I’ve had very flat feet and correspondingly bowed ankles my entire life. I’ve muddled through with orthotics and struggled with off-the-shelf footwear reasonably well, but I always paid for long hikes or walks with blisters, pain in my toes, and aching arches. I’ve never let it hold me back though and recently my daughter and I decided we were going to tackle a bucket list item and signed up for a trip to Mt Kilimanjaro.
It became painfully clear, literally, during my preparatory hikes that standard footwear would, at best, make this trip painful, if not impossible. I found Kevin’s site and knew that this was likely the only option for having a successful trip—no matter how well conditioned I was personally, if my feet couldn’t handle the effort, it wasn’t going to work out and I would likely waste the investment in money and time for this trip.
In a leap of faith, I contacted Kevin. He carefully explained the process he’d follow and the quality of the materials he would use, and after a short deliberation I decided to work with him on these hiking boots. He was very professional, clearly very knowledgeable and skilled, and in a short amount of time, I had a snazzy new set of hiking boots.
The difference was immediately obvious. The shorter hikes were suddenly much easier. Last weekend, my daughter and I did a more strenuous hike in Yosemite on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. The trail is advertised at almost 4 miles, but my FitBit (and Apple Watch) both recorded steps equivalent to 12 miles after the 7 hour round trip.
I can say at the end that without these shoes, it would not have been possible. While understandably tired, my feet had no blisters, sore spots, squished toes, or any other similar issue I’d experience wearing conventional footwear on similar hikes—we did Glacier Point 6 years ago so I definitely had an apples-to-apples comparison.
In the end, regardless of how this trip goes otherwise, there is no question this was an excellent investment in a very high-quality set of footwear that could very well last me the rest of my life. Kevin said these would fit like nothing I’ve every worn before and he was absolutely right.
Update Feb 2017…
A week ago, we returned from that trip to Kilimanjaro. My daughter and I successfully reached the summit about 6:30am on 29 January. It was seven days from the start of our trek to the top and we took roughly two days to descend. I wore the boots Kevin made the entire trip, through lush rainforest, arid desert, and atop the snow and frozen skree at the top of the mountain. You can see me in the picture below, lower left, in the blue/white/black coat with Kevin’s boots proudly on my feet at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
For all the conditions, the scrambling over rocks, changes in temperature, these boots never let me down. I didn’t have a single blister or any other issue with my feet—frankly, between the boots and the socks, my feet were never even cold. Others lost toenails and had other problems, but Kevin’s promise rang absolutely true—these wore like nothing I’d even worn before, nor like anything I’d wear again. They got me there and they got me back. Getting these boots made was absolutely the single best decision I could have made for the success of this trip.