That would be “sole” and not “soul.” Yes, I was born in the 1940’s so I’m basically literate. Like my Keen sandals before them, my Alden boots are finally giving up the good fight. And like the Keen’s it’s the soles that are delaminating. In this case it’s the Vibram that’s giving way, and Vibram always claims to be indestructible.
I’ve written about my Alden boots before, they’re the boots made famous by Harrison Ford in his Indiana Jones movies. I love them, like I do my Keen’s, but when I spend that much money on something I expect top quality ($560 USD). So, yes, I am a bit disappointed. Primarily because they will find their way into the dumpster I suspect. If I were in the States I would pay to have them resoled, but here in South America that probably won’t happen. Which means I will have to buy a new pair of boots down here, and get rid of my Alden’s.
My boots have been everywhere. Polished and presentable they’ve been to the opera, ballet and 5-star restaurants. They’ve also been in the jungles of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Years ago, in my younger days, I had a pair of French Galibier mountaineering boots. Heavy, too narrow (built on a European last) and hot (except in snow). I always returned home crippled with blisters. Not so with my Alden’s. From day one my Alden’s fit like a soft leather glove, treating my feet to the luxury they deserved. Never a blister. I will miss you guys, I really will.
After four years on the road much of my original kit is starting to wear out, unfortunately. My safari and guide shirts from Cabela’s are still in pretty good shape, if a little stained and worn. My milspec BDU cargo pants from Propper are still serviceable, and my Casio Pathfinder watch is still hanging in there after eight years (although it’s pretty battered too). Best watch I’ve ever owned, especially for travel, and I use its compass and altitude functions all the time. I will do an equipment review on the shirts and watch sometime in the future. For “real” world travel a lot of the fancy lightweight gear sold in stores like REI just doesn’t hold up. They’re fine for vacations, but for rugged day after day travel not so much.
Update: While on my morning walkabout I stopped in at a tour & trekking outfit, and asked if they knew anyone who could resole my boots. Turns out there was a place right around the corner, La Perla Zapateria. Looks like its been there a 100-years. Stepped inside, very dark, and was told to talk to the cobbler farther inside (and even darker). Little old guy who probably remembers seeing the T-Rex walking on planet Earth. He assured me he could do the job in two hours, so I’ll take my skids over to him later this afternoon or tomorrow morning. My Alden’s may have life in them yet. SFD
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler