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Gear part 3

By walking on 2013.09.19 In Gear

Guest blogger – Chauffeur no 1

I’m very particular about my footwear. I’ve had my share of trouble with my feet, let it be due to my pronation, my weight, my feet’s width, or simply bad footwear. Ended up with my big toenails ingrown due to low quality working boots in Switzerland.

When it came to choosing hiking footwear, it was clear to me I would want boots. High boots, total height averaging around 30cm. I had a pair of high working boots from Germany for over a decade which were, despite their weight due to the steel toed tip, some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Even now that the soles broke, I’m still determined to keep them and try and get them fixed eventually.

So, boots it was. Narrowed down both the available selection as well as the price range significantly. After having learnt it makes more sense to look for them in hunting sections of stores, I found a pair of Meindl Dovre Extreme GTX – wide at XXL. Tried them on, walked a few steps, loved them. Didn’t love the price though, at 2400 SEK they were about twice as much as I was willing to spend seeing I wasn’t even sure I’d enjoy hiking. I’ve done my share of trips during my youth and didn’t mind them, but I suppose having grown up pretty much in the woods as a son of a forester, the outdoors weren’t anything that special to me.

Back to the boots. I took a picture of them as well as the price tag, and planned to put them on my wish list for Christmas. My lady got her shoes that day, and that was it.

A few weeks later it became more apparent I needed at least something to hike in. So it was back to the Internet, searching, comparing, even considering lower boots or shoes, and once again heading back to the store. This time armed with way too much information, going through a whole range of footwear, just to leave again empty handed having gotten nothing else but a mind blowing headache and blistered fingers. Well, and the knowledge that it definitely was high boots I wanted. Sure, boots are heavy, and seem to be hot as hell in summer, but honestly, I never had that issue with the working boots I mentioned earlier. Also, socks can be used accordingly, but that’s a different pair of shoes. c.c

To make a long story short, the third visit ended with me coming home with a new pair of boots. And even the very first ones I tried on weeks earlier, the Meindl Dovre Extreme GTX – wide. At 2400 SEK not the cheapest, but they seem very well made, and give very good support. Now, after having hiked a couple of miles in them, I only had trouble with them when trying to walk on some wet wooden planks so slippery even frogs were fighting for traction! The sole is very rigid and lets you walk over rocks with ease, while at the same time being slightly rounded under the front of the foot, which makes one feel a bit bouncy when walking in them the first time. The sole’s from Vibram, but those seem pretty much standard in good quality hiking footwear nowadays.

Tying the shoes takes some practice and requires a trick or two that apply to all shoes with long laces, otherwise one ends up with very VERY annoying blisters on one’s index fingers. But wrapping the laces around the hands before pulling does the trick. If you want to drive a car though, I suggest only tying the lower section, otherwise your flexibility when it comes to using the pedals is severely impaired.The top shoe is made of very few individual pieces of leather, making it more water resistant, but not by much. Impregnating them before use is a must, as well as making sure one impregnates them well. I used a spray, and despite having removed the laces in order get the whole surface of the tongue, I got some moisture near my feet during the first rainy hike. So wax probably is the way to go, I should give that a go next time.

All in all, having gone some 50km in them so far I’m happy, and hope to make quite a few more miles in them before I should even bother thinking about getting replacements.

 

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