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Living out on an acreage with a lot of empty land behind us, clearing land, raising animals, caring for people, etc. have made Matt and I appreciate a boot that can be put on fast when the situation calls for it. You never know when something is going to try to eat your chickens or an intruder breach your perimeter.
Caregivers need a go boot.
My husband and it take care of my father. While he is fine doing a lot of things on his own, sometimes we need to go to the veterans hospital suddenly or something may be going on at his house he cannot deal with alone. Time is very important when dealing with someone’s healthcare needs.
Getting home during a disruptive event.
I get that plenty of people work in places that require a certain way of dressing. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a pair of easy to get on boots in their vehicle or even stored in their workspace. Sorry ladies but those 3-inch heels that look great at the office are not going to work if you have to get out of a situation. Maybe you could use them as a weapon, but that isn’t going to help your feet when you got to walk a mile.
I remember a time when Matt and I borrowed my Uncle’s old Ford F-150 that like so many Fords from the 90s, had a gas gauge that wasn’t quite working. We were working a lot and busy and forgot about it. It was really hot out, and we had to walk a mile to the nearest gas station and then back to the truck. We were very thankful we had decent shoes on.
The longer your commute and the more you are on the road, in general, the more likely it is you will be in a situation where you may need to get out and walk. AAA is great but sometimes the response time can be slow, and you may want to go somewhere else to wait for assistance or a tow. During a SHTF or natural disaster situation, it might be that you simply have to abandon your vehicle and get to safety for an indeterminate amount of time.
Animals giving birth or in distress
Sometimes we have a lot of birth going on, and that means having to be on call to check on things or assist if needed. Matt and I have spent some time pulling goats and helping with a breached cow. Minutes count in this type of situation.
Choosing a boot
Here are my top brands that I have personally used unless otherwise noted and have no problems attaching my name to. In the past, some of the products I have put on lists have been the result of me trying to offer budget-conscious products. I have heard the call and need to put fewer products that are on the lower end.
Product Disclaimer: My opinion on these boot brands is based on the versions I am familiar with. Some of these brands I used years ago, so it is possible that some styles or brands are manufactured differently. I know that Echo boots are not handmade in Denmark now.
Keen is still USA made, but some Danner boots are now foreign made. It just depends on the style that you buy. If you are trying to buy American made then double check any descriptions. Also if you had a pair of a certain brand’s boots a few decades ago and had been thinking about getting a pair again, you need to be open to the idea that their practices may have changed and quality may not be exactly as you remember it.
This is a great brand for logging and hiking boots. I can get six months to a year out of this brand. For me that is exceptional. I walk a lot and do a lot of farm work, and it all takes place in boots. Hiking style boots don’t last as long as a logger, but they sure are more comfortable and cool for some tasks. Here are a few examples of Danners that are easy to get on and off.
Danner Tachyon Coyote Military and Tactical Boot
Tactical boots are made to dry fast and be easy to get in and out of even if they have laces. The Danner version of this classic boot is made to last, and it comes in a variety of sizes from a men’s 3 up to a size 16! They also offer different widths in all sizes so if you have a hard time finding a boot that fits well; this is a good one to consider and made considerably better than the cheaper boots out there that look similar.
Danner Men’s Crafter Romeo Work Boot
My most recent favorite boot or shoe is Keen. Part of this is that as a woman I can find really good deals. Second of all, they are very waterproof. With some shoes, the claim of waterproofness was a laughable myth of grand proportions.
I have only owned one pair of sandals for more than two years, and they are Keens. I am very hard on shoes folks. I rarely have sandals that last because this place is hard on them so this is like a miracle for me!
I use them as a GO shoe at times because they have a hard rubber toe, so they are much more rugged than other sandals. I can cover a lot of ground in them. For those that don’t remember from the other boot post, I don’t go out in shoes that I can’t walk home in generally speaking.
If I have to dress up, I take some shoes with me that I can get home in. This happens a few times a decade, just ask Matt. We stay in our 11-acre bubble on the side of the mountain. It is important to try at least to create a life that you don’t need a vacation from. It is hard up here sometimes with work and a sense of isolation.
To be honest with you I talk to people more online than in person not counting my dad and my husband.
The founder of Backdoor Survival, Gaye has been my support post for a few things here lately. She is a great lady, and I know why you all miss her. She is doing some great things over at Strategic Living.
This is my go-to budget logging boot. I started wearing Carolinas while I was on Natural Resources Work Crew at Warren Wilson College. Back then I was a broke college student rather than a broke adult, and there were very few logging boots available in a women’s size, and I was afraid the fit would not be good buying a men’s size that I could wear. I had that pair of boots for a long time.
Moving back here and clearing and starting a farm and then vineyard took me back to this brand. My husband Matt puts in even more time in the vineyard and outside than I do, and he wears them too, and they last for six months and cost about $120-$150. Sometimes you can get a bargain on the USA made ones when they are factory seconds. If you can fit into a half size up or down by adding an insole, then go for it and you won’t be disappointed.
For a logging boot, they seem to be easy to get in and out of. They are not unnecessarily tall, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on them.
This was one of the first brands that I realized were quality. Matt had a pair that was handmade in Denmark I believe well the next pair we got was not the same, but I think they are still pretty good. You need to be careful what style you get. No boot is going to hold up well under some conditions. Sometimes you have to sacrifice some durability for comfort, unfortunately, but the overall result is better for you.
Note: This is one brand that I have not personally bought, but when I worked in the Forest Service right out of college it was the choice for those that were out in the woods a lot.
These are custom made and can be rebuilt. This is a rare thing in today’s world because most boots are worn until they start breaking down and then tossed. There is little chance at repairing most shoes out there. Shoe Goo works okay for a while for some things, but shoes are just not made to be rebuilt anymore.
Whites are very expensive, but everyone that I have ever talked to that had a pair said they were worth every penny.
When I was working in Alaska in the office and caviar lab of EC Phillips, I got to see a lot of fishermen and women, and they wore Xtra Tuffs almost all the time. These are about the best rubber boot that you can get. While they cost a bit more than the generic black rubber boots sold at stores all over the place, they are well worth it in terms of comfort, durability, and ease of getting on or off. If you live in a place where it rains a lot or is generally boggy, then this is the go boot for you.
Styles Of Slip-On
A slip-on is ideal if you can get a good fit. If your feet slip around too much or they lack good ankle support you are in trouble. Here is a list of the more common slip-on styles you can look for. These terms might be helpful if you have a brand you like but are not sure if they have the style you want for a go shoe.
These were the “I am off my shift at the sawmill or logging rig” boot out where I grew up in western Washington, They have a heavy lug sole and slip on to fit tight at the ankle. Some are taller than others so have more support. The Danner’s I recommend in this post are 3 inches high, but they also offer a version that is 5.5 inches.
If you are used to logging boots or a heavy work boot, this is a good in-between shoe. They last a long time, and in terms of affordability, they cannot be beaten for what they offer.
Crocs or Clogs
I don’t care for these. Part of this is that they are not quite heavy duty enough for me. There is also a lot of rip off brands out there, so it is easy for people to get something that is just not the same in terms of quality.
I find that they fall off a lot an don’t hold up. You don’t want to be falling out of your shoes if you have to move fast or take care of animal emergency outside.
This is on my list of boots to try out. I have some Keen hiking boots that I use for quick on and off at the moment, but the Wellington is made to be more rugged. The hiking boots purchase was when I briefly entertained the idea of jogging around the property once a day. Well, all the farm work and writing means I am too tired for that so now they are work boots!
Dr. Martens Wellington Boot
I do like Dr. Martens. They are very comfortable to wear and last for a long time. For the money, they offer a lot of quality. I like the pull on straps at the sides of this boot. This might be one I consider when I finally get a pair of Wellingtons. The last pair of Docs I had I was surprised that they were so heavy duty. I kind of thought that this company was a one that might just be popular due to fad, but they are good and comfortable to hike in.
Back in 1990s Washington near Seattle, they were the boot of choice for the young crowd.
Laced Boots With A Zipper
These boots are supposed to be the best of both worlds, but they are not something you are going to find at any store you go to. I am always suspicious of zippers as well. What happens if the zipper fails? You would be left with a boot that is open. I suppose you could sew the side up, but that is not something I am going to want to stop and do if I am trying to cover some ground. Even if you have a sewing kit, it would cost you time. I suppose a few safety pins kept close at hand could be used to close up a malfunctioning zippered boot.
I am not going to show zippered boots to you because I don’t feel good about recommending them for most preppers. If you still want them, then find a good military or police boot from a trusted brand like Bates. Don’t get a cheap pair with a weak zipper, especially if you plan on using the zipper function a lot. All zippers have a finite number of zips they are good for.
Price Versus Quality
Footwear is very important and not something you want to cut corners with. The only time I find boots under $100 that last is when something is deeply discounted because it is a remainder or last seasons style.
During SHTF boots could become scarce. It is best if you can have an extra pair put back for each member of your family. The pair you put back doesn’t have to be as expensive as your every day go boot. Something is better than nothing. I prefer to have boots put back that I am familiar with so I tend to just buy the same few brands if I can.
I understand that with kids and teens they are growing so it can be hard to have shoes put back for them. Going a size or two up from what they currently wear if they are still growing is one option. Shoes that are too tight are awful but if they are a little large you can use socks or insoles to make up for the difference temporarily.
What is your favorite boot or slip-on shoe? What companies do you think have gone downhill in terms of quality and value? How about good shoes on a budget? There are a lot of brands and styles out there, and I am the first to admit that I don’t seek out new brands at my age.