oct 4, 2003
1,317
61
Sittingbourne, Kent
Don't know about a web site but the tel no is 01392 270321, I know he does some shoes "off-the-peg", but most are made to your individual foot, which means paying them a visit and having your foot measured and drawn around.
Hope this helps.
Neil1
 
This is more for Bothyman, he was asking about boots.
but the rest of you can look too ;)

I got myself a pair of these about 6 months ago, after wrecking 2 pairs of "normal" shoes messing about in the woods.

I wanted more of a military type boot, (not a walking boot) something that was waterproof with a breathable membrane that didn't cost too much.
I was looking at the magnum range but the decent ones are all around £80.

I came across this one for sale at Adventure 1 up in Scotland.


SYMPATEX STEALTH
Usual price £ 59.99 Our price Special indroduction price £49.99

STEALTH_TWO_BEST.jpg


This is a super waterproof boot. Made to exacting specifications. No other boot in its class can compete for price or quality.

FEATURES

Waterproof boots for Professionals
Breathable leather and Condura uppers
Speed lace system
Durable rubber anti slip sole unit
Padded collar for comfort
Sympatex mebrame


Military Footwear Section (Half way down)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's a great boot, i can vouch for the waterproofness, i went paintballing with them about 2 months later.. thought i'd test them by going down a 1ft deep stream.. was sure i'd get a soaking, but to my surprise, nothing came in.

Sympatex, is like Goretex and lets your feet breathe.
To be honest i haven't really had to sweat it out in them yet.. but everytime i've used them my feet have been dry and not sweaty, so must be working.

I don't use them as an "everyday" boot, so i can't really comment on how robust they'd be in continual use, how long the soles would last etc.
However, I've used them every weekend for 6 months and apart from a few scratches on top, they seem just as good as when i bought them.

Also, have got to say, the blokes up at Adventure 1, were great (Bill i think it was).
I ordered a size 8, they sent down a size 9.. phoned them up and told them.
I was expecting there to be all sorts of problems (especially since i was in the Channel Islands), i'd have to pay shipping.. they wouldn't replace it etc. I'd never had to return anything i've bought online in 5 years.

I was surprised, they apologised and asked me to send it back to them, they would re-imburse me for the postage and send me out a new pair right away at no charge.
Did all that, and a shiny new pair of size 8's came down about a 2 weeks later.

Anyway, hope that use to someone :)

cheers
Carlo
 

Gary

New Member
Apr 17, 2003
2,603
1
55
from Essex
Bothyman I used to wear Altbergs both in the army and while working for woodlore they're a good boot. A little heavy and stiff but good.

Having said that I know wear different boots for different seasons/tasks :-

The Rogue boot is a good summer boot for walking but the short ankle allows to much leaf litter in when in the forest.

Standard issue british army assualt boots are good spring and autumn boots and excellent in the woods too.

For stalking I like british army hockey boots - these are almost as good as mocassins.

And for all weather and hills - especially hiking - I go for a heavy pair of walking boots.

And dont forget the seal skinz socks to keep your feet dry.
 

Brian

Settler
Nov 6, 2003
609
1
50
Saltburn
I've got a pair of Peacekeepers, good support, grip and very comfortable, used them in the army but I've also done quite a bit of walking in them, Snowdon, Ben Nevis, Pen Y Fan, Scafel Pike and Hellvellin. I prefer higher leg boots as they give better ancle support and I like Altbergs because they have a generous toe box so they don't squash your toes, important going down hill.

My advice would be to try as many different types as possible before making a choice as we all have different needs for our feet and if your feet are uncomfortable your less likely to enjoy yourself.

Brian
 

Hoodoo

Full Member
Nov 17, 2003
5,302
13
Michigan, USA
The last pair of hiking boots I bought were made by Asolo. All leather, no goretex lining, and no welt. A medium wt boot. I've had them now for two years and so far have been very happy. Very comfortable, easy break in, no blisters, hold up well in wet conditions. REI makes a similar boot that got rave reviews in Backpacker magazine a few years back. I tried those on and liked them but for some reason went with asolo instead. Can't recall for sure why.
 

Mikey P

Full Member
Nov 22, 2003
2,256
7
50
Glasgow, Scotland
I like Altbergs for work when it's cold and wet (excellent boot); High Tech Magnums or some lightweight walking boots are good for dryish days in scrubland where your lower legs need a bit of protection; and cross-country trainers for lightweight stuff - I've got an old pair of Adidas Davros - although be aware that there is very little support/cushioning. Ideally, a decent pair of boots to match the weather and some cross-country shoes for camp wear.
 

Croc

Member
Jan 9, 2004
18
0
Cheshire
I have worn the same brand of boots for about 8 years, sure I tried different types but I found good old Caterpillar Boots to be ideal. I’m now on my third pair, the first two pair are still usable. I wear my boots every day for work and play. I have worn them in the Sahara, African Rainforests, the US and many parts of Europe. They have encountered everything from ice and snow to desert heat and high humidity. When I’m off travelling, I don’t have to think about what footwear to take or if they will be comfortable because I already know that they are!
 

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