About five years ago, I went into the Radical Edge gear shop in Fredericton, New Brunswick, looking for a new pair of hiking boots. I tried on several pairs of boots, debated things, and ultimately settled on a pair of Salomon Quest 4D GTX boots that I immediately started wearing everywhere.
And I mean everywhere. I lived in these boots. I broke them in a few weeks before my first trip to Iceland in 2011 and from that point on we were best friends. Inseparable. Every single expedition I did between 2011 and now, except for some winter ones in the Arctic, have been in those boots. They have protected me, softened my footsteps, kept me dry, and caught me when by all rights I should have tripped and fallen.
Well, there was that one time. I did go to Corsica in 2012 and wore a pair of trail runners on the plane. Air France lost my luggage and I ended up doing the GR20 without my buddies, and I paid dearly for it. Without getting too far into it, let’s just agree that tent repair tape does a horrible job at blister prevention.
But now, after thousands of kilometres of use, they are showing their age, and it was time to pick up a new pair. So, I marched right in to where it all began and bought the exact same boot. No questions asked. And now that I write this while wearing my new boots I can tell that this is the start of another long and beautiful friendship.
No one asked me to write this. I’m just doing it because I think that my old pair deserve some recognition one last time.
A friend of mine once wrote a post on Facebook about why some gear costs so much. “It’s worth it, that’s why”, was the reply. I don’t remember what I spent on those original boots, but I’m pretty sure that I got my money’s worth. Heck, if I worked out my cost per day use, I bet Salomon owes me money.
“It’s a pair of boots, who cares?” I hear, already. Yeah, maybe. But I’ll be damned if I can find it in me to relegate them to some back closet. They’ll stick around, or else maybe I’ll donate them to a local charity. There’s life in them yet, of that I am sure. Perhaps they will help some other soul find new adventures.