How to choose the right jungle boots
The market for jungle boots is quite narrow and basically you can choose from the old army issued versions and a couple of more modern versions that might be a bit more comfortable.
Where should you look
Typically these can be bought online on places like Ebay.com or Amazon.co.uk or in specific stores like army surplus. The real jungle boots are created with a drainage that helps water getting out of the boot again. The environment dictates contact with water and if you for several days walk with wet feet in conventional boots without drainage the result will be athlete’s foot or trench feet. If this happens will you not be able to continue, so consider investing in a pair of proper boots for the environment. They are created with a pattern that is designed to give the best possible grip under muddy and slippery conditions and overall they are superior to any other boot in the jungle.
Look out for cheap fake ones
There are some issues when buying these shoes. Especially the older army issued versions. First of all when buying them online – Take care, there are so many fake Chinese produced versions. After a couple of days the heel fall of off and you will have to take a hot needle and sew it on again, this with thin metal wire or fishing line. If possible always go to a store and test them physically for optimal fit and to be sure they are real. When you have bought them, do yourself the favor of walking them in. This can be done by putting them under hot water and start wearing them. Take some good long walks and make sure they are perfect when using them in the jungle. We have heard that they can be bought used some places and these should be good because they are already worn in, but keep in mind that it is not always healthy to walk in other shapes than the one your own foot would have produced. You can expect to get second hand for half the price and save some money.
It’s called jungle boots for a reason
If you are using conventional trekking boots here are some advice. First of all, never bring a boot with Gore-Tex. This keeps the water in and will increase the chance of getting athletes foot. This was basically what happened in the trenches under World War 1. Buy boots with a good strong sole and a deep pattern to get grip. Boots made for trekking mountains usually gets the whole bottom filled with mud and develops in to a pair of ice skates within a short time. This is not very secure when carrying a heavy rucksack. Try to find some boots that has a long neck to create stability and support your ankles. The long neck type as well helps you covering your leg since you will put your pants in the shoe to keep out ticks and other biting insects.
You can read much more about the story behind the jungle boot here
American og British? They both do the job
We have tested both the American and British army issued version of the traditional boots. It can be hard to find many differences besides the American version having a slightly deeper pattern and some differences in the pattern of stitches. Both of them do the job and both of them can be a bit of a pain to walk in.
Walk them in!
We have heard and experienced countless blisters from these boots. Especially when walking them in. So here is some crucial advice, especially if you do not have the time to wear them in before you start using them.
- #1 – Advice
- Rub your feet with Vaseline! This is the most important advice because it reduces the friction and the following damage of the tissue called a blister.
- #2 – Advice
- Wear a proper sock! Choose your socks carefully and make sure they do as much to prevent any rubbing or potential friction as possible.
- #3 – Advice
- Patch up your feet! (Before the actual damage occur). All hot spots, known location of typical blisters and rubbing should be patched up. This means taking zinc oxide or duct tape and cover these areas to reduce the damage caused by friction. As the only advice this can also be used after the actual damage has happened! If you have blisters already you simply take and cut out small pieces of soft bandage. This is laid as layer between the duct tape or zinc oxide tape. The pain will still be present but it will not develop further. Please make sure to buy a good quality role of zinc oxide tape or duct tape. The bad quality once simply just falls of when the feet gets wet.
The modern alterntive
We have heard a lot about the Altberg jungle boots which can be individually made for your feet and with the opportunity of personally picking the soles pattern and much more. We have not as yet tested the boot, but hope to get a chance in the future. Those we know who have tried them are telling us that this is an excellent boot which does not need the same extensive walking in before use. Besides that they are covering the same function as the old model.
Why choose jungle boots?
The reason why these are the best jungle boots is fundamentally based on its facilities to drain, support/protect the feet and ensure optimal grip in the tropical environment.
Do yourself a favor
If you do want to try them out! We bought ours in a Nomad travels physical store in UK, but there are different stores- that sell them all over Europe and America. Again we put a fat line under! Try them out in physical store, this is the only way you can be sure they fit!
Do I really need a jungle boot? It is all depending on the scale of your stay in the jungle. Are you physically moving, living and staying in the jungle for several days then we would say yes! They are a game changer when walking with weight, through mud and uphill in the jungle. There is as well a big aspect of safety both regarding support of your foot, ankle and whole stability of your movement but at the same time many of these modern trekking shoes/boots are made with such a thin material that thorns and spikes will penetrate them like a knife through butter.
To all you bushcraft and survivalists out there we actually heard from clients that they bring them back and use the boot for courses and they are apparently excellent for the purpose! We haven’t tried it out, but it could make them worth buying!