A rather thick dubbing melted and rubbed into warmed leather is better than an oil, as it " stays put " and does not mix so much with water. Have the leather perfectly dry and apply the compound with a small brush, blowing it into the crack between the sole and upper, then rub well with the hand. Usually two coats, sometimes three, should be applied.
(1) Melt together one part paraffine and two parts yellow vaseline. Apply as above.
(2) Melt together equal parts paraffine or beeswaxr tallow, and harness oil or neatsfoot oil.
(3) Boil together two parts pine tar and three parts cod-liver oil. Soak the leather in the hot mixture, rubbing in while hot. It will make boots waterproof, and will keep them soft for months, in spite of repeated wettings. This is a famous Norwegian recipe.
(4) Get a cake of cocoanut butter from a drug store and a small quantity of beeswax. Melt the cocoanut butter and add the beeswax in the proportion of about one part of beeswax to six of the cocoanut butter. Warm the shoe as thoroughly as possible to open the pores of the leather, and rub your melted waterproofing on while hot. Repeated warming of the shoe and application of the preparation will thoroughly fill the pores of the leather and also the stitching. The cocoanut butter when cold hardens somewhat like paraffine but not sufficiently to seal the stitching. The beeswax gets in its work there. A mixture of tallow or neatsfoot oil applied hot and with melted rubber mixed in, is also good. To melt the rubber, first chip it as small as possible. Rubber cuts easiest when wet. Apply to stitching with a stiff brush.— Recreation, April, 1911.
If one is not traveling by canoe of on horseback, a few cone-headed Hungarian naili should be driven into the shoe soles in the pattern here shown (Fig. 98). The " natives" may stud their soles thickly, but that is only to save shoe leather. Too many nails hurt the feet, make the shoe stiff (whereas it can scarcely be too springy), cause the shoe to ball up in snow, and do not grip so well as a few nails well placed. I am not speaking here of mountaineering above snow-line, but of ordinary climbing, especially where leaves or pine needles may be thick, and of following the beds of trout streams. The nails under the instep are invaluable for crossing streams on fallen trees or poles.
The sharp points of cone-headed nails soon wear off, but edges are left that " bite " well. Broad hobnails with corrugated faces are good at first, but they quickly wear smooth, and then slip worse on the rocks than small ones. They also pull out 9ooner.
Many recommend short screw caulks. These, if sharp pointed, pick up trash at every step when you are in the woods; if blunt, they are treacherous on the " slick rocks," as they are made of hard steel.
Some prefer 3/8-inch round head blued screws instead of hobnails or caulks. They claim that these " bite " better, and that they are easy to insert or remove.
By boots I mean any soled footgear with tops more than eight inches high. Engineers who do more standing around than walking may be all right in high-topped boots that lace up the legs, and have buckles besides, but there are mighty few places where a sportsman should be seen in such rig. The importance of going lightly shod when one has to do much tramping is not appreciated by a novice.
Let me show what it means. Suppose that a man in fair training can carry on his back a weight of forty pounds, on good roads, without excessive fatigue. Now shift that load from his back and fasten half of it on each foot — how far will he go ? You see the difference between carrying on your back and lifting with your feet. Very well; a pair uf single-soled low shoes weighs about two and a half pounds. A pair of boots with double soles and sixteen or seventeen-inch tops weighs about four and a half pounds. In ten miles there are 21,120 average paces. At one extra pound to the pace the boots make you lift, in a ten-mile tramp, over ten tons more footgear than if you wore the shoes.
Nor is that all. The boots afford no outlet foi hot air and perspiration. They are stiff, clumsy, and very likely to blister your feet and ankles. When they are brand new, you can wade shallows in them and keep your feet dry; but soon the seams are bouna to open and no dubbing will ever close them again. Anyhow, if you fall in fording, or step half an inch too deep, it will take five minutes to remove those boots, pour out the water, and put. them on again. Then if they dry out overnight you are uncommonly lucky.
And how are the boots in warm, dry weather? They keep the feet and legs wet all the time with stagnant perspiration. No — take six-inch shoes and light leggings, with a pair of waterproofed " pacs " in reserve for wet going. If you hunt in a marsh, wear rubber boots, which are waterproof in something more than name.
There are times and places where an eight or ten-inch hunting shoe that started out to be waterproof is all right.
High-topped " cruisers " have all the faults of the boots except that they are lighter. They scald the feet on a warm day, and chill or freeze them on a cold one; from lack of ventilation and confinement of moisture.
A " shoe-pac " or " larrigan " is a beef-hide moccasin with eight to ten-inch top, and with or without a light, flexible sole. It is practically waterproof so long as the seams (which are on top where they get less strain than those of a shoe) remain sound, and they are kept well greased. They are lighter and more pliable than shoes, and are first-rate " extras " to take along for wet days, dewy mornings, and swampy ground, or as the regular footwear for still-hunting. Get them big enough to accommodate heavy lumbermen's socks over your soft thinner ones. Otherwise your feet will generally be either too hot or too cold.