Lacing

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.

Get a pair of Nick’s here

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Osmon November 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

The Air Farce taught me to soak my new boots in a sink full of plain water overnight then wear them until they were dry.

Those uppers were re-soled four times before they were too far gone to rebuild and I never had a blister.

Reply

Eric Daniel November 11, 2008 at 10:58 am

One method, which I have yet to try, was related to me by a crusty old logger in Oregon. He said to fill your boots with diesel and let the fuel seep through the leather. This not only sofened the leather but waterproofed it, as the parafin in the fuel was absorbed by the boot.

Reply

Emmett December 18, 2008 at 10:56 am

Lace patterns:

Lace the lower portion of the boot up to the “bendy” section of the ankle.

Throw a simple half granny into the next row to prevent slippage.

Now tie the bottom as tight as you like, you can tie the top much looser as the bottom no longer counts on the top being tight.

Reply

Emmett December 18, 2008 at 6:56 am

Lace patterns:

Lace the lower portion of the boot up to the "bendy" section of the ankle.

Throw a simple half granny into the next row to prevent slippage.

Now tie the bottom as tight as you like, you can tie the top much looser as the bottom no longer counts on the top being tight.

Reply

Ernie Wells January 13, 2009 at 8:09 am

When I first got my Nick Boots, I used the above lacing pattern to prevent “White Bite” and I can say that it works. My bite cleared up. After a season wearing them, I quit using the lacing pattern and the white bite has yet to re-assert itself.

Reply

Ernie Wells January 13, 2009 at 4:09 am

When I first got my Nick Boots, I used the above lacing pattern to prevent "White Bite" and I can say that it works. My bite cleared up. After a season wearing them, I quit using the lacing pattern and the white bite has yet to re-assert itself.

Reply

Mikey January 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

OK – I have to ask – what's "White bite"? Just so you know I'm an ex-Australian trooper so many of your US terms make as much sense to me as many Aussie terms would to you guys :P

Reply

Eric Daniel January 30, 2009 at 5:43 am

Mikey,

In it's simplest terms, "White bite" refers to the callus formed on the instep of your foot where an improperly fitted or laced leather boot was allowed to slide back and forth, causing the skin to blister and redden, even bleed in worst-case scenarios ("White" refers to the White's Boot Company, while the term "bite" refers to the initial formation of the callus.) The instep, by the way, is that portion of the top of your foot (dorsal surface if you want to be technical) located the transition point between your foot and calf (basically, your instep is located right under the knot on your trainers.)

To prevent white bite, it's necessary to properly lace your boots during break in. Leather boots will stretch, and when properly fitted, will, over time, mold themselves to your foot. During the break in process, however, particular attention must be paid to keeping the leather snug, especially at the instep (this locks the heel in and prevents the foot from slipping in the boot.) To achieve this, you need to make sure the lacing at the instep is as tight as possible, hence the reference to the instep lacing pattern.

Reply

Roger That July 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Too bad leather boots are no longer used in the Army and AF. I personally think they look better and are more durable. Anyway another good boot for people who cant wear leather with their uniform is the Corcoran Maruders. They are the lightest and most comfortable boot ever.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: