Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese intelligence officer who served during World War II.
He was deployed to Lubang Island in the Philippines. In 1945, he came across pamphlets that had been dropped by the U.S. Military that said the war had ended.
But he believed that it was a trick.
So, he spent nearly 30 years roaming the jungles of the Philippines refusing to believe the war was over.
During that time on the run, he evaded capture by U.S. and Philippine forces and allegedly killed thirty Filipinos in skirmishes.
Multiple people who encountered Hiroo tried to convince him that the war was over, including fellow soldiers from Japan.
He reportedly said, “I will not quit fighting unless there is an order that relieves me of my duty.”
It wasn’t until 1974 that Hiroo agreed to surrender and return to Japan. His wartime commander returned to the Philippines and ordered him to lay down his arms.
When asked why he refused to surrender he said, “I am very competitive.”
Once he agreed to give up, Hiroo presented his sword to Philippine President Marcos.
He was pardoned for his crimes because he believed he was at war.
It’s crazy to think that Hiroo survived and evaded capture for nearly thirty years, but he roamed the jungle on foot for decades and survived.
Now, when it comes to evading capture on foot, it’s important to hide your tracks.
One way to do this is to change the footprints you leave behind.
Considering this, here are a few ideas to help mask shoe prints should you ever decide to go on the run (I hope not):
What are anti-tracking shoes?:
These days, most shoe soles have unique patterns. They can even have the shoe brand on the sole.
Anti-tracking shoes have a sole that has been altered. The idea is to change the sole to something that can blend in with the environment.
The purpose is to throw off someone who might be following your footprints.
Study the terrain:
Before creating anti-tracking shoes, you need to study the environment to ensure they blend in.
For example, if you are bugging out through the desert you don’t want to add perfectly green leaves to your anti-tracking shoes.
Consider whether you could be walking through mud, water, or sand.
If you have to hike over rocks covered in moss, then it would be good to have some grip on the shoe soles.
One of the goals of anti-tracking shoes is to blend in with the area.
So, if you are bugging out through dense forest it would be ideal to attach twigs or leaves to the bottom of your shoes.
You could do this with a fishing line but make sure the line is not visible in your footprint.
One thing to be cautious about is not to make the twigs or leaves any bigger than the shoe.
For instance, if you have leaves that are sticking out two inches in every direction it will make your footprint huge, so it will stand out and make it easier to track.
So, once you have attached leaves, trim the edges to match your shoe size.
Test the coverings:
After preparing your shoes you want to walk around and test them.
Then go back to look at your footprints. See if your footprints move things or push other debris out of the way.
Ideally, the footprints will walk on top of whatever is on the ground and not move it to the point that it’s easy to see.
Also, pay attention to the noise that you make when you walk.
The last thing you want to do is make the crushing of twigs or leaves so loud that someone will hear you moving.
When you add weight and materials to your shoe it will likely slow your speed.
Keep this in mind if you need to escape quickly or without being noticed.
Plus, it’s always important to regularly check your tracks as you are moving.
Things could shift and the fishing line that holds it together could be seen over time.
Lastly, it’s impossible to not leave a trace behind.
No matter how good your anti-tracking shoes might be, they are simply a tool to buy time to get away to safety.
Depending on your situation, anti-tracking shoes could be a unique addition to your survival gear.
But one thing that’s absolutely non-negotiable for a quick getaway is a bug out bag.
You must have a pack that’s filled with everything you need to survive for at least three days…
And that pack must be staged and ready to “grab and go” at a moment’s notice.
As you leave, all you should ever have to do is sling it over your shoulder and get out of dodge.