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Footwear Buying Guide

posted Feb 21, 2019, 7:01 PM by Mike Bailey   [ updated Feb 21, 2019, 8:01 PM ]
Footwear for Scouts can be a tricky area.  We know your Scout is growing and growing fast. They are likely outgrowing shows faster than they are wearing them out. We've been there and understand it well.  This guide is meant to help you know how and when to invest in Camping footwear as your Scout grows and progresses in the program for best value and performance.

Footwear Infographic


Hiking Boots and Shoes advice

There are many types of Shoes to consider and some of the terminology can be confusing.  ScoutmasterCG.com has a great Footwear Info-graphic that I'm showing in this article. This can help provide a better understanding of the types and styles available and their intended uses. For weekend camping, or even Tomahawk summer camp, Backpacking shoes are not necessary.  Save that type of purchase for ahead of a High Adventure and then you can specialize based on the trip you are taking.

For young Scouts preparing for early Spring Camping, they can wear their Winter Boots for all day outdoor wear and then pack a pair of standard athletic shoes to wear around the campsite if it's not too muddy.  There will be a 1/2 day 5 Mile hike during the Brownsea camp in April, which usually stretches 1st year Scouts beyond their normal limits, so something more comfortable to slip on to wear into the evening is very helpful.  

It may be useful to think about a mid height Hiking shoe as we get closer to the May and June campouts, especially if more hikes are planned.  At Tomahawk Summer camp, we're walking everywhere throughout the day so those Hiking shoes will get a good deal of use.  If your Spring shoe purchase is a big enough size to wear some thick Socks in and have some room to grow, you should get a year of use before they grow out of them.  In middle school, you can't ask for much more than that.

Waterproof and/or Leather boots are not necessary for Scout Camping.  Most modern Hiking boots will keep the damp out and will still perform in the rain for hours.  Again, having camp shoes or a backup pair to change into while the boots air out will keep your Scout comfortable.

If Scouts have or want sandals for in camp comfort or to wear to to the beach for swimming, we just ask that they have closed toe.  Flip Flops are never a good idea for camping.  Too much risk for injury.  Keen or even Crocs are popular brands and perform well.  But, when we are leaving camp for a non-swimming activity, we will be asking Scouts to put on their good socks and Hiking Shoes.

Good Socks are a must

Investing in multiple pairs of good camping socks will be a much better use of your money. Socks don't get grown out of as fast, and they can bring a great deal of comfort to any shoes being worn.  Hiking socks provide extra cushioning, help prevent blisters and perform in wet or sweaty weather to keep feet comfortable.  You can combine hiking socks with a wicking liner sock underneath or with a fleece outer sock in colder months for additional insulation.  But, having 2-3 pairs of synthetic or wool blend Hiking Socks for a weekend camp to change out of as needed will keep most Scouts comfortable the whole trip.  Again, keeping to the mantra that cotton should not be used for the closest layer to the skin, avoid basic socks for all but the most basic camping activities or just for travel to and from camp. The Scout Shop sells great Hiking Socks at a good price and they can be worn as part of the complete BSA uniform. 

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