R.I.P. Manky Boots
What’s Your Favorite Footwear?
So we’ve all had favorite footwear, right? That pair of whatevers that you can’t imagine doing without? I had some camping boots for a while that went on a number of motorcycle trips, and more kayaking trips than I can figure, and a few hikes here and there for whatever reasons. They got wet and waterproofed so many times that when they finally cracked up there was no question as to whether I might get another wearing out of them, much less another season. Those aren’t the boots I’m talking about though. They were good, but they weren’t great.
I don’t know the model. I didn’t know their age. They were given to me by a buddy who combs the thrift stores for treasures. He found these boots. Size 11 Vasque somethingorothers. He said, “You want these?” “Yes, yes, I do.” Easy as that, I had some boots that had, sometime in their past, been really nice. They were well broken in now. Not wrecked- just broken in. And they fit. I didn’t discover that right away, of course. Footwear is not something you pick up from the thrift store and shove straight on your own feet. There are issues to address. I didn’t know how to address them, and so it may have been nearly a year before I thought I’d just spray ’em with everything in the cabinet that might kill whatever fungal growths were still hanging around after all this time in my closet. I sprayed ’em. I sniffed at ’em. I eventually was brave enough to stick my hand in ’em and feel around for anything horrifying. As it turned out, the boots were fine. Might fine. I wore those poor ol’ things for the next few years, not just on cold, wet, funky days (which I always did after I discovered they were Gore-Tex and waterproof) but nearly every day. Good footwear is a blessing, and I had never ponied up the big bucks for extra nice Vasque anythings. Now, after years of devoted service when the heels had been Gooped and repaired too many times and the stitching was finally breaking down, I let ’em go. Those nearly devine, probably-twenty-year-old blessings finally had to be tossed. They went on hundreds of miles of walks, skateboard rides, bicycle rides, and even off-road trail unicycling (for which they proved to be the absolute best thing ever, as the soles somehow fit those vicious pins on my unicycle pedals) They slopped around in the wet bottoms of canoes and dangled off my backpack just in case. I miss ’em. They were good. Now, I’m burning rapidly through a pair of New Balance high-top ‘country walkers’, also given to me by my buddy who found them in another thrift store. But y’know, I’m ’bout to pony up the good bucks for another top-of-the-line pair of Vasque hikers. Maybe lightning doesn’t strike twice, but you don’t hit the lottery if’n you don’t buy a ticket, either. Wish me luck.