Submitted by Ernie Wells
I have been doing wildland fire for 14 seasons and I have to agree that a quality pair of boots goes a long ways. I wear a pair made by a company called "Nicks" and will never buy another pair of boots off the shelf again. I am going to get a pair made to wear with the new Navy working uniform.
ED – Ernie, I assume the Nick’s you’re referring to come from Nick’s Custom Boots, out of Spokane, WA.
The wildland boot they offer, the Hot Shot, is fully NFPA 1977 compliant. It’s of all-leather construction, available in five “sizes” (8″, 10″, 12″, 14″, and 16″ tops, though NFPA requires boots with at least 10″ tops), features rebuildable welt construction, and can be ordered in two styles; traditional, and lace to toe.
In checking out their website I came across an interesting photo (the one shown above.) One issue that many folk complain of with boots of this nature is the “bite” that occurs on your instep. We referred to this as “white bite” and accepted it as the price you paid for wearing the boots. Well, according to Nick’s, if you follow the lacing pattern featured here, which they describe as the 2-1-3 pattern, you will eliminate the bite issue. In addition, they also offer an interesting take on boot break in, which I’ve never heard of, but I think I’ll give it a go with my next pair of boots.