I have a pair of blue suede Solomon hiking boots. My pappy bought them for me nine years ago this summer, as I was preparing to spend a semester in Russia. I broke my foot earlier in the summer on a camping trip with the Kiersts, and I needed something sturdy and good quality while my foot continued to heal.
I wore them every day in Russia. I never did “hike” but they were the most comfortable walking shoe I ever found! They picked up the dirt of four different countries as I went from Russia into Scandanavia and the Eastern Block.
I wore them in college – trudging up the hill to class in the early morning snow. They were great in snow – never leaked.
I wore them every day on the Navajo Indian Reservation too. They have burns on them, scars, memories of nights in the desert playing “Flaming Soccor” beneath the hundred billion stars that you can only see when you live three hours from a town big enough to have a Wal-Mart.
I wore them across China. Starting in Beijing, they were on my feet as I traveled into the very heart of Asia, to Urumqi, where Wyatt and I spent another semester on grand adventure. They were on my feet when I slept out on the Great Wall of China, during a lightning storm.
I wore them the day Wyatt and I went and chose our first puppy, Cowboy. I wore them when Wyatt and I bought our first house. There are paint stains on them because I wore them when we fixed up that living room. I wore them when we went cabin hunting, and they were on my feet when I first saw Galleons Lap.
They have been through many adventures. They have crossed states and continents. Now they are old. The leather is separating from the rubber of the sole, and they leak at the slightest sign of dampness. The laces (still original) are frayed, and I don’t pull on them too hard anymore. The suede is varnished to a shine. I don’t wear them unless I’m actually hiking these days. Somewhere around our trip to Thailand Wyatt convinced me to try “sneakers” as walking shoes. But they have a special place in my closet. They have a special place in my heart.