Two years ago, I stood in an Adventure 16 store, a high-end travel gear shop, and gazed at the new shoes on my feet. I was about to leave for Thailand and knew that there would be a lot of walking in tropical heat and humidity. I needed some well-made, comfortable shoes.
For the previous twenty minutes, the footwear expert and rippling fitness guru at Adventure 16 put me, and his recommended Vasque shoes, through stress tests. There were measurements and re-measurements. I stood upon inclines and declines, I climbed stairs, hopped on gravel and simulated rock facing. After the battery of tests, I agreed with the shoe guy that these shoes were a perfect fit. They were comfortable and supportive. And now the only thing left to do was buy them. They were about a hundred bucks and while I miss the days of justifying cheap shoes, I have learned how important good shoe are for my feet, especially when traveling. If I am honest, the shoes felt great, but I was not wild about the way they looked. I suppose it is all a matter if taste.
So I looked over at the super fit, Mr. Active, shoe guy and said, “Well, you know, they are not the best looking shoes in the world." He looked down at his shoes on his own feet, which were the same brand that were now on mine before he looked back at me. It was clear he thought I was a complete idiot. He finally said, "I really don't know what you're talking about, but if you want to find some better looking shoes go take a walk around the store." With my misgivings about shoe attractiveness rattling around in my head, I took the shoes to the counter and paid for them.
My two weeks in Thailand were spectacular and never once did anyone around me make fun of my shoes. Over the last two years, I grew to love they way they looked and I wore them everywhere. I threw them away after wearing them daily and through adventures in ten different countries.
When I needed a new pair of shoes for an upcoming trip to Jamaica, I got another pair of Vasque. These were the mid-top style (Opportunist W/P Mid 7018) to support and cover up my skinny ankles.
I know I am supposed to provide intricate detail about how they make the shoes and talk about fibers, padding and other bits of information that shoe aficionados will appreciate, but I know nothing about any off it. For that information visit http://www.vasque.com/. What I do know is that these new Vasque are comfortable and I happily wear them daily again. I will also trust them in upcoming treks around the world. And as embarrassed as I am to say it, I think this new model is really good-looking.
Devin Galaudet is a professional travel writer and editor from Los Angeles. When he is not traveling or writing, or compulsively sitting in front of that damn computer, he enjoys books, cooking, staying upbeat, family and his newly sixth-graded, pixie-like daughter. His writing can be seen in the Huffington Post, Technorati, In The Know Traveler, TravelAge West and other travel-related sites. He hold a Master’s in Fine Arts in Creative Writing. For more about the author and being a travel writer visit his popular personal blog, Travel. Write. Live.