This cheap guy never expected to be downright pleased to hand over $150 for a pair of daggone running shoes.
I wear the same pair of plain brown shoes to work every day until they wear out and it’s time to get a new pair of plain brown shoes that have at least some cushioning for the midday walk.
Away from work is an entirely different situation for my feet. Each pair of Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes gets specialized insoles inserted where the Asics insole was and then the date of first use penned to the inside edge of the sole.
And 420 miles later, which takes longer than it used to, the new pair—my pretty new 17s are an electric blue—the process gets repeated, and the old ones become the go-to-the-gym pair. Well, except for those white 16s, which are kind of too white, so I still use the pair before.
And I usually have to wait a full week to get to put on the magic Keen Targhee II hiking shoes, the successful conclusion to an eight-year search through many brands. My first pair of Targhees lasted four years of hiking, to the tune of 350-400 miles per year. (One day my feet felt wet for the first time ever; and when I got home and looked, I found out the tread was totally gone.)
The second pair, in use since February, are barely broken in, though the shoes are as instantly comfortable as they are durable.
Well, I take back a little of that 350-400, because on the occasional shorter warm-weather hike, I walk in my other favorite shoes—the Chaco Z2 Unaweeps. They share with the Targhee IIs the attributes of wonderful comfort and killer durability.
You could have told me, even 20 years ago, that I would own and cherish three different pairs of well-over-$100 shoes and I would have laughed. Shoes are shoes, man.
Of course they’re not. And not only has my realization of their value come a long way, so too has the quality-well-worth-paying-for of modern shoes made for going out to play.
I count myself lucky to have found the perfect pair of shoes for every time I go outside. Got a pair of shoes or any other piece of gear (those Osprey packs are nifty, aren’t they?), you’d like people to know about? Send me a note and a photo, and we’ll run a few if we get a few, come spring. firstname.lastname@example.org