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No.15  Boots

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As an English tree-worker it feels taboo to encourage the use of non-chainsaw protective boots.

I have given footwear much thought and have used non-protected footwear for

pruning works for a long time, even in England when it was a question of ‘breaking the rules’ I couldn’t bring myself to wear heavy boots that would inhibit movement and climber/tree connection while knocking the bark off sap-heavy trees in spring time.

Good Tree Care took precedence.

The wheels of legislation move seemingly counter-intuitively and in an attempt to stall increased climber accidents moves for thicker CLASS 2 protection

have been taken on-board by reactionary Health and Safety officials when what they should be doing is training awareness and building skills for Good Work Positioning.

Add to this Japan’s long culturally use of jikatabi and it becomes difficult to say, in a despotic way, that chainsaw boots must be used.

I wear Pfanner Tirol Fighter steel toe-capped chainsaw boots when spiking, wrecking and rigging or for any ground works as I don’t need such a light footed touch and the steel toe gives much protection but it isn’t a guard against bad sawsmanship.

Chainsaw protection should not be seen to protect un-precise cutting.

At certain cutting angles, different chain speeds and kevlar age (what is the affect of chain oil on kevlar?) a saw will pass straight through without stopping.

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La Sportiva Boulder X are an approach shoe designed for a wide range of terrain.

Approach shoe qualities that relate to tree climbing are: light weight, soft rubber sole, rubber rand, small toe box and stiff (sideways) sole. While giving support from knocks and scrapes to the ankle they offer flexibility for the complex movements of crown climbing.

Boulder X are a very light 508g (1 shoe) and the goretex lining stands up to the unpredictable rainy season; the addition of a gaitor for winter work will suit them well.

The lacing system is quite different from my Scarpa Ascent Pro and offers great ease for putting on and amazing ankle flexibility.

It feels like a shoe with ankle support rather than a boot because the lace encircles and forms around the ankle.

The sole features a bonafide smear point on the toe designed specifically for climbing and the incredible grippiness of the sole rubber makes me feel like a foot-locking champion!

Having a small toe box is useful for purchase and leverage in tight crotches and on limb walks when you need to find balance when there is nothing to stand on, when toe sensitivity becomes necessary.

They don’t feel like a squashed in rock climbing boot either, these are

designed for long spring/summer alpine hiking and you can feel confident that after 8 hours climbing your feet will be as happy as your customers tree.