It’s almost time to say goodbye to my hiking shoes. They’ve served me well the last three years — plenty of walks from my apartment to my job at the college and around NYC. They got plenty of use in Panama because lightweight, breathable hiking shoes feel amazing in the heat and humidity of the rainforest, though they won’t protect you in case a snake decides to bite you.
I will miss my Columbia Techlite hiking shoes when it comes to time to throw them away. The soles are wearing thin from overuse. I did a lot of hiking in Japan, particularly up Mt. Oyama. But they still have some life left. More importantly, these are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned.
The fact that they’re ridiculously lightweight and have a breathable mesh makes these shoes more comfortable than most — I can easily hike for miles without getting too tired. Even though the rest of my body was rather tired, my feet felt great after hiking about eight miles through Mt. Tamalpais State Park in California. The insole is also well cushioned for less stress on the foot.
Before departing on my current journey through Asia, I contemplated buying another pair of the Columbia shoes. I decided I could live without carrying another pair in my suitcase. I didn’t expect to do quite so much hiking in the Tokyo region though. It doesn’t help that I’ve been walking more than five miles a day in Ho Chi Minh City. Now it looks as though I might have another month or two of long walks before this pair of shoes is retired.
These hiking shoes didn’t last nearly as long as my Red Wings, but they also cost less than half the price. I certainly got my money’s worth out of these shoes.
As a side note, I’ve had a lot of people in Ho Chi Minh City try to sell me on a shoe shine for these shoes that I doubt could really be shined. A Canadian expat told me I’d be surprised what they can do with a toothbrush, but I still think it’s absurd to try to clean a pair of shoes that’s made of rubber and plastic.