Ten years ago I bought my first tramping boots. They proved to be one of my best tramping investments, never failing me in the varied and often demanding NZ conditions.
So it was only natural that they would accompany me to Norway confusing many airport screening officials along the way due to their sturdy metal insets.
However, unbeknownst to me beneath their weathered and rugged looking exterior, the bones were beginning to break.
The numerous assaults on scoria through the Tongariro crossing, soakings in Waitakere mud, and stompings through salty sand and mud on our often wet beach tramps, had tested their limits.
As we embarked on our first tramp in Norway, my trusty boots had just about had enough and would admit defeat as we did our snowy mountain traverse on the arctic island of Senja.
As we trekked over the hills the soles failed, detaching from the leather, and the snow and icy water crept in. Despite my vigorous coating of wax before we set out, it was too little too late.
They would never be waterproof again.
My trusty ten year relationship with my boots was over. It was time for a new pair.
Brian’s boots suffered a similar fate, so we set out investigating outdoor Norwegian sports shops. Outdoor shops here are plentiful both privately owned and bigger chain stores. Unlike Kathmandu, which seems to be increasingly more dedicated to fashion accessories these days, the outdoor shops here are hard-core, dedicated to the cause. The quality is excellent, and generally most wares are offered at a lower price than the NZ equivalent stores.
After a comprehensive inventory of what Bergen had to offer, we settled on a local shop just around the corner, where we were greeted by a lovely Norwegian salesman who helped us select our new tramping partners.
My new boots are leather, sturdier, and seem to be better made and of higher quality then my Italian predecessors.
They are made in Norway.
At 1800 Kr, they cost about the same as what I paid for my Kathmandu boots some 10 years earlier.
We took them for a test-drive up one of the local mountains afterwards. They were fantastic.
We are now about to embark on our next tramp, this time equipped with new boots, and Norwegian rainproof pants.
The weather forecast is good, but secretly I’m hoping for rain, to get the full satisfying warm/dry in the wet feeling experience.