Asked by Anonymous
What you are looking for, my anonymous friend, is a pair of packer boots. Packer boots are a bit like lace-up cowboy boots, and were popular amongst enlisted troops from the Western states in the American Civil War (source).
Packers illustrate the difference between the needs of cavalry and ground troops, or out West, those who mostly rode horses vs. those who used theirs as pack animals. Cowboy boots and Wellingtons don’t lace up, which makes them easy to remove if you fall from your horse but your feet are still tangled up in the stirrups. The smooth sole makes them easier to hop back into the stirrups, and the heel makes it so that your feet don’t slip all the way through. Which is all great! But smooth-soled, heeled, pull-on boots kind of suck for hiking.
Thus, packer boots- with laces, a less prominent heel, and some significant tread, they were perfect for those who had to hoof it. If you’d like to see a photo of some in action… Also, they have the advantage of looking an awful lot like combat boots, if you need a budget option.
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