I can deny it no longer; I've tried to shirk off the warning signs, I've done my best to ignore the pleading of my feet, that pitiful squeaking that stayed with me for a few weeks as the soles tried gallantly to hold together.I cant count how many pairs of shoe laces I've gone through, how many times I've bent the eyelets back into place, or how many pieces of gravel I've pried out of the heels after clicking and clacking across our new hardwood floors. I am forced to resign to the fact that at long last, after a valiant and noble run, I need a new pair of hiking boots.
They were a good pair to be sure, and I will swear by the Columbia name, but I'm thinking that maybe I need to open my mind a bit, and look at other brands too. that's a little scary for me, because I'm usually the type of guy who finds something that works, and sticks with it until he cant find it anymore, and is forced into the cold,harsh, world of change. "Why don't you look at a pair of these Merrell's?" my wife (who does not hike or camp by the way, but knew more about hiking boots than I do) said. I eyed the new-fangled boots with suspicion, not knowing whether I had the level of education -or the appropriate state licensing- to even wear them, and decided i could manage for a few more weeks, maybe a month or two longer.. as we walked out of the store, I silently swore an oath never to forsake my dear friends like that again. Next time I would spare my friends this humility, and instead wear my Vans to try on new boots.
Well OK, so maybe it's not that bad, but seriously, how do you choose new hiking boots anyway? Well according to the good folks over at ABC of Hiking, there are a few things to look for:
Intended Use & Hiking Skill Level
What kind of hiking will I be doing? Well for me, it would be mostly day hiking, and no more than a couple of miles at that. I am not only (after all) still badly out of shape, and a beginner, but I usually hike with a 6 year old and a 7 year old too. So 10 mile hikes are pretty much out of the question for me, at least for right now anyway. The class of my boot should (again, according to ABC) increase under the following factors: expected terrain and weather conditions, intended Hiking duration, and intended backpack load. Since I'll be doing mostly day hiking on pretty well established trails and paths, with not much more than a small day pack or Camelbak, With all this to take in, I think the most important thing to remember is that I should probably go for something that gives a little more support.
There is a heckuva lot more to take in to consideration, and since I don't really want to steal from the good people at ABC's of Hiking, I'll just redirect you to their website ,in case you are interested in learning more. What do i currently wear? Columbia hiking boots, and I have to say that they have performed heroically. For the last year and a half, I have worn them to work almost every single day, and I can quite honestly say they are the one pair of shoes I own that do not hurt my feet at the end of the day. ....maybe I'll stick with Columbia then..