Carrying extra shoes when bugging out

This is a very specific question, but… I have my walking shoes sitting next to my BOB. I am planning to grab them if I have to bug out. The reason I might not be wearing them is that I prefer to wear a much more comfortable pair of sturdy sandals. I can walk longer in the sandals without foot pain, but I realize I might have to change into more protective shoes if I’m evacuating in a SHTF scenario.  I am wondering what the best way to carry shoes is in a grab and run situation. Is there gear I can use to attach the shoes to my BOB maybe?


  • Comments (11)

    • 5

      I would just use a carabiner to attach the shoes to the outside of the pack.

      • 5

        I would immediately change into suitable shoes and ditch sandals.  if your hiking shoes are uncomfortable, you need to modify or wear them more often, or purchase another pair.

      • 6

        I have complicated foot problems (have had them for 30 years). The sandals are the best footwear I’ve found. They’re comfortable for much longer periods of walking and even standing, which is the hardest thing for me. I wear them everywhere. But they’re not completely closed so probably not good footwear if I’m walking through debris or something. The walking shoes are the next best thing, but my feet start hurting in them quicker. Finding something that fits both criteria is very difficult. I have to work with what I’ve got.

      • 6

        My honest advice is that if you’re *that* much more comfortable walking long distances in the sandals, wear the sandals, but pack someting more protective just in case. I have a pair of Luna “running sandals” that have good traction and I can walk long distances in.

        Survivalist Cody Lundin famously does not wear shoes anywhere: deserts, jungles, anywear. The only footwear I’ve ever seen the man wear is a pair of socks and that was when he was walking across a glacier in the Arctic. He also has some of the most level-headed survival advice I’ve ever read.

        I’ve tried the barefoot thing, even running for miles in bare feet. Then I screwed up my foot by severely stubbing my pinky toe and gave up on that.

      • 3

        I have two of Cody Lundin’s books and enjoyed watching him on the Discovery channel show Dual Survival. He has a good approach towards survival and of respecting nature and becoming one with it. He says that his barefoot lifestyle took years to develop and the bottom of his foot is like a hard piece of leather because it has callused up so much.

        In response to your question Jonnie Pekelny, one idea to help attach your walking shoes to your BOB could be to put them inside of a dry bag and then secure that dry bag to your BOB. That way, they will always be safe and dry, and maybe not flopping around on the outside of your pack as much. Try and secure the dry bag to your BOB as best you can in multiple locations so that it doesn’t swing and flop around when you walk. As a hiker, loose articles on the outside of your pack throws off your weight, takes the center of gravity away from your body, can get snagged on things, and my fall of easier. 

        You sound like you really enjoy your sandals. I would also include a good pair or two of long socks if your sandals allow using socks. This will provide a minimal level of protection for your feet and may let you use those sandals a bit more than if you just had your toes exposed.

        What brand of sandals do you have?

      • 6

        I have these sandals: https://www.crocs.com/p/mens-swiftwater-leather-fisherman/204562.html?cid=23B&adid=Shopping_Google_NonPromo_men_NULL_204562&CAWELAID=330004870000511545&ef_id=Cj0KCQjwk8b7BRCaARIsAARRTL51YqNyzPuRBCLpCeM2NHwwzZqGGHvNsUzFlXKuwT1gvE3X1-5UA50aAmQ7EALw_wcB:G:s&CATARGETID=330004870000928279&CADevice=c&gclid=Cj0KCQjwk8b7BRCaARIsAARRTL51YqNyzPuRBCLpCeM2NHwwzZqGGHvNsUzFlXKuwT1gvE3X1-5UA50aAmQ7EALw_wcB

        Yes, basically looking for some kind of dry bag or shoe bag, I guess. One annoying thing for Americans is that these bags are sized in liters. I should actually know my liters — I spent my first 10 years in Europe. But for the life of me I can’t figure out how many liters fit a pair of shoes!

      • 2

        I totally agree with you! I have no idea how many liters would fit my shoes too. 

        Here is a 3 pack of various sizes from Amazon and the same 3 pack from Walmart. It comes with a 2, 4, and 8 liter bag.

        According to Amazon’s description here are the dimensions:

        8-liter sack measures 10.75 x 22 inches

        4-liter sack measures 9.5 x 15.5 inches

        2-liter sack measures 7.75 x 13 inches

        If you don’t want to go with the 3 pack but from the dimensions above you see that the 4 liter sack will work for you, then you can go look for a really durable 4 liter.

        Hope that helps! 

      • 4

        Yes — this is exactly what I’m trying to do: wear my sandals and pack my walking shoes. It’s just that the shoes don’t really fit inside my fairly small BOB.

      • 5

        I sympathize – I’ve got a foot held together with metal and hope which can swell as much as an entire shoe size over the course of a day, and constantly have to make choices around it.

        However, sometimes we can adapt our gear to work for us instead of us trying to adapt to gear that doesn’t. Have you thought of other alternatives? You didn’t mention what kind of sandals they are. Would a pair of gaiters work for them? Gaiters would be fairly easy to keep in your BOB as well. There are canvas and leather gaiters out there that, if you have a sandal strap in the right place to which they could attach, could offer some protection. (You could also sew a loop onto your sandal strap – I’ve done that a time or two.)  Adding gaiters to your pack also lets you switch between your other shoes and your sandals as you needed.

        If something like regular gaiters wouldn’t work with your shoe type or you want better protection, gaiters are fairly easy to DIY and you could also make your own that cover the toe area. (Note those are cycling shoe gaiters, so if you made a pair like that the straps over the sole would have to be more robust). Here’s another similar project. Making your own also gives you the opportunity to boost the durability with stronger materials as well as provide some skill or knowledge boosting/practice if you don’t have those skills already.

        Another option, but more complicated, would be to keep an eye out for the shoes you like in thrift stores or on sale, and then DIYing your own shoe – modifying or outright creating the upper part to be more protective while keeping the sole that works for you. There are some tutorials out there for how to make your own shoes like this one from Instructables. Here’s one DIY that used soles they already had to make a version of this DIY. And another that used pre-made soles to make their own leather boots. Heckfire, there are even workshops and kits! Even finding cosplay instructions that you could adapt with appropriate materals wouldn’t be too hard. Just musing loud – you could even combine the gaiter/shoe idea by making something that would resemble a canvas slip on that is attached someway to the upper part of the sole. (One reason I suggest this option is that you can modify a separate pair to toss into your BOB without having to give up your sandals around the home, etc.)

        You could get really creative! For example: one time while doing some fieldwork which required a lot of water crossings I wanted to wear my Tevas all the time so I wouldn’t have to deal with wet shoes all day, but that would have left a recently broken toe exposed. So I went to the local thrift store, found a pair of silicone mitts for cheap, cut them in half to fit around my toes, poked holes in their tops, and used dental floss to tie them to the mid foot sandal strap (floss because it was thin enough it wouldn’t chafe my foot). They were hot and I wouldn’t have wanted to wear them all the time, but it took me all of 2 minutes to do the modification. Not saying you need to do that exactly! Just providing an example for the different ways you could be creative and think about modifying what you already might have around or can easily obtain that doesn’t take a lot of energy or effort – as long as your solution works long term and is durable, obviously.

        To directly answer your question, have you considered biners (as mentioned), cordage (always good to have extra!), or a stuff sack that attaches to the outside of your pack? There’s also a fantastic variety of different flexible gear ties out there that would be super easy to untie in a pinch – your local outdoor store might have some.

        Good luck!

    • 3

      If I had time to pack a cart or a vehicle… an extra pair of shoes or hiking boots would definitely be along for the ride.  If I just had to grab and go… I dont think extra shoes would be my priority.  Which brings up my off-subject point of the youtube video called something like “why I ditched my bugout bag”.  Point being, you are almost always better off sheltering in place rather than becoming a refugee.

      • 4

        Sheltering in place is often the bet option, but not always.  Consider evacuation whenconfronted with a wild fire.  Leaving is usually your best option.  I speak from experience.  We evaced from the Thomas fire a few years ago and things went well. in a lot of other situations I would indeed shelter in place.  one must be ready to assess the situation and adopt the appropriate technique.  I am sure many people eevacuationg in northern California and Oregon would agree with this.