What is the best type of footwear to use to shoot sporting clays? I usually wear heeled boots and have had other shooters tell me you are better off wearing a flatter type sneaker or wedge style boot if I was going to continue wearing boots. Just wanted to get your thoughts.
Wearing the proper footwear is an important consideration when assembling your shooting wardrobe, whether for wing shooting or clay shooting. There are four criteria you should keep in mind when considering what footwear you will buy and use for shooting.
First and second are comfort and the weather conditions in which you will be shooting. The reasons behind these criterion are fairly obvious so I won’t go into detail. The third criterion is traction or the ability of your feet to grab the ground and prevent you from slipping.
Particularly in sporting clays, once your feet are set in a given sporting clays station and you have broken the first pair in that stand, the last thing you want to do is move your feet. Moving your feet after you have broken your first pair has the potential of changing your set-up, which can be a source of inconsistency. Consistent stance and foot placement is an important aspect of consistent execution. Keeping your feet planted will help you maintain your stance throughout your mount and move to the target.
A second consideration is the mobility of your lower legs and ankles. Since it is best to move your body and shotgun from the ankles, keeping your shoulders level, your ability to turn at the ankles is important. With that said, the two weakest choices for footwear is a sandal or open toed shoe as this type of footwear will allow your feet to slip and present challenges to keeping your feet planted.
The other weak choice in footwear would be a boot that restricts ankle movement. Again, good mobility and the ability to turn the body at the ankles prevents your shoulders from dipping and keeps them level. In conclusion, if the outdoor temperature is mild and the conditions dry, your best option is a light comfortable sneaker or other rubber soled laced shoe that does not extend above your ankle joint.