Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Praxis Request: Footwear.

Mr. Vanderboegh;

Hi - if you're taking requests for Praxis posts, maybe one about
footwear (especially for the lighter-equipped Threeper)?

Thanks for your time,


I would like to hear from folks who have experimented with civilian combat sneakers/boots such as this one from Nike:

Nike has been doing some interesting work lately with super-highcut sneakers. This trend continues, albeit with a different goal in mind with the Nike SFB. Under the watchful eye of Tinker Hatfield’s brother Tobie, the Innovation Kitchen cooked up this combat boot-like hybrid in honor of Nike founder Bill Bowerman’s tenure in the US Army. These joints are ready for war with a Sticky Rubber and Natural Motion Cushioning-equipped Free soles. Add in the “puncture and laceration resistant thermoplastic forefoot shield and genuine leather with Kevlar sheath” and these can be considered a serious option for combat officers. Touted as some of the lightest and fastest drying boots on the planet, these represent a modern approach to military footwear. Whether they’ll ever make it to the consumer market or out on the battlefield is uncertain as of this writing, so keep it locked to Sneaker News for updates. via SnkrFrkr


Anonymous said...

Things to consider:
Cost? Comfort? Longevity (sole, stitching, uppers, etc)?

B Woodman
SSG (Ret) U S Army

Caleb said...

In all seriousness, if you're looking for a killer piece of footwear, check out the stuff from Blackhawk products. I have two pairs of Blackhawk boots, one of which has literally 200 miles of walking on it and is still in great shape.

Pat H. said...

All I did was buy 3 pairs of Condor Vietnam-style combat boots. They're not terribly sturdy, but they're comfortable, and they'll last for months of constant use. Plus, they're 20 bucks each!

3 pairs for 60 bucks beats one pair for 130 bucks.

Also, remember that you'd need at least 2 pairs of these boots, as a general rule. So you'd end up spending 260 minimum. Forget that.

The only expensive boots I'd buy are ones for winter. Up here in the north, winters can get just a tad cold, and frostbite will set in within a day of being outside all day unless you have good boots and socks.

jon said...

i live in the modern day equivalent of moccasins: the puma future cat.

the more you put between your foot and the ground, the worse running will be. so, depending on what you mean by "light," and what you intend to do, this might be something to look at.

B. said...

When I was in the USMC and stationed at 29 Palms, CA I purchased a pair of HiTec boots. It was like wearing a pair of basketball shoes. Extremely comfortable and light.

Problem is that within a span of 6 months climbing the rocks and hills in the desert, the soles started to come off. I can not speak for Nike's build quality, but I assume its the same. Stick with a good pair of Danners or equivalent quality combat boot. If you wear out the sole, any cobbler worth his salt can put a new one on for you.

Avoid all of this high tech 'tactical' crap. Like many things nowadays, it's built upon the concept of their customer having a ton of disposable income, i.e. government contractors, police goon squads, etc.

Go with what works and is proven to work for the long run.

ParaPacem said...

Altama's desert boot - the ExoSpeed - is one of the best, lightest weight and most durable I have ever worn; in fact, the Nike looks like a variation on it. I've worn everything from GI "Munson last" leathers to the ubiquitous 'jungle boots', Corcorans, Redwings, and a dozen others. None have compared with the Altamas... and as SSG Woodman points out, the durability is key as well as the comfort. If it shreds the first time you gracefully fall down a rocky hillside or slide sideways across an asphalt-shingled roof, then the comfy part isn't so important.

Anonymous said...

Second that on the Blackhawk boots. Everything I've worn to this point exacerbated my plantar faascitis. They cost $120, can be had at Clothing and Sales on post or Quantico Tactical, and are waterproof to boot. Feels like you are wearing running shoes with great ankle support. Highly recommend.


Anonymous said...

Browning Water proof boots - VERY comfortable and last an unreasonably long time -

Fight islam Now

The Trainer said...

Best advice seen on this so far is what "B." said.

Not saying you can't get a pair of the Nike's and do a serious torcher test on them, but in the mean time, make sure you have some good Danner's.

And as things stand right now, I'm kinda doubtin' anyone has the time left to do a longevity test on unknown innovations.

Just my .02

The Trainer said...

Best advice seen on this so far is what "B." said IMHO. Black Hawk quality has noticeably dropped in the last couple years on field gear, so I wonder if the corner cutting has extended to their footwear.

Not saying you can't get a pair of the Nike's and do a serious torcher test on them, but in the mean time, make sure you have some good Danner's.

And as things stand right now, I'm kinda doubtin' anyone has the time left to do a longevity test on unknown innovations.

Just my .02

Anonymous said...

Those do look nice. Probably not exactly waterproof or something for the winter, though.

I use what I was issued, and allowed to keep.

Anonymous said...

praxis request: communications

idahobob said...

Danner for me

Either the Ft. Lewis model or Acadia.

And don't forget socks...SmartWool, either the expedition trekker's or the medium density hikers are the one's I like the best. Been using 'em for years


Pawpaw said...

I've bought a lot of boots since 1973 when I went into the Fort Knox exchange and put money on the counter for a pair of Corcoran jump boots. I've worn them all. Well, lots of them.

The most comfortable boots are the ones I wear now for duty in a Sheriff's office.

Herman Survivors. Don't laugh. They're the most comfortable boots I've worn in years, and they're $39.95 at Wally-World. They're lined with Gore-Tex, so my feet stay dry, they're comfortable and they last me about a year for duty and a year for hunting.

TJP said...

a) Red Wing

b) Danner

or by reputation,

c) Matterhorn

I spent months in excruciating pain because of poorly made shoes. Just because the exterior has cosmetic appeal doesn't mean the interior isn't collapsing. My choice is Red Wing. Even their cheap rubber "auger" sole lasted 11 months before the outer sole wore. Some boots require a break in. Choose the appropriate boot for the environment. If you hike in bad weather with a "water resistant" leather boot--with a thin, low-wear, stitched sole--don't be surprised when the sole rots, splits and comes off.

I tried the low-cost, high-volume approach, as opposed to one pair of tough, $200+ boots. It cost me over $400 a year in shoes, and lots of back and heel pain.

Anonymous said...

I ordered a pair of 9" HAIX boots after trying them on at the SHOT SHow in Orlando this year. Seriously well made boots. These are assembled in Germany from parts made in Slovakia. They are Waterproof and do a very good job of supporting my ancient, crappy ankles. Only downer is that they usually run about $230.00. SHOT Show special was half price. Closest I've had before to these were the Matterhorns for really cold weather work.

Oh, yeah, when these start to wear out, you send them back to the US rep and they rebuild them for $70.00

Anonymous said...

Second the Blackhawk boot recommendation. Bought a pair for my narrow, very flat feet and felt great for four days of Front Sight rifle training walking over spent brass and gravel for 10 hours a day. Fit fine with my custom orthotic even though MEDIUM width. Lighter than full military sole found in the Danner boot.

Here's what I got in Jan09: