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Re: [at-l] Custom-made boots

Guess I'll come out of the closet now.  No, Ralph, not that.  :)

> In my case, we had a lot of difficulty getting the boot last right.
> Apparently, my feet don't follow the rules!  Gary stuck with it and, though
> it took time and multiple visits, came through.  I don't think he made much
> money on my pair.  I was definitely an atypical case though... usually he

I'm a flat-footed, 13AAA, and went to Randy Merrell a few years ago. 
Well worth it.  He took a long while fitting me, and the result is a
perfect fit (one almost a full size shorter than the other).

> I think that the key to getting custom boots made is to be willing to work
> WITH the boot maker.  

And to find a bootmaker that recognizes your problems, and is willing to
do whatever it takes to make it right.  Randy even took great pains to
identify the type of hiking I do, the weights, terrain, etc, and used
this information to select the type and gauge leather to use.  (Although
I wasn't sure what was meant by his comment "If you were a horse, I'd
just shoot you")   :)

Funny thing about the whole trip, when I walk I pronate (?), and he
built a wedge into one boot to correct this.  When I got home, I told my
mom about this, and she said that when I was a little kid, my baby shoes
were built the same way (wedge in same shoe, same place) so I could walk

>Since you don't live near him, I'd talk to him about
> schedules, then plan a vacation up in the Adirondaks (where he lives... not
> New England!).  It is a beautiful area, with wonderful hiking, and you
> could arrange to be nearby.

I had a fantastic ten days in Utah, it took five to get the boots made. 
That was an experience in itself, a mini-course in boot making.  I was
there for every stitch.

> The point being that if you had "regular" feet, off the shelf boots would
> fit fine, and you probably wouldn't be looking to pay more for a pair of
> custom ones!

I think I wasted more money on store-bought boots over the years than
the entire trip cost me.  Randy kept the lasts, so for as long as he is
in business (alive?) and my feet don't change drastically, I will be
able to just order a new pair.

Also, I quit carrying camp shoes -- my feet just aren't that tired and
beat up at the end of the day now.

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