Boots are boots. They’re supposed to be rugged implements to get the job done, and the job is done right. They’re the preferred footwear of every military and every rough profession on Earth. From the smiths of old to the Wild, Wild, West, boots are ingrained in the universal tradition of blood, sweat, and tears. This is why they’re used in tactical operations around the globe. When it comes to minimalist tactical boots, the proof is in their effectiveness and their performance. You take the protection of a standard boot and add the strengthening effect of a minimalist shoe. But even then, there’s a bit of detail one has to look at. Here are the 10 things you need to know:
1. Economy of Movement
When you’re using minimalist tactical boots, there’s an adaptation period that your body goes through. The ultimate outcome is, without a doubt, a better running economy. Running economy is defined as the amount of energy expended while in motion. When you’re running in heavily padded shoes or boots, you spend a lot of time adjusting and braking and stopping to stay in position. With minimalist tactical boots and the zero drop system they employ, you’re completely in tune with the steps you’re taking. This virtually eliminates the need for the taxing brake/stop mechanics of heavily padded running.
2. Heightened VO2 Max
Your VO2 max is a measure of fitness most associated with endurance athletes. Some of the best in the world are sprinters and rowers. VO2 Max translates to every single movement in your body. It’s the ability you have to adequately take in and utilize oxygen where it counts. When you use minimalist tactical boots, you’re increasing your VO2 Max by a factor of 3-5%. Although this may seem small, think of the extra 5% it takes to keep going. That extra 5% is the difference between survival and yielding to the elements. Take in every advantage that you can.
3. Strengthens The Foot
The foot, over time, has gotten weak. Nobody walks barefoot. Our feet don’t even know what the dirt feels like. Have you ever been to the beach and just marveled at what the sand feels like between your toes? This highlights just how removed the structures in the average foot is. With minimalist boots, you’re giving those intricate and tiny muscles the chance to work in ways they haven’t in a long while. It’s the ultimate well-rounded foot exercise.
4. Natural Gait
We run and walk with abandon these days. We don’t look where we step and we assume things are going to be okay with every stride. This has never been true for the millions of years in our existence prior to Nike’s invention of the running shoe. With minimalist tactical boots, we can return to the gait and motion that our body was naturally meant for.
5. Better Balance
Proprioception is the ability of an organ to sense itself relative to its surroundings. If you’ve ever stood on one foot, that tussle back and forth to gain balance is a perfect and classic example of whole-body proprioception. Now try standing on one leg barefoot. It’s harder, right? This is because we don’t use those nerves in our feet as often, if ever. The giant pillows between us and the ground prevent it. Minimalist footwear is the perfect way to reinstate this lost nervous function in our feet.
6. Familiarity With Terrain
Because we run with abandon, we completely ignore the terrain we move through. Rocks, bushes, sand, gravel, we don’t care either way. The safety cushion of your everyday tactical boot keeps us from differentiating. With a minimalist boot, we can really get to know what is beneath our feet. With that comes a better appreciation with where we step, what we’re stepping on and if the ground beneath us is stable.
7. Prevents Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia of our feet. This is common in runners and people who are obese. The lack of support is usually thought of as the culprit, but if we were being honest, humans never had this problem up until recently. This is, in the research community, more likely due to foot weakness over time. People with Plantar Fasciitis are always looking for more comfortable shoes to no avail. It’s torture. But strengthening your foot through the temporary discomfort and ultimate recovery of your fascia is a more permanent and immensely holistic solution.
8. Use of Toes
People don’t use their toes anymore. If you look at the feet of indigenous people, they look nothing compared to our soft and weak feet. They’re thick and have spread out toes. Why? The toes are an important and overlooked stability producer. We need them. Walking is immensely difficult without them. So why don’t we use them more? It’s a modern shoe. Minimalist boots, on the other hand, promote the adequate use of our toes.
Big, clunky boots are loud. We can hear every step. This is, and always has been, a total nightmare for true stealth operations. Why do we make sure everything is silent except our feet? It doesn’t make any sense. Minimalist tactical boots are as silent as we want them to be, with the proper economy of movement and less stress on your lower leg.
10. Brings You Closer To Your Natural Self
The all-around the effect of minimalist tactical boots is a more in-tuned perspective. When we’re training or actively in use of tactical operations, we need to be 100% aware of everything that’s going on around us. This includes what’s going on beneath our feet as well. We won’t need to be constantly looking down to check what we’re stepping on. Muscle memory and ingrained intelligence can take over. That is the true “natural self” in combat, in training, and in gear.
Overall, to produce a better warrior, hiker, trekker, or explorer, you need to be in tune with your feet. You may have had training your whole life in those clunky boots, but there are better options now. There are more and more people switching over to minimalist boots, shoes, etc. Why not you? Take the step towards the better movement.