Boots and Socks and Laces

Discussion for boots and footwear
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Gungnir
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Boots and Socks and Laces

Post by Gungnir » Wed Oct 29, 2014 21:23

Since I've been in the infantry pipeline, I've learned a lot of things about boots that I never knew prior to joining, so I'm sharing them. This information comes from people who have tried out, some have passed, SF Selection. It also comes from life long Infantry who live on their feet. Without the right fitting boots, their careers could be over. So I took all the information, and will put it down here.

Boot fitting:
When fitting a proper boot to your foot, your shoe size does not matter. My standard issue boots are an 11 1/2. My Nike's are 12 1/2. My Rocky's are 11. My shoe size is 13. What matters when you buy boots is several things.
- the boot must not slide of your foot. Minimal movement is ok. Your foot will move, but if you slide front to back every time you step, your foot will heat up and cause VERY BAD blisters on the top, the bottom and the heel. You ever had a blister the size of your head? You will.
- Your foot should move slightly when going downhill. If they don't move at all, they're too tight on the sides and you'll develop blisters on the sides of you feet, receive ingrown toenails, and blisters between your toes.
- Your toe must not touch the front of the boot. When your feet move going downhill (and they should shift a little), if your feet touch the front of the boot, your will start to develop blisters and ingrown toe nails. They may touch a little, no big deal. When I saw a little, if you feel pressure on them, that's a problem. There should be absolutely no pressure on any of your 5 toes when sliding forward.

Trying on boots:
When you try them on, make sure you have a good pair of socks with you. I will explain socks in a different thread, please refer to it if you have any questions. These socks you wear will be the pair that you have tried, enjoy and will be wearing with your boots.
When you put on the boots, sit down, slip them on, then proceed to bang your heel on the ground until your heel is definitely and solidly seated in the heel cup. Then tie your boots the tightest you can get them. If you're not very strong (and nothing to be ashamed of) bring a boot hook to help you pull them. They will be extra stiff since they're new and you need to make sure you have them how you will wear them when broken in.
if you pull them tight and tie them, then find even the littlest slack, retie them. Walk around. Find out if the boot slides. The best way to explain this is a "clumping feeling."
If you can, as some places have them, find uneven ground to walk up and down hill on. The point of this is that you can find out if the boot is right for you quickly. If you're walking downhill and your toes are touching the front, too short. If you're walking up hill, and they're shifting, too wide.
The best way to explain the feeling you should get is "Snug." A leather boot will expand a little bit, but when you start moving, your feet will expand also. If you get them in a snug feeling, a little tight around the foot (but remember what I said about toes, that doesn't expand), you'll be happy when they're broken in after several days.

Types of boots:
Many people want the high speed boots, and that's fine, but find the type that work for you. I personally can't use BlackHawk. If they're long enough for me, they're too wide. Nike is the best fit for me. For some, it's standard issue boots. Don't just get something high speed because it looks cool. An ex-Navy SEAL, turned Army to join Green Berets only wears standard issue because they work perfectly for him. He gets them resoled to have a lighter sole and there's his high speed boot. Don't fight it just because it's not expensive, but buy expensive if you have to. Pick a boot that fits your foot, and a sole that's comfortable to you.

In airsoft, I spent more time in boots than I have in my 4 months in the Army, so make sure that's the first thing you invest in.

Stay away from gimmicky crap like zippers or the ultra lightweight UnderArmour's. Boots aren't that heavy from the start, and you don't need to take them off that fast. If SEALs who may need to water ditch their boots before they drown don't need zippers, you don't.

Hope this helps some people. Feel free to ask me questions if you're unclear on anything. I will always answer my PM's.
1-509 (ABN) B Co

Team RAMROD posting all the way from your mother's house

The artist formerly known as 8Ball

Gungnir
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Socks (Important)

Post by Gungnir » Wed Oct 29, 2014 21:52

Socks...possibly the second most important piece of your equipment.

A good pair of socks with change the world. You can have the worst pair of boots and pairing them up with socks that go with them will change your outlook on them.

There are many different kinds of socks, polypro, wool, mixture; thick, thin. You name it. What you need to find is one that will not make your boots too tight, but not make your foot slide.

Polypro, for those who don't know, is a moisture wicking material, much like what UnderArmour is made of.

Socks such as UnderArmour, Nike, Fox River and Rocky S2V's are polypro. Socks such as Bates, Wigwam, and ToughStuff are mixture of wool and polypro. Wool socks are the standard issue.
Polypro: These will pull the moisture away from your feet and through the vent holes in your boots. They come in compression and regular fit. This preference is up to you if you if you go this route. They also come in thick, thin and regular. Usually, if the company makes them a certain thickness, it doesn't matter if you grab a different type of sock, they'll all be that thickness.
I personally don't like polypro because they give me hotspots, but I'm the only one that I know of like that. They're the favored for most people who have gone through selection.

Polypro/Wool: this is my personal favorite because they react to my feet the best. I've only found them in a thicker feel. They retain moisture a little more than polypro. They also come in compression and regular fitting. They're not for everyone, but they're worth a try.

Wool: If you decide to go for wool (not winter wool, but just regular) and you don't buy standard issue, ur dumb. It's all the same stuff, but non-name brand. Some people love them. My friend in 10th group won't wear anything but them. Other's think they're the worst item ever given. You decide.
They retain moisture, but they also pull moisture from your feet the best. When you change your socks, they will be soaked, but your feet will be dry in seconds.
Wool socks are medium thickness, about the same as UnderArmour ones.

A CCT Tech Sgt told me a few days ago that he buys the same boots all the time, but he spends hundreds of dollars a year on socks, because they're more important than boots. Find a pair you like, and stick with them. And don't just buy high speed because they're high speed. No one will see them.
1-509 (ABN) B Co

Team RAMROD posting all the way from your mother's house

The artist formerly known as 8Ball

Gungnir
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Boot Lacing

Post by Gungnir » Mon Nov 10, 2014 23:34

A lot of people overlook the way a pair off boots should be laced. They assume that the way you lace your shoes is the same way you should lace your boots.

As I have stated in other posts, your feet are you life, and your boots protect your feet. You should do everything with a purpose, and know the purpose behind it. Here are several different lacing types you can go with, shown here:

Standard lacing: here, I'm showing the way Nike's are typically laced so you're familiar with the boots for when I change it up.
Image

Skipped mid-section:
In this picture, I have skipped the bottom part of the upper half of the loops.
Image
The reason for this being to relieve pressure off the bend in your foot. A lot of times, when walking around uneven ground, your foot will turn every which way. When you remove the lace that digs into the rotating part of your foot, it makes a little more comfortable.
This method shouldn't be used if you try it and your foot slides everywhere. That part of the boot really holds your foot in place, and removing it may allow your foot to slide causing blisters. Attempt this at home before you spend a full day in the field like that and regret it the next morning.

Pressure on the toe:
If you're receiving ingrown toenails due to pressure on your main toe, you might want to try this method out for a little until it's healed.
Image
I haven't attempted this personally, but many people who had ingrown toenails throughout basic and Stident Company have relieved the pressire due to this method.
If it's not clear what's happening, please ask and I'll edit this to explain.

Dial-Lacing:
This one is my personal favorite, although don't let it persuade your decision as everyone's foot is different.
Image
It may be a little confusing, but the laces are cut in half, and there is a different set for the bottom half as there is the top half. The benefits to this are that you can extremely tighten down your foot, to really lock it in place and make sure it doesn't move around at all, but without sacrificing your shin and calves. You can separately tie the laces to your shins a lot looser so that you don't receive shin splints or your calves don't burn like crazy.
I chose to use two different types of laces for that because the tongue on Nike's is very thin, so when I tightened down extremely with the rope laces, it was painful, so I switched them to the paracord laces. But I still like the rope laces, so I kept them up top because of the way they tie.


Hope this helps. I'll leave this one open so people can add their own input if they do something different. I saw many different types of tying at Airborne, but I didn't understand them, so you won't see me explain them.
1-509 (ABN) B Co

Team RAMROD posting all the way from your mother's house

The artist formerly known as 8Ball

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