By John Warren
“Throughout meetings with Generals, Embassy staff, and partners in the country, I never had a second thought that my African Rangers were out of their element.”
For many of my American peers, their first brush with the vast, enigmatic expanse of Africa came through the colorful pages of National Geographic Kids or the captivating scenes of Disney’s The Lion King. My introduction, however, was far from this conventional path. At a mere seven years old, I was enthralled by the film “The Ghost and The Darkness.” The tale of the Tsavo Man-Eaters, two notorious lions, has been immortalized in Colonel John Henry Patterson’s 1907 book, “Man-Eaters of Tsavo.”
At the foot of the Blue Mountains in rural Oregon, where I grew up, books on Africa were as rare as a polar bear in a desert. But my insatiable curiosity about these lions could not be helped so I begged, borrowed, and stole my way to a bookstore two towns over. Sensing my genuine interest, the introspective owner went out of her way to find and order the book for me. That act of kindness left an indelible mark. Since then, I’ve always had a version of that book with me, it reminds me to appreciate life’s intricate tales. I’ve become a giver of books, sharing stories that resonate, much like the one that began my journey into East Africa.
At fifteen, I was captivated by Ron Reid Daily’s book “Top Secret War” on the Selous Scouts. It’s unusual for an American teen to be drawn to a Rhodesian Pseudo Operations Unit, but I was. That book significantly shaped my path in the U.S. Army.
Now in my thirties, I stand on Kenya’s red soil. Not as a sightseeing tourist, but training Kenya’s elite Anti-Poaching Rangers for the Wildlife Service. Passionate about conservation and deeply against poaching, this opportunity aligned perfectly with my values. As I geared up for the trip, I delved into area studies, world factbooks, and the most essential preparation, equipment lists.
As a reconnaissance soldier and sniper, the right footwear was paramount. I carry that sentiment forward with all foot-supported adventures. While I had suitable boots for my trip, I sought something with a deeper story and purpose. That’s when I discovered Jim Green Footwear. Beyond their style, their mission resonated with me: For every ten pairs of African Rangers sold, they donate a pair to a Ranger in need. It’s a perfect way to back these phenomenal conservationists. And these boots? Comfortable from day one. Over the subsequent trip, they journeyed with me through Nairobi, Tsavo, and Mombasa, proving their worth every step of the way.
In Tsavo, my days were long, often clocking ten hours on the range training Rangers in marksmanship, followed by night patrols so that I could really understand what they go through. That’s nearly 18 hours daily in these boots, yet they never faltered. Whether standing, patrolling, or running, they remained comfortable. My feet are wide, and most boots I use are European and narrow, making it hard for them to remain in a natural position—often causing pain and numbness. Conversely, my African Rangers have a wide toe box, allowing my feet to flex and move naturally. They are like a slipper you can wear in the bush.
Not a single pair of boots I wear for work can double as semi-formal footwear, except these.
Throughout meetings with Generals, Embassy staff, and partners in the country, I never had a second thought that my African Rangers were out of their element. Make no mistake these are built for the bush but damn if they don’t look good in an office too. With over fifteen years of experience in boots – from deployments and rugged terrains to hunting and mountaineering – I can vouch for these boots in hot climates. Their resilience is unmatched, a crucial trait in my line of work. What surprised me was their ability to keep my feet cool.
After extensive range sessions and treks through Tsavo’s undulating landscapes, I didn’t feel the usual soldier’s urge to change socks.
That’s significant. The less I worry about my feet, the more I can focus on my mission.
Jim Green’s African Rangers were ideal for this journey: They are lightweight, comfy, and tick the rule number one’s box- Always look cool. I am a lifelong customer and will take these with me on many more adventures.

2 thoughts on “Ranger Boot Dispatch: An East African Expedition

  1. Kelly Harbeson says:

    I, too have left sweat and blood in the bush over a half century of bushwhacking. There is no substitute for good footwear. I purchased a pair of the AR “barefoot” boots and liked them so much that I immediately purchased a pair with “normal” heels. Everything is getting more expensive these days. It’s great to find such a good value. I can recommend these without reservation.

  2. Sam says:

    Great story! I too love these boots and enjoy the history and conservation behind them

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