The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 13 August 2007

Salomon XA Pro XCR

Starting with the first exciting occurrence of the weekend* (because getting new shoes IS exciting):

I got home on Thursday evening to find that Postie had paid heed to my note on the front door and left the parcel that was my new Salomon XA Pro shoes in the shed. Phew! No need to go barefoot on Friday.

Although I’d tried them on a couple of times before, I had been having last minute wobbles as to whether I’d got the right size. A quick try on (they looked so very sexy with my dark brown skirt suit!) allayed my concern.

The wobbles returned on Friday morning when I removed the tags and put them on with proper socks. Suddenly panic hit that maybe I’d bought half a size too small.

A walk around the garden (followed by a change of socks – the Smartwool running ones weren’t working at all), was enough to convince me that they were worth trying for the couple of days away, although just in case of a last minute change of heart, I did throw my boots into the car too.

It always happens when I have a new pair of walking shoes that I spend at least the first half an hour of the walk obsessing about whether they’re comfortable, whether they’re going to start chewing up my feet, whether they’re too big, too small, whether I got it expensively wrong.

The good news is that by the end of the day even though I had extraordinarily wet feet (and yet I’d bought the waterproof version and at no point did I step in water that went over the top of the shoe; I’m guessing that the soaked trouser bottoms in turn soaked my socks which in turn caused water to seep into the shoes), which later in the night turned into very cold feet, the first test of the shoes was declared a resounding success.

I had thought that Terrocs were made for my feet that that the Salomon may be a touch too neat across the toe. That turned out not to be the case at all. I now declare the Salomons to be even more comfortable than the Terrocs.

I’m still not sufficiently convinced by the ‘trail shoe = cold wet feet’ thing to use them for multi-day trips where wet terrain is likely, but for day trips and overnights it looks like they’ll do the job nicely**.

* Strictly, Thursday wasn’t the weekend, but given that I had taken Friday off work, I’m counting it as the weekend this week.
** That is to say that they’ll do the job nicely unless I’m planning on spending the night with wet feet standing around chatting, in which case something dry and very warm would definitely be a good plan. For single nights when I’m planning on spending the evening sitting in my sleeping bag, the cold feet problem is manageable and they’ll do nicely.

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