My Quest for the Perfect Hiking Boots

“You’re such a girl,” exclaimed the rather condescending employee at a sporting store famous for their particular brand of boots.  Why yes, yes I am.  And, if that means that wanting not only functional but also cute hiking boots is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

B at the top of the mountain in Sonoma.

B at the top of the mountain in Sonoma.

One month prior to the above incident, I took my first hike in the Sonoma section of California.  I was skeptical about how much I would really enjoy a three-mile jaunt up and down a local mountain, but loving a good deal (aka free stuff) I couldn’t pass up the complimentary hike included at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.  I was pleasantly surprised at how great of a workout it really was, but truly shocked about the sense of peace and accomplishment I had once I reached the top of the mountain.  Something about this experience just clicked with me, and I excitedly told my husband that we would have to do more of this once we got home to the East Coast.

When it comes to basically any event, I like to dress the part – whether it be wearing the local team’s cap at a baseball game on vacation or rocking my Fabletics gear at CrossFit each week; hiking is no exception.  However, understandably, B wanted to make sure this was something I would stick with before I went to town at the local sporting goods store, and he encouraged me to use my much loved Nike Free’s in the interim.  I’m admittedly a Nike Free addict – recently getting my fifth pair in the last year and a half (seriously, though, the blue and neon green camo print made them a necessity, right?) – but found the flexible, light weight of the shoe somewhat limiting during my weekly hikes.

Can't wait to break in these new Free's... at the gym, that is.

Can’t wait to break in these new Free’s… at the gym, that is.

My Free’s were great to run up hills, but going over rougher terrain or working my way down a sharp decline was made slightly more precarious without the proper footwear.  So, after waiting a month, and doing all the trails at the local State Park, I decided it was time to find a pair of hiking boots, especially since fall and winter weather is quickly approaching.  My Free’s will still feature heavily in my regular rotation, just more at the gym and as weekend wear.

I figured, how hard could it really be to find a cute pair of hiking boots?  Women hike all the time (e.g. the popular hashtag on Twitter #hikelikeawoman), so there had to be a company who catered to the fashionably fit female population, right?  All I wanted was a comfortable, water-proof, cute pair of boots that I could wear both on the trails and in the winter when it snowed.  After hours of researching boots online, and no less than 4 trips to various sporting good stores, I was feeling pretty frustrated.   That’s when I stumbled into the famous boot store looking for help, and was met with the “girl” comment that I’m sure the employee thought was funny.  My experience was only downhill from there, and I left ready to give up on my quest.

However, yesterday was my birthday, and while running errands to prepare for the weekend I happened to come across an Eastern Mountain Sports store right next to the craft store I was visiting.  I thought, “what the heck” and decided to take a quick peek inside.  Cue the harp music as I set eyes on these beauties.

I'm thinking of switching in red laces for a pop of color!

I’m thinking of switching in red laces for a pop of color!

Dark brown, simple, water-proof, and very cute with thick socks and skinny jeans, if I do say so myself.  The employee helping me answered all of my questions and didn’t once make me feel bad for having high standards when it came to my footwear.  He said the price was $180, and after a quick deliberation, I was ready to invest.  But, lo and behold, as a bonus birthday surprise to me (thank you, Universe) I happened to pick a pair of boots on clearance and they rang up at only $79!  If I wasn’t in love with them before (which I was), that definitely sealed the deal!

I guess the moral of my story is to not compromise when it comes to something that is important to you.  Yes, I could have bought boots weeks ago that would have been perfectly fine, if not ugly.  But if I had, I would have been miserable every time I put them on.  Now, having waited for the perfect pair, I know that I will be excited for each hike.  When it comes to fitness, if looking good makes you want to do it, isn’t that priceless?

xoxo – SavvySleever

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