Although my two-hour trainer-auditioning session today seemed quite embarrassingly long for a single sitting it's probably not that out of the ordinary given the faff I usually go through whenever I try to replace worn-out, worn-through, squelching, squeaking, water-absorbing but still wide-enough-to-be-comfortable trainers of the Merrell Chameleon family with something which is equally comfortable but hopefully less prone to such rapid heel-reduction. I usually spread out a shoe-replacement into several visits to several shops over the period of a month or more (squeaking to and fro all the while) but managed to contain the process to six visits to five shops over the course of a single week. Blacks/Millets only had the same things which I tried out during the summer and which I know to be uncomfortably narrow or (in the case of the pair I previously attempted to try on) likely to lose a D-ring during the lace-tightening process, Clarks had something which fitted, was wide enough and didn't bite the skin off my ankles but which felt very very thin about the soles, particularly underneath the feet's balls. Due to avoiding shops as much as possible I didn't notice that Tiso had a sale on but spotted a large selection of trainers going cheap when I wandered past it one lunchtime at the start of the week. Unfortunately everything was either hideously uncomfortable or just the wrong size, the latter usually in the case of the styles of which only one size remained. I wandered down to the Leith branch on Thursday in case they had a better or different selection but the only foot-things on sale were walking boots though I did at least boost the day's step-count past 19,000 as a result of the journey. I returned today determined to find something which would allow me to go about my business comfortably and relatively silently (as I've just resumed wearing earphones in order to catch up on music I was starting to fret that the squeaking was loudening faster than I realised) and (more importantly) would break the reliance of the last seven or so years on Merrell seeing as they (with the collaboration of Vibram) seem to be decreasing the thickness of their soles' treads for fun and profit. A variety of staff were helpful in a variety of ways, one pointing out that the very width-friendly Hi-Tecs had a CARDBOARD midsole and would not be likely to benefit much from frequent heavy use, another who found a missing right-foot and one who (upon my arrival) fished out the pair I eventually bought (again from him) two hours later and for whom I was able to supply in return (besides the pleasingly reduced cost-money) a small amount of camera-bag advice and a blipcard.
Of course, there's still the wearing-the-trainers-around-the-flat-to-check-that-they're-comfortable-at-all-times-of-day stage to go through (which usually takes another week or two) before I will commit to keeping them by wearing them outside but I am rather hopeful that Mr North Face's "Venture" (M, UK11, EUR45.5) is wide enough and sturdy enough to provide an escape route from trainer-insititutionalisation.
Although it's very nice that they were on sale and thus unboxed (and therefore less bulky to get carry home) it did mean that I didn't get a replacement sachet of silica gel to replace the one which burst the other week.
I'm not one of these trainer-obsessives, by the way. It's just that I walk around lots and so have to replace trainers frequentlish but have wide feet and so struggle to find fitting shoes. And have to use up a blip every five or six months documenting the changeover.