Has Anyone Seen my Shoes?
Perhaps life on Kauai is simple but there is one thing that is definitely more complicated. Move to Kauai and you can throw away most of your clothes. Formal attire just gets moldy in your closet. Rain gear would seem to be in order but most people just allow themselves to get wet and figure they will dry out later when the sun comes out. Jackets, sweaters, scarves –I don’t even remember what they look like. (I had a Twilight Zone experience the other day in the grocery store when a worker emerged from the refrigerated area in a full snowsuit). Shoes, however, are the notable exception to this trend. With so many different environments for tootsies to roam, wet, dry, sandy, muddy, I’ve found myself acquiring a variety of footwear.
Consider the picture above, at 12 o’clock the trusty tennis shoe, my default choice living on the mainland. I hardly ever wear them now. To its right, my all-vegan, Italian hiking boots, good ankle support and well suited to trails that are no too slippery and when you are carrying a lot of weight. At three o’clock Hawaii’s universal footwear. Available at grocery stores for three dollars a pair, you’ll find a pile of them at every front door. Next we have the sandal that would SEEM to be ideally suited to life in Hawaii but for two fatal flaws: they are harder to put on and take off than their cheaper cousins, the flip-flops, and while they are great for crossing streams they are a poor choice for hiking in muddy conditions since slime finds it way in between your foot and the sandal so that your feet slip around IN your shoe.
At six o’clock is the newest and most exciting addition to my shoe family: Spiked tabis (TAA-bees) imported from Japan. With a sole like a soccer cleat and uppers like something a ninja might wear, these babies offer unparalleled traction, the perfect choice for rock hopping up mossy streams or rappelling down waterfalls. To the left, the more traditional tabis with a felt bottom to grip slippery rocks. (I got them before I got the super Japanese tabis.) The debate between split-toed tabis and non-split-toed tabis is beyond the scope of this blog. Suffice to say there are strong opinions on both sides.
At nine o’clock you see my neoprene wet suit booties. In California I surfed in these but here that is happily not necessary. Now I use them only for snorkeling and Scuba diving. And finally my steel-toed, vegan safety boots from the UK which I wear at work. They’re hot but well suited to their purpose.
So you can see that my feet are well taken care of here which is ironic because a lot of the time I just don’t wear any shoes at all!