In today’s vernacular, I was a baller.
From my early teens to my mid-thirties, I snuck away to the streets and local playgrounds for pickup basketball games every chance I could. Though not particularly tall, I was long of arm, quick off the floor, and in possession of the sweetest little fade-away J this side of Raleigh. I learned a lot of things on those hard asphalt and concrete courts, but one of the most important, and one that sticks with me even today, was that footwear mattered.
I grew up in the day of Air Jordans – the originals. While others decried the audacity of Nike to charge twenty-five dollars! for a pair of gym shoes and continued playing in their flimsy Chuck Taylors, Keds, and All Stars, I coughed up the bucks willingly. And while over the years my courtmates fell away from the street game with ailing backs, ankles, and knees, I kept going, sustained, in part, by an annual investment into good shoe leather.
Today, being retired, I cheap out on a lot of things. Footwear ain’t one of them.
So as my comfy Chota STLs begin to succumb to three years of brutal abuse on the ripsaw rocks of the Haw, I have stayed true to my hardcourt lesson, and to my feet, and dropped some significant coinage on my toes. Yesterday my new G4s arrived.
Let me be clear that the switch to Simms had nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with my Chotas. Quite the opposite, they have been steadfast footwear and worth many times the sale price I paid for them three years ago. This pair of wading boots helped me establish my footing in this wonderful world of fly fishing and for that I will forever be grateful. I’d have purchased them again, without hesitation, but for the nubuck gnawing streambed of my home waters. I‘m looking for, I need, bombproof boots.
And the new G4 Guides look the part. Imagine storm trooper brogans. Wide soled, tough rubber armored, heavy dernier, tanks. Anything built out of Swiss Schoeller Dynatec, whatever the hell that is, has got to be kick-ass, right? These Guides look like they’ll hold up through, maybe even scoff at, the wading wars.
But will they keep me on my feet?
But will they keep me on my feet?
Staying upright, and dry, is no small concern. I may be slow, but even I can see the environmental handwriting on the wall for our traditional grippy felt soles. So it’s with a good deal of trepidation that I bought into the transition to vibram.
Add the Hardbite Star Cleats, please. Backordered!? Crap. Send them when you get them. But hurry.
I’ll be getting these G4s wet soon and I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m looking for these boots to be my Air Jordans of the waterways and, like their basketball predecessors, for them to assist in keeping me comfortably, and safely, sloshing the streams for years to come. My faith in footwear's counting on it.
And, just in case you might be wondering, I still have a pretty good jump shot.
Note: While it doesn't strictly follow the rules - and when do I ever? - this post brings to mind my buddy Cofisher's current writing contest over at Windknots and Tangled Lines. His tantelizing prompt is "Are you a fishing legend in your own mind?" While tempted to enter, not even I am delusional enough to consider my fishing skills legendary, so I must defer. It would, however, be nice to win some of the fine prizes being offered by FlyFishingCrazy.com. Maybe next time, when the prompt is "Why I can't catch a damn thing", I'll have a shot.