One year – err…

You may recall that yesterday’s post mentioned quite a few likes that have been used on our travels, but there are also a few (and I mean a few) that haven’t quite worked for us.

Some people love Crocs, others hate them and will happily take the mickey out of anyone who wears them. I have some, love the comfort offered by them and appreciate the ability to just wash them in a sink or to wash them in a shower whilst you’re still wearing them.

They don’t take up that much room  in a pack, particularly if you stash them carefully and pad them out with pairs or socks or whatever. Choose a plain navy or black pair and by heck, you’ve also got footwear that will go with quite a few outfits in a capsule travel wardrobe.

I used mine extensively last year, but there was a problem that couldn’t be denied. Naturally sweaty feet (like mine!) and Crocs don’t always mix, no matter how often you wash your feet or your Crocs.

So a replacement had to be found and I ended up rewinding twenty years for the solution. A pair of Clark’s ATL leather sandals. I had a pair back in the mid-nineties that were sent in for magazine-related testing.

If memory serves me right, the advertising for the sandals was headed up by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The sandals were smart, comfortable and wore well. The leather uppers and leather inner section of the sole units did their job and while they did take a little while longer to dry out than normal sports sandals from that time, I didn’t mind because they were so comfortable.

The latest versions on the ATL theme are just as good. Comfortable from the off and they’ve been worn extensively over the last year, so much so that I’ve been seen wearing them without socks in supermarkets and takeaways in the depths of winter (I’ll hasten to add that I was using the car to get around and not walking to said establishments).

There’s still one pair of Crocs doing the rounds though and a modified pair in the boot of the car too. Only one out of the original three pairs bought in 2013 have bitten the dust, and that’s because the cushioning was rather crushed after so much wear and the sole units had been holed in a couple of places after close encounters with tent pegs.

The small packable Rohan day bag I bought last year is still around, but it’s not used that much now. The idea was great, but when I used it, I realised that it needed a bit more compression potential to make it work properly.

It was good when it was almost full, but when it wasn’t, it was a bit of a pain. I ended up leaving it in our room on our Lisbon trip and used my shoe bag.

This simple nylon drawstring bag did the job, coped with loads large or small and ensured that if someone tried to get in the bag whilst I was using it, then I’d know about it because the cinched closed entrance hole on the bag was usually nestling in my armpit, a ticklish area at the best of times!

Anything else? Well I’ve been using Salomon shoes and boots for years, but the couple of pairs of ventilated shoes that I bought last year weren’t as good as I thought they were going to be.

One pair’s shock absorption wasn’t wonderful after three months and when one of the lacing loops came away whilst in Coimbra last year, I gave them to a good cause and lightened an already light travel pack.

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About Keith Rickaby

Fiftysomething writer and occasional photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now firmly based in't Yorkshire...
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