Back in the early days of this blog I mentioned how important it was to break in and test your boots before setting out on an extended hike. Rich Christiansen, our CEO (Chief Enthusiast of the Outdoors) passed on an old pair of boots to me that carried me through the whole of our trek in Nepal last fall. They were very comfortable, durable and lightweight, but over the course of unknown hundreds of miles of rugged mountain terrain the stitching on the uppers was coming undone and the traction on the soles was worn away. For the majority of miles on our hike over the uneven flagstones of the Khumbu that condition actually seemed to be an asset. The worn soles had more the effect of being like specialized rock climbing footwear that could get good traction on the varied surfaces.
However, my sure footing turned to a maddening debacle trying to even stay on my feet climbing the snowy and slippery base of Ama Dablam. That day was so rough that I scuffed up and unwound some sturdy stiches on the uppers. Once we got back home and we recovered and battle-damage assessed our equipment I saw that my boots were kind of ripped up and worn away, leaving them unserviceable without an overhaul. I did a little hiking about when I was in the Army before, and that’s when I learned to value my boots and to obsessively polish and maintain them. After so many road marches carrying a rucksack weighted down with batteries and training manuals the soles would scrape down to a little nub, but the Army was prepared for that.
On every base next to the dry cleaners (where you could get your BDU’s starched like industrial cardboard) you could count on finding the boot repair shop. Within a year the soles would wear away and you’d have to get a resole job, but most troops looked forward or even cheated and got it done early. The new soles, in various grades of cushion or durability, made the boots much more comfortable and durable than with the OEM materials. With this in mind I thought it would be great to get a new set of soles on the my beat up hiking boots that Richard gave me. This is where the plan unravels though, because the boots are so hi-tech that the soles a kind or morphed all the way up the sides and the meld in with the design of the uppers. The effect is that, although the boots originally cost hundreds of dollars US and the uppers could weather many season of grueling hikes, the soles are worn out and it seems there’s no way to restore them. I though about getting retreads on the old soles, but I can just imagine having a blow out the next time I get caught in the wrong conditions.backpack batteries hiking boots resole Trekking in Nepal