Early morning ramblings.
Until about 5 years ago it never occurred to me to have more than one of anything. One day sack, one cag, one pair of boots and so on. I managed to hill walk for 35 years like that, and lived to tell the tale. My first walking boots, purchased at the age of 11, were "Spanish Fell Boots" which cost 30 shillings. They were a sort of felty material. They were extremely comfortable but completely unsuitable for UK hills, and probably for Spanish Fells, too. Then I graduated to "Tuff Work Boots" at about a fiver a pair, and I was 18, and in the University Mountaineering Club, before I splashed out at Christmas 1975 for my first "real" mountaineering boots, made by Dolomite. They cost me about twenty two quid and I was really proud of them. These were incredibly heavy and durable, and they did me for well over 20 years, not getting much use after university as I pursued my career in the south of England. After these, when I first moved to the Lakes, I found a pair of boots I really liked - the Zamberlan Alpin Lites - which were a sound 3 season boots but which also took my articulated crampons (Salewa, purchased in 1977). I used these Zamberlans until they wore out, then got another pair, and later another. Same size, same model. Manufacturers these days never keep a product going for so long before they feel the need to "improve" it.
Then I bought a slightly lighter pair of boots for summer, and a heavier pair for winter, before moving about two years ago also to use trail shoes, and I have worked my way through a number of pairs of these, each a different make or model, but sometimes I still go out in boots.
What's the point of this? Well I went on an easy 6 mile country walk earlier this week in trail shoes and had sore toes by the end of it. And a couple of weeks ago I had sore ankles after a day in boots on the fells. And these minor niggles are common these days. So it set me to wondering. Is it me getting older and / or softer and / or more prone to minor injuries and / or less tolerant of discomfort, or is it the lack of consistency in my footwear? Who knows? And who cares? Well I do. Before any walk nowadays I never know what it's best to wear on my feet. I even wore boots the other day but had some trail shoes in the bottom of my pack in case the boots hurt. Crazy. So I might pop out to Millets later and see if they still sell Spanish Fell Boots....