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Confessions of an Outdoor Shoe Junkie

It’s time to ‘fess up, REI fans. How many pairs of activity-specific shoes do you have in your closet? I feel like I have a lot, but I’m sure there are others who can top me.

Outdoor shoe collectionAs a guy, it’s slightly embarrassing to talk about my footwear collection. My wife has called me “Imelda Marcos” on more than one occasion (young folks, look her up). There's no denying I have a fair number of shoes. But I’m not even a hard-core enthusiast (I own no climbing shoes, for example).

Here’s what I found:
• REI Spirit backpacking boots: All leather, worn mostly in chilly conditions.
• Columbia insulated boots: For snowshoe outings or the rare snowy day in Seattle.
• Montrail hiking boots: I’ve put a lot of summer miles on these (hmm, time for new ones?)
• Asics running shoes: My newest pair—love these!
• Adidas running shoes (2 pairs): Until recently, these were my go-to running shoes. One is now my backup pair, the other is relegated to yard work.
• Garmont GTX cross-trainers: For day hikes in wet conditions.
• Shimano cycling shoes: I got these clip-in shoes last year for bike commuting.
• Salomon trail runners: I wear these when orienteering; my designated "mudders."
• Teva sandals: For water use; they double as camp shoes when backpacking.
• Teva flip flops: Mostly for beach or pool wear (does this count?).
• Keen Newport sandals: My warm-weather favorites.
• Keen walking shoes: Dressy enough for work or travel.
• Merrell walking shoes: Ditto for these. Super comfortable.
• Tecnica cross-trainers: OK, I just liked the way these looked.
• Nike basketball shoes: For the lunchtime hoops games at work (plus, I have a backup pair).

One observation: I am definitely not a “brand loyal” customer.

So, I count 17 pairs of sports-specific shoes, not including my Nordica ski boots. The count also does not include 2 pairs of casual sneakers, my motorcycle boots, a dressier pair of sandals, some slippers and, lastly, a forlorn pair of dress shoes that I dust off every now and again.

The scary thing is that I almost convinced myself to buy a new pair of Oboz cross-trainers last week (as an REI employee, we can score some pretty sweet deals).

Am I typical, or do I have a problem?

 

Posted on at 12:26 PM

Tagged: Cycling, Hiking, backpacking, footwear, imelda marcos and shoes

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Outdoor eXperience Review

haha...nope, I don't think you have a problem. At all! I've counted mine....and only have 5!! But then again, I don't play basketball :)

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Bruce Outdoors

15, but I am including a pair of dress shoes for outdoor advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill; now that's an activity we need to see more participation in. Outdoor Industry Association's Capitol Summit is coming up soon. See you here. Cheers, Bruce

Reply
semi-rad

I'm at 12, with 2 pairs of climbing shoes, and 2 pairs of mountaineering boots -- are we counting ski boots?

Reply
Whandsfield

19, and the thing is, if I set my mind to paring down, I'd only get rid of the duplicates, still leaving me with 12 or 13 pairs. The corollary to the many bike shoes would be to ask the question, "how many bikes do you have, and do they all get used?" (5, and at one time yes, but recently no)

1) 5.10 Climbing Shoes
2) Montrail Hiking boots
3) Montrail trail runners
4) Merrell tail runners (old)
5) Adidas SPD shoes
6) Vittoria SPD shoes (dressier)
7) Shimano SPD MTB shoes
8) Shimano Road bike shoes
9) New Balance runners
10) New Balance runners (old & demoted)
11) Vibram 5-Fingers Runners
12) Cowboy boots (functional for riding, not fancy)
13) Rainbow Sandals (new)
14) Rainbow Sandals (old for wet environs)
15) Rainbow Sandals (old & practically disintegrating)
16) Surfing/Diving Booties (for cold water)
17) Snowboard boots (stored elsewhere)
18) Body Surfing Fins (I'm counting these since I've spent more hours in them than many of my other shoes)
19) Body Surfing Fins (old/spare set)

Reply
wanderedinn

Running shoes X 2, hiking boots, court shoes, rock climbing shoes, road SPD, training SPD, water shoes, Teva sandles.

Reply
Andi_D

I have several pairs of Walking Cradles that are my everyday shoes that
I live in, great for short walks, up to a couple miles in the neighborhood. For longer walks and hikes I have a pair of Timberland boots that I adore and a pair of New Balance sneakers. I love them both. Really, that's all I need. Theoretically, you should replace shoes a minimum of every 500 miles. If I get too many pairs, I'll lose track, and I won't realize its time to replace them til foot pain makes it impossible to ignore how work down the things are.

This thread has reminded me that I am in severe need of new water shoes.

Reply
Dave in Boulder

For me, shoes for walking, shoes for working out, footwear for hiking, backpacking, camping booties, sandals for the beach, bicycle shoes (road, MTB), fencing shoes, snowshoe boots, ski boots, motorcycle boots (onroad, offroad, MX), rain boots, ice skates, rollerblades, and a silly pair of roller shoes in my size.

You're not weird.

Reply
Dave in Boulder

For me, shoes for walking, shoes for working out, footwear for hiking, backpacking, camping booties, sandals for the beach, bicycle shoes (road, MTB), fencing shoes, snowshoe boots, ski boots, motorcycle boots (onroad, offroad, MX), rain boots, ice skates, rollerblades, and a silly pair of roller shoes in my size.

You're not weird.

Reply
COthrunthru

8 pairs of intended-for-outdoor-adventuring type shoes.

Montrail climbing shoes, chacos, keens, teva watersport shoes, north face sandals, merril hiking boots, north face snow boots, trail running shoes... I won't even get into the others for work and casual.

And now I feel like the stereotypical American with waaaay too much stuff. I can't imagine how many people wish they had just one pair of shoes. *goes to get some TOMS*

Reply
Hike Far Enough

I work hard to keep my number of shoes down. I have 1 pair of trail runners that I use as either a light hiker or around town sneaker, 1 pair of vibram fivefingers for running, 1 pair of salomon lightweight backpacker boots that I use year round, and some sandals for camp shoes. If I get a new pair of anything, I either donate or toss the old pair... I have a total of 8 pairs of shoes including work/dress shoes. I am told this is odd, especially for a girl, but I hate having collections. I also clean out my closet every 3 months and donate as much as I can. But I have to say it. You have more shoes than a girl. :)

Reply
Weburn

Let's see...

Vibram Five Fingers KSO for lifting / kayaking.
Saucony running shoes
Boots for hiking (god I need to replace these)
Snowboard Boots
New pair of rock climbing shoes (thanks REI Dividend!)

...hmm... guess that's it. Oh well... I prefer barefoot anyway :)

Reply
kgibson

2 x running shoes (one trail, one road)
VFF Treksports
2x cycling shoes (road, mtn)
flip-flops
2x hiking shoes (low top, high top)

Total= 10

doesn't include work/casual shoes.

I have a problem. However, when a new pair comes in, an old pair gets donated.

Reply
ThankGod4KeSha

1)Salomon trail running shoes x2, one gore tex one not. 2)La Sportiva hiking boots. 3)Merrell mountaineering boots. 4)Merrell Hiking shoes. 5)Keen dressy shoes x2. 6)Dansko girly shoes because lets face it, they are the best shoes to wear if you stand for 10 hours a day. 7)La Sportiva Katana climbing shoes 8)Scrarpa climbing shoes that I've worn less than 10 times because they hurt too bad and I still own them because they were so damn expensive I can't justify getting rid of them. 9)Olu Kai flippy flops x2 for Hawaii, one fancy and one for the beach. 10)Snowboard boots. 11)Tele boots. That makes 15 pairs of shoes with a purpose... I might have a problem but I'm going to pretend I didn't just count them all...

Reply
IndyHikerchick

12 and counting: Two pairs of saucony running shoes, some five fingers and nike sandals for "creek crossers", Asolo hikers, merrell low top hikers, two pair of chacos, scarpa climbing shoes, winter snowshoeing boots, rossi ski boots, and some casual merrells for town. I am a gear junkie all around, so the plan is to get some heavier mountaineering boots and some trail runners soon.

Reply
Connor VZ

I never seem to through my shoes out unless they are totally unwearable. I am moving across the country soon so I am actually excited to get rid of almost all my shoes, and much of my clothing.

I have been looking to buy some minimalist running shoes like Vibrams or something similar as well as do more rock climbing.I don't want to buy 2 more pairs of shoes to take across the country, and Iam a college student so I cant afford that either. So I have two questions.

1. When looking at shoes for minimalist running, what is the benefit of the Vibrams with individual toes vs. something like the Merrell Trail Glove that looks more like a traditional shoe?

2. Would one of these shoes (and which one) do well as a beginner/moderate rock climbing shoe?

Reply
Connor VZ

I never seem to through my shoes out unless they are totally unwearable. I am moving across the country soon so I am actually excited to get rid of almost all my shoes, and much of my clothing.

I have been looking to buy some minimalist running shoes like Vibrams or something similar as well as do more rock climbing.I don't want to buy 2 more pairs of shoes to take across the country, and Iam a college student so I cant afford that either. So I have two questions.

1. When looking at shoes for minimalist running, what is the benefit of the Vibrams with individual toes vs. something like the Merrell Trail Glove that looks more like a traditional shoe?

2. Would one of these shoes (and which one) do well as a beginner/moderate rock climbing shoe?

Reply
KevsVeganGal

Connor, Check out the new article on minimalist shoes in the Expert Advice section. Very informative! I think of Vibrams as "gloves" and the Merrell's as "mittens" for my feet! They both are comfortable and both work great! It boils down to preference for the most part. My advice, go into REI and try them both on to see which one feels better. As for rock climbing, I have to defer to someone who's a rock climber.

I love my Fivefingers though!

Reply
Connor VZ

Thanks KevsVeganGal,
That is a good article, and I like your gloves/mittens analogy. I can't see the Vibrams being ineffective for rock climbing if they are comparable to "gloves."
Also, I feel like an idiot for misspelling throw. Who mixes that up with through past grade school, haha.

Reply
KevsVeganGal

I think it's worse when you are a REI employee BECAUSE of the sweet deals! :-) I own 5 pairs of Vibram Five Fingers, 3 pair of the new Merrell barefoot shoes, plus about 5 pairs of Keens, a few pairs of Chacos, 3 pairs of hiking boots (light to heavy) and I'm sure there's a pair or two of Tevas in there also! Not to mention all my "girlie" shoes too!

Aren't you glad you aren't alone? :-)

Reply
Brycecicle

People wil say plenty of things but as long as you have room for them I don't see a problem. You really can never have enough pairs of shoes. Maybe might give to charity some time or have a friend in need or maybe all the shoe company's close, and people can't buy shoes anymore. haha all your friends won't be laughing then.

Reply
Special Forces

You've got me there! I actually have a worse problem than you! At 24 pairs and counting... My wife has taken to calling me a shoe junkie! But, with thru-hiking, short range local hikes, sports, work (where one needs to wear boots to match specific weather uniforms etc...). They can certainly add up quickly! Especially when it comes to boots! One may need a different pair based on temperature, carrying loads, terrain, wet/dry/snowy conditions, ankle support, comfort, and on and on and on.... I have yet to find a pair of "all around" boots that'd do it for every condition... But if they made one or two which would cover, for example hot weather (all terrain), cold weather (all terrain).. I'd be standing in line to get them! Hope there's help for me soon!

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