The Quest for Shoes

Out of his size again.

I waited a few days and the box finally arrived – my new hiking boots, Merrell’s, ordered on-line from Zappos.  They were attractive, lightweight low hikers as described.  Cushy footbed, non-slip soles.  I wore them around the house for a few days and at first they appeared to be a “fit.”  Unfortunately, I found they had a fatal flaw.  The eyelet (point where the laces threaded) just below the big toe bulged into the inside causing shooting pain after just an hour’s wear.  Back they went.   Sigh, I had such high hopes, but this is story of my life in shoes.

So what’s the big deal?  Just go to a store and buy shoes.  You are probably one of the lucky ones – size 7 or 8, regular width feet – the person for whom shoes apparently are designed.  Unfortunately, I am not.   In hikers or athletic shoes I often have to shop in the men’s department.  That can be a problem because the heels are too wide or the foot bed is configured for a man’s foot.

This time I did not even try to find my elusive size locally.  Even my favorite online shoe stores did not return much result.  At Zappos, by the time I narrowed the choices by size and design, I was left with only 5 styles to choose from.  Those choices further narrowed after reading reviews describing other purchasers experience with size, fit and weight.  It came down to one pair of Merrell’s.  Pricey, but if they lived up to the hype they would last for a couple of years at least and be worth it.  Sadly, it was not to be.

I don’t blame Zappos.  My shoes arrived very fast – Zappos does have great shipping and it is free both ways so if the shoes don’t fit you can return them at no extra cost.  Most online shoe stores have this policy so it’s almost like trying on shoes in a store.  I have even ordered multiple pairs knowing I would only be keeping one.  But I digress – back to the shoes in hand.  They didn’t fit so back they went.

My husband decided to look for his new hiking shoes at our local Gander Mountain.  I went with him, for moral support you know, and ended up trying on a few pair myself.  Miracle of miracles, I found a pair that fit like a glove.  They were men’s North Face Tyndall mid-height hikers, waterproof, lightweight, great support and more affordable than the Merrell’s.   Finally, a win in the shoe department!   We both scored a couple of new pairs of shoes that were marked down and I even got a pair of Teva sandals, which I have coveted forever but never found a pair that fit.   The shoe gods were smiling on me that day!

My new boots get a workout on the trail

Why the sudden search for hiking boots?  We just got back from a wonderful trip through the Hocking Hills area!  I’ve got lots of photos to show you.  Over the next few posts I’ll take you down into the gorges with me.  Stay tuned…


About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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7 Responses to The Quest for Shoes

  1. carol curren says:

    Steve said to try asolos they have always been a good fit and he hates to throw them out even when they’ve worn out. I have very hard to fit feet, wide front,, high instep, narrow heel. plus the hardware in my ankle and the hammer toe from previous misadventures are very sensitive so I would never be brave enough to order them on line. I explain to the sales person, try them on and walk around the store for about an hour. the store i bought them had test areas, hills, steep inclines, rocky uneven areas, sandy, all sorts of areas one might walk or hike to test out the shoes. paid full price but since i was going to be hiking all over ireland it was worth it. bwt, LOVE the picture.

  2. SallyK says:

    That is the problem, wearing the shoes/boots long enough to know if there is a problem before committing long term. Gander Mountain is only 5 minutes from my house so I knew I could wear them in the house and if there was a problem take them back. My Tyndall’s were comfortable over 2 days of hiking and had non-slip soles that I had a chance to test in several places. Only thing I couldn’t test on the trail was their waterproof property, as there was hardly any water due to the drought. Can’t wait to head out to a local trail and wade in a creek. It’s a true joy when you finally do find the right pair!

  3. Oh, Sally, do I understand! My feet aren’t as hard to fit as yours, but they’re bad enough. I hate shoe shopping, so when I do find a style that fits comfortably, I’m likely to buy them in several colors. I gave up online shoe shopping back in the day when it was called catalog shopping (because online hadn’t been born yet) — if I can’t try them on, there’s no point in buying them. So I have five pair of Sketchers, Keds sneakers in black and grey, Naturalizer slingbacks in navy, black, ivory, and bronze (still looking for red). I’ve had most of them for years and I treasure them every time I wear them. I rejoice with you in your Tyndall experience! Go, girl!

    • SallyK says:

      For my everyday, fair weather shoes I wear Keds stretch white leather sneakers. I love them! I found them a few years ago at Kohls and I get a new pair every year, retiring the previous year’s pair for yard work purpose. I wear them until they literally fall apart. Kohls rarely has my size in stock and I still have to order them. Sigh ….

  4. Deb Platt says:

    I’m happy to hear that you fond the perfect pair of shoes and sandals, too! I hate shoe shopping. Last fall I got a pair of Timberlake hiking boots that fit great and that were guaranteed to be waterproof. When winter hiking season came around I thought that I was all set, but they leaked like a sieve. Since I hadn’t saved the receipt I couldn’t make good on the guarantee. I ended up buying a second pair, also from Gander Mtn (Merrells, too). They’ve performed beautifully, but I maybe should have gone a half size smaller.

    Looking forward to your Hocking Hills photos. 🙂

  5. Reggie says:

    I too dislike shopping for shoes – when I finally find a pair that fits and that doesn’t chafe when I’m actually out walking or hiking, I am over the moon. Unfortunately, they are always so expensive that I can’t afford to buy a second pair as spare… and when the time comes to replace the original pair, they are no longer on the market, or they’ve changed the style, and the new version doesn’t fit anymore. I wish they wouldn’t keep changing the styles every season!

    • SallyK says:

      You would think shoe mfg would get the hint – we are all complaining about the same thing and every woman I talk to complains about the lack of shoe choices too!

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