On our road trip from Mississauga to Port Hardy, I quickly became aware that my boots had become useless. They were light hiking boots from New Balance (shown here). I wore them in Egypt and on our Northern Ontario trip, but they were suddenly taking on water like a leaky raft. If it was at all wet outside, my feet were wet and cold. Note to self: buy new boots.
But how? Where? Surely not in Port Hardy. Not even in Campbell River. There really is only one answer: buy them online. I buy almost everything online; it's been my preferred method of shopping for a very long time. But can you buy shoes online? Of course I know shoes are sold online, but how do you buy shoes if you can't try them on first? And don't you need to try on multiple pairs, until you find one that fits?
I also realized I need not just new boots, but better boots. It's not like I'm such a rugged outdoorswoman. Hardly. But my feet -- like everything about my annoyingly high-maintenance body -- need a lot of support. I have custom orthotics, but I still need a lot of cushion, and ankle support, and grip. And living in rainforest territory, waterproofing is essential. These days I need boots (as opposed to sneakers) for walking of any distance, especially if there is any possibility of uneven surfaces.
I never researched boots before, I just bought whatever was available, and was usually less than thrilled with the results. So this time I read things like this and this -- and general advice like this -- and checked reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. I also read Reddit and other forum threads where people were discussing the pros and cons of online shoe-shopping. (Yay internet!)
I'm probably making this process sound more methodical and meticulous than it was. I don't have a lot of patience for research, but I've (mostly) learned to stop myself from making impulsive buying decisions. I usually do short, quick bursts of research, multiple times.
Turns out many people buy shoes online. People with hard-to-fit feet. People who want shoes they can't find locally. People who like to shop online. Check, check, check: I am all of the above.
One of the biggest issues about online shopping in Canada is practically a non-issue now. In the past -- as recently as five years ago -- many companies simply didn't ship to Canada. Others charged outrageous and prohibitive shipping fees. Amazon has pretty much solved that. Living in a town with an easily accessible post office is great, too. (Remind me to write about our mail and the post office. When I picked up my packages, they had a dish of candies out.)
So, I bought two pairs -- one pair of duck shoes, and one pair of hiking boots. Both arrived within a week, which was better than I expected. I was very nervous about the fit, and had convinced myself there was no chance of either pair fitting properly. And then... they did. Both pairs fit. They fit! I. Am. Thrilled.
The moral of the story is: if you want to buy shoes online, you should go for it. You all probably know that already! But this was a fun revelation for me.
Vasque Women's Breeze Iii GTX Waterproof Hiking Boot