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.
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!
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.