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Death By Footwear

Death By Footwear By RG


I asked Dad what he learned from Vietnam. He shared a few things, but the one I always think back to is: Keep your feet dry.

I expected him to go down the leadership and battles road. He paused and shared a bit at the fork and then went down the seemingly-little-things-that-matter-practical route.

Wear dry socks. Mucked-up feet will take you – and your brothers – down.[1]

The 5 most important aspects of footwear and foot health:

  1. Keep your feet dry
  2. Choose Lighter over Heavy
  3. Keep your feet dry
  4. Leather is not better
  5. Keep your feet dry

In wartime, especially in hot and humid areas, foot care has always been an extremely important problem.  Soldiers from WWII, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam, all worried about keeping their feet dry.  Those that didn’t take care would get “Jungle Rot”.  Many soldiers lost toes and in extreme cases there lives over there foot hygiene.

Many people are preparing for survival situations with weapons, outdoor supplies, and fancy bug out bags, but when fuel for your vehicle is exhausted and your left walking everywhere you go.  Many can’t even walk to their mailbox without getting winded, so how do you expect to survive in the wilderness or walking everywhere?

Things will not save you.  Yes tools are nice to have, but your health, knowledge, and experience are the most important.  You can figure out the rest if you have these three things.

The military phased out heavy leather boots in favor of light, breathable and flexible models.  A healthy foot allows you to keep marching.

Here are some civilian footwear that will serve you well.


Lowa Men’s Zephyr Mid TF Hiking Boot,Desert,10.5 M US

Lowa Footwear

Drymax Lite Hiking Crew Socks, Grey, Large

Drymax LLC

Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot,Walnut,11 M US

Merrell Footwear

PowerSox Men’s Coolmax Crew 3 Pack,Black,10-13


Astra Depot 1 Pair Jet Black Unisex Double Sealed Velcro Zippered Closure TPU Strap Waterproof 400D Nylon Cloth Leg Gaiters Leggings Cover for Biking Boating Fishing Skiing Snowboarding Hiking Climbing Hunting

Boot Cover

Maelstrom TAC FORCE 8” Tactical Police Duty Military Boots with Zipper – T5181Z, Tan, Size 9M

Teva Men’s Kimtah Mesh M Hiking Shoe

Teva Footwear

Sorel Men’s Caribou Waterproof Boots,Buff,8 M US


Keeping your feet dry while you are hiking or backpacking is one of the most important things. It helps prevent blisters, helps prevent cold feet, trench foot; there’s a lot of things that can be prevented by keeping your feet dry. Appropriate footwear is the first thing off. You are going to want to make sure you choose the right type of footwear; boots with high sides will help keep water out. Compared to sneakers, they are not necessarily water proof. Boots that are leather or Gore-Tex are going to keep your feet pretty dry and boots that have a tongue attached will keep water out instead of a tongue that isn’t attached will let water in. Gaiters are another good option to keeping your whole foot dry. They attach to your boot, go up over your pants and these are waterproof. If your socks get wet from sweat or just because you did have to walk through a steam bed, a good idea is to bring an extra pair of socks to camp with you. So when you get to camp at night, you can take off your wet socks, put under your jacket while you make dinner, dry them out and then in the morning you will have a fresh pair of dry socks. This is the key to keeping your feet happy. If you have the luxury of bringing camp shoes or sandals to wear when you get to camp to allow your boots to dry out, that would be ideal too. Make sure if you are in a rainy area at night and you are camping out, keep your boots under your rain fly so that they don’t get soggy and gross and your feet will thank you for it in the morning.

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