|Skiing Shifted My View of Expensive Footwear|
This post isn't really about Imelda Marcos, though it turns out the lady who was famous for her collection of over 2700 pairs of shoes DOES have some bike connections. For one, David Byrne (yes, the one who rides around on a bike and makes observations about what he's seen) wrote about Imelda. For another, there is at least one bicycle dedicated to her. However, Imelda, or at least her interest in shoes, IS the inspiration for this post, and both Cafiend of Citizen Rider, and Jason of The Plano Cyclist, pushed the shoe fascination into full blown flower. The always excellent Cyclelicious Blog provided inspiration for the title.
|Found on the Internet|
Some of this shoe frenzy was prompted several years back when I learned to ski. At that time, I weighed about 90lb more than at current, but I still wanted to learn how to ski. As I told the ski instructor, "I want to learn to ski well enough that I can ski down the blue square slopes with my kids." Well, that's a whole different saga and a lesson in unintended consequences involving terms such as "tucking trees," but I found that the second hand boots I'd bought made skiing almost impossible. So I doubled down and went out and spent $300 for the rather ordinary boots you see in the photo above.
Back to the subject at hand, Cafiend piqued my interest in the linked post above when he talked about "Snow Sneakers" that were made by North Face. Well, as it turns out, there is a whole subculture of what purport to be waterproof shoes, some of which are also insulated. The old wheels started turning and it occurred to me that such a beast would be PERFECT for my commute, because it really doesn't get really cold, or really wet all that often here in North Texas, and even in Washington that is true (it DOES drizzle a lot there, but it doesn't pour very often at all).
First, I perused the North Face Snow Sneaker. These beasts run about $100 and LOOK a lot like the Chrome shoes that Justin recently blogged about except they don't accept cleats. For a dozen or so rides a year, I'll forgo cleats. My pedals work as platforms OR with cleats anyway.
Then, entirely by coincidence, Chandra called. Pretty soon, we were chatting like Imelda and her friends about shoes. It turns out Chandra has another variant on the "Snow Sneaker" called "trail runners." His were made by Salomon, though I initially thought he'd said "Solomon." Salomon! Why they made the bindings on my skis! Pretty soon, I was coming across many different kinds of shoes that might work very well for the unusual cold and wet days we get on occasion around here.
I don't think I want a full on hiking boot, because I value ankle flexibility when I'm riding my bike, so I've ruled out some of those. I'm also thinking I want something a bit on the big side, as well as waterproof and comfy with regular socks down to about freezing. My theory is those would work in many conditions and I can still add wool socks and toe warmers if it ever actually gets down to zero Fahrenheit ( a real rarity in both North Texas and in Western Washington. In addition, while I might have paid $300 once for those ski boots (and it was money well spent), I think these shoes should be more affordable. Like in the $100 ballpark, though I've looked at $200 shoes that have spd cleat mounting. Those come from Shimano, Lake, and other manufacturers.
Some that look intriguing include:
- North Star Snow Sneaker II or III
- Salomon Contragrip and Deemax 2
- Merrell Winter Moc
- Koling AIR Hiking Shoes (like hiking boots, but cut lower)
- and a WHOLE HOST of others! Adidas makes 'em, Nike makes 'em. Keen makes 'em.