As a kid, I was fascinated by the hiking boots.

    They were so simple and clean.

    I didn’t know any better, and I had no idea what I wanted to wear them with.

    My mother had them for her own pleasure, and she loved them.

    She used them every day to run, jog, hike, climb, do chores, and even go to a movie.

    And then, in 2002, I went to a park and walked through the woods in them with my friend who was hiking.

    He was a good guy.

    But then one day he stopped walking and walked in circles around the woods for no apparent reason.

    The next day, I noticed he was wearing a pair.

    The day after that, I stopped hiking.

    I thought it was the sun, but I was confused.

    I couldn’t figure out why.

    A year later, my mother came home and said, “I just realized that we didn’t have any hiking boots.”

    So I bought my first pair.

    And it was an incredible adventure.

    I loved the boots.

    I hated wearing them.

    They didn’t fit my feet, but they made me look like a badass.

    My shoes were a revelation, too.

    I can still remember the first time I used a pair, when I was in high school.

    It was at a party in college, and a couple of us went on a hike.

    I went up to a stream and stopped and thought about what to wear.

    My mom was there, too, and asked, “What do you want to wear?”

    I said, I don’t know, a pair?

    She asked me, “You can wear a pair if you want, but we don’t need you to.”

    And I thought, That’s right, my mom.

    The boots made me a badass, and they made people around me feel confident and cool.

    In 2003, I bought two pairs.

    The shoes fit my ankles perfectly, but the straps were too long, so I had to use my fingers to get them in place.

    I bought a second pair the next year, and the straps had to be shortened so I could wear the shoes.

    My feet didn’t hurt.

    I wore them for the rest of the summer, and then, after a year and a half, I got tired of them.

    I realized I didn