Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dead Boots

Behold! These were my boots for many years. Purchased in the spring of 2000, these babies went with me most everywhere - a summer at Philmont, a winter and summer in Germany, Spain (twice), Greenland. Across the Dartmouth campus a few thousand times. Up, down, and across the Whites and Adirondacks. With these boots I hikes the 52 miles on the Appalachian Trail from Dartmouth to Mousilauke in 26 hours. These boots also took me long all 30-some miles up, down, and across Mousilauke itself - in a single day. Hilary and I had our first not-quite-date hiking up Mousilauke with these boots. With these boots I helped portage a canoe to the summit of Mt. Washington. These boots protected me from snow, rain, and cold for the first year or two here in Minnesota.

But, for the last few years, their deficiencies as footwear have become increasingly apparent. The main problem is that I've worn the vibram soles clear through to the undersole, and in on place on the ball of the foot, through the undersole to the inside of the boot. Were I to take these boots out into the snow now, I'd get bit galls of snow backed up between the layers of the sole. The complete lack of tread is a real downer, especially since the uneven wear got to the point of affecting posture. The laces have broken and been retied in about 5 places. I've considered sending them back to EMS, to let them do a post-mortem.

In the summer of 2006, before a trip to Alaska, I decided that I really needed some better footwear. There would be mud to traverse, trails to hike, mountains to climb. I would have loved to replace these EMS Summit GTX with the same boot. Alas, in the years since I bought them, EMS went and changed the design, softened them with suede, removed or wimpified the shank, and basically made them nice-looking boots for wannabes. I looked around for a close analog - the Vasque Sundowner - but couldn't find it at any shop around town. I ended up with a rather different boot from Vasque. Not bad, but not quite what I wanted. The fit works, but isn't quite right.

So, perhaps these new ones won't be with me long enough to get worn down to nothing.

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