One size up

Before going on my trip last summer I wanted to buy some new hiking boots. I have a pair of big heavy duty ones that I bought because my sister thinks an easy trail is what some guidebooks classify as an over night length. She’s a bit hardcore. She’s the type of person who would do the Grouse Grind a few times a week for kicks and lap all the out of shape tourists without breaking a sweat while at it. I suspect that she is secretly a hiking robot rather than an actual human.

Those boots are big and too heavy to take with you when you travel. While wandering around outdoor stores, as I do far too often, I decided to buy a set of travel hiking shoes made by the same company that makes the other boots. I feel this weird loyalty to that brand that I’m not entirely sure is justified. Maybe it’s a part of the strain in me that buys the same thing over and over again until that companies either goes out of business or stops making the thing I like.

Using the original boots as a size guideline I bought a pair of travel ones. They fit well in the store and on a day trip to Banff. It wasn’t until I got to Japan that they started crushing one of the toes on my right foot. It developed a blister that caused it to swell to six times its normal size and didn’t properly heal until after my return. I wasn’t even doing hardcore hiking I was just wandering around Tokyo.

The problem is that one of my feet is a half-size bigger than the other. It’s always been somewhat hard to decide whether or not shoes fit. You can’t go too far up or they won’t fit the smaller foot. You also can’t go too small or they crush Mr. Angry Toe. I don’t know if I’d really miss Mr. Angry Toe if it disappeared.

While reading Wild I identified with the hiking boot problems. I’ve been there and it’s a blast. The advice she got to go one size up is what got me thinking I should do the same.

Despite the hardships I really like these shoes and think they’re great. I picked them out for a reason they just didn’t fit quite right — back to that odd potentially unjustified loyalty I feel. So I bit the bullet and bought the exact same shoes in one size up. It’s a terrible feeling spending the money to buy something you already own but in a different size. It’s like lighting money on fire. But I had to do it.

The shoes feel good so far. They’re not too loose and my toe hasn’t ballooned or been crushed yet. Sometimes you just have to let those purchases roll off you. It’s just money. You don’t have to get it right the first time.

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