If you aren’t a farmer, or if you don’t work on a farm you may not know how much a farmer walks. Like all good modern farmers, we have an ATV or two, errant bicycles, tractors and several trucks to get us around our 100 acre orchard. At the end of the day however, it’s our feet–or Steve’s feet– that largely propel him around the farm.
And how much walking is that? Well, who can say exactly, but the miles add up. It’s 100 yards from our house to the shed, 50 yards from the house to the office. A walk to the orchard to check on the crew will incur a mile. All of this walking happens multiple times a day, weeks upon weeks throughout the year. Not given to wearing a pedometer on his waistband to keep track of the daily steps, Steve tends to know how much he’s walked based on his trusty Danner boots (see above photo).
For those of you who’ve not had the honor of purchasing Danner boots, you may be surprised at the hefty price tag that accompanies them. That being said, these boots are well worth the money and miles they travel. Hand crafted in Portland, Oregon the Danner Mountain Light II has become the boot of choice for Steve. He’s is now working through his fifth pair. They keep fit his narrow foot, they keep his feet dry in the irrigation water, and they keep the cheat grass seeds that hook into everything, well, unable to hook into his socks.
Generally, Steve will wait to purchase a new pair until the leather has cracked, the tread has worn smooth and the heal has worn through the sole and ground itself into a cant. Then, he’ll continue to wear the old pair around until irrigation water or snow seeps into the Gore-Tex split open by the cracked leather or he needs more traction on snowy October roads as puts on truck chains. The new Danner’s purchased after much contemplation will “go out on the town”–these are the one’s you may see him wearing at the farmers markets or to dinner at The Kitchen.
How long do these boots last? The average Danner boot on Steve’s foot will last between two to three years. Not bad, you may say. My brother has this same pair of boots. And he’s had them for fifteen years – at the rate he’s going they will last another fifteen. True, my brother is not hanging off of a semi trailer unloading cases of fruit on his tiptoes. Nor is he wearing his boots for 24 hours at a time. But if he were, he would pull his Danner boots out of the back of his tidy closet and put them on with a smile, knowing that these boots are the 2011 National Geographic Gear of the Year winner and …are Made for Walkin’.