October 3, 2012

Tiger Feet

My shortlist of boots at attention on parade

This post is a bit anoraky. Well actually its a bit booty.. Perfect for people sat in their homes thinking “Hang on, I’m off to Siberia next week, what shall I wear?”. More specifically – for footwear.

Here is the challenge – what do you take when you know you are going to spend a few weeks on warm Chinese trains with occasional forays into freezing Siberian snow, and then a couple of weeks playing in the jungles and beaches of South East Asia? The answer is of course to pack several pairs of boots, but that’s not going to work from a luggage perspective. As a result I have been considering options…

The picture shows left to right my Salomon GTX boots, Ecco Yak X-series and Timberland Classic (6 inch) boots. All are footwear at the top of their game. By way of background, the Salomon boots are Gore-tex and have Contragrip soles and my own custom footbeds. I summited both Kilimanjaro and Kinabalu wearing them. The Ecco boots are also Gore-tex, quite technical and much lighter, but have no ankle support. The Timberlands are supposed to be waterproof (I have also just reproofed them) and were my mainstay during the last two big Scottish winters – they work really well in the snow, and I like the more flexible sole than the Salomons, which are after all climbing boots.

I have been fretting a bit I don’t want to have to wear boots a lot of the time, but I need to keep warm and dry in occasional hostile climates.

Unless someone persuades me otherwise I have today decided to take just the Ecco X-series. They are light, incredibly comfy, fully waterproof and take up less space than the others. I’m going to risk a bit of snow getting in occasionally over comfort for the duration of my trip. If you have never tried Ecco, they are a great brand and I find the fit just perfect, especially if you have slightly wide or wonky feet.

I understand that Trans-Siberian etiquette is not to wear your outdoor shoes once on board, but to go with slippers or Crocs and socks.

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