Swamp Monster

On August 9, after 28 months and more than 4,000 miles, Britain’s Ed Stafford became the first human to walk the length of the Amazon—not a place for the roughshod. Plus, 10 stylish shoes for spring.

Spring Footwear for 2011     Photo: Photo by Inga Hendrickson

Our boots were handmade in Yorkshire by a company called Altberg and based on the old military jungle boot. It's impossible to keep your feet dry if you're wading up to your chest in swamp, so they're built with valves in the instep that drain water as you walk.

My foot-care system is for the jungle: petroleum jelly in the mornings and medicated talc at night to get ready for the next day's punishment.

I wore Crocs around the campfire to allow my feet to breathe. They're perfect zero-maintenance, light-as-a-feather second shoes; unfortunately, they're not the height of fashion in jungle towns and attract a bit of pointing and laughing, but hey ho!

I wouldn't jump straight into another long journey—it was bloody miserable at times—but it's not killed my passion for walking. There's nothing better than walking in wild places. It recharges my soul.

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