I have let a few things languish in the back forty of life lately, this blog being one of them. I shall attempt to remedy my silence with a new entry about an impulse buy I have yet to categorize as good or bad.
A year or so ago I ogled at the shoe and boot choice on J Crew’s Website (On a side note: the boots in question are not available on the website). While scanning from item to item what should my wandering eye spy?
A moc-toed vision in oiled leather and Vibram. Something snapped in my brain. A breaker blew out, frying the fuse to my practical reasoning center leaving me exposed and vulnerable to allure of the Goodyear welt construction. I had to make them mine.
I’ll start with the issues first and finish on the high notes. Buying shoes on the internet is a gamble. The variables of fit are left to chance. I’ll elaborate: I am cursed with feet a half-size apart with the shorter being slightly wider. Top off the issue with my shoe size: 12. Dainty is not a word used to describe a size 12. Size 12’s are akin to the Ford Super Duty, built for business, a giant awash in a sea of sub-compacts.
Going to the Red Wing store near you will start with a conversation about fit, size, sock, width, activity and other questions to size you up. The sales clerk will bring out a smattering of examples to test your fit. After honing the details, you can walk out knowing you have made the right choice. Buying on the internet is as follows: get box: nice boots, put in the laces: nice laces, try the boots on: F%$&, these boots are big, get thicker socks: S&%!, these boots are big and so on and so on.
I have found a mix and match of socks and inserts that accommodate the inevitable stretching of the leather with use. Wearing the boots for over a year now, a subtle understanding between boot and man is developing. The leather ages with use, each scuff tells a tale of work, leisure, and big pimp’in. The boot oil darkens the leather with complexity and highlights the subtle tonal inflections of the hide’s grain.
The boots are comfortable without an insert. The distinguished Moc Toe hangs out in front of my draping jeans like the prow of a schooner. I have spent the day tramping up and down the banks of rivers fly rod in hand. I have spent the day behind my desk. I have walked in rain, snow, and everything between. Wrenched on the motor bike, rode the bike and helped my daughter learn to ride a bicycle. My boots have not let me down, not even hot spot on the ball of the foot. Like I said, it is long-term relationship. Commit with care and seek professional help before setting off into the wild blue yonder.