(1) I admit, I too was once a teenager, and, at various points, read all I could find about such myth-encrusted elite forces as the SAS, the Foreign Legion and the Famous Five. I even, to my great shame, for a while read all I could find about Deerfoot. At this point I get them slightly confused, trying to remember if George(ina) was in the 2 REP or at Hereford...
Things like thin soles (think slippers on a dementia wanderer) have an inpact on how you feel the ground beneath your feet. Unless you are switched on, you may miss something that may divert them down another route - which can be as simple as a stick on the ground or a slight slope - which has a lot more of an impact with no big boots on. There are all of the other bits of knowledge for man tracking a dementia sufferer as well - they don't turn round / they scuff their tracks a lot of the time (caused by reasons such as meds and tunnel vision). It is all part of getting your head in to the same place as your quarry. It all gets thrown in to the mix and helps you find the best option to check out first.
A lot of people will track barefoot to make sure that they are "well grounded" - although some of the best trackers that I have worked with have either worn wellies (jungle) or flip flops - whatever the are comfortable with.
My choice of boots - either whatever i have on at the time that is suitable to the environment or whatever i can grab as i run out the door after my phone lights up at 2am on a cold and miserable night after being deployed by SAR / the boys in blue.
Here’s the boots I wear all the time,
Worn out heels, holes in the sole no tread left, split round the rand and with the sole and uppers separating but very comfortable and never a blister, my pal’s calls me leather feet, forget about what boots you wear toughen up your feet, the furthest I have walked bare foot is around 12-14 mile in the water along a beach, easy going yes but the salt water helps harden up your feet.
Break in your boots, toughen up your feet and just get on with the job.
Last edited by 21st century pict; 27-09-2012 at 19:54.
We the most distant dwellers upon the earth, the last of the free, beyond us lies nothing but waves and rock, chieftain Calgacus
When i used to hunt with an air rifle i'd wear an old pair of cheapo trainers, i found that i was able to stalk quieter with thin soled shoes as i was able to feel the ground as i put my foot down.
I had to be cautious as i tended to want to get within around 30 meters of my prey.
When we went pheasant shooting with shotguns it didn't really matter what we wore as creating a noise was more a help than a hindrance.
My opinion is, it depends on what, when and where you are tracking.
If you are tracking deer and want to get close, then if the weather is decent and it's in the UK i'd probably go for a pair of thin soled shoes, something like the vibram 5toes would be ideal.
If your just looking for tracks in general while out, then my first priority would be to wear something comfortable.
In summer in Greece a thick pair of leather hiking boots tend to treat your feet like a boil in the bag meal.
But then thin soled shoes on the terrain here rip your feet and ankles apart.
In the UK i'd want something warm, waterproof and comfortable, then maybe slip on a pair of 5toes as i got closer.