Curvy Kili Crew – Spring Shopping
by Kara Hardman
Hiking Boots & Socks Preparation
With spring approaching, we are getting ready for a big hiking year. We have been thinking a lot about gear and the top of our list is hiking boots and their fluffy partners, socks! We have been juggling several questions including… When should we buy our boots for the hike? How many miles do we need on our boots before we take off? How do the boots fit? What type of socks do we need for each situation? Does everything need to be waterproof or does it need to be breathable? And the most difficult, where do we get this equipment?
Being thick, curvy, bodacious bodied ladies we often have issues with our hiking shoes being wide enough while still maintaining the length we need. A regular shoe can sometimes be too small in width which causes blisters and an uncomfortable experience. We have to be on the lookout for wider shoes that also can adjust to the swelling or shrinking of traveling feet.
Since we are not experts, we have taken to the internet and our local shoe stores to educate ourselves on the complications of hiking footwear. We have found hundreds of different brands, features, sizes, weights, colors, and costs for hiking boots. You can get a serious case of analysis paralysis trying to make your choice. Though we faced the scary situation of buying the wrong boots, we had to take the leap. We made decisions based on our best judgment and crossed our fingers that they would work.
We took off hiking in our new boots, a little bit at first to break them in and are increasing mileage as we move into the spring. What we have found is that the experience and use of the boots have become the most reliable knowledge. The blisters, rubbed areas and wet feet from trekking through the mud have been the best way to learn what we need on our feet for this year and for the big trip. We have noticed that all feet and comfort levels are different and what one-person needs doesn’t necessarily extend to the next person. We pray the selection of other equipment does not end up as painful as the boots but are thankful for the knowledge those blisters and rubbed spots have provided. We can only hope our struggle to get it right beforehand will lead to happy feet on Kilimanjaro.