A guest post by Mer-ee for GW Nunn Adventures
I know what you’re thinking… why is a stuffed lion mascot writing about shoes? He doesn’t even wear shoes! Well I know plenty about shoes, I am packed with them all of the time and my friend Puma is in the biz! I’ve traveled the world’s cities and plains and seen enough bad choices to opine on your bi-pedal world. You would do well to remember never forget the wise old lion saying, “the lion in heels will never catch the antelope.” (Not sure what Mer-ee is? click here)
There’s nothing that can slow you down faster than a thorn in your paw. Whether you’re bounding around the Annapurrrrna in Nepal, leisurely roaming temples in Bali or prowling the rain forest of Costa Rica (hint – don’t eat the monkeys, apparently it’s frowned on), all the different cool stuff you can do should determine the footsies you put on your tootsies. Remember, no matter what you choose your trip is not the place to break them in! You’ll be hobbling like a hippo in ice skates. I have seen more than my fair share of wounded two leggers hobbling around in new or inappropriate shoes slowing the pack and looking miserable.
Footwear for flying. Wheee…I get to ride through the x ray machine at the airport, but you have to take off your shoes at security to prove they are not a weapon (and believe me, some of them are stink bombs!) To speed things up some people have started to wear shoes that slip off easily. But danger can lurk even in the funnest forest. Statistically you are more likely to be charged by a fearsome rhino than have something bad happen on a plane, but like the alert animals of the Serengeti, you may have to make a quick exit and nasty obstacles may separate you from getting to safety fast. This is no place for flip flops, high heels, or those ugly crocodile shoes! Whoever saw an orange croc? Plus with the weight restrictions on checked luggage, wearing your heaviest footwear will free up a little weight and space for exotic souvenirs, like stuffed lions!
Going barefoot. Do you know who gets to go barefoot? I get to go barefoot! And you know why? ‘Cause I’m a lion!! I’m supposed to be barefoot! Nothing makes my whiskers curl worse than the gaggles of patchouli soaked dreadlocked youngsters going “natural” in Kathmandu by wandering about with no shoes. A survival hint…if the locals are afraid of going barefoot you should be too. In other countries, local residents go barefoot because they have been doing it since they were kids and their soles are tough as nails. Unless you are a Kenyan marathoner, keep your shoes on! Even Jimmy Buffet cut his heel and had to cruise on back home during his vacation in Margaritaville because of a bad footwear choice.
Sport sandals. Lions take a great deal of pride..(get it? pride…lion…forget it)…anyway, we take a great deal of pride in cleaning and preening our appearance and even lion’s know that never, under any circumstances and no matter what is chasing you, should sandals be worn with black socks. Sport sandals are well-suited for warm wet climates, water sports, and swimming with elephants (close your mouth in that river!), just beware that the straps can be serious blister makers when wet or if you haven’t worn them before.
Light hiking shoes. Light hiking shoes are the lion cubs of footwear, more ferocious than your house-cat but not quite a lion. For all you folks who spend hours running on the wild treadmill, they have the familiar feel of athletic shoes but with additional support. Light hiking shoes are good for most day hikes and extended walks. In addition to support they also provide more protection than athletic shoes, even if they are called Puma’s.
Hiking boots. Unless you’re a goat, a good hike needs sturdy footwear, especially if you are going to be carrying anything heavier than a daypack or a stuffed lion (like me!!). Unless you plan to hunt down your own lunch or slurp from a river, good boots will help with the additional loads on long treks and support your ankles. Wet feet are a recipe for disaster just ask the big guy who’s had some toenail casualties. He would not consider boots that are not water proof and breathable. I like batting around those socks with pom-poms and the colorful ones you wear to the gym, but they’re as comfortable and smelly as a wet sloth in tropical climates. There are many great technical socks on the market as well as the natural fiber of wool. Mmm… wool makes me think of sheep and sheep make me think of lamb…but not just for a good leg o’ mutton, the sheep is the unsung hero of moisture control. Providing wool for socks that work efficiently in most conditions, it wicks away moisture and in cold climates, and will still stay warm even when wet.
Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you. Here is a link (not a lynx) with a ton of info about hiking shoe and boot selection.
Don’t forget to paws and smell the flowers!
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