It was September 1992 and my dad was helping outfit me for the big trip: Hong Kong and parts unknown. So we hit Paragon Sports looking for a sturdy pair of boots. The Mephistos fit great, were tough and lightweight. But $300 for a pair of shoes?! Dad insisted — it was his money, after all — so I acquiesced. From then on, my soles belonged to Mephisto. The boots finally gave out in Biloxi, but until I put them down that final time, we shared a memorable 13-year-relationship.
If all it takes to know a man is to walk a mile in his shoes, then we knew each profoundly. Together, we waded through Suppong’s underground rivers and clambered through caves; played basketball in Pai, Izmir, and Prague; explored the ruins of Sukhothai, Borobodur, Ephesus and Caunos; climbed to Mr. Ong’s Organic Farm; hiked the Cameroon Highlands; ascended Mt. Bromo; ran from the macaques of Ubud’s Monkey Forest; skirted the rice fields of Bali; echoed through the Hagia Sophia; tiptoed around the Blue Mosque; zigzagged through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar; and tromped the streets of Hong Kong, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore, Melaka, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bunyawungi, Kuta, Ubud, Rome, Prague, Telc, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, and Paris.
Back in the States, over the ensuing years, we made our way through the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, not to mention local hikes in Sonoma, Cape Cod, and the Berkshires.
For 13 long years, they withstood pounding, scuffing, being soaked through and dried out again, replacement shoelaces, and worst of all, my stinky feet. Brave, brave boots! But every great partnership must end, and my old companions just couldn’t handle ERV duty. They were replaced — by a $15 pair of Wal*Mart construction boots — but will never be forgotten.