I promised this review a long time ago. My only excuse is that the delay has made it an even better review… (Teal Deer at the end of the post.)
This isn’t about books. It’s about boots. Specifically, the Danner Vicious I bought in March for work purposes. Before making this investment – I paid more for these boots than I have ever spent on any single item of garb including wedding dresses – I did a bit of research. One part of that was asking for recommendations on social media, and the comment thread on facebook was epic. Thanks, belated, to all who contributed there, I was able to get a feel (heh!) for what would work for me. See, different brands fit feet differently.
I’m not a tall… ok. I’m a short woman, even relative to average female height. But I have what some would call a solid understanding – I have big feet, relative to either sex. I wear a size 11 woman’s shoe, and a 10.5 men’s, usually. Brands vary. My feet are not narrow, either. So!
What I needed for work was fairly specific. I work most of the time in a lab, with a fair amount of butt in chair in front of a computer. While closed toe shoes are absolutely the rule at work – no one likes acid drips on their skin – safety toes are not, necessarily. Except… my job also entails a bit of time in the plant collecting environmental samples. And in there, I have to have the whole shebang: safety shoes with non-static soles. Given I also enjoy hiking, and was wearing my beat-up hiking boots to work most of the time anyway, I wanted something along that line for work. There are safety shoes that look like sneakers, and some of my coworkers favor them, but I’ve worn boots most of my life and I’m comfortable with them.
I also didn’t want boots that needed a daily polish. When I’m sampling, I’m frequently in water, standing, crouching, and climbing ladders. When I wear them hiking I kick rocks, sticks, and try to avoid the poo. My boots needed to look decent without fuss and bother. Knowing all this going in, I knew more or less the style I wanted – an ankle-high hiking boot. I didn’t want a tall boot because most of the time I don’t need it, and it was a comfort issue. I didn’t want a low-quarter shoe because I do have a wonky ankle (don’t sprain it badly, then attempt to run competitively not once, but twice, within six weeks. Twenty odd years later and it still sounds like it has gravel in it when I rotate). In the epic comment thread, my concerns over steel toes were allayed by finding out that composite toes are perfectly acceptable, and much more comfortable especially in winter.
So I bought the Danners. At slightly less than $200 they were expensive, but I figured that good boots, with moderate wear, would last me for years. I’m going to digress a little here. I’m talking more about work than I usually do, since it is the reason I got the boots. I really love my job, for many reasons. It’s mentally challenging, but physically? Not usually. I work M-F and get home at a reasonable hour. It had been that way for about a year when I ordered the boots. No sooner had I gotten them than April happened. April was a weird month. I worked all of April. And by all, I mean every single day that month, and every day was spent at least partly in the plant pulling samples. The boots got a trial by, um, water and chemicals. No fire involved, although there was steam. Lots of ladders.
Now? it’s been six months since I first put them on. I lace them up every weekday morning, and every evening, I remember to take them off shortly after I come home. Not because they are bothering me, but I prefer to be barefoot when I can. The boots are incredibly comfortable and supportive. The tops were very stiff when I first received them, and had I not plunged into April, I might have had trouble with them, as they were biting one of my Achilles’ tendons hard. But they broke in after about 10 days of constant wear and now fit perfectly. Some of the plastic decorative bits aren’t terribly secure – one of the lace protectors popped up within a couple of weeks – but I pressed that back into place and it stayed put. That didn’t affect the construction of the boot, though.
I’d buy them again, but you’ll note that they look almost new still, after half a year. I anticipate years of foot protection from them. And they look good with jeans. I’ve hiked in them, and the hiking sandals (my other great shoe purchase this year) and they promise to be great for that – it’s been too hot, and I’ve been too busy for much hiking. Anyway!
TL:DR I’m happy. I highly recommend them. I used a lot of words to say that, but seriously, these are boots to wax lyrical over.