Getting your safari boots right is essential as you're going to spend a lot of time on your feet.
Though probably not as much time on your feet as W D M Bell who wore out 24 pairs of boots a year while walking an average of 75 miles for each elephant he killed.
Early African hunters often wore leather officers boots known as 'Veldtshoen', the descriptive name originating from the Boer War. The upper part of the boot is turned outwards, rather than inwards, then stitched to the sole, just like the desert boots of today. In fact the original veldtshoen was the forerunner to desert boots, which are still called 'vellies' in South Africa.
Early safari boots were often topped with puttees - strips of cloth wound in a spiral from ankle to knee, originating in the 19th century in British India. Puttees became part of the regular British army uniform in the 20th century when they changed from wearing high boots to ankle boots. The forerunner of the gaiters, we know today, the military puttees were found to be extremely practical when hunting in the African bush.
John T McCutcheon, who accompanied Theodore Roosevelt on the 1909 safari, took 3 pairs of Abercrombie 'lightest shoes'(one pair with rubber soles), 3 cloth puttees, one pair of mosquito boots from Lawn and Alder, London and a pair of leather top boots for evening wear in camp.
Buy the best quality possible you possible can rather than a cheaper option.
Getting the right size and fit of your safari boot or shoe is essential. As with all footwear, size and fit may vary with different boots or shoes plus you will have accommodate any foot irregularities you may have like bunions, hammer-toes etc. This can be hard to do if buying new boots or shoes online.
Check the terrain that you'll be hunting before the purchase of new boots. This will help with the decision on boot height and tread pattern.
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The Courteney Selous classic buffalo safari boots with impala trim have been tested for decades under the hardest bush conditions and are the preferred working footwear of safari guides and rangers. Every pair is hand-made, serial numbered and comes with its own travelling gear - the 'Courteney Chronicle' tote sack, alternative full inner soles and a a leather pouch kit containing polish, brush, duster and spare laces. Buy Now
These rugged boots by Chippewa are constructed with apache leather upper with contrast stitching. They have lace-up closure and Vibram rubber outsole for confident grip on all surfaces. Buy Now
These durable Danner boots have full grain leather uppers and Vibram Megagrip outsoles providing unparalleled grip on slippery and wet surfaces. The boots have a Gore-tex lining for 100% waterproof and breathable comfort. Danner's stitchdown construction is crafted to provide a wider platform and increased stability. Buy Now
Merrell's Moab Adventure shoe is made of nubuck leather and mesh upper with traditional lace closure. It comes with a breathable mesh lining, contoured footbed with organic odour control, molded nylon arch shank, EVA midsole for stability and comfort and Vibram outsole for traction in all weather and temperature conditions. Buy Now
The Merrell men's Wilderness boots offer a wide, stable platform underfoot and a top-grain leather upper. A bellows tongue keeps debris out. They come with metal eyelets, microporous rubber midsole for comfort and Vibram sole. Buy Now
These lightweight Danner hiking boots have resiliency, cushioning and durability, while minimizing weight. By combining the midsole with the Vibram outsole, there is a perfect balance between flexibility and traction. The Vibram outsole with megagrip technology offers superior grip on wet and dry surfaces. Waterproof suede upper. Buy Now
These Danner hunting boots are waterproof and lightweight. They come with a secure lacing system with locking speed hooks, antimicrobial footbed, shock absorbing cushioned midsole and Talon outsole for great traction. They are made of tough foam-backed nylon with oiled nubuck leather finish. Buy Now
This lightweight men's Merrell Capra Sport hiking shoe makes quick and easy work of the toughest trails. Constructed with a supportive midsole for protective cushioning over varied terrain. A synthetic-and-mesh upper is fitted with a traditional lace closure, while a bellows tongue keeps debris out. Breathable mesh lining and contoured footbed with organic odour control. Buy Now
These Merrell shoes integrate a full-grain leather upper, protective rubber toe cap, and a grip outsole to help you stick firmly to the trail. They come with traditional lace closure with breathable mesh lining, removable contoured insoles for flexible support. EVA midsole for stability and comfort. Buy Now
The Valsetz Tactical boots from Under Armour feature a low profile rubber lug sole and 'ClutchFit' technology which wraps your ankle with a lightweight, powerful support. Comes with synthetic leather & textile upper with welded, abrasion-resistant film around the perimeter of the foot. They have a lightweight TPU shank for mid-foot support and the right amount of rigidity. Buy Now
These Merrell's lightweight mid-height men's hiking shoes have an impact absorption system for soft landings, firm takeoffs and reduced impact so you can go farther and longer. The omni-fit lacing system provides a precise, glove-like fit. Bellows tongue keeps out debris. Molded polyurethane heel counter adds stability. Breathable, antimicrobial mesh lining. 6mm heel drop. Rugged, aggressive Vibram outsole with 5mm lug depth. Buy Now
The men's Moab Ventilator from Merrell is a breathable hiking shoe that's lightweight and the perfect fit. A lattice-like overlay of Dura leather strapping supports and protects your feet while enhancing the open-window venting of the breathable mesh upper. Enjoy full bumper protection at the toe and around the heel with the Vibram Multi-Sport sole with TC5+ rubber compound for grip and durability. Buy Now
These comfortable full-grain leather hikers have a sticky Vibram MegaGrip outsole for the best combination of traction and durability on wet or dry surfaces. The breathable mesh lining and removable 'Kinetic Fit' insole that's contoured like your foot to provide flexible support. The air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability. They also come with compression moulded EVA midsole for stability and comfort and bellows tongue with metal hooks and D-rings for secure lacing. Buy Now
This rugged hiking boot has a softly padded leather collar, fully gusseted leather tongue and rustproof brass hardware. It also has a board last with a steel shank for added rigidity, a lightweight compression-molded EVA midsole for superior comfort and a carbon rubber hiking outsole for traction. There's even a Comfort-Tec contoured sockliner to help support feet. Buy Now
This sturdy leather Caterpillar boot has a rubber sole, stitched overlays and moulded EVA sock liner for comfort. Buy Now
These Caterpillar hiking boots are made of leather and synthetics. They come with a rubber sole, cushioned midsole and removable sock liner. Buy Now
These insoles are ideal for those who need extra arch and heel support. They feature a mouldable orthopedic base layer, a layer of cushioning and a moisture wicking top sheet. The benefits include increased balance and feel, custom orthopedic support, equalized pressure distribution, reduced plantar fascia strain and improved natural heel cushioning. Buy Now
It's always great to get back to camp after a long day in the bush, shower and put on some comfy shoes for the evening. Also if you need to get up in the night it's advisable to always slip some shoes on first, in case you tread on something unpleasant like biting ants or a scorpion. Flip-flops are quite popular but they leave your feet exposed to mosquito bites and thorns. Slip-on shoes with a protective upper are ideal. They are also perfect for flying if your feet swell and ordinary shoes become tight and uncomfortable.
Merrell's Jungle Moc is one of the most comfortable shoes you'll ever wear. The anatomical footbed provides stability and comfort with an air-cushioned midsole. The suede leather upper has an elastic stretch gore at the opening for comfort and fit. Compression-molded EVA foot frame provides extra cushioning. Buy Now
This lightweight slide with easy-breathing mesh lining and Merrell air cushion heel offers maximum comfort. The mesh upper has a breathable mesh lining. The removable contoured insole and air cushion gives flexible support. Buy Now
With a full-grain leather and suede upper, this casual slip-on features a one-piece sole for superior cushioning and a responsive feel underfoot. The breathable mesh lining in these Merrell Bask leather mocs has been treated with M Select Fresh technology to prevent odour. Buy Now