Sunday, September 18, 2016
In Search of Footwear
If you are going to spend any money on anything, buy yourself good footwear. It doesn't matter if you are getting boots for 40 below or flip flops.
Flip flops? Why spend money on flip flops? I wear them a lot. For me, they are more comfortable than slippers around the house. They are also great for someone who's in and our of the water a lot. There's a surprising difference in comfort between the cheapos at the big box store and $30 ones.
If I wear the cheap ones my feet and back are killing me by the end of the day. Quality ones provide some support and that makes a big difference. They are also less likely to blow out on you. A flip flop that fails all of a sudden could cause a bad fall.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are my heavy duty winter boots. I've two pairs. One pair is heavy, mostly due to the steel toe. You wouldn't want to go on a long hike with them, but they are great for things like moving firewood that you could drop on your foot. My other pair is just as warm, but lacking a steel toe they are much lighter. Those are my winter sports boots for things like snowshoeing or ice fishing.
What I'm lacking right now is a good lightweight boot for the shoulder seasons. It's a time a year when you are most likely to run into mud or slush. Waterproofing is important. They are the sort of boots I like to wear when on a day hike or doing out small game hunting. Years ago a friend who worked at L. L. Bean snagged me a nice pair of leather mid weight boots. I wore the heck out of those until they were totally gone. Unfortunately, they have become so pricey that even a quality footwear guy like myself chokes on the price.
One of my big problems is that I have size 14 feet, and they are wide. Shopping in my area is extremely limited, especially for bigger sizes. Footwear is one of those things that I hate to order on-line. That being said, I've been reduced to doing just that.
I'm signed up for Amazon prime so I take advantage of the free shipping and free return policy. Yesterday a pair of Keens came in. The hiking sandals I purchased six months ago fit great so I hoped the boots would too. Nope, too small. It was back in the box and out the door the same day. Now I'm waiting for another pair from a different company to come in. If those don't fit they'll be shipped back out too.
It's a crazy way to shop for boots. Years ago there was a local company that made military footwear. They had a store that sold seconds at a steep discount. I miss those days. Not only that, there used to be two cobblers in town. Prices were reasonable and they did good work. Once I even had zippers put in paratrooper boots so I could wear them at work.
Maybe I'll just have to learn how to make mukluks.