Feet don’t fail me now


I’ve had bad luck with Bates brand boots over the years. Most every pair I had in the military failed with in 6 months of use. Like a sucker though, I kept buying them since I couldn’t find anything lighter or more comfortable than the Bates lightweight boots.

A couple of weekends ago I decided I wanted to do a hike with a 55 pound pack. About one a half miles into it I stepped in some more mud (most of the trail being mud) and I tried to scrape it off my heal on a tree root. It seemed like it wouldn’t come off. Turns out the heel of the Bates lightweight boot crumbled apart. By the time I made it back to the trail head the heel of the other boot came apart.

Now, to be fair these boots are about a decade old, but they had never seen any serious use till now. I don’t think I’d ever got them dirty before this.

So, I guess I should check out my remaining pairs of Bates brand boots. Make sure they are not falling apart while they are sitting in storage.


  1. In this case I think it was more likely just your nasty feet fungus that ate them away. Should have wore those flip-flops in the shower when you was in the Marines. It’s not cause they want to save you from a nasty foot problem, its because of the destruction of Gov property it causes the boots. Now we know for sure.

  2. You get to choose 2 out of 3 with footwear. Light weight, durability, and comfort. I’ve found with Bates and Oakley’s have always been light weight and comfort.

    • There was a guy in my squad who bought Oakley boots and wouldn’t shut up about how great they were. While they were out of reg, he was allowed to wear them.
      Then in the middle of a midnight patrol, he had something come up inside the boot and rendered him unable to patrol. I believe it was a nail that was used to hold the sole on, but it might have been plastic or something else instead. Cut him up a bit.
      My squad leader used a multitool (I think it was my SOG tool) to carve a chunk out of the inside of the boot.
      Then the guy who had this happen to him still wouldn’t shut up about how great the Oakley boots were.

  3. All right. Oakley’s/Bates = light weight and comfort. Thank you; very good information.

    Any suggestions as to what brands = comfort and durability?

    Asking for a friend……….

  4. Check out Lowe’s. It’s what we use in wildland firefighting that isn’t a White’s Boot product. I have three different weights of Lowe boots.

    White’s are wonderful boots, but they’re expensive (typically more than $400) and they’re not really hiking boots so much as they’re firefighter/farmer/packer/horseman boots. The one upside of White’s is that once you’re measured by one of their dealers and your measurement is put on file with White’s in Spokane, you can just call them up in Spokane and say “This is Mr. Smith of Podunk, IA. Could you please send me a pair of XYZ boots?” And then they will make a set to fit you and send them to you.

    The other thing about Whites is that they will rebuild the boots at a very reasonable fee. Unlike many modern boots, Whites are made the old-fashioned way – so that a cobbler (or Whites) can rebuild them.

  5. Any opinions on the GoRuck “MACV-1” boots?
    A friend liked his so I bought a pair maybe 6 weeks ago. Pricey, but I like them. (Maybe $200 MSRP, you can get a 10% veteran’s discount I’ve heard and they have nice sales after Thanksgiving etc) They weigh just a tad over what a pair of running shoes weigh, I think they’re comfortable, and they seem very well put together.
    To get the “lightweight”, of course the sole isn’t as thick as other boots and I don’t know how long they will last. But I have been wearing them every day- one thing I like about the black ones is that worn with long pants, they look pretty much like black leather shoes from outside.
    If they last at all a reasonable amount of time, I’ll get another pair.

    One last thing- GoRuck claims that these are ready out of the box, and don’t need to be broken in. That could be true, mine were comfortable from the start. I wear them to work (office job) so they’ve only gotten a few weekend rucks so far.

    Anyone like, or dislike?

  6. About any boot with a “made in USA” label.
    I am a Danner and Red Wing fan.
    But there are quite a few good boots made and your choice is heavily dependent of what you are going to do with them.
    Then if you want custom made, Russell (from wi.) and as Dyspeptic Gunsmith said White’s are up there.

  7. Like the guys above mentioned I too have had good experiences with Lowas and Merrills. I’m sure the more expensive brands are nicer but I’ve had a pair of Merrils for over 15 years now and they are only now just starting to show wear.

  8. Merrells is my vote for a decent priced, medium duty boot.

    Speaking of Bates though, that phenomenon isn’t limited to their boots. Their low quarters do the same thing and always in spectacular fashion. Was doing a retreat ceremony many moons ago. I thought I had stepped in mud or worse on the parade field (Old, old Army post on the frontier…) but when it was over and we got dismissed I had no heel left and the bulk of the rest of the sole was scattered about.


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