I love shoes. Don't take this the wrong way... I'm not exactly a stereotypical girl who loves to go shoe shopping and owns several different pairs of high heels and whatnot. I love how shoes are so versatile. Maybe hats are the usual metaphor for being versatile and having many trades, but shoes seem to be the more literal indication of just how many different personas I wear.
I have the more practical shoes such as my chacos, snow boots (maybe not so practical for Mississippi), and rock climbing shoes (also maybe not so practical for MS...). I have my dressy shoes--yes, I do own heels. I have my "Bride's Maid shoes" which are a pair of sparkly sandals that I've worn as a bride's maid a few times. I've got my comfort shoes: brown slippers which I fondly call "slippies" and my worn out Vans that also, of course, slip on.
Shoes are important for a lot of things, but I've never had a more important pair of shoes than my fire boots. Never has a pair of shoes protected me from some of the most dangerous aspects of nature (except maybe my snow boots). There's almost nothing more important on the fireline than your feet. If you've got blisters then you can't work. If you can't work, then you don't get paid and you don't have any fun.
The standard for fire boots is that they must be all leather (no nails in the bottom; it must be sewn on, and no steel toe). They must also be at least 8 inches from heel to calf. Some people go so far as to have boots that lace all the way up to the knee--especially good for sawyers, I've heard.
Later I'll try to post more about breaking in your boots the right way, how to take care of them, and how to not get blisters, so stay tuned and stay safe!