My trail runners have suffered a great deal this season. Right out of the box they were subjected to the worst of West Coast rain and mud. Then the weather got warmer and drier and they suffered several severe dust coatings.
I suppose you could just call them well-loved, but I feel for them. They were once brightly coloured and flashy, but they have no more flair to offer. They are broken and battered and mere shells of their former selves. Indeed, after just two months, they are badly wounded.
Let us review the visual proof of the damage I’ve done to one of my two pairs:
Exhibit 1: Mud on the INSIDE of shoes. The culprit: hiking in pouring rain and mud and giving up on any and all hope of avoiding the mud.
Exhibit 2: Those dark patches? That’s dried mud. The thick kind. The kind that adheres and never, ever, ever comes off. The culprit: I don’t remember when that occurred, but it was quick and permanent.
Exhibits 3 & 4: Dust. The culprit is dust. Exhibit 3 is where brightly coloured stripes should be, but are instead obscured by crusted mud and dust so thick that they appear uniform in colour. Exhibit 4 is generalized dust that has fundamentally changed the overall hue. You cannot even tell these shoes were once blue with pink accents. You don’t believe me do you? Let me refresh your memory as to what these should look like:
And then there’s my other pair, which are equally sad in appearance with the added misfortune of being functionally damaged.
Exhibit 1: Multiple and permanent and deeply embedded mud stains. The culprit: one day on St. Mark’s summit before the full snow melt + one day on the BCMC in a torrential downpour.
Exhibit 2: Grip “nubbin” completely worn off. I know that is not the technical term for it, but if you watched Friends you will appreciate that, and if you didn’t then you should know that all ten seasons are on Netflix. The culprit: inexplicably wedging my shoe between two rocks and nearly pitching myself head first into the ground as a result. Yes, I am that graceful.
Exhibit 3: Detached toe bumper (which is the technical term). The culprit: the sum total of the 10,000 times I have caught my toe on rough rocks because I am too tired to lift my feet.
Exhibit 4: Blood stains. The culprit: this is misleading as these shoes are a dream and have never caused me an ounce of pain. However, I did wear them once the day after wearing hiking boots that tore the shit out of my heel and then I proceeded to bleed all over my precious trail runners.
I am sorry, Brooks Cascadias. You have been nothing but supportive and delightful and I have stolen your colorful joy and damaged some of your most functional assets. Please don’t break down on me yet. We still have a couple months’ worth of trails to explore before I retire you for the year.