Modifying gear…

A few months back, I picked up an injury. It was in the right achilles tendon – more irritating than debilitating, but annoyingly persistent. I’d guessed the cause as being forced to run on paved surfaces during the extended wet spell in mid/late winter and that was probably partly the case. What I eventually noticed was that the problem seemed to be more acute after wearing a pair of fairly new trail shoes.

The shoes in question were Brasher Tetons – fairly light, unlined, nothing exotic. I’d chosen them as a replacement for a pair of Argons; chosen them on the basis that in every major aspect – construction, upper, mid and outer soles – they seemed to be almost the identical shoe. I’d had good experiences with the Argons but they had been discontinued; I assumed the Teton to be just a renamed, repackaged Argon. Also, like the Argons, they were a dull, conservative, grey – totally lacking any suggestion of flamboyance… perfect!

What I found, on examining the finer detail, was that the heel cuff of the new shoe was slightly more substantial – not by much, just a little extra bulk. The effect of this was to cause the cuff to grip the tendon more tightly than the older Argons, which I still, fortunately, had available for comparison. So, I decided to make a modification…

I know that modifying gear is almost second nature to some walkers, but it’s something I rarely do. I had to overcome an innate reluctance to take a stanley knife to a fairly recent purchase, knowing that the consequences would be irreversible. It was an act of will for me to cut an approximately 1″ cube from the fabric and foam at the apex of the heel cuff; the end product could hardly be described as aesthetically pleasing!

Nevertheless, I’m pleased to be able to say that the modification seems to have done the trick and I didn’t end up ruining a pair of shoes for no reason.

This experience should probably have given me the confidence to hack away at all manner of items of kit which fall short of perfection. On balance, I’ll probably be resisting that temptation.

Imagine slicing a chunk out of anything from Arc’teryx… the off-cut would be worth more than most of my stuff!

[Above] One heavily mutilated, but now more comfortable,  Brasher Teton.

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