Thursday, March 20, 2008

Those boots weren’t made for walkin’

A day or two after I wrote the post about settling on the Montrail Cirrus boots, I began to feel some pain in my feet. I realized immediately that despite all my sock-experimentation and precision lacing, these boots were not going to work for nine hours a day for two weeks. I’ll spare you a description of the ensuing rant. I’ve been buying specialty shoes for decades, mostly training flats, but hiking boots, too, and I know deep in my bones (which is where it hurts) that you never, never, never buy a new model without trying it on and using it as much as possible before purchase. Never.

Never.

A foolish consistency is certainly the hobgoblin of little minds, but the key word in Emerson’s epigram is “foolish.” And there is nothing foolish about never buying a running shoe or hiking boot you haven’t worn enough to be sure of. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.

All right. As you can tell, I’ve put all that behind me. And I did spare you the description of the ensuing rant.

Now I need a new pair of boots—boots to accommodate a high arch, the resulting high volume foot, and my orthotics. Off I went Monday to the new REI in West Hartford, and tried on a few pairs, none of which suited. But I had liked the general feel of a weird-looking pair of Keen Targhees that were a half-size too small. They didn’t have in stock the next size up, but they were able to order it for me and have it delivered (the next day!) to my house. The deal was the usual: that I could return the boots if they didn’t work out, as long as I only walked indoors with them. Fair enough.

On my way home, covering all bases, I stopped at the EMS back down I-84, and found a pair of Merrill Radius Mids I liked. I took them home on the same basis. Yesterday and today I’ve been wearing both pairs around the house. (As I write, I’ve got a Merrill on my left foot and a Keen on my right.)


They both feel good, and I think either would be okay. They are both priced at $120, but I can get the Keens for 20% off as part of a seasonal REI membership sale. The Keens are also lighter (about a pound each, as opposed to about a pound and a half). They use eVent rather than GoreTex. The Merrills are more traditional looking (don’t care), and give the impression of being sturdier, no small consideration. Right now, I’m leaning Keenward, but I haven’t decided for sure.

2 comments:

deadhorses said...

After a couple of pairs of Merrills, my feeling is that as comfortable as they always are out of the box, the midsole seems to give out a lot quicker than comparably priced boots, leaving you with 3 month old boots without much support left in them. Your mileage may vary, obviously.

My current favorite brand is Garmont, which they also stock at EMS. If you didn't try any of theirs out, you might consider it.

Mark Alvarez said...

Thanks, deadhorses. I DID try the Garmonts, which I thought looked highly suitable. Alas, they didn't feel good. Realistically,if either of these pairs gets me comfortably across Scotland, I'll be pretty happy with them. I'll cheerfully consign them to utility use back home. Thanks for writing. Hope you'll stop by often.

Cheers.