Rock Climbing Shoes & Splatter
In the past 8 months or so, my wife and I have picked up a new hobby of indoor rock climbing. There is an awesome place right near downtown Boise called Boise Peak Fitness. It's a full gym with cardio equipment and yoga classes, but it's mainly setup for indoor rock climbing - which is what my wife and I do there. I surprised my wife last year on our anniversary by taking her there, and we liked it so much that we instantly bought a 10 climb pass - and then soon after that my wife bought a harness and shoes (she was more gung ho about it than I was in the beginning (and better at it then me)).
It took us a while to return for our 2nd visit, but once we did we started going 2 or 3 times a month (as much as we could get a chance to) and I have really started to love it (and get better at it). It's challenging on so many levels - especially mentally (to overcome limits you have on what you think you can accomplish). So this past month I decided to get my own harness and shoes, as I plan to climb a lot more this upcoming year. I have decently sized feet - depending on the brand I get either a size 12 or 13. But with the climbing shoes that I would rent at the gym, the 13's were too small - after just a few climbs my feet would kill me. Luckily for me, after several visits to the gym, they had expanded their shoe selection to include a size 14 (the owner is always running the place and had paid attention to when I asked for a larger size (I assume others asked as well)) and the 14's they carried fit great. But to my dismay, when purchasing shoes at my local REI, they didn't carry anything bigger than 13 - which seemed to fit fine in the store, but of course that's only for minutes at a time - how would they feel after a few climbs?
Well REI is a great store, and they have these sheets of paper in each section explaining how to select the right item for the task. And the climbing shoe's paper talks about how the shoes will stretch a little, and recommended to take them home and wear them around the house, and as long as you don't climb in them you can return them with no problem. So I decided that's what I would do.
So this week, as I knew I was going to be going climbing tonight, I have been wearing the shoes around the house - breaking them in. Well one day as I was "breaking them in" I found myself in the bathroom doing my business and I couldn't help but think of George Constanza when he brought the book into the bathroom with him to read, and was forced by the book store to purchase it (Season 9 Episode 17 The Bookstore).
I know that when a guy stands up at the toilet to twinkle that there is splatter - and I know it's not just me, I see the evidence in just about every public restroom I enter. So as I am standing there looking down at the shoes, thinking about George, thinking about splatter - I wonder how many items have been brought home, brought into bathrooms, exposed to human waste, and then returned to the store? It's not a pleasant thought.
In the end, while the shoes seemed slightly uncomfortable after wearing them for hours at a time, I didn't feel like searching other stores so I pulled off the tags and took them climbing. Since the shoes were officially mine, I went ahead and wore them with no socks on (which is how climbers wear them) and they fit quite well like that. So all you Boise locals out there that purchase sporting goods at REI, you can shop safe knowing that there are no shoes with body fluids on them, well... at least not my body fluids.