Monday, October 22, 2012

The Great Sandal Hunt of 2012

I don't buy shoes until I've completely worn out previous pairs. Some people think "wearing out shoes" means that they start to look worn. Not me. I prefer to wear them out until the soles are absolutely gone. I've had a pair of boots where I wore out the outer sole and the steel shank fell out while walking in the office.

With that in mind, my shoes from the 2006 Coast to Coast walk completely fell apart, leaving me with no shoes. The running shoe replacement was fairly easy: walk into a New Balance store and I left with the M730. They're light and fit really well, no problems.

Sandals are a bigger problem. Teva sandals were ruled out. They leave the toes exposed, but mostly have quality control issues: you'll never wear out the sole of a Teva because the velcro straps die first. I also had a pair of Tevas where the sole separated completely from the bottom of the shoe. They definitely didn't get so much wear that I felt that sort of failure mode was justified.

My wife loved her Keens, so I first tried a pair of Keen Turia Sandals. Ouch. I found out why they were on closeout: the heel strap on the Turia are so high that they cut into my Talus. These were the most painful shoes I'd ever experienced so I immediately returned them.

REI had a pair of Teva Churniums on closeout, and they looked a lot like the Keens, but but they were narrower. One size was too narrow, but the next half-size up was too loose lengthwise. So that was a disappointment. I finally gave up but my wife reminded me that her Keens were really good. I looked at her Keen Venice H2's, and discovered that unlike the Turias, the heel strap was low enough not to cut into the Talus.

I found a pair of Keen Newport H2s, and indeed, they fit perfectly. I'm always annoyed at how hard it is to find shoes. These aren't perfect. They work great without socks but feel just a bit cramped with socks. I can't seem to find them half a size larger, so I can only speculate what it'll be like if they were half a size bigger. In the mean time, however, these work very well, and in California, it never gets so cold that I need socks with these anyway. Recommended.
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