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One of the areas of clothing that most of us do not pay as much attention to as we should is footwear. At the moment we don’t have that much of a requirement. We have a couple of items of footwear that we use for different purposes and when they cause us issues we replace them. Simply go to a shop and buy like for like.

What though will we do when that option is not available? There may not be shops available with the footwear we need, we could be away out in the wilds and needing boots could be the difference between life and death even in the UK.

In my opinion footwear is the single most important item of clothing you have. Everything else can be improvised very easily and, although not as good, will keep you alive and active. Improvising footwear however is a lot more difficult although it can be done.

So, I’m going to suggest that you carefully examine your footwear. Do you have footwear that you can walk 20 miles in, can you ramble across countryside or does it even offer basic protection in case you drop something? I’m not bothering here about work shoes, shoes you use to go to the office or wear to a wedding. I’m talking about footwear that you actually need not items of fashion.

You should have at least two pairs of boots, several laces and the kit to look after them.

Now the biggest issue you will have is choosing your boots. I always buy my boots in store. There are a few camping stores around here that have good boots. I like my boots to support my ankles, have hard toecaps and be of good quality. Good stitching and solid joints. I like rubber soles as well, some swear by leather, it is up to you. Good tread and solidly fitted to the boot. I don’t want them falling apart with very little use. I want them to survive hard usage. Unfortunately, good boots cost good money. It is not worth skimping on them.

Once you find a pair of boots your size and you are happy with the quality then you need to take them for a test drive. I always test my boots in the store. I wear a thick pair of socks, ones I use for outdoors to keep my toes warm, and I make sure each boot is comfortable and solid on my feet. I can wiggle my toes but the boots won’t rotate around my ankle or slip up or down in the slightest. Walk around a bit, up some stairs, down a slope and do a bit of jumping and running. If they pass this without slipping and are comfortable, support my ankles and feel solid then buy them. I would recommend buying two if you don’t have any already.

Make sure you get at least three pairs of laces on top of the ones in the boots, double if you bought two, and make sure they are good quality ones. In addition if buy a cleaning kit and some

Remember that you should really break the shoes in. It can take a while and can result in blisters and sore feet while the boots and your feet get used to each other. I usually only break in a set when my old boots need to be replaced although I have a spare pair waiting in the sidelines which are my favourites. One pair for general and everyday use and the other for when I go walking or on holiday. I then replace the everyday pair when required. My favourite pair which don’t get everyday use and battered are lasting OK.

Make sure every member of your family has a good pair of boots and bear in mind youngsters grow fast. Don’t buy a spare pair for them as they will outgrow them before the first pair are near finished. Kids are a special case in a survival situation. You need to ensure they are catered for but cannot buy either of them boots or some other items because you have no idea what size they will end up. I have resolved this, not to my satisfaction though, for my situation by buying two spare sets for myself and having several socks that can be used to pad them out. I also buy them new boots every two years and keep the old ones for spares. Not ideal but what can you do? In a few years then I will have problems with the grandkids.

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