17.04.2012 - 27.06.2012
The shoes were the first thing to buy on our list. Luckily for my personality, Cuernavaca, Mexico, the town where I currently live, doesn’t offer much to choose from. There’s a store or two downtown and a few ridiculously overpriced places at the mall that have hiking boots. We scoured amazon.com and other websites before committing to the poor selection in Mexico, realizing that the prices are pretty much the same. The word “hike” in English translates to “to walk up” in Spanish, and at least here in Cuernavaca, women are known to “walk up” just about everywhere in a pair of heels. It wasn’t until we said we were going to Machu Picchu that shoe store owners finally understood.
So what shoes do you wear on a two month trip that’s going to take you from winter to the tropics, beaches to mountains and sea-level to the highest navigable lake in the world? I’m slightly against the backpacking stereotype of zip off pants, Nalgene water bottles (yes, I know they’re fabulous) and Northface everything (again, I know it’s awesome, I must be jealous or something). I just feel like, how the heck are you going to even pretend to fit in to a culture if you look like you came out of a Nickelodeon family vacation movie?? But I was told by everyone that the shoes were essential, so I went back and forth between the two stores downtown, driving store owners mad, until I finally made a decision.
I got a pair of Merrell boots (for men, might I add) with Vibram soles, what “professionals” wear, as recommended by my aunt and uncle who hike on a monthly basis. Who knows if the style I chose was actually good or not, but once I started breaking them in I decided it was the best decision after buying the plane ticket. I have dainty, weak ankles, and knees that pop and crack like I’m 85, so I got boots that covered my ankle and that basically felt like I was wearing a pillow on my feet. Pillow-like wasn’t helpful the first few days when I knocked over dog food bowls and kicked potted plants, and tripped down the stairs several times. Once I got the knack of it I was skipping up and down our cobblestone road and jumping through mud puddles. Boy these shoes are FUN.
I decided, although I may change my mind in the next week, because that’s what I do, to bring two other pairs of shoes. I’m bringing my sexy Johnny Depp pirate boots, in case I possibly get a job interview or want to look less mannish, and of course, a pair of flip-flops. I still say that flip-flops are the best shoes in the world; they have yet to fail me. If you’re still on the fence about getting hiking boots for a backpacking trip, don’t think twice. They don't look half bad with a dress.