My Cinderella Moment at REI

It bears repeating–I am not a thru-hiker or a backpacker. My longest hike ever was 11 miles, but I typically do 4-6 miles for hikes. Because of this, I have always used hiking shoes–I love my North Face Hedgehog GTX XCR IIIs that I’ve had for years. The terrain on hikes I do is rarely rocky enough for me to be concerned about my ankles, and I usually only hike in the sunshine anyway, so boots didn’t seem necessary. However, with an upcoming camping trip to Crater Lake and Bend coming up, I thought it was time to graduate–to hiking boots.

Now, this decision was mildly fueled by alcohol. I had lunch at a German pub in Seattle, Feirabend, that may have included a liter of the Hofbräu Delicator. Feirabend just happens to be two blocks from REI’s main Seattle store, so when the boyfriendo suggested we pop into REI and look at hiking boots, I did not need much convincing.  REI’s women’s boots ranged in price from about $100 on sale to well over $300, which I felt was excessive for someone as casual of a hiker as I am. So I grabbed three pairs and went to trying them on, cheapest to most expensive, and testing them out on the fake rocks in the store.

The Impact Brake System is designed to not only improve traction but also reduce impact–great for my flat feet and creaky knees!

If you are new to hiking boots, it is an odd feeling to have your ankle bound so tightly. The first two pairs I tried on felt…fine. I assumed the strange, uncomfortable tightness was just due to the foreign sensation of something bound around my ankle. However, the third pair of shoes gave me a full-on Cinderella moment. I only had to stand up after lacing them before declaring they were the winner. I don’t know if I felt like I was walking on velvet or memory foam, but man oh man, it was cushy. My ankles were supported but did not feel constricted.  I knew they’d keep me going for miles on end! It doesn’t hurt that they are beautiful to look at too! The winner was the La Sportiva Nucleo. I have already worn them snowshoeing and my feet stayed warm and dry (thank you, Gore-Tex). Now I just have to get used to lacing them!

The two wool flanking the CoolMax to wear in hotter temperatures.

With graduating from shoes to boots, I also had to move on to tall hiking socks. Darn Tough is the gold standard for quality and durability, so I got a couple pairs of their micro crew and one Coolmax pair for those extra-warm summer days.

While I still will use my trusty North Face shoes on some hikes, I am so ready for this summer and the tan lines that come with hiking boots and crew socks. Do you remember when you graduated from hiking shoes to hiking boots?

4 Replies to “My Cinderella Moment at REI”

  1. These are amazing. I have a link about how to find hiking gear and info from 5 highly experienced hikers and outdoors experts. Would you like to link it or nah? I love your blog and I don’t want you to be like “I hate this girl” lol. Anyway, those boots look kickass!

    1. Sure, anything is helpful! I sometimes get intimidated by those hikers who have done the whole PCT though…I’m much more casual!

  2. I bought this brand in a trail shoe for my Costa Rica trip. I wanted something lighter than my hiking boots for that trip. Super comfortable but I have not done a very long hike in them yet.

    1. I really like mine, but have done a max of 6 miles in them.

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