Monday, April 20, 2015

The Hiking Boot Dilemma

I bought these hiking boots back when the trip was born.  I was  in a large outdoor store and was perusing the backpacking merchandise when I mentioned to my husband how I wanted to do this trip.  He jumped on the idea as did my mother who was also in the store with us.  I immediately went to look at hiking boots there and picked these up for $50.  I wasn't too sure about them, but I wanted to get something for the trip so that there would be no way to get out of going. 
So I get these boots and each time I wear them I'm thinking I just don't know if they're going to work.  They were extremely heavy and the area around my ankle was bothering me and then on a hiking trip, I realized that my toes were hitting the front of the boot-and for those not up on hiking stuff- if your toe hits the front of the shoe when you go downhill, you will eventually lose your big toe.  It's apparently very painful.  So I knew I'd need to try a different pair.  So when my mom went to get her boots, I tried on some and decided to get the same ones she was getting: the Vasque Breeze 2.0.  I was surprised how much more comfortable they were than the ones I had.  There was no question I'd have to get new boots.

So I purchased my boots at REI.  In fact 3 of us purchased the woman's boot, my husband purchased the Men's version and my son has the youth version.  It's a nice boot.  I started wearing them to break them in and they seemed a little off.  I discovered that though I asked for a 10 medium width, the boots were a 10 wide width.  I don't usually need a wide shoe, especially since this brand of boot is cut a little wider already.  But, I figured I'd continue to try them out and see what happens .  When we went on our hike in Catoctin (which was more rugged than any of our previous hikes) I felt my feet shifting side to side and felt a couple of hot spots developing on the bottom of my foot.  I knew I'd have to take the boots back and exchange them for the other size.  So yesterday, my brother talked us into going to REI on a spur of the moment trip.  I took along my boots to exchange.  I went and tried on the 10 medium width but my toe was hitting the front of the boot.  Even trying a different lacing technique didn't help.  They didn't have a 10.5 to try on and I was concerned that would be too big.  I have one foot bigger than the other like most people, only my size difference is more significant than most.  Going up a half size would help one foot and be an issue on the other.  So my husband went and got my original pair of boots to put on.  As soon as they were on, they felt good.  I tried the new tying technique and that helped a little.  In the end, I decided (with the help of the excellent staff at REI) that I should stick with the boots I had (the 10 W).  With the use of an insert and/or thicker socks, the width shouldn't be an issue.  Plus, there's always duct tape for those hot spots.  Honestly, I'm not sure why I didn't think of inserts before.  I was already thinking I might get some, and since I used to sell shoes, I already know they can take up room in a shoe to help with fit.  I felt a little silly, but I'd rather be absolutely certain about my boots because like my mom told my brother, they're the most important purchase of this trip.
By the way, my brother refused to try on the Vasque Breeze 2.0 because he didn't want to be like everyone else.  He ended up with a pair of Salomons. 

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