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JULY 2, 2008   

Boots, new & old

Two boots, one old, one new, look almost identicalThe heels of my hiking boots were so badly worn on one side that long walks became painful. In about two weeks we'll be hiking in the Swiss Alps. Something had to be done.

I tried, unsuccessfully, to have Wlady fix the worn-out heels of the old ones, but Wlady seems to be out of business. Considering my options, I decided to go back to Target where I bought the first pair and for $40 got identical boots. In the picture the boot on the left is new, the one on the right about two years old.

I feel guilty about treating boots as almost disposable items, but the economics are tough to resist. If the heels could have been fixed it would have cost me at least $20, probably more (I guess—haven't had shoes repaired in years).

Close-up of worn-out boot heelBetter quality new boots would have run me $80-200, and the two brands I tried on at Geiger's weren't comfortable at all. That, more than the cost, kept me from buying them and eventually led me back to Target. I remember when I bought the first pair that they felt great from the moment I put them on, and I've been satisfied with them up until recently when the heels went to hell.

I used to have a pair of better quality Rockport boots that were also very comfortable. The heels held up longer but after a few years the leather upper began to separate from the sole, a serious problem that made me think you don't always get what you pay for.

So even though in principle I feel like I should have spent more to get "better" boots instead of another pair from Target, my experience with cheap vs. expensive doesn't make that seem like such a good investment. Have you had similar or different experiences with hiking boots? Click the "Comment" link below to talk about them.

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