Following on from this post one of my Flickr friends commented “I like them. Are they comfy?”.
Originally intending to reply with a brief comment on Flickr, the words began to escape my grasp (no surprise there then… brevity’s never been my strong point) so I decided to post the reply here instead.
For most of my life (well, ever since I’ve been buying my own clothes that is) my boots of choice have been DMs (Dr Martens for those unfamiliar with the commonly accepted abbreviation).
They’re hard-wearing, resilient to all sorts of abuse, comfort-enhanced by their (innovative when first introduced) air-cushioned soles, incredibly non-slip on all sorts of surfaces, and when I’ve had the steel-toecapped version they’ve protected my feet from serious injury on more than one occasion.
Then, a few years ago, I changed my brand of choice (my DM vendor not having my size in stock) to Magnum… Magnum HiTops. Similar to the boots that some cops wear in fact.
Several people related to me their experience of Magnums during my time with them. In brief, that the boots weren’t very durable. But that didn’t match my experience. Apparently though Magnum market boots at two different price levels… cheap… and not cheap. And me being me (plus having the funds at the time with which to do it) I naturally had gone for the upper price level.
As a consequence of which my experience with them didn’t emulate that of my acquaintances.
The boots saw me right through protests at Aldermaston, the ’05 G8 protests in Scotland, the first Climate Camp in ’06, and sundry other events and camps until almost halfway through ’07, by which time I’d worn a hole through the bottom and they began to let in water. And they were comfortable to boot, so to speak. In fact, much more comfortable than DMs. Nor had they required any “breaking in”, proving themselves ultra-comfortable right from their first pulling on.
Then there was a brief hiatus where I found myself without decent footwear and no time to get replacements before setting off for the Earth First camp.
So I temporarily adopted a pair of old ex-Army boots that were knocking around. Bad move! The EF campsite proved to be in a clutch of fields that were somewhat less than level-surfaced and tramping around them for a week or so (plus visits to local hostelries etc for the mandatory “refreshment”) just about crippled me.
Consequently upon my return home it was with some urgency that I approached the task of getting some “proper” footwear… the urgency heightened by the imminence of other upcoming events I had in mind to attend.
But no Magnums available anywhere in town! Not the sort I wanted anyway.
Off to my local friendly camping supplies shop then, where I invested in a pair of Columbia hiking boots. Those that are recently deceased actually. Which proved themselves to also be ultra-comfortable and like the Magnums they required no “breaking in” but, alas, not very hard-wearing having demonstrated a lifespan considerably less than that of the Magnums.
And now, finally and laboriously, I get to the point of my Flickr friend’s question… “Are they comfy?”
Well, its a bit too soon to tell really. From which you can infer that they do require a bit of “breaking in”.
The feet certainly feel comfortable enough in them at first… but there are a couple of provisos.
The most noticeable thing about them is that their soles are a lot more rigid than those of the Columbias. That’s not necessarily a bad thing of course for certain types of activities.
Then there’s the ankle support/protection. The cuff around the top feels a tad on the stiff side, so after the foot’s been flexing a while it feels as though the boots are “digging in” around the upper ankle somewhat at the back and (more noticeably) the front. Given a bit more wear though this will probably resolve itself.
In fairness I haven’t yet done any significant walking in them… though I have a little trek coming up next week if everything goes according to plan.
So, if you’re really interested, check back with me in a coupla months’ time.
Now I ask you, who else would be daft enough to write 700+ words on the topic of footwear… on a photoblog?!!!