Friday, 29 April 2011

The Great Shoe Hunt

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have had a bit of trouble obtaining a new pair of hiking/travel shoes. The dilapidated Merrells I wore to the Bearcat caves were great shoes in their day....but that day is long since past. They've climbed to the top of Croagh Patrick, waded through a flooded road in Fermoy (they are not waterproof!), strolled the streets of Edinburgh, and served me well for many years. But the trials and trails have taken their toll, and the Merrells have become warped and worn.

I've been on the hunt for a replacement pair for a couple years now, but it hasn't been very urgent, and it always seemed like there was something else I needed more, to buy first. It was a pain (literally) when an adventure would come up and I didn't have the proper footwear, but I made do.

Now that my new travel adventure is looming in the near future, I knew that I had to invest in some decent shoes, and I needed to get them soon to break them in! I had only 3 criteria.

1. Waterproof (Gore-tex...its needs to breathe!)
2. Lightweight (I'm going to be doing a LOT of walking in them!)
3. Affordable (under $140, after tax)

I was down in Vancouver about 2 months ago, and managed to sneak in a quick visit to MEC. I figured they would have the best (and cheapest!) selection. I nabbed a pair of Timberlands for a good price, and was quite pleased with myself.

That is until I put their claim of "waterproof-ness" to the test, and they didn't stand up to the challenge.
I sent 'em packing, becoming a little ticked off at the $11 shipping/handling fee to get them back to Vancouver. Serves me right for buying from out of town I guess.

Round 2, I hit up Sport Chek and thought I had lucked out when I found a pair of North Face trail running shoes for $99 on sale. Perhaps feeling a bit over-eager, I purchased them, only to discover after a day of walking in them that they were a 1/2 size too small! I thought this would be easily remedied, but alas, the girl at the front desk told me they didn't have any more in the size I needed!

Despair reached an all-time high when I checked out the only 2 other stores in my lovely hometown that sell outdoor shoes and found none that met all 3 of my criteria. I went home empty-handed, in a fairly dark mood.

Today, feeling significantly less than optimistic, I decided to see if Sport Chek had anything new in that I could afford. I felt the store was mocking me when I spotted the North Face shoes on the wall, still going for the unreal price of $99.

On a whim, I turned to the salesperson and asked if they happened to have any of that shoe in the size I needed. She said she would check in the back...

And would you believe it, they DID have one pair! I was so excited!
Judging from the state of the box they came in, and the way the laces were all uneven, I think it must have been a return, but I don't even care. They are extremely comfortable, lightweight, waterproof, AND affordable! :D


Aneta said...

Good deal! they will have some stories to tell when you r through with them!

Sonya said...

There's nothing quite like the feeling of finding that perfect item you've been searching for.

Great looking pair of shoes and what a terrific price!

Danica said...

I'm glad you found what you wanted. Hey - possible career choice: designing and/or testing awesome affordable outdoor footwear!