Retirement

The last pair of shoes I will ever buy.

I’ve used the same pair almost every day since my early 20s. I will be 35 in a few months. Like most “extreme” stats, a pair of shoes that’s 13+ years old blows normal expectations out of the water. Like being able to retire in five years… or getting more than 2 pages per blog visit

I don’t know how much rehealing (just fixing the heel) I have done on them. I lost count by about 8. I know the full sole has been replaced once because I found a great cobbler in the town I live in. Vibram Skywalk. Don’t get anything less.

There are shoes. Gruntin of Hanuagh. They come in men and women. If you live in Europe, you’re in luck. You can find them in most parts of Europe. I paid 1299 kroner for mine when I bought them in the late 1990s. Today their price is 1799 kroner. I would consider them a pretty good inflation hedge. Better than tips! The stock market seems better depending on which month you ask. 😉

I am seriously considering buying 2 more pairs. That should cover me for life. Hanwag sells these boots as the only pair of hiking boots you’ll ever need. I understand that since I use them every day, I’ll probably need more than one pair in my lifetime, but otherwise, pretty close.

I have taken them to many places. From the summit of Mount Fuji to the deserts of Nevada to the train stations of Europe. They are light enough to climb but tough enough to “climb” light rock. In an absolutely lovely location in terms of walking. I wish they made them in black. This will make it possible to “pass” dress shoes through a (very) tight space. This will also make it easier to find shoe polish in the right color. Matching an existing color is almost impossible!

I’ve also lost count of how far I’ve gone in them with my hikes and all. A typical pair of running shoes is expected to last up to 1000 km. Modern hiking boots are good for about 1500km before the liner starts to break down. It has covered at least 10,000 km.

They are double stitched full grain leather boots with Norwegian welt. This means that if they are given a good coat of shoe polish and leather grease, they are as waterproof as a modern shoe with a tax liner. In theory the sole is originally sewn in, the entire sole can be replaced. Additionally, unlike sticky soles or modern sneakers, which have nubuck and nylon stitched-on uppers, good sneakers have few seams, where water can seep in after work.

In fact, a few years ago I used them so much that I wore some of the liner on the heel. Never mind, I had a cobbler stitch leather that saved them from an early grave — hey, they were only 10 at the time.

For years, I’ve been keeping an eye on Hanwag. Around the turn of the millennium they seemed to be pulling back on Norwegian wallets. However, it seems to have made somewhat of a comeback.

I don’t think you can get Hanawag in the US. However, you can get a pair that looks equivalent: The Merrill Wilderness. They cost north of $250 but are probably worth it. They also solve the color problem. Given a choice, I’d still take Hanuwag given their slightly more versatile uses. Merrill’s crampons accept that should mean they’re a bit stiffer. Hunwags don’t do that. If anyone has some Meryls I’d love to hear your opinion on how they fare on asphalt. We are thinking of getting something for DW.


A note on buying shoes: Shoe sizing is a little different than shoe sizing. What you should do is wear your hiking socks. I much prefer the two sock system to the technical brouhaha that has become popular in the last 10 years. The inner sock will be a thin ultra sweat wicking sock. The outer sock is an absorbent wool sock with no seams. Now, put on your socks (or socks) and tuck the boot halfway. Push the foot forward into the boot. You should now be able to slide your index finger down behind your heel and the heel of your boot. It should fit snugly without wiggle-room. If you can’t get your toe in, the boot is too small and you’ll get blisters on your toes. If you can move, it’s too big and you’ll get blisters on your heel. This is because your foot flattens/swells etc when you walk away and you want to leave room for that. Socks will also swell.


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Originally Posted 2010-08-15 11:16:34.


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