Sunday, August 28, 2016

Epilogue -- On My Boots

Many of my readers are understandably concerned about my boots.

Before departing for England in June, I examined my used boots, and brought with me a pair having sufficient tread to last 600 miles. Quite likely, they are the same boots I wore in 2014 during My Riparian Summer’s 600-mile walk in southern England. Foolishly, I didn’t examine the uppers or the laces.

I noticed the laces were badly worn on Day 1. I reinforced the laces with duct tape, but bought an emergency pair of laces in Grassington on Day 2. On Day 15, the upper on my right boot started to split, so I reinforced it inside and outside with duct tape. The exterior reinforcement peeled off almost immediately (as expected), but the interior reinforcement held tight. By Day 21, the split on the right boot was spreading though, and the upper of the left boot started to split.

Not wanting to replace the boots mid-hike, I mended both boots with glue on Day 23. I strengthened the mend on Day 32, and installed the new laces. The boots have held up well ever since. They now have at least 1,000 miles on them – perhaps 1,200 or more. They have performed well under difficult conditions, but have reached the end of their lives.

How does one retire a faithful pair of boots? Merely tossing them into a dumpster seems disrespectful. A dignified cremation might seem appropriate, but the Vibram soul (pun intended) may release toxic fumes. Tossing them into a shoe-tree would be wonderful, but the only shoe-trees I’ve seen are in America. I don’t think the shoe-tree fad has yet arrived in England, and these boots deserve to stay in England. I’ve decided to donate the laces and insouls (pun intended) to my other needy boots, and respectfully place the remains in a bin, hoping they end up in a landfill which someday will become a park or a golf course. The boots would like that.