“A journey into the wilderness is the freest, cheapest, most nonprivileged of pleasures. Anyone with two legs and the price of a pair of army surplus combat boots may enter.”- Edward Abbey

What we put on our feet can make the all the difference when we hit the trail. Support, comfort, stability all factor in to how our feet hold up, and how our feet hold up is THE determining factor of what kind of shape we are in when we get off the trail. For many years my absolute go to for a trail boot was none other then Edward Abbeys recommendation, a solid, cheap pair of US Army surplus combat boots. Yes they were hard to break in but once they where, where unrivaled in comfort and stability. My combat boots stood up to everything I could throw at them, up mountains and through alpine meadows in Alaska, over sandstone and washes in Utah, rainforests in British Columbia, swampy cedar stands in Wisconsin, and almost everything in between.

It was sadly and reluctantly that I was forced to retire my combat boots from hiking duty this fall. After spending the day in a recently flooded out Paria canyon in Utah that I found my boots in shape beyond repair. I can’t say if it was trekking in the sticky mud of a canyon that had recently been flash flooded or just time but the soles of my boots were becoming completely separated from the boots themselves.

In desperation for something I picked up a pair of cheap low top trail runner/hikers to finish the trip off in. They worked well enough at first but the low top style left my ankles feeling unsupported and exposed. The final straw came on one of my last days in Colorado where a simple misplacement of one of my steps left the bottom of my right foot feeling strained. Hiking the next day I found even stepping onto midsized stones with my right foot caused me to cringe in pain. This was something I’d never had happen in my sturdier combat boots. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I had to find something as reliable to replace surplus combat boots.

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