What are the best boots for airsoft?
How to choose airsoft shoes?
The first question we need to answer when considering the purchase of airsoft shoes is whether we need to buy any at all? Airsoft players are also often interested in outdoor activities, mountain trips or sports in general. So, there is a chance that we can adopt some footwear from other areas of activity. After all, no one makes shoes specifically dedicated to airsoft. Not yet. This is even more important when we are beginners. Experienced players often forget about it, but starting the game is always a big expense. We buy an airsoft gun, ammunition, often also a battery, charger and some basic equipment. There is plenty. What about clothes and shoes? In my opinion, they should be at the end, if only we have some sports clothes that we don't mind getting dirty on the airsoft field.
I often hear the statement that choosing a pistol (or airsoft pistol) should be like choosing a shoe. For the purposes of this article, it would have to be reversed by saying that buying airsoft shoes is like buying a handgun replica. But why? Because it is impossible to take into account all individual factors that will make up our decision. We have a different structure of the musculoskeletal system. We may have had some injuries, after all we also have individual preferences. Some prefer light shoes, others solid. Someone appreciates an attractive design and another does not care at all. I guess you can tell already that it’s similar with handguns. So, you can't in good conscience advise someone on a specific model of shoes without knowing their situation. And I don't intend to do that either. Rather, I will present several types of footwear. What are the pros and cons in my opinion. This will make it easier for you to make a decision.
Airsoft boots - low or high?
We will start with the factor that probably ignites the discussion about airsoft footwear the most. Should they be low or high? Above the ankle? Or on the contrary? More than one war has been waged on internet forums under the pretext of answering these questions. Over time, my subjective opinion on this matter has softened a bit and I am no longer so entrenched in my position. From my own experience, I can say that we should choose airsoft shoes that suit us better. There are people who cannot imagine airsoft in low boots. If you are in this group, I will not convince you.
Personally, for years, whenever the weather allows it, I use low shoes. However, this is not even a universal solution for me. And here it is worth mentioning what are the advantages of high-top shoes. They certainly protect against mechanical injuries better. It's harder to rub your ankle when it's hidden in a shoe. Similarly, they protect slightly better against snow, mud or water. Unfortunately, they are usually heavier. And for me, for example, this is an important argument. It is said that high boots protect against ankle sprains better. Scientific research is at least ambiguous in this regard, so I would not take it as a crowning argument. There are also people who will like aesthetically low or high shoes more. Let's choose ourselves depending on what is more important to us.
Military or sports footwear?
We move from one controversial topic to another. There are people who cannot imagine airsoft games in shoes other than typical military ones. It doesn't matter if it's some leather shoes almost like from military surplus or modern shoes designed from scratch for uniformed services. Others, however, have no problem using typical sports models designed for running or trekking. I would suggest considering whether a model of shoes advertised as military actually meets any military norms or standards. It is easy to fall into the trap of design and marketing slogans when buying what is effectively a trekking shoe in camouflage.
If you need a typical military class of protection from your footwear, this is the way to go. For me, it will again be unnecessary adding weight. I do not move in the area so dangerous that trekking or other typical sports shoes cannot cope. Why pay more for it if I don’t use it? Well, unless you liked a particular model. Or you reconstruct a specific military unit. As always, choose wisely. I myself don't have a problem with appearing at ordinary Sunday games in trail running shoes, because I have a lot of them and I like them. I don't mind that they are often in eye-catching colours. However, for games where an important aspect is to move unnoticed in the field, I bet on more subdued ones.
Membrane shoes - pros and cons
The last big dilemma faced by people buying airsoft shoes is whether they should have a waterproof membrane. Here, the answer to the question depends largely on the conditions in which we plan to play airsoft. From my observations, many games are cancelled due to precipitation. This would indicate that waterproofing is unnecessary. In addition, it usually impairs the breathability of the footwear, making longer marches less comfortable.
However, if you are looking for specialized footwear that will also work on very rainy days, it is worth considering a proven membrane. Personally, I consciously choose shoes that are not so secured that way. I play in the rain so rarely that I see no justification for such a purchase. However, as always, it all depends on our circumstances.
Do you need special airsoft shoes at all?
At the end of this article, I wanted to return to the point raised at the beginning. Do we even need to buy shoes dedicated to airsoft? As always, there will be two camps. Some prefer separate footwear for everything. Others will be minimalists focused on objects with many different uses. The truth is that with experience we will be able to make our own decisions. Do we prefer a certain type of footwear or another. Much depends on what games we prefer and what is most important to us.
I always recommend beginner players to look in the wardrobe and see if there is a pair of trekking shoes that they can use. This is certainly enough in most cases for a few initial games that will allow you to gain experience and identify what you need.
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