I love trekking and have bought my share of 200 dollar hiking boots. But after living in a village, it seems too high a price to pay. Especially when an oldish guy with four teeth overtook me as he chased his goat past me on my last trek. He was wearing a worn out pair of bathroom slippers and I was wearing Asolos which cost a few Gazillion. And I was the one out of breath.
So I started my exploration for the Under-2000-rupee hiking boot. I have arrived at the ultimate solution, and it is surprisingly simple. Just follow the steps below.
Step 1: Go to your local army market (in Delhi, you can go to Gopinath Bazaar or Sadar Bazaar). Ask for Hunter shoes (formerly known as jungle boots). These shoes are made of Fabric and so are light and breathable. The assumption is simple – if an army can march on these shoes they are tough and will last.
They will range from 500-1500 rupees or so. I bought the top end shoes which were 1500. They’re called “Warrior” made by Liberty. And they’re ISI marked. What more do you want?
Step 2: The shoes will take care of strength and durability, but they aren’t going to be great for comfort. While a shoe’s comfort is from every aspect of the fit, a large part of it
Step 4 (optional): If you are into it, you can also paint your shoe (do it before the waterproof spray). Mercifully, I didn’t do it myself. Someone truly talented was happy to oblige me. I supplied the text. As a writer, that’s all I was good for. Viola! My shoe was a converse. Heh. Heh.
I guess you can call it the Indian Jugaad, but I wanted to ensure it works on a real hike. So I decided to trek in these shoes upto Roopkund and back in October. They held up just fine. I did spray my shoe with a waterproof spray someone had gifted me, but the trek was pretty dry so I didn’t have a chance to test the waterproofing. I was comfortable, felt secure, and on the longest day we hiked some 17 km in a single day. No problem.
I had broken the shoe in beforehand, and didn’t have any corns or blisters. In my view these are great hiking shoes that beat most of the cheaper hiking shoes in the market in both quality and price. Even the cheapest trekking shoe from Decathlon is some 3000 rupees, and it doesn’t come close to these shoes in comfort, sole quality and sheer solidity. The soles in the cover photo look like that after over a year of heavy use.
So you see I have just saved you a lot of money. I am delighted to make you feel rich this Christmas. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Chetan Mahajan is a writing coach, author, blogger, and writer at large. He writes for many mainstream publications including the Readers Digest and the Hindu Business Line.
He is the co-founder of the Himalayan Writing Retreat ( http://www.himalayanwritingretreat.com/ ). He also loves speaking to audiences about failure and learning from it.