Monday, August 25, 2008

Are You Ready, Boots? - and Put A Sock In It

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been using Columbia shoes for walking, and am very pleased with them. The particular shoes are Columbia Trailmeister. Wonderfully comfortable, light, supportive and fairly hard wearing. Built almost like a running shoe, but with more sole and a stronger top. A shame they are difficult to find in Europe, but as we pass through Singapore and spend several months in New Zealand each year, I manage to keep stocked up.

I have been using Trailmeisters for a few years. During our 3 months in New Zealand earlier this year, when Gay and I walked possibly not far short of the length of the Big Walk, I wore a pair out. The only problem with shoes of this modern construction is that the soles are not replaceable. This is the price we pay for the lightness and comfort. I did have an earlier pair of Columbia shoes re-soled locally and they look fine, but they are completely different, much heavier and stiffer. I can even hear the difference when I walk. I am using them for gardening.

One of the things I really like about Columbia, apart from their products, is their shining rebuttal of ageism. The company is run by 83-year old Gert Boyle. In Christchurch recently, noting that a Columbia shop had opened since our last visit, we paid it a visit. I flippantly asked the young man behind the counter how Gert was doing. He said that she was fine a couple of months earlier, when she came from Portland, Oregon to Christchurch, NZ, to open the shop! Shall I remind you of her age?

This is Columbia's home page:

Another piece of equipment which I swear by for my feet is the Run 800 sock from Decathlon. Actually, I use two of these at a time.

I may have mentioned elsewhere in the blog that I used to be a runner, until my knee began to object. I ran on average 50 miles a week and raced most weeks, sometimes more than once in the week. I have used numerous different types of sock and have suffered the usual variety of blisters and various other types of damage both to myself and the sock. I started using the Run 800 sock some time before I gave up running and still use them for any athletic activity I am involved in (that includes walking). In fact they are rarely off my feet (I do change them regularly - I have numerous pairs). These are truly amazing socks. I have never had a blister while wearing them. In fact I have never worn a pair out or had a hole - and that is quite an achievement for me, especially in the toe area, as I have very active toes.

I shall certainly be using them during my preparation, for the whole of my walk and beyond.

For those who do not know, Decathlon is a French chain of sports and outdoor warehouses. They are also now in other countries, for instance UK. This is the sock concerned - I would recommend these to anyone:

No comments: