Friday, April 11, 2008

Round and Round on boots


There’s a moment in his Clambake Seven’s recording of “The Music Goes ’Round and ’Round” when Tommy Dorsey urges clarinetist Sid Stoneburn to “Kick it, Sid, Kick it.” Sid kicks it, and takes the song out of its hackneyed Dixieland opening to something a little more interesting. Well, I’ve been kicking it, too, and like the music, I went round and round and came out here.

You may remember that after casting off a pair of Montrail Cirrus boots, I was trying out two subsequent pairs, Merrills and Keens, by walking around the house in them. I’d never actually used boots like these before, and I’m really not used to the feel of them. I walked in heavy leather for a long time, then lighter but still stiffish leather before switching directly to trail runners. For the TGO Challenge I was searching for something light that would also keep my feet from being soaked for a fortnight. I chose the Merrills. Soft, comfortable, pleasant in the kitchen and up the stairs. But when I got them outside and started putting the miles on, I began to question my choice. They are a half-pound per shoe heavier than the Keens, for one thing, and I began to feel the difference. And their slipper-like comfort gradually began to seem like a flaw out in the world. They were a little squishy, and I began to worry about movement at the toes and around the ankles, especially on hills. All of this was subtle, mind you, but I couldn't shake the concern.

So I took a deep breath and gave the Keens an outdoor trial, thereby ensuring that I’d be paying for two new pairs of boots for one two-week stroll. I think I got it right, finally (and expensively). The Keens are lighter and firmer, probably less comfy loafing around camp, but they feel better on a real walk.

I’m trying to think about how ruinously horrible bad boots under a weighty pack can be, but I have to admit I kick—myself—over the money. Near the end of the number, Dorsey calls for “a customer chorus,” which makes this song really fit me like a glove, if not a boot; and as the music stops, singer Edyth Wright exhaustedly murmers, “My, my.” I’m with you, Edyth.

3 comments:

Alan Sloman said...

Two Pairs? Just the two pairs? A merciful let-off! Lord Elpus seems to have gone through dozens of pairs in his eight walks across Scotland (this year is his eighth)

And he too has just setlled on his pair for this year's walk. Cutting it a bit fine...

However, when you see the poor souls limping across after five days of blistered agony, you will appreciate the choice you made!

Well done Sir!

Phil said...

Aye, I deeply sympathise, Mark.

Mind you, if you are miles from anywhere in a god forsaken bog with a bootful of blood and blisters, you would pay anyone ten times over for dry comfy tootsies.

A good investment, I say!

Daryl May said...

Good boots? Consider the sorry alternative! See
http://mylongwalk.com/Webdocs%20S%20Jogle/Daily%20journal/Rest%20days%201%20to%207.html

Daryl