These boots were made for walkin’

Wednesday, 6th June 2012; 1:12 pm

I’ve mentioned my new camera and my new tent, but there’s one more significant piece of gear I’ve replaced this year: my boots.

The boots I’ve worn on previous rides were originally purchased 10 years ago, when I was planning my first visit to Isle Royale. My previous pair, which I’d had for years, were hopelessly leaky and otherwise worn, so I invested in a nice new pair of lightweight mid-ankle Lowa boots, purchased on sale at Bill & Paul’s. They served me well through a couple visits each to Isle Royale and North Manitou Island, years of wet and snowy weather at home… and riding.

I almost didn’t take those boots on my first ride, up the Lake Michigan shoreline. I admit that I don’t wear boots routinely when I ride (usually whatever shoes I’ll want to wear when I get there), even though they can be important protection for your feet in the event of a fall. So I was thinking that I’d just bring a couple pair of shoes: one for riding and walking, the other as comfy spares to slip into at the campsite. But it was pouring rain when I was getting ready to set out, and I saw the folly of not having waterproof footwear.

Well, the Lowas eventually stopped qualifying as “waterproof”. Probably had something to do with where the leather was separated from the soles on the sides. Not their fault; I’d worn them hard and long. Last year, anticipating that I wouldn’t be doing a lot of hiking on the ride, I taped them together as best as I could with duct tape and used them like that. I saw the folly of that plan before I got home. So earlier this year, I went shopping again for boots.

Although I don’t have any immediate plans for backpacking, I know I’ll be doing that again during the useful life of my new boots, so I looked for boots that would be good for that, which would then be good for the light hiking I’d be doing most of, and also be suitable for riding (including in the rain). I ended up with a pair of similar Merrell boots (which importantly come in “wide” width). I’ve done a bit of city-park hiking in them, and I’ll give them a field test on my short ride to Indiana in a few days. So far they’re comfortable and dry, and I’m liking them.

Which means I’m fully equipped for 2012.

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