I’m only being slightly dramatic when I say these shoes changed my life.
They were shoes that were meant more for hiking (i.e. they were bulkier), but because they were built like running shoes, I also exercised in them.
I learned how to run in these shoes. I would wear them as I ran uphill into the German forest behind my apartment and they carried me for miles.
I learned about blisters with these shoes. They would grow on my feet after long runs – after the first time I ran 5 miles, then 10, then 15. I began realizing the blisters would just pop and I’d run anyway, because the worst part about running wasn’t even the blisters.
These shoes were what I hiked through Scotland with – a collective 170 miles, all through rain, mud, and midges. They sometimes were still wet from the night before, but they were all I had.
When we returned to the United States, they started wearing out from the hikes we were doing. The front started wearing out and I had to get new shoes. I settled on trail running shoes and they felt like I was running on clouds. I loved them.
It was hard to let go of my shoes. They became a part of my identity and were so integral to my growth in physical activity.
You never forget your first shoes, man. Those things are life-changing.