One of the things Mat and I had on our to-do list for Canada was to buy hiking boots. We felt we’d have more time and more options while here to make a good decision. And we weren’t disappointed with the options available!
It took us 11 days, 3 or 4 shopping trips, and 8 or 9 stores before we both settled on pairs from the same shop.
We made all the shop attendants work their butts off for us, to be honest. All the brands and styles need different sizes, so even though I’m usually an 8.5, sometimes a 9 or 8 was required to know for sure the shoe wasn’t right. We came across a lot of potential contenders.
The girl we bought from had it extra hard, because she was working on a sprained ankle! Poor thing, trooped up and back to the store room with box after box for the two of us.
Fun story: she’s immigrating to Australia with her Aussie boyfriend, so we had lots to talk about, too!
Right, back to the shoes!
In the end, we chose brands we hadn’t seen in any of the other shops.
I got a pair from Asolo (they’re made in Italy, I think) and Mat got one from Teva.
I was originally looking for a shoe-style, not the boot-style, but relented when I got to these bad-boys. They didn’t feel bulky or restrictive at all, and the rest of the boot fit better than I had imagined.
Mat found a really light leather pair, and leather was a big must have for him, so he was really happy.
We were told we could wear them inside as much as we wanted to test them out, and return them if we were unhappy, but once they went outside, that was it… no refunds.
But what fun is a hiking boot that you can’t wear outside!?
So we went out and got them dirty.
Well… not too dirty… they are still new and we are in town…
But we did take them off-road a little.
And a bit on-road too.
We did just a 5km walk in an hour, taking it easy and exploring some different paths.
So, after spending gobs of money on a pair of hiking boots each that we hope will take us comfortably (relatively speaking) through a 40km Rogaine, what did we think of our boots after 5km?
I was pleased with mine, but wasn’t over the moon. Perhaps I’m just too fussy.
I like how roomy the toe area is, and I love the firm toe-kick area (you know, for when you’re stumbling around in the dark and stub your toe?) and was surprised by how comfortable the high tops were (high socks are the key to making that comfortable). But I was a bit concerned with the bit at the bottom of the laces being a bit bulky right where my foot folds at the toes, and they do tend to pick up a few small stones.
However, they were otherwise really comfortable and I can’t see why I would have any problems with them. A long, hot, sweaty walk will be the only true test of them, and that’s to see how badly I get blisters in them (because regardless, I am going to get blisters, thanks to my baby-soft feet :P).
Where I was perhaps a little lukewarm to my shoes, Mat was positively gushing.
After about two kilometres he said that these were probably the most comfortable shoe he’s ever worn. And Mat doesn’t like shoes.
So that’s a big kudos for these guys. They didn’t pick up any rocks and had a really plush feeling inner and sole. He was pretty stoked. Cool!
We are heading out for about a week, going to Jasper and Banff. The only two things we have planned are to climb the mountain at Lake Louise and go to the tea house at the top, and to walk on a glacier.
If we have time, we thought we’d rent a canoe or kayak and paddle on Lake Louise, too. Fun, right? But no pressure on anything else.
We are also going to visit my uncle in BC on the lake beneath the mountain glacier that is featured on the Kokanee beer bottle.
Then, back through Calgary for another visit with a different cousin, back to Edmonton and a play-date with Jenny and Tina!
It’s gonna be a whirl-wind and there probably won’t be anything from me for a week.
Hoping for AWESOME weather all week!