Arborists and their boots

Duh, managed to delete this one. That’s a blog post in itself: think before you press the delete button. But that’s for another time.

Arborists and their boots are a topic that make me smile.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much part of this as anyone else, but should you one day find yourself at an industry event stuck for a topic to strike up a conversation with, try boots. Everyone (well, almost everyone) seems to have an strong opinion on this one and will probably talk until you drop!

Having said that, I think there is more to this than it just being an arboreal version of Imelda Marcos: The choice of shoe will greatly influence the tactile experience of the climb, depending upon the thickness of the sole, the stickiness of the rubber, construction of the upper etc.. In many ways the discussion here is similar to choice of harness: both form a very immediate interface, once with the body and another time with the tree. Many factors come into play here, such as the shape of your body, your climbing style, environment and trees you are climbing on and type of work you are performing.

Obviously, if you do a lot of felling work, a light trekking boot just won’t cut the mustard. Speaking to Jelte the other day who lives and works in Dunedin (NZ) who was explaining how he and Menno do most of their work on very rough-barked conifers and spiky stuff. So in that kind of environment, a heavier, more robust model of boot is the more appropriate choice.

What got me thinking about this? I got in my new LaSportiva Boulder Xs this morning and was marveling at the transformation they go through in less than a year. In many ways, due to the permanent contact with the tree you almost get the impression as though they become something organic.

Obsessing? No way, just a tree guy on about his boots. Which goes to prove my point… 😉