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Mobility is a key advantage survivors have over zombies. During a zombie outbreak, one will need to get around fast, across varied terrain and perhaps even climates. Proper footwear is an aspect of survivalism and warfare often underestimated by newcomers, but never by the experienced.
SneakersEditSneakers are light, comfortable, easy to put on, readily available and are made to not only let you run well, some are made with supports that give you more bounce in your step. They do have their pros: comfort, aesthetics, and low weight, but they are also weighed down by a bog of cons. They offer almost zero protection, not being made of very hardy materials. The rubber soles are soft, and are not made for walking in for long amounts of time without discomfort on terrain. They are not waterproof, and will essentially be ruined by any water that has anything but pure H2O in it without immediate and thorough cleaning. Water will also make the generally non-textured bottoms squeaky and less able to provide traction. Sneakers are essentially only good for usage in dry environments with medium-to-high temperatures. However, these problems apply only to the cheaper sneakers. The higher end sports sneakers for basketball, running, and other such sports are made with copious amounts of movement in mind. The bottoms are sometimes even lightly armored. One of the better brands is Under Armor, which offers sneakers with many of these benefits- but shop around and see what you can find.
Dress ShoesEditGenerally speaking, these shoes sacrifice function for form. Men's and women's dress shoes are usually quite painful after extended usage. Some shoes, like loafers, can be fairly comfortable, but generally speaking, these are poor choices, and finding something better should be almost as high of a priority as securing weapons and food. High heels should be abandoned for bare feet. Only a few brands of men's shoes offer any sort of good quality, but they are expensive. Get boots. Doc Martens are the only dress shoes that are anything more than dead weight in a zombie apocalypse. They have boot soles and are pretty durable too. Come to think of it, they're more like "utility dress boots" than dress shoes. "utility" because they're more than just decorative—they're practical too! If you can't find a proper pair of boots, then a pair of Doc Martens are your best long-term bet.
Slippers and SandalsEdit
Slippers and Sandals come in many varieties. Almost all are totally useless in a pinch. One notable exception are the thin, sleek Chinese slippers made famous by Bruce Lee and Kung Fu movies. For indoor use, these slippers are as light and manueverable as sneakers. Outdoors, they can take a very limited pounding, but substantially more than other slippers. They are completely inadequete for anything but a dry, mild climate, however. Sandals as secure and light as those used in ancient Greek and Roman times are similarly flexible, and good for short term usage, so long as the terrain is not oppresive. In dire straits, these types of sandals can often be improvised out of other materials. Ancient Roman legionaries (soldiers) wore sandals made of tough buff leather with iron-studded cork soles. These could withstand 60-mile marches over the roughest terrain known to Rome at the time. If you live somewhere hot and rocky these are optimal. If you live somewhere cold and rocky, then screw these and get some snow boots. Also, they're even more difficult to find than the Iron kneecaps mentioned earlier, due to the fact that they don't get much attention from the companies who are busy building gladius replicas (A gladius is a Roman short sword. See Melee Weapons for more on the gladius)
For those that can sacrifice a bit of comfort and agility for toughness, boots are the way to go. It is no coincidence that soldiers are issued boots and not sneakers. They last much longer, offer more protection against the elements, and give a boost of strength to one's kicking technique. If one is not accustomed to them, one might find initial difficulty with balance, running speed, blisters, and back or leg joint pain due to less cushioning than normal. Most of these problems eventually vanish, or are easily compensated for. They also have the most advanced types of comfort, fabric, construction, and protection available on the market. Get boots.
Worn by armed forces, these boots will be made out of tough leather and/or synthetic materials, meant for running, marching and extended periods of use. The bottoms will be made of tough rubber. These boots will usually be a great choice for footwear, coming up to the calf in most cases. Initially, they may be uncomfortable, and leather boots will require extensive maintenance. However, most flex well at the ankle and can be run in easily. Check your local surplus store or police station/military base for them. They will be the best choice in the long run.Note it is highly advisable to have a pair of OD Green/ Black boot socks. Long socks work to, just make sure they come above the top of the boot. If you don't, the boots will rub your leg raw.