If you read my blog much, you know I mostly have disdain for gear reviews, and I discussed in this post a few years ago, The Business of Backpacking. Gear reviews, for the most part, are simply opinions. And “opinions are like assholes — everyone has one.”
If you are researching gear, you need to determine the author’s credibility, other than what he or she tells you. My classic example is the stove review, where the author has placed the stove on a bed of flammable dry leaves, which is not something an expert would do.
So today I was looking into a pair of strap sandals. Similar to flip flops, strap sandals are simply a sole held in place with straps; only more secure and eliminated the go-ahead syndrome inherent in flip flops. One reviewer, who supposedly uses sandals a lot posted pictures of his pasty white feet wearing several brands of sandals. I call BS. If you wear sandals or flip flops a lot, as I do, in the outdoors you will develop a tan with contrasting tan marks where the straps cross the feet. Something like this:
So I call the sandal review total BS, and must disregard the author’s purported credibility, expertise, and opinions.
Flip-flops are my everyday footwear unless there is some rule, like a workplace dress code, that forbids them. I have been wearing flip-flops for at least 58 years, maybe longer. My earliest remembrance of flip-flops was wearing them at the public plunge (swimming pool for you young-in’s) at the age of seven. These days a pair of flip-flops last me several years of urban walking and day hikes on our camping trips.
When modern flip-flops wear out, it is the straps or strap connecting point that usually fail, leaving you with a now useless foot bed that could still go on for hundreds of miles had the strap not failed. Last week I noticed my Reef brand flip-flops were about to expire. Strap failure. Damn. Good news is that Nicole, my daughter, had bought me a pair of Chaco flip-flops last Christmas.
I hear so many hikers and backpackers complain about foot problems and they are constantly trying to find all kinds of gimmicky sole inserts, pronation control shoes, and other quackery to make their feet feel better. I don’t have any of these problems and backpack in minimalist shoes. I attribute this to lots of miles and daily walking in flip flops. Flip flops make your feet strong!
Continue reading Gear that Works: Flip Flops