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March 7, 2012

Tools and Gear ~ by Ron Spomer

Ron Spomer (a LOWA-sponsored athlete) has traveled the globe photographing and writing about wild creatures, and the wild places they inhabit. We thought you might enjoy his take on choosing a sound pair of boots to take you anywhere you'd like to go.

"No boot works perfectly in all circumstances. A stiff, supportive mountain boot might be a hindrance on rolling plains. A flexible, comfortable upland bird boot could be chewed to tatters by jagged rocks. A cool, summer desert boot will give your feet the cold shoulder in snowy November mountains.

Before buying, clearly identify the use to which you’ll put your boots. Define by terrain (steep or flat), habitat (rocks, sand, dirt, snow, mud, grass, brush), and weather (cold, hot, wet, dry.) For summer hiking in dry deserts with gently rolling terrain, something with a flexible sole, light leather, no insulation and no waterproofing would be perfect. If cheat grass seeds and sand are likely to fly up and into boot tops, choose an 8″ to 10″ upper rather than a 6″. Or go with the 6″ inch and add light gaiters to hold out debris. For walking on easy, open trails, a 5″ chukka-style is adequate while minimizing weight.

If you anticipate hiking high mountain meadows in summer or any vegetated areas in fall when morning dew, soggy ground or melting snow are likely, you’ll appreciate a waterproof boot. Too many folks only think of rain or melting snow before considering waterproofing, but dew on grass will soak a leather boot quickly, leaving your feet feeling wet and clammy for hours.

The steeper the terrain, the stiffer should be the boot. Relatively inflexible, tall uppers support ankles and prevent feet from rolling or twisting off the soles. Stiff soles with slightly projecting toes and sharp edges that extend beyond the foot itself function like small planks."

Click HERE to read the rest of this highly informative article.

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