Does one pound off your feet really equal five pounds off your back?

Author's Note

When I was growing up, one of the gravest insults you could hurl at an adversary was, "yo mama wears combat boots!" It sounds silly today, because everyone knows that women warriors who defend our country are just plain awesome. But trust me, back in the day such a slight was considered fightin' words. The idea being that military-issue boots were clunky, ungainly, and by today's standards, poorly designed. Not a flattering image to associate with dear ol' mom.

My, my, how things have changed. The U.S. military -- along with commercial shoe manufacturers -- have invested untold fortunes in making boots more comfortable, effective, and dare I say, stylish. A big contributor to all that has been the weight reduction of boots and hiking shoes -- so much so that experienced hikers can cover several dozen miles in a single day with relative ease! I never much considered weight when buying shoes in the past. Plus, a heavy boot was also considered "more manly," or something like that, in some circles I've associated with. These days, a more enlightened me says, "To heck with that...I'd much rather have a pair of happy feet and charlie horse-free legs at the end of the day -- bring on the lightweights!"

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  • Jones, Bruce H.; Toner, Michael M.; Daniels, William L. and Knapik, Joseph J. "The energy cost and heart-rate response of trained and untrained subjects walking and running in shoes and boots (abstract)." US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine via Defense Technical Information Center. 1983. (July 6, 2012)
  • Johansson, Jörgen. "Weight on your feet." Fjäderlätt." November 2009. (July 5, 2012)
  • Long, McKenzie. "Women's Hiking Boot Buying Advice." Outdoor Gear Lab. June 29, 2012. (July 5, 2012)
  • Stringfellow, Lisa and Wood, T.D. "How to Choose Hiking Boots." February 2011. (July 3, 2012)