“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” —Dr. Seuss
Last night on the way home from work, I dropped by our local REI to exchange the Lowa Boots for something that wouldn’t end up hobbling me the way they had. When I arrived in the shoe department and saw the same salesperson who had “assisted” me the last time I was there, my first thought was to leave and return another day. Fortunately, I spotted another salesperson who had been very helpful on one of my prior visits, so headed over and began trying on shoes.
I tried on about 10 pairs in all, starting with hiking boots but it was immediately clear that the high collar would be impossible for my Achilles. I tried several trail-running shoes including the Salomon XA Pro 3D, Salomon XA Comp 7, which, although very comfortable in all other ways, didn’t provide enough rigidity for the Winkle Picker’s Disease (otherwise known as hallux rigidus, which is also, but not quite as much fun to say as “Winkle Picker’s”) in my right big toe.
Finally, another salesperson encouraged me to try on hiking shoes, which, unlike the boots, have a low collar but much stiffer soles than the runners. I started with the Merrell Siren Sport 2 Waterproof shoe, which felt great, but I was concerned about the ventilation given that in all likelihood it will be very hot when I am doing the Camino.
After trying on a number of others, the winning shoe was the Merrell Siren Sport 2, in Elephant/Pink, size 11 (one size up from what I normally wear, to allow for swelling, although they seemed very close to my usual size 10). Looking now at the reviews on REI’s website, I see that this shoe only received 1.5 stars from the reviewers. Yikes! Well, time will tell.
NOTE: Read more about those shoes I ended up using on the Camino here.