If the shoe fits…

July 12, 2008

About eight years ago I bought some really nice hiking boots. I don’t hike, but bought them to shovel snow at home and to do trail maintenance at mountain-bike destinations around Massachusetts. The boots were a size 9.5.

I should say the boots ARE a size 9.5 because I’m still using them and they have remarkably minimal wear for shoes that are this old. I have used them for hiking (once) and have also used them for trail maintenance (about 20 times or more) and now I’m using them as my scooter boots.

Please understand that I have size 10.5 or 11 feet and these boots have never fit correctly. So why do I keep wearing them?

Mostly because I’m hungry for attention and I’m cheap.

These boots, with GORE-TEX and made in Bulgaria, were only about $65. I bought them at the local EMS around the time my book came out. One reason was to generate good-will from the management of the store who had the option to carry my book in the store or let it languish with my publisher. And the second reason was because I was flush with cash from my advance.

By purchasing these boots I got the attention of the staff, got even more attention during my book signings, and got a great deal.

But I guess that doesn’t explain why these too-small boots are still regularly on my feet. That’s because I bought a scooter. Please keep up, there are no remedial reading lessons here at JeffCutler.com.

In purchasing a scooter I needed to have gear for riding. This gear consists of long pants, gloves, a helmet, an armored jacket and boots. Since I already owned perfectly good boots I didn’t rush out and buy motorcycle or scooter-specific boots. And now my feet are paying for it.

Where I used to wear these tiny boots about three times a season, now I’m wearing them at least five days a week. My hobbit feet bump the ends of the boots and are very happy when I take them off. It’s akin to taking off ski boots or peeling yourself out of wet jeans after you’ve been pushed into a vat of Jello at the local men’s club.

But I’m still puzzled. Am I so caught up in the need to appear young and have the same size 9.5 feet as I did in high school, or am I baring the Puritan values of my community and region by keeping pair of perfectly good shoes?

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind there floats the notion that these are bad boots. They hurt me, they don’t work as well as proper shoes would, and I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth out of them.

So I ask myself, “Are you so silly that you’re going to hang onto these stupid little boots? Or are you going to wake up and donate them to someone with a smaller foot and budget?”

Know how I respond?

“If the shoe fits…”