I have some great shoes I love that are ... falling apart. [
] Unfortunately, they've been discontinued! I can get something sort of similar but there are still some drawbacks. Diligent searching hasn't turned up my perfect work shoe, though. In short, I want something tough like a work boot, easy to put on and take off (i.e. velcro straps), but with walking-shoe type soles and as light as possible.
I have two snowflake limitations. First is that I have a pretty high instep. I was unhappy with shoes all my life until I discovered Wissota Trader, their Vibram-type-sole Oxford-look walking shoes called Walkabouts
. (The quick-grip was introduced later.) I could get these in my exact comfort "size" by getting an 11½ EEE width, which compensated for my instep/arch while keeping the shoe both tight enough and loose enough. I bought these shoes in a gradually expanding variety for 25 years and still have a handful of dressy-for-corporate pairs (but now only rare opportunities to wear them).
The second limitation is that I really, really like the quick grip, especially now that I'm diabetic and have unpredictable sensitivity and swelling in my feet. In fact I spend as little time as possible wearing shoes and just put them on when needed, and I like the ability to adjust the tightness on the fly. So a strong preference for that sort of closure, over the extra time and complexity (and hard on my knees/hips squatting) of tying laces.
Aside: It's great that now New Balance, Dr. Scholl's, Propét, and others have very similar shoes to these nowadays. I've tried them in stores and medical offices and while they look and feel nice they do not seem as old-school durable as the Wissota/Mason versions that have been my life's mainstay.
So, a few years ago Wissota offered this (see 1st pic) brushed buck finish, which allowed it to be a sort of hiking/handyman shoe that didn't look like hell when scuffed. I really wish I'd managed to buy a couple more pairs when Wissota closed operations last year, but cash was super tight. That would have tided me over for a while, anyway. But I've never
loved a pair of shoes quite the way I've loved these -- and they are obviously beyond their last mile. (Actually I may try to see how they manage resoled, but that's another story.)
Now, I can get Walkabouts still through the B.A. Mason company as linked above, but in much more basic, and dressy, styles. In fact, I can get this shoe in a chukka style
, which is sort of my Plan A. It's still going to have that dressy look, though, that will be pretty pathetic once it's scuffed up from working on my rental property.
Anyway, I like a lot of Duluth Trading products and I did try their Wild Boar Moc
. Unfortunately my instep made them very nearly impossible to get on and off. (There's a stretchy connector under the tongue, but it doesn't stretch nearly enough for me.) Scratch that experiment. Plan C might be a too
-large size of these, though, and I wouldn't be able to use them in all the ways I would a properly-tightened shoe.
If I had to say what I think I would like
in a shoe it's fairly close to something like DT's Grindstone Low Work Boots
. Tough, modern soles like a walker, a bit of a cross between a hiking boot and a work(site) boot. But it's laced, of course. This is my Plan B -- I could go either way, but I'll probably go for the lighter, but less durable, comfort (and quick grips) of the Chukkas. If those are my only two real choices.
So, here's the challenge, AskMe -- can you show me something that will work for me given these parameters? Something with the hide of a work boot, the longterm walkability of a hiker, the lightness of a casual walker, and all (most?) of that with a quick grip closure as well? I feel frustrated to be so picky and apparently in a way that doesn't support even a niche market, but maybe with all the possibilities out there now, somebody has something that will be a bit closer to what I think I want.