Are We Loggers or Climbers
There are so many different types of boots on the market that it can become pretty difficult to pick which pair are going to work for the type of climbing you are doing. For many years, climbers felt the need to wear logger style boots because they were doing work that was related to loggers. Though this is still the case – we are doing work that is “related” to logging – we aren’t logging! So I ask the question: why are we wearing boots with big clunky heels to ascend and climb trees? We should be wearing boots that are designed with a climber in mind.
Taken directly from The Spine Health Institute website, “your body will attempt to compensate for the off-kilter balance heels cause by flexing or forward bending the hips and spine. In order to maintain balance, the calf, hip, and back muscles become tense. At the end of the day, this makes for excess muscle fatigue and strain. Over time, wearing high heels can also cause the calf muscles to cramp and bulge.”
Do you ever feel any of these pains at the end of your work day? Maybe you assumed it was because you worked hard all day long and your muscles were sore because of all that hard work? We all know what happens when we assume, right?
The Right Footwear for the Job
Maybe your body has been excessively sore because you are wearing the wrong footwear for your everyday work situation. With my everyday work, I am on the ground and in the air for quite a bit of my day. If I am going to be on the ground, I want to make sure that my feet are comfortable, but I also want my boots to grip the tree and be able to hold a pair of climbing gaffs in case I am going to be doing removals. I am also not one to switch out my boots halfway through the day if I have to perform pruning and then a removal. This mindset made me look for the perfect pair of versatile boots!
Before there were arborist specific boots like the ArbPro boots, I knew I wanted a pair of boots that were made for hiking instead of logging. I started searching for boots that were made for walking all day long because quite a bit of the time, I was walking multiple miles each day. It just made way more sense to have a pair of boots made for walking rather than logging!
So I picked up a pair of Salewa Mountain Trainers and absolutely loved them! The boots were comfortable right off the bat and stuck to the tree like some sort of magical rubber! The boots were also waterproof, as well as breathable! Instead of having to soak the boots in the bathtub and then wear the boots around the house for hours just to break them in, I could just put the boots on and work. Pretty sweet deal! On top of that, the boots come with a two year warranty! Awesome!
After I started wearing hiking boots, I couldn’t turn back. I moved onto another pair of Salewas once my first pair wore out. They worked just as well as the first pair and, again, the grip they provided was amazing! On top of that, some of my back pain issues have gone away. If boots are made for walking and climbing, that’s just what they should be doing. Salewa makes boots for hiking and climbing mountains, which makes them also ideal for climbing trees.
My next pair of boots purchased were Arbpro Clip’n Steps. These boots also proved ideal for climbing and ascending trees. They actually have a built in loop to attach your knee ascender, which has proven to be indispensable. I’m personally not a big fan of foot loops because they tend to be cumbersome to take off. By quickly clipping and unclipping a carabiner, it makes some of my climbs a bit faster, which ends up making my day a bit better! The rubber on the bottom of the boot is extremely sticky for climbing trees, as well as walking over slippery ice and nasty snow during Michigan winters.
Treat Your Body Right
The best thing from all of these boots is the fact that I noticed that my back no longer hurts after a long day on the job! My work ethic hasn’t changed, only my footwear! As climbers, we are on our feet all day long and they are easily one of the most used and abused parts of our body. On top of that, they are connected directly to our legs which connect to our hips then our spine, which in turn connects to the rest of our body! If our feet are happy, so is the rest of our body!
Don’t take my word for it. If you are a climber (good chance that you are if you’re reading this), stop wearing footwear for loggers and try out a pair of Salewa Mountain Trainers or ArbPro Clip’n Steps and tell me how you like them. Or if you have come across footwear on your own that is not only comfortable, but aids in climbing, share it with the climbing community.