Birder's Guide

NOV 2017

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 27 of 51

26 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2017 Footwear merits, and provide guidance on how to choose from the overwhelming number of possibilities. This article should assist you in your quest for the perfect birding footwear. Getting Dirty Hiking boots are a durable and reli- able option for birders of all types and ages, and a brief survey of nearly any lo- cal bird walk will show these to be the primary footwear. With their excellent ankle and foot support, aggressive tread, and relatively comfortable footbed, it is easy to see why this is the case. Boots do an excellent job of keeping your feet safe and relatively dry across the different terrains and environments we visit over the birding year. With the huge variety available, a brief overview of the options is in order to help you find a pair that meets your needs. The first and most obvious thing to consider is the boot material: leather versus synthetic. Leather boots have been a mainstay among the outdoors community for decades. With its natural water resistance and toughness, leather is still one of the best available materials for keeping your feet safe and dry across nearly all possible birding conditions. There are downsides to this material, however, with leather being a rather un- breathable material, not to mention its accompanying large price tag and the potential ethical dilemmas associated with the purchase of cow or ox leather. With the recent advent of durable, high-tech materials, synthetic boots re- ally do meet and often surpass the classic leather boot in many regards. First, they n We depend on good footwear to get us into and back out of the field comfortably. Photo © Raymond VanBuskirk

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