Merrell Proterra Shoes
Shoes for an emergency kit can be a tricky subject. There are many factors to consider carefully. First, where do you live, and what type of weather do you face seasonally? Do you need more than one type of shoe? Is there one type of footwear that can cover you in most situations?
We think we've found the best shoe that offers a little bit of everything for everyone, and its the Merrell Proterra Shoes for Men. I've had mine for 2 years and have put them into every kind of environment you can imagine: snow, rivers, mud, rocks, sand, trees - you name it. Here's why you need them:
First and foremost, the Proterra are surprisingly durable. To me they didn't look like they would be, and I thought I would tear mine apart after my first outing with them - but as of today I have hiked no less than 50 miles of off-road terrain with them, and despite being stained, they have suffered no physical damage.
The only exception is where some of the plastic bunting meets the Gore-tex by the top shoe lace. It started to lift up on two sides so I put some epoxy on it an glued it down. Problem solved. It was more of a cosmetic issue than anything but it was shaped like a point and could have snagged on something.Second, they are light. Very-light. Almost thin feeling. You can walk and walk in these and they will take you further because they wont weigh you down.
Now for the downsides. If you need warm shoes, look elsewhere. If you need waterproof, these aren't. If you need to protect your feet heavy falling things or industrial sites, look at the Redwing 2499.
Some people complain on Amazon that these are slippery. I never noticed this myself, and I took them into pretty wet and muddy situations - however that may be in part due to the fact that I am overly cautious and don't trust surfaces I walk on without testing their load-bearing carefully. This makes me a slow hiker but I've never fallen or slipped (knock on wood) and I've been on some pretty hairy stuff. If wet and mud is your life you may want to consider something else as this seems to be a fairly common complaint.
The padding on the sole is thin and offers little in terms of cushioning. I compensate for that with a good pair of wool socks, and orthotics.
So for all around use I think most folks would be well served by the Proterra shoe for a bug out kit. Actually most Merrell shoes are great (I have a pair of Chameleons that are 10 years old that look like hell but still work like champs) although a little expensive up front. However they will last longer than nearly any other brand out there so in the end can wind up saving you money.
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Merrell Men's Proterra Sport Hiking Shoe
Typical Price: $85