Walking and Wheeling!

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 07:59
ThreadID: 56035 Views:4075 Replies:12 FollowUps:14
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Was tempted to start this as an OT thread but then thought that bush walking and 4 wheeling go hand in hand....so here is my question! I'm about to go into training for a West (Steep Point) - East (Cape Byron) crossing of Aus in winter 2009. A big part of this trip will be some longish walks into places where we may not be able to (or simply don't wish to) drive. My Colorados are have seen much better days and in any event were never meant for long distant walking. There are so many different brands of walking boots/shoes on the market and some have extraordinary claims about their capabilities - indeed with some I reckon I could scale Everest with a week's training :-)).

I would be interested in getting advice on walking boots from those among you who are keen/experienced bush walkers. Which are the brands that really stand up to the test of both 4 Wheeling and Bush Walking? Scarpa, HiTec, etc, etc, etc....which is the best from you personal experiences.

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 08:11

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 08:11
Hi Patroll22
We to enjoy bush walking and agree, the two do go hand in hand.
We are after new boot and going for HiTec. My son is a surveyor and is in the field all of the time, on his second set and recommends they are the most comfortable boots for walking all day.


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AnswerID: 295371

Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 08:44

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 08:44
Nathan has had his scarpia's for as long as i can remember, ive known him for 8yrs.., and hasnt worn them enought for them to be worn in properly but he loves them and they are comfy as a pillow he reckons!

I have, i think...HiTec....they are brilliant and very comfy. Have given them a workout over the years when my blundstones wouldnt be comfy enough......

AnswerID: 295375

Reply By: Nick R (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 09:55

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 09:55
I am well out of the walking boot market but I will say make sure you wear them in before you go, you can make sure they are comfortable and have softened up. Out on a walk is no place to run them in......
My first boots were Rossi falcons, they only blistered me once, the time I only had 1 pair of socks, otherwise they were good. I got another pair of boots, different brand, which were shocking, I can't find them now... it is like most things, a personal thing
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Reply By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:08

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:08
Walking boots really need to be fitted by a specialist. My advice is to go to someone who does this, such as a good outdoors shop. What is a great boot for my foot may well be torture for yours. Get your foot measured for length, width etc then get the right and most comfortable boot you can. The process may take a whole day in the city, going from shop to shop to compare the different brands sold by different shops.

Once you've found those that appear to be comfortable, the best was to wear them in is to put them on, stand in a bucket of luke warm water and go for a long walk. Do this a couple of times, but in between, very careful drying in cool conditions (no heat) and use some waterproofing substance on them (if they are leather..ie Scarpa). I find Nikwax to be the best. Synthetic boots such as Hi-Tec etc are easier to 'break in' but will still benefit from this treatment (except the Nikwax).

Whilst walking carry a couple of plastic safeway bags to help prevent blisters. The most common spot for blisters is on the back of the heel and if you can arrange the plastic bag as a couple of layers to 'wrap' around the heel the bag rubs against itself and prevents friction on the foot and thus prevents blisters. Do this as SOON as you feel the slight 'hot spot' and it works a treat. Much better than the old Leukoplast tape method which gets sticky stuff all over your socks and damages them. I still use this method for ski touring as the boots are very heavy leather and with a heavy pack, blisters are inevitable.

This comes from 12 years experience as an outdoor education teacher with literally hundreds of students bushwalking and ski touring.

Hope this is all helpful.


AnswerID: 295384

Reply By: mike w (WA) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:24

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:24

I agree with Mark re an outdoor specialist. Make sure you get them fitted up properly by someone that knows about walking boots. Spend some time shopping around. Go to as many different outdoor shops as you can find, but steer clear from alot of the big franchise outdoor stores such as BCF, Anaconda etc where teenagers that have never walked a day in their life work. They may be an option for purchase once you have sourced your desired shoe of choice properly, as sometimes their prices are can be better. stick to places suc as mountain designs, paddy pallin etc where the employees are generally pretty active in the outdoors.

Many boots now days use materials such as gortex, therfore offer great level of waterproofness and breathability, but dont require the addition of waterproofing agents.

From my personal experience, Iv had only a couple of pairs of walking boots (as they have lasted that long that is all that I have needed.) I can not remember all, but my last pair of boots was a pair of Rossi hiking boots, I had heard good reviews- chucked after a 3 day hike. Found them heavy, uncomfortable (even after a lengthy wear in) and caused too many blisters for my liking. I know have a pair of mountain designs gortex boots. No problems. Ive had them for about 4 years, have used them camping and walking, and have been a friend ever since.

Another tip, if doing a longish walk and you are one that gets blisters quite easily, you need to hard up... just kidding, use some fixamol on your toes to assist. Fixomol is available at chemists, and comes in roles. It is stretchable, so will sit over toe ends nicely.
AnswerID: 295385

Reply By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:35

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:35
I come from the Rob Bredl school of bush walking.

Both Rob and myself hate shoe's, I have walked the bush my whole life barefoot, I do own a pair of Tevas that I wear on tour or for formal wear, the wife and kid prefer Crocs , although Philip is more like his Dad.

I am a staunch believer that our clients wear proper foot wear on tour.

Cheers Steve, who believes you should free the feet.

AnswerID: 295387

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:18

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:18
Used to be like you back when I lived in metropolitan downtown Mossman FNQ....no real cause for boots but down this way it's just too bloody cold to go barefoot.

FollowupID: 561407

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:29

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:29
Gday Steve, Yeh I used to be much the same as you....bare feet everywhere.
Except of course the pub, I used to leave a pair of thongs behind the counter which they used to throw at me everynight when I walked in. "shoes Hairy!!!"

FollowupID: 561411

Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 11:35

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 11:35
G'day Steve,

you may have noted that Dot Butler died recently. An extraordinary woman, and, a legendary barefoot bushwalker.

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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:39

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:39
Make sure you get proper arch support, either in the shoe already or with orthotic inserts.

I did a lot of walking (on a treadmill) with sports shoes which I thought were OK but developed plantar fasciitis (heel spurs) because of insufficient arch support.

It's a shocker. Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:48

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:48
Ive always been a fan of the old Dunlop thong, (and not the type that goes up your freckle!).
But you have to get the double pluged version or you spend half your walk fixing blow outs.
Although these days I have to try and keep up with the trends (for the kids sake) so I have opted for the ADIDAS thong. The're light and comfortable with a thicker strap over the top of you foot which provides much more protection.
The're vey comfortable once worn in and can be easily removed when you get that little hot coal between your toes while staggeing arount the fire late at night.

AnswerID: 295392

Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:52

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:52
I have heard the single plugged thongs are made by Coopers.

Cheers Steve, from the free the feet foundation.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:56

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:56
Sounds about right....the waranty runs out when you hit the dirt!

FollowupID: 561404

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:16

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:16
Hairy - bit bloody cold down this way for either type of thong....freckle or foot. So bloody cold last night had to light a fire under me old fella this morning to take a snake's hiss.

FollowupID: 561406

Follow Up By: Member - Gaz@Gove (NT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:24

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:24
Yep you can't beat the thong Hairy. But I've found the "surfboard" type thongs are the go. Never had a blowout in 20 years, and you can walk on sand with no worries. The only problem is the straps tend to lie down when wet, making it bloody ackward to slip into at times.
I think mine are made by "Nike".
Mmmmmmmm, now where do we go next?

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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:25

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:25
Gday Pete,
Not to bloody warm here at the present!
Nearly had to dig out the longuns yesterday for work!
Mind you I am (should be) out mowing the lawns at the moment and shorts and singlet are fine.

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Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 13:35

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 13:35
Thongs are not much use for fast walking. I have found when you go around a corner quickly they oversteer and the back flies out from under your heel leaving it exposed to rocks, bindies etc.

On a more serious note, I will always remember my first serious long walk. My platoon wandered out of the recruit training base at Kapooka at midnight, loaded up with packs and rifles, for what we were told was to be a twenty mile march. We walked at a fair pace until 8 am stopping occassionally for a short break. I reckon we covered a lot more than twenty miles.

Traditionally Army boots are supposed to be the worst footwear that man has ever made but my old all leather no frills work style boots worked perfectly. I had no blisters or any other foot problems.

I don't have a good pair of boots at the moment but as sure as can be if I do go out and buy some you beaut expertly fitted high tech types with twin overhead bells and whistles on them, they will hurt like hell every time I use them.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boo Boo (NT) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 20:02

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 20:02

I did a similar march in '67 at kapooka, we work it out to be 26 miles, and I must have got the wrong boots, as I got a couple of good blisters.

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Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 23:39

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 23:39

I was also there in '67 along with what looked like thousands of others. I was in 10 platoon B company and we started in February. It would be a small world if it turns out we were in the same platoon.

I was one of seven nashos in with forty three regulars. I think I must have something wrong with my feet. I transferred to the RAAF after NS and during my time with both Services, I never had any problems with any shoes either dress or work.

26 miles sounds a bit more like it. We were told the purpose of the exercise was to show us that you can march an army long distances and arrive ready to fight! That might be so if the bad guys have also marched a similar distance to meet us.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boo Boo (NT) - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 11:24

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 11:24

I was at Kapooka in the middle of July, at that time it was nornal to turn five different shades of blue at sheet parade at 0600.

I think I set the record for being in the Infantry for the shortest period of time. About one hour after I was allocated to the Infantry I was in RAAMC.

Regards Bob
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Follow Up By: splits - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 20:22

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 20:22
Come on now Bob, Wagga wasn't that cold, I actually went back and lived there for six years after getting out of the RAAF.

I was in RAEME and was in the recovery school at Bandiana by July. Three of us nasho types were assigned there for three months to help the Warrant Officer in charge conduct the first courses for the Vietnam tank recovery crews. I got fairly well clued up on recovering tanks but not four wheel drives. He did not waste his time teaching us anything about that. If a Land Rover got stuck you just ran a cable back from a giant 6x6 tow truck and took off. The Landy always folllowed instantly with no arguements!

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Reply By: Patrol22 - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:20

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 11:20
Thanks everyone....I guess the plan is to take a walk around Paddy Pallin and the like to get properly fitted before making a choice. I have noticed though that some of the top names eg Scarpa are awfully stiff in the uppers.
AnswerID: 295393

Follow Up By: mike w (WA) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 14:50

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 14:50
>I have noticed though that some of the top names eg Scarpa are awfully stiff in the uppers

Yep, It would be for ankle support me thinks. They will all soften a bit with use.

I was having another think, are you planning on doing short walks i.e a few kilometre or multi day epics? The reason I ask is you may be better suited to a lighter weight trail running shoe. Only ankle cut, but will be more comfortable for driving and the similar. Check out the same places, there is a good range available. I had a pair of Columbia'a, fantastic shoe. Got about 6 years out of them, and that was rough use, including roofing, walking and daily user.
FollowupID: 561422

Reply By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 17:04

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 17:04

If you've got the money, have a look at 'Raichle'. The boot is made in Switzerland and well known to hikers and mountaineers.


AnswerID: 295429

Reply By:- Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 21:24

Saturday, Mar 29, 2008 at 21:24
G'day Patrol22,

pretty good advice about checking a specialist b/walking shop. I've done a fair bit of walking in my time - reckon the best way to "break in" (leather) boots is to fill them with water when new - leave long enough (overnight) for water to soak in properly - then put them on, and walk (1/2 to 1 day) in them until they are dry again. I've been through many pairs, and have never gotten a blister from any that I've treated this way.

When boots are dried out, use a waterproofing agent (Nikwax or Snoseal - NOT Dubbin - it rots the stitches) on the boots - a hairdryer is helpful to make sure the "wax" penetrates the pores in the leather.

All good boots are pretty stiff when new - it is the ankle support they provide - but the above treatment effectively "moulds" each boot to your feet.

Lightweight boots (eg Hi Tec) are pretty good in hot conditions, although not quite as durable as leather which I prefer if I'm walking in "rough" country.

AnswerID: 295478

Reply By: Patrol22 - Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 08:50

Sunday, Mar 30, 2008 at 08:50
Thanks everyone...lots of food for thought here.

AnswerID: 295527

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