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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.

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. The importance of good footwear can not be over stated.
    I walk on average three to four miles a day on concrete and steel grating and it will KILL your feet, back and legs if you don't have good footwear. Plus they have to have steel toes so they are heavy as you mention.
    I bought a cheapie pair of boots once.
    Suffered for a week before I went and bought a quality pair.
    Inserts are the biggie though. I actually paid more for quality inserts than I did for those cheap boots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Life is too short for cheap boots -especially if you need them for your job. I've had custom inserts made once and they were very good.

      Delete
  2. Buying clothes of ANY kind is tough if you're too short, too tall, too fat or too skinny, OR if you have large feet or a big chest and shoulders. Clothes seem to be made for average size office workers only.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure they fit people in China, where the clothes are made, just fine.

      Delete
  3. Beans used to make their own version of a Keens ankle high boot, one piece top, big rubber toe and wide front just like the Keens. At 60$ one heck of a deal. I have a pair and they are the most comfortable shoe I've ever had. About two years ago I went to look for another pair and of course learned that they no longer make them. Very disappointing. I am now getting in the habit when I find something that fits well, I buy several extra and save them for the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They change styles all the time. Good idea to buy spares when you fine something that fits.

      Delete
  4. hard to fine 14 wide at most shoe outlets but have found them at wallyworld

    so you are a fellow "big foot"

    you miss the deep woods too?

    Wildflower

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wally World sometimes has my size, but they are not comfortable nor are they durable. Will not make that mistake again.

      I plan on doing some serious woods time next month. Overdue.

      Delete
  5. Okabashi sandals. I have been wearing the same pair for over 5 years+ and finally had to order replacement from Amazon Prime. Can't wait till they get here Monday. Highly recommended.

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  6. have you every considered shopping on ebay for used shoes. That might sound icky to some but I have found good buys on ebay for women's shoes. I alway toss them into the dryer for a good 20-40 minutes to sanitize them. So as an example LLBean's mens hunting duck boots are $139 new and on ebay what looks to be gently used pair are $69 shipped

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-LL-Bean-Maine-Hunting-Shoe-Winter-Snow-Duck-Boots-Mens-14-/252536915996?hash=item3acc5f881c:g:pscAAOSwFV9X1whW

    With the economy being the way it is and hubby owning his own business, last fall I decided to start looking into the resale shops for items I might need. I've been very impressed and had what too much fun when I first changed to this way of shopping LOL. But one good thing about shopping at Salvation Army is I alway try to bring a bag of items I no longer use and give it to the drop off end of the building before I go in to shop :) :) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got nothing against second hand in general, but I draw the line at footwear. Gently used might not be so bad. It's not just things like athlete's foot that concerns me. If a pair of shoes is broken in to fit someone else, they probably won't be good for my feet.

      Delete
  7. sixbears,
    if you find anything decent let us know. i cannot find anything and i have callusses because of it.
    thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timberland Men's Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot

      They were 40% off. Fit pretty good right out of the box. I'm keeping these.

      Delete
  8. I've had good luck with Tevas, but my experience otherwise has been limited to them. I get about three years of use out of them. Pretty much full time on weekends after of work.

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    Replies
    1. I like Tevas and had good luck. Too bad I can wear them out in a matter of months.

      Delete