So you may know that REI has an incredible return policy – they will basically take ANYTHING back as long as you have proof of purchase, the item is in fairly decent condition and it’s within a year since you bought it.

In July I bought a new pair of Merrell hiking boots online because my Keens were pretty worn out.  I wore them on a few day hikes and the 30 mile backpacking trip on the Old Loggers Path.  The shoes seemed a bit narrow (I do not have wide feet so this seemed strange) but I figured they would stretch out after I broke them in a bit.  Well they didn’t – after my trip on the Old Loggers Path, I NEVER had so many blisters on my feet in my life.  It was awful – the entire inner sides of BOTH of my feet had massive blisters on them – from the tips of my big toes to my heel.  It was nuts – and painful — and coincidentally how I decided on the name of my blog – I said to my family when I was done with the hike “I have never had so many blisters and bug bites in my life!”  Then I thought – ‘Hmmm…that’s kinda catchy….sorta gross, but catchy!’ and TA DA!  My blog was born!

Just because you buy the same brand of shoes as Bear Grylls, DOES NOT make you Bear Grylls :/

ANYWAYS, the shoes were NOT working out – REI is sort of a far drive in usually a lot of traffic so I don’t get out there much, which is why I order things online, but we decided to take a trip up there over the weekend.  I figured there was NO way they would take my shoes back – they were worn and I couldn’t find the box they came in, but I decided to give it a shot as there was no way I was gonna wear those shoes again.  I brought them in feeling doubtful and sort of embarrassed to ask, but the REI employee said “No problem!”  I couldn’t believe it!!  Then became the hard task of deciding what to trade them in for – I literally want EVERYTHING in that store.  I couldn’t find any new hiking shoes that I liked so I wandered around the store thinking, ‘I already have that…and that….and that…’

Then I saw the pair of snowshoes I have had my eye on since LAST year – oh so pretty!  🙂  I kept going back to them, then an employee asked if I wanted to try them on — well DUH!  So I put them on and walked around on the carpet a bit – I was sold.  Plus they were on sale!  Then Kevin said, “You know as soon as you buy those it won’t snow for like 3 years right?”  LOL!  Well either way, they were coming home with me!  I also got a really good deal on some microspikes – I thought they would be handy on icy trails that didn’t have a lot of snow, but may be slippery.  BRING ON THE SNOW!!!  🙂


So it was a GREAT day – still need to find some new hiking boots – I’m thinking about Salomons, but not sure.  Anyone have any suggestions of trail shoes they like?

14 thoughts on “Why I LOVE REI

  1. I know you said you had Keens but I have a friend who swears by them and recommends them for wider feet. Merrells are notoriously narrow but I personally get around this by using bungee laces (I like the fact that they fit my foot tight but the bungee laces allow the shoe to stretch where I need it). This works for me despite me having wider feet. My backpacking boots are Salomons which give me blisters (they’re clunky high tops) but I’ve heard their hiking shoes are very comfortable. Sorry I don’t have much advice for you! good luck!

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  2. Salomons, La Sportiva, Asolo, Zamberlan, those are all great shoe brands. Merrells are notoriously bad! And either buy something that is a serious full on waterproof boot or if you are going for something lighter like a trail runner make sure it isn’t waterproof. If you want a good trail runner I highly suggest Brooks Cascadias… but they wouldn’t be very comfortable to wear with those snow shoes! Check out Zamberlans if you have wider feet, they are going to cost you more but they will last a long time if you take care of them and they are really easy on your feet. Remember to break them in before you go on any crazy hikes!

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    • Good to hear!! I have been reading that Merrill was going downhill – I was so surprised because I don’t have a wide foot but man were they uncomfortable! 🙂 I’m gonna try salomon trail runners next!


      • I don’t either and they rubbed me all over the place especially on the sides! My sister has narrower feet and she said they are fine so I think Merrells are made narrower than others. I think you will like Salomon. 🙂

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  3. I am going to go with those being some of the best unpleasant shoes ever – new stuff and a blog name? That’s a pretty good return!

    And I can’t wait to hear how the snowshoes turn out. I’m going to ask for some for Christmas, as once the river behind the house freezes, I think they’ll be great for walking out there (in related news, I think everyone I know is worried I am going to crack the ice and fall in. Meanwhile, I am only worried this will happen to Choppy).

    Liked by 1 person

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