Everyday footwear

When I think of my own personal safety and vulnerability, and the absolute “must-haves” in any kind of emergency situation, a good pair of shoes or boots is very high on my list.  I know what I’d want to be wearing if and when the SHTF (in my case a good pair of waterproof, lightweight hiking boots) but I am very aware that wearing such footwear all the time simply doesn’t make sense.  Some professional and social situations demand for more formal attire, and sometimes you simply want to relax and “put your feet up.”  But let’s face it, much formal attire is ridiculous and makes us very vulnerable.  I cringe at the idea of ever wearing something that would hinder me from running, walking long distances, climbing a fence, etc.

I know footwear choices are very subjective, and highly affected by one’s gender, style, career, and environment.  That said, I’m interested in how others have approached the conundrum of needing to meet formal expectations while not wanting to put themselves in a vulnerable state.  

Personally, I am a big fan of Keen’s PTC Oxford series. They may not be the most stylish shoes around, but they get me through most professional and formal situations.  I believe they were designed for service-industry workers who need comfortable shoes with good traction, and I find they give me comparable support to a pair of lightweight day-hiking shoes.  

Does anyone have any awesome everyday footwear advice?  How are you approaching this challenge?  I’d particularly like to hear how women are approaching this, as I understand the choices are likely fewer and the societal expectations are (unfairly) more demanding.  My wife has really struggled to find an everyday shoe that fits all her needs.


  • Comments (3)

    • 4

      Luckily, I own my own business and we are rather casual, so I’m always wearing what I need if I had to walk home.  For years, all I wear are the LL Bean Gore-Tex Cresta hiking boots, which are breathable & waterproof.  They are their best sellers.  Older ones are used on the homestead & newer are worn to work.


    • 7

      Long ago I developed  the habit of tucking away a pair of “rough country” foot wear in the office, vehicle, or whatever, in order to be able to change into something suitable.  precisely what was stashed varied with the season but was often a pair of running shoes, in which I frequently hiked extensively.  Usually I had other key items of apparel as well.

    • 6

      Good morning Matt,

      Definitely a difficult question……

      I’m retired from the required best workboot (oil industry) to the tasseled loafers of Gucci Gulch (oil company lobbyist at Farrigut Square and Capitol Hill, D.C.).

      In retirement also a volunteer emergency responder so the difficult question – reformatted – remains.  My emergency attire remains the Matterhorn brand boot.  This also requires carrying a rubbber over boot (can’t spell “galoshers” [available Tractor Supply Corp. SS Farm Supply]) in the equivalent of a large helmet bag/small duffel.  For emergency work involving flood waters, I must, in addition,  also have regular tall rubber boots.

      Ref last para; The Matterhorn boot company of Pennsylvania used to have on their website a specific boot model for women.  Both my daughter and Madam said they were too heavy.