News flash – if you have to bug out chances are it’s going to be by foot. If SHTF there might be no easy way to leave the city unless you’re doing it on foot. Traffic congestion will reach staggering proportions and trap those who think they can easily leave in their car. It’s important to have a good pair of SHTF boots you can count on to get you to safety.
Why do you need SHTF boots?
Your feet are a critical component to bugging out and getting to safety. If anything happens to your feet it’s going to be very difficult to move around. Time and speed is of the essence. Your boots are shields for your feet. Have you ever walked around in a pair of wet shoes? It’s a miserable experience. Wet feet are also a major drain on your overall moral. I don’t know a single person who likes walking around in a pair of wet shoes.
What’s in important for SHTF boots?
Ankle support – A good pair of boots should give your feet and your ankles ample support. If you’re tromping over uneven surfaces for long stretches of time you’re going to want strong ankle support. Twisting an ankle in an SHTF situation should NOT be on the menu.
Waterproof – It only takes one puddle to turn a pleasant hiking experience into a miserable one. Wet feet are a breeding ground for blisters. Blisters will dramatically slow you down and place you in a lot of pain. A good pair of waterproof boots will protect your feet from the elements. I prefer a Goretex lining although there are a lot of other waterproof materials available.
Quality – Boots are one thing you do not want to cheap out on. Crappy boots will fall apart fast because they are made with inferior leather. A good boot will stand the test of time and last you for years. Cheap boots might be an attractive option but you will have to continually buy them. The soles will grind down fast, the laces will break, the eyelets will snap off etc. Go for quality when you buy SHTF boots and you will not be disappointed.
The best SHTF boots
I own a pair of these. They are the St Elias GTX boot by Vasque. I’ve owned them for years and have put them through the ringer. They’ve gotten me through multiple thru-hikes and are my go to hiking boot. In the winter I wear the boot every single day. Only recently I noticed the soles and tread are beginning to show their age. Absolutely bombproof.
I’m sure there are other boots but I don’t have much experience with them. I haven’t had to buy any other boots because these have lasted me for so long. They’re completely waterproof thanks to a Goretex lining and super grippy on the tread. The soles are made by Vibram and I got to say, these things really dig deep into loose gravel, rock, wet grass etc.
The ankle part of the boot laces up nice and tight. I have skinnier ankles than most. I will say that these boots do have a thinner profile than many boots out on the market. If you have skinny chicken legs and a narrow foot like me then this is your boot. However, if you have a normal or larger foot then they do have a wider boot you can purchase too. Same model just in a wider profile.
When you put on the boot you can instantly feel the support and the quality. If you order them online make sure you order a half size up from your normal boot size. Vasque boots run a half size smaller than most boots. You can see in the reviews that most people recommend a half size up. I got mine at REI so I was able to try them on at the store – I ended up going with the 10.5 even though I’m a 10 so keep that in mind.
On a final note, this is a heavy boot made for serious hiking/backpacking. Is it overkill for an SHTF situation though? I don’t think so. I appreciate the rugged construction and the weight doesn’t really bother me. However, if you prefer a lighter boot that is also high quality and waterproof, Vasque also makes the breeze 2.0. It looks like the GTX model except in a lighter build.
Whatever SHTF boots you go with make sure they are up to the task of protecting your feet. Waterproof boots are the way to go and provide ample protection from the elements. Don’t go cheap and remember – protect those feet at all costs!