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"Good things come to those who wait."---Greldum Drobe, captain of the White Rhino's military corps, addressing his young apprentice.

What to Look for in a Good Pair of Boots

How many times have you be walking along and you feel a sharp piercing pain digging into the sole of your foot? You proceed to remove your footwear and discover that the cause of that pain was a stone. You toss the stone away, slip your boot or shoe on, and continue on your journey. Minutes later, the same incident described above occurs. Eventually, if you will realize that you are not making good time, and that your foot is sore from stepping on sharp, jagged rocks.

How many times have you been walking along and your feet begin to ache? The pain persists and eventually it travels up to your calf. You bare through it and continue to walk when the pain reaches your thigh. It doesn’t take long until you realize that you must stop and rest because your legs are too sore.

How many times have you be walking along and have come to a river or stream that has no bridge to transverse and is too wide for you to jump? (This isn’t much of a problem for windlings, like myself.) Your only alternative is to wade through the water and get to the other side. The end result is a pair of shoes full of water, cold feet, and quite possibly a pair of ruined boots.

Luckily for you, I have taken the time to write this article on suitable footwear. Anyone interested in traveling should be required to read this. I know what your think; “Who cares about boots. Tell me how I can kill those man eating ocelots*.” Indeed, ocelots are fearsome creatures and one should be aware of them. However, footwear is equally important and should not be overlooked.

The first thing you should look for in a good pair of boots is the craftsmanship. You do not want a boot that is going to fall apart, especially when you are fleeing from an angry Skeorx. Look at the seams on the boot. If they are tight and do thick, this is a good indication of a good boot. You want the seams to be made of a durable material as well. Leather would be preferred but keep in mind that leather must be cleaned regularly. Spoogras is a nasty fungi that will eat away at leather. If it starts snacking on the seams of your boots, don’t be surprised if they break. Look at the sole of the boot as well. There are a few things to observe here. The thicker the sole the better. If you have a thick sole, you won’t have to worry about sharp stones piercing the bottom of your boot. You don’t want too thick a sole, however. If it is too thick, it could make it difficult to walk and keep your balance. You also want a good gripping on the sole. It’s terrible to see someone fall down the side of a mountain because his foot slipped. This could easily be avoided be having good grip on a boot. (Keep in mind, I am not saying that all you need is a good gripping on your boot to climb a side of a mountain.)

Height of a boot is also important. If the boot is too short, stones can get kicked inside, and water can easily get inside as well. If the boot is too high, it might be too uncomfortable not to mention look very ridiculous. A good size boot should reach just below your knee. Another feature that is handy is to have some laces or some sort of tightening device near the top of the boot. Just tighten these draw strings when you wish to trudge through water and water won’t get into your shoe. Of course, this brings me to my next point. You want to get a boot that is air tight. If you put your boot into some water (deep enough to get the entire boot in the water but not so deep as to have water overflow through the top.) and it starts to leak, you know that the boot is know good.

Laces or snaps? Laces are be far superior over snaps. Snaps are indeed quick to do up, but laces allow you to tighten your footwear to your own desire. Snaps do look better than laces but an adventure shouldn’t worry about fashion. When you get laces, be sure the laces are long and thick. Thin laces can snap and if you are wearing a loose boot, you can easily sprain your ankle or even break a leg. Always be sure you are carrying a spare set of laces. One benefit that snaps offer which laces do not is the fact that laces have a better chance to snag or catch onto something. This can be hazardous, especially when traveling through jungles and forests with lots of undergrowth.

Comfort is another important quality to look for in a pair of boots. You do not want a pair of boots that will cause cramps or blisters. However, too soft a boot might also cause sore feet if you walk for great distances. You must also take in consideration where you might be traveling. Most places in Barsaive are warm. This means that there is not much value in boots with fur trim and lining. Your feet will get hot and this can become uncomfortable. If you intend to travel in a cool climate, the best thing to do is purchase the fur lining separate from the boot, that way you can remove it if you have to.

I am sure that many of you young adventures never took any of these things I have mentioned in this essay into account. Hopefully you have gained some insight by reading this and will not be so anxious to head out into that dangerous place we call the world.

* All of our records here in the White Rhinos Archive have no knowledge of man eating ocelots. We do no contest Geertz’s claims to such an animal’s existence but we would like the reader to be aware that no evidence of man eating ocelots have been found. We also believe that Geertz has mistaken another creature for being a man eating ocelot. See his article entitled “An Essay on the Dangerous Man Eating Ocelot” which is found in our archive as well.