The boots that were meant to be

I have been a bit fickle with my choice of camino hiking boots. I have needed a new pair for each of my three caminos, and whilst they have all been ok, I have not wanted to buy the same model again. The first two pairs – Marmot and Merrell Moab ventilators, wore right down on the soles although the uppers remained in perfect condition. The third pair, Merrell Azura, were definitely not up to the task of walking over 1,300 kms and were completely worn out with holes in the uppers by the time I reached Finisterre.

boots

Meanwhile I had been recommended by someone who reads my blog (thanks Martin) to try the Ecco brand of boots in the ‘Biom Terrain’ style, made from Yak leather, which is stronger and lighter than cow hide. I tried them on in store but they weren’t very comfortable, perhaps a bit tight, although my feet are far from wide.

I did however feel much more comfortable in a different style, the Xpedition III which I finally purchased from Amazon Spain at a significant reduction from the Ecco website price of £155. Still, a considerable investment and I wasn’t actually over the moon with them. My foot is very comfortable in them, but the tongue is very bulky and digs into my ankle – I had to make an adjustment in order to wear them for any distance. It is impossible to know these things until you get them home and try them out, which is why some stores offer to exchange boots even after they have been worn. So I made the most of my new boots and wore them for a dozen or more long walks, not entirely happy with them, but fairly confident that ‘they would do’.

Ecco Xpedition III

Ecco Xpedition III

Then, on my last visit to the UK I took my customary trip to the local TK Maxx store. People either love or hate TK Maxx – a bit like Marmite. I am in the first category and have bagged some amazing bargains over the years. It is possible to seek out excellent quality items amongst the dross and usually at a very good price. I am always drawn to the footwear section where I have found some real beauties over the years (very many years!), but I have to say their selection of shoes has been most disappointing in recent years.

On this occasion however, something was calling to me – I could feel the pull from across the store. As I got closer to the racks of wildly varying styles of shoes, I could see right in the middle of the top shelf of the women’s size 7’s…a pair of Ecco Biom Terrain boots, just demanding that I pick them up and try them on. It was a Cinderella moment. They felt completely different to the pair I had tried previously, plenty of room inside and really comfortable and with a very neat unobtrusive tongue. I looked around the other shelves out of curiosity and found not one other pair – this was the only pair in the store and they were in my size and they were comfortable. I turned them upside down expecting to see my name written on the soles – it was obviously meant to be – a match made in heaven. And the best thing? The price! £49 – list price £170.

Ecco Biom Terrain

Ecco Biom Terrain

Oh, and by the way, I later discovered why they are more comfortable than the previous pair I tried. When I looked closely at the tags I noticed they were men’s boots and much roomier than the same size for women. I suppose I should have remembered that I am wearing men’s boots when I made such fun of David for wearing my knickers!

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino del Norte, Camino Ingles, Preparations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The boots that were meant to be

  1. tonyomalley65 says:

    I cannot walk far, spondylosis, but I go with you on the Camino.
    You write well and the photos are really lovely.
    I too am a fan of TK Maxx when in UK, that was a great find!
    Good Luck
    Tony-Torrox-Costa

    Like

    • magwood says:

      HiTony, thanks for your comment. I am making the most of being fairly fit, it is all too easy to take it for granted. It is so nice to have another ‘local’ following the blog – and I look forward to your company on my next camino.

      Like

  2. Janice Tyler says:

    Great news about the boots. I also love TK Maxx and have one on the doorstep here in UK. By the way this week here in UK Aldi’s have merino wool long sleeve t shirts if that is of interest to you.

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Thanks for the tip Janice. I’m still using the same merino t-shirts I bought for my first camino. Although, even at half price, they seemed ridiculously expensive when I bought them, they have turned out a great investment.

      Like

  3. I have been wearing the same pair of Ecco boots for the last 5 years and they are still going strong. I don’t walk the great distances that you do, but I imagine I do about 300 Kms on various Caminos each year, as well as bush walking around Perth.

    Like

  4. Ron Adam says:

    I have switched from boots to flexible, light trail runners. I’m wearing the New Balance Leadville 1210V2 model. They have Vibram soles that are great for hiking the rocky, scree trails above Nerja. They say a pound off your feet is like 10 pounds off your back and as I get older going lighter is my objective. Have you tried lighter trail running shoes on pavements and walking surfaces?

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Ron. I haven’t tried trail runners, although they are recommended by many experienced hikers. I feel I could do with a bit of ankle support. Perhaps if these boots don’t work out, it will be time to give a different style a try. Many thanks for your comment.

      Like

  5. Makes one wonder at prices when you can find something for £49 – list price £170. Amazing. It DOES pay to shop around. Glad you found a winner. 🙂

    Like

  6. Johanna redelinghuys says:

    so glad to see you are about to be “off” again. I am not able to do it, but in my imagination I am joining you all the way. So glad for you about the boots. I am always paying attention to boots on the shelves when I visit an outdoor shop when in town. I wish you well. a Quote from our (RSA) El Camino Calendar 2016: ” Be at peace with your pace” Regards, Johanna

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Johanna, lovely to hear from you again. I love that quote, as do many others who have read it. One to keep in mind as I set off on el Norte.

      Like

  7. Tony Rice says:

    I swear by Addias TerraX trekking shoes/boots. No blisters to date and the soles wear like iron.

    Like

  8. mary lynch says:

    Hi Maggie I wear men’s Asic runners all the time as I was blessed with a size 9 foot and usually women’s shoes only go to size 8. When I come back I shall have dainty size 6 feet and tiny hands!! It’s great to have you writing again. Loved Johanna’s “be at peace with your Pace”
    Love Mary xx

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Yes, Mary I have made a note of that quote – expect to see it again!
      I have always dreamed of dainty feet, but I guess if we tall ones had tiny feet we would risk overbalancing. And I always think how much higher high heels must feel on small feet – not that I wear them very often these days.

      Like

  9. Jenny Heesh says:

    What a gorgeous pair of boots Maggie! Ecco is such a quality, high-end brand, as you know, and to be able to buy them at such a bargain price is brilliant. I also really like it that they have the traditional lacing.
    Take joy in every step in your beautifully comfy and beautiful-looking new boots!
    Cheers – Jenny
    PS Johanna – I think we should make “be at peace with your Pace” a universal mantra! Wonderful!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Jenny. So nice to see your lovely face here on the blog. I am surrounded by camino friends here. I am just hoping that I get to meet you all one day.
      I shall be repeating to myself, and possibly to others ‘be at peace with your pace’ on a regular basis come camino time.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am walking on the same pair of HanWag walking shoes for about 8 years now, including our 2013 Camino. I had them redone with new soles late 2014. This was about half the price of new shoes and still completely broken in. Will do the same trick again as long as it is possible, really like this pair of boots and don’t want to go through the shopping and trying cycle for new ones!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi Peter. I must be really hard on my boots, although I wouldn’t have thought I am particularly heavy-footed. If these latest boots prove to be ‘the ones’ I will probably go down the route of new soles. There is nothing quite like putting on a pair of well worn-in boots.
      I have such fond memories of that first week of my first camino – I couldn’t have got off to a better start.

      Like

  11. kristaspurr says:

    I wore an older model of Ecco hikers on my Camino and was impressed with their support and durability. Good luck with them!

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Many thanks for your comment – I am really hoping these will be ‘the ones’ that stick around for a while and warrant new soles when the time comes.

      Like

I would love some feedback - tell me what you think.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s