On the average day most people worry more about the look of their shoes than the comfort. Women take the brunt of the jabs about preferring looks over comfort in footwear, but many men operate on the same principle. Whether it be Jimmy Choo high heels, wingtips, cowboy boots, or Converse Chuck Taylors, people abuse their feet daily by what they wear. Blisters, corns, callouses, broken down arches, and hammer toes all come from wearing the wrong shoes for your feet. Wearing the wrong size, be it too large or too small, is just as bad. People in certain occupations have specific footwear requirements that limit their choices. They may need safety toes or chemical resistant soles to protect them. Outside of this scenario, I strongly urge you to reevaluate the emphasis on shoes that keep your feet healthy.
Keeping your feet healthy on a daily basis just requires making some good decisions. First, different shoes are needed for different activities. You might be able to get away with almost anything if you are just sitting at a desk all day. If you walk, stand, or run then footwear with better support and soles are necessary to prevent fatigue and damage. On the flip side, a pair of running shoes with foam style soles is not going to be a good choice for hiking mountain trails. Second, buying the right size is imperative. Different brands are cut to different specs, so you may not always wear a size 10 medium width in every shoe. If you need help determining the best fit, visit a shoe store that has staff to help you find a fit and not just salespeople to sell you the most expensive pair. Third, remember that shoes have a lifespan. They may be “worn out” long before the soles fall off or they get holes in the uppers. Replace shoes before they lose the support your feet need. Fourth, recognize if your feet need special care. Some people have foot issues that require special shoes or orthotics (insoles) for their normal shoes. This can be because of a physical foot issues, results of a past injury, or simply age. Lastly, recognize that cheap shoes are rarely good shoes. A pair of $1 Old Navy flip flops can be expected to have about $1 worth of support. A good pair of boots or shoes will cost a bit, but watching for sales and such can help to lower the cost. Just remember that cost is not a pure indicator. Lots of high heels are really expensive but work better as zombie killing weapons than shoes.
Now you may be wondering how this relates to disaster preparedness. It has everything to do with it. I assume the worst when I plan for things. In that case, you will be on foot. That means you need to have healthy feet and appropriate footwear. The middle of a crisis is not the time to be shopping for shoes. That footwear should also be broken in to avoid finding out at the wrong time that they cause blisters or worse. Now planning for a range of disasters means you need to cover several specs in footwear. I find that a sturdy waterproof pair of boots does that. That being said, I avoid rubber or duck style boots. They just do not do well when walking long distances. Unless it is rather cold, they can make your feet sweat. In the cold, most do not have much insulation. A laceup or zip side boot is a good choice to allow for adjustments based on thin or heavy socks.
Obviously, there are hundreds of options that would work. Here are a couple of examples of good boots for men and a couple for women. These are reputable brands that have a proven track record of both durability and customer service.
Another good thing to pair with these is a good pair of socks. Wool is best because it wicks moisture away better. Merino wool is not your old fashion wool and these socks generally last a long time.
If you have issues finding pairs that work for you and would like to try different pairs, Prime Wardrobe from Amazon is a good option. Without spending money on returns or driving from shop to shop, you can try shoes and clothes free. You only pay for what you keep and have free Prime returns for what you don’t.
If you have any favorite examples to share, please leave a comment. The pair you prefer might just be what others are looking for.