michelleepotter

What kind of boots to buy?

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I have been using a cheap pair of boots that I bought from Target, and they're just not sturdy enough. My feet get wet, thorns poke through, I clearly need something better. Especially with a lot of caches that I'd like to get recommending "snake boots." I looked on Amazon for some of the brands I've seen recommended, and here's one example of what I'm looking at:

http://www.amazon.com/Keen-Womens-Pyrenees-Waterproof-Hiking/dp/B0035FGD7Q/ref=sr_1_17?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1418313573&sr=1-17

 

I look at that, and while it looks sturdy and comfortable, I'm thinking a) it doesn't look like it's going to protect me much from snakes (and it doesn't look heavy enough to stomp on a snake if necessary); and b ) wouldn't something that comes up higher be better?

 

So, I'm wondering why I never see recommendations for, for example, Justin's or any kind of "cowboy" boot. Obviously it would have to be something that's made more to be practical than pretty, but is there any particular reason that they aren't recommended? When I searched for "snake-proof boot," Justin's was the first thing that came up.

Edited by michelleepotter

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I own these boots, (thankfully didn't pay that for them, they were Clearance at REI). 

 

They have great grip for spelunking in New Mexico, I walked through geyser runoff in Wyoming & didn't even know I trekked through the water & something about the way they're constructed makes me feel like a comfy rolling gait for walking.

 

But, when I spent a couple of hours with Hans at GBP when it was raining last month & the ground was saturated with days worth of rain they were soaked. My feet did get damp & I left them out to dry for who knows how many days. Rain boots would have probably been better in that case, (which I had in my bag but they don't compare in comfort!).

 

So if you're looking for picking up 5 caches, they'll last unless you dunk your foot. If you're picking up like 20 in soaking terrain, not so much.

 

I have no experience with snake bites to give any advice on that area.

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I rarely go out long enough to get more than 5 caches in a day, and I'm not going to be doing any wading. So I'm betting any reasonably waterproof boot will do. I guess I'm mostly scared of snakes because I'm a total city girl and have never been bitten. But I guess I look at hiking boots on Amazon and to me they just look like really thick tennis shoes, and I can't help but wonder why something like this wouldn't be better:

http://www.amazon.com/Justin-Womens-Stampede-Waterproof-Square/dp/B005KPN2ZK/ref=sr_1_11?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1418315641&sr=1-11&keywords=waterproof

 

Are they uncomfortable for long walks? Too heavy? Are pull-ons not preferred for some reason? I'm really just looking to understand the reason so I can decide which kind of boot I want.

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I can feel the air on my feet with tennis shoes, with hiking boots I feel like my feet are inside an astronaut suit :)

 

With tennis shoes designed for running, they're designed for you to be on your toes. I feel this best with doing overhead squats in crossfit when you're balancing weight overhead and they'd like you to be on your heals but the tennis shoes roll forward inadvertently, (this is how Reebok makes their money with "crossfit shoes" or Chucks).

 

The hiking boots are designed for walking. I feel a rolling gait & it's super comfortable with the heel taking priority for the strike on the ground.

 

Cowboy boots, which my pair are designer bedazzled "fun" ones, are going to have a leather "upper", at the ball of the foot. They're great for "shuffling". Think two-step dancing where you don't lift your foot to take steps. The heel is slightly higher and feels "hollow" to me with a distinctive sound.

 

When caching, I find myself in mud often. I discovered that the guey Southeast Texas junk gets in the crevices of my tennis shoes so bad sometimes I feel like I'm walking on a 1 inch mud layer that I can't shake off while in the field...but it's level. I feel if I was wearing my cowboy boots the mud would encase the surrounding boot faster because there's really not much cushion in-between the base and the top of the boot.

 

With your priority on snake bites, boots might work better for you, especially if you're doing less than 5 caches in high grass and have that fear. They can also  be helpful if you're caching, driving a bit, taking a 0.1 walk, returning, etc.

 

All I know is my gait with boots is funky. They're not comfortable if I walked BB's Blue Heron trail in cowboy boots.

 

If you're strongly considering cowboy boots, go to a store & try them on, make sure they're returnable & give it a go.

All I know is for me, hiking boots are one of my best buys of the year.

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Timberland White Ledge.

 

I wore out my first pair after 3 years and have about 1 year left on the 2nd pair.  Mine are so comfortable, I wear them instead of shoes or tennies most of the time.  I could run 3 miles in them too.  I have a new pair in the box in my closet.

Edited by Baytown Bert
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Timberland White Ledge.

 

I wore out my first pair after 3 years and have about 1 year left on the 2nd pair.  Mine are so comfortable, I wear them instead of shoes or tennies most of the time.  I could run 3 miles in them too.  I have a new pair in the box in my closet.

While I agree with Bert on those Timberlands being comfortable (I bought a pair too) I would probably not buy them again. I've owned them for about 8 months now and already the front toe bump rubber piece (for lack of a better name) is starting to peel off a little on both sides, and all kinds of small goo gets in there. Also when hiking in GBP on said trip with Amberita my feet got SOAKING a wet even though these boots are supposed to be waterproof. As an avid outdoor person the thing I detest the most is getting my feet wet and so far haven't been able to find a suitable replacement for my clunky Meindl Perfects. Yes, they are crazy expensive, yes they are way to heavy for traditional walking/hiking, but at least they keep my feet dry & comfortable AND they are durable beyond belief.

My first pair lasted about 10 (!) years and my second pair is already well beyond that lustrum (although they don't get used that much anymore due to their weight, after walking 10 miles my knees start to hurt).

All that said, the most important thing is to buy boots/shoes that are comfortable to you! Go to a store like REI or Whole Earth Provision Co. And ask the staff for help, they'll be able to help you pick the right boot for you.

As for the snakes, just keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings that will keep you out of trouble most of the time, remember that most snakes will try and avoid humans instead of approaching/attacking them.

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For a level of snake comfort -- I know we've probably all seen snakes.  Granted boots provide a level of actual protection and placebo comfort -- but has anyone actually ever been bit by one while caching or hiking? 

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For a level of snake comfort -- I know we've probably all seen snakes. Granted boots provide a level of actual protection and placebo comfort -- but has anyone actually ever been bit by one while caching or hiking?

My point exactly! Boots are going to provide you with a false sense of security IMHO. I was cute wary of snakes while out caching when I moved to Texas, but so far my common sense and alert eyes have kept me out of trouble. Edited by Dhaulaghiri

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Hiking boots make more sense to me than a work boot like that.  Work boots aren't usually as comfortable as a hiking boot so you'll be able to walk much further with hiking boots.  These are what I use.  http://www.rei.com/product/706762/asolo-fugitive-gtx-hiking-boots-mens.   They got me through an 11-day backpacking trip a few years ago and are still going strong. 

 

If you're worried about snakes, you could always keep a pair of ray guards in your car and strap them on when you are going anywhere "snakey".  https://www.austinkayak.com/products/5453/ForEverlast-Ray-Guard-Shied-Protectors.html

 

Whatever you get, I recommend getting a pair of Superfeet insoles to go with your new boots.  http://www.rei.com/product/752125/superfeet-orange-premium-insoles-mens-medium-to-high-volume.  Your feet will thank you.  When you try on your boots, pick a size that will give you a little extra room for the insoles.

 

 

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Oh!  I coat my boots with Mink oil occasionally also.  No leaks, even on the old pair.

What do you feed the Mink?

Edited by SockPuppet
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After you've squeezed them right, you can feed them any dam#ed thing you want.  But it has to be a female mink.  LOL  :angel:

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I have been wearing LOWA boots for years, Yes a bit pricey but 8-10 years life makes them cheaper in the long run.

My current pair, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HUE8AG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1ZW2UQGMF4LRP&coliid=IX7X6VWSBKTFQ

My 8 year old pair of LOWA Renegades are still very serviceable but I wanted a bit taller boot (hence the LOWA Ticams)

As to snake issues, you could use Snake Gaiters (Gators) if you are really concerned about a snake bite.

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=snake+gaiters&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=22987344&ref=pd_sl_6kw5zaze5o_e

The only time I have worn those are on Rattle Snake hunts in Oklahoma years ago. I have never (knock on wood) been bitten but have been struck 3 times in 40 years. Twice I asked for it by not paying attention to where I stepped (Re: rattle snake hunts) and once arguing with a snake over who had the right of way on an open trail I was on (Re: dumb, stooooopid, 40 years ago)

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Thanks for all of the responses. Adding in to that, my husband told me that shoes with laces keep your feet steadier on uneven ground, and I'm seeing the picture here. I did look at some hiking boots that came higher up, but they were all insulated for winter/snow, and that doesn't sound very appealing in Houston.

 

 

For a level of snake comfort -- I know we've probably all seen snakes. Granted boots provide a level of actual protection and placebo comfort -- but has anyone actually ever been bit by one while caching or hiking?

My point exactly! Boots are going to provide you with a false sense of security IMHO. I was cute wary of snakes while out caching when I moved to Texas, but so far my common sense and alert eyes have kept me out of trouble.

 

 

That actually makes me feel a bit better. Like I said, I've never been much of an out-in-the-woods type, so I was worried. But it did occur to me that it's not like I can afford to buy serious snake-proof boots for all of my kids, and they often go with me geocaching.

 

I'll take a look at all the links y'all provided. Thank you!

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I have these, too.  I'm probably on my 3rd or 4th pair.  

I can generally wear them all day long, while hiking.

They only last a few thousand miles, for me.

I think you can get them at Academy for a reasonable price.

By all means try them on, first.  Your comfort is more important than stylishness.

 

 

Timberland White Ledge.

 

I wore out my first pair after 3 years and have about 1 year left on the 2nd pair.  Mine are so comfortable, I wear them instead of shoes or tennies most of the time.  I could run 3 miles in them too.  I have a new pair in the box in my closet.

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If you rarely go after more than 5 caches in a day I would just wear whatever shoes you would normally wear to go for a walk and keep a pair of pull on rain boots in the car for wet days or caches in wet areas. As for snakes, when I cache with the grandkids I limit the bushwhacking to 100' or less and am super vigilant. Keep in mind snakes also hang out in trees. This actually freaks me out more than the idea of them on the ground!

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I have a couple of pair of Timberline boots as well.  While not the exact model Bert wears, they were reasonably priced, are comfortable, and I can wear them all day.  Yeah, they only last about 3-4 years, but you get what you pay for.

 

For true "snake boots" you need something like these: Chippewas .  They're great for walking to the deer stand or roaming the back forty, but not so comfortable to hike in all day.  The part that covers your legs are thick leather and will have you sweating in no time, even on a cool day!

Edited by HoustonControl

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I wore Chippewas for quail hunting in South Texas for years and loved them.  But, I'm short and I realized that in reality, all I was doing was reducing the strike zone.  This is true of any "snake boot". For the truly paranoid (like me!), snake proof chaps are a much better option and I have often considered getting a pair.

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One summer my Dad had gotten me a pair of snake chaps and I felt very protected.  However, since it was summer I felt like I was going to die of heat stroke wearing them. 

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I have been wearing LOWA boots for years, Yes a bit pricey but 8-10 years life makes them cheaper in the long run.

My current pair, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HUE8AG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1ZW2UQGMF4LRP&coliid=IX7X6VWSBKTFQ

My 8 year old pair of LOWA Renegades are still very serviceable but I wanted a bit taller boot (hence the LOWA Ticams)

As to snake issues, you could use Snake Gaiters (Gators) if you are really concerned about a snake bite.

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=snake+gaiters&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=22987344&ref=pd_sl_6kw5zaze5o_e

The only time I have worn those are on Rattle Snake hunts in Oklahoma years ago. I have never (knock on wood) been bitten but have been struck 3 times in 40 years. Twice I asked for it by not paying attention to where I stepped (Re: rattle snake hunts) and once arguing with a snake over who had the right of way on an open trail I was on (Re: dumb, stooooopid, 40 years ago)

What he said x2

 

Save your pennies and get good hiking boots.

 

In snake areas, high grass and real woody moist terrain, strapping on the shin guards get it done for piece of mind. Waterproof shoes are essential. Make sure you have lots of credible reviews for the models that interest you most.

 

Final hint: NEVER EVER dry your boots on a boot dryer or any heat source. The heat breaks down the adhesive and drastically shortens the life of the sole/upper bond. Having your sole flapping away 1/2 way through a 10 mile loop really sucks. (Duct Tape is a good friend)

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