Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Best Working Photographer Shoes (boot) for Hawaii

Red Wing Men's Hiking #8691 in Black, Review

After killing two of my favorite  Ferragamo dress shoes at  wedding beach shoots,  I started to hunt for the “Best”  Working Photographer Shoes.

And I finally found one  … the  Red Wing WaterProof Work shoe that looks like a Hiking MID Boot  in Black (NO aluminum Toe). It is actually a new style  , # 8691 Men’s Hiker $ 180.00 + $ 8.00 to ship to Hawaii  :

It also comes in a  true work boot style with aluminum toe  … but that is another style number.

For me, this shoe  had to be:

1)      Comfortable.  It always surprises me how much time in a Photogs  life is spent standing and “waiting”.   And if shooting Events, Sports : Add Walking , and semi-running.

2)      Waterproof.  This has floated high on my list.  In Hawaii,  you will end up at the beach doing a shoot.  And maybe even walking across rocks.   For sure a beach Wedding.   And you don’t want to  look like a total  wimp,  by screaming and/or running  like a baby when you are surprised by a large wave on shore.  Or cry out loud when your  $400 shoes gets wet.  (tearing up a little is understandable)

3)      Durability.  This kinda  relates to the  Rocks at the beach thing , above.   Beach rock is very hard on shoes.    And it’s nice when a work shoe lasts , to add value.

4)      MID.   it needs to be a  slightly higher  MID boot design so  SAND from the beach does not go into the shoe when walking on the Beach.   I did not realize how important a feature that was until I started shooting Weddings on a beach, and saw another  Wedding photog with Hiking MID boots on.    

5)      Black.  Most  hiking boots are brown.   In order to disguise  this WaterProof Hiking boot as a dress shoe it has got to be at least BLACK, preferably all black.

The Red Wing  #8691 Men’s Hiker  in Black  meets all requirements!

Have been wearing it for over a week now.   Shot a number of events (with a lot of standing and walking)  … it is so comfortable, even my  Nike  running shoes and my Rockports  will sit on the shelf unused from now on.  The shoe holds my heal snuggly like a good running shoe and even has a wide base like a running shoe.  A moderate arch support (the Merrell  Pulse II Waterproof is slightly more comfortable, with more arch support),  and though I bought it in Normal (D) the width and toe space is roomy , I  do what I normally do, and bought a half size larger , for airlines travel  (Normal width, they call it D … note: the Hawaii Red Wing store only carries Wide and in this style only Brown , so I had to special order in D / Black … it only cost $8.00 more and took only one week to get to my home)   In fact on a upcoming trip to New York City  (a city of walking)  I plan to ONLY bring this Red Wing Hiker (no dress shoes).  (well, along with my fav slipper  Reef Mick Fanning -02 :

Fyi: the shoe is made like a TANK!   And the sole is like truck tires.  But, it also has a slightly bouncy/Airy feel  (similar to my Doc Martins, but more comfortable, durable and better looking …  those Doc Martins are only for  yard duty now).   Have a   “Beach Home” Wedding on the North Shore to do this week  … so, it’s  SAND , Rock,  WaterProof ability will be tested.
* 9/23/2011 update:  Did that North Shore wedding ... and of course as I was shooting them walking down the beach I got hit "good" by a wave.  Talking pants all the way up to my knee wet (lined wool pants).  The Red Wing #8691 never really felt wet on the inside (like any of my previous shoes would).  AND it kept the sand out.  And did not feel uncomfortable the rest of the night (even after the wave hit me, I did not take the shoe off that night).   The sand and water pretty much fell off by the end of the night (terminator style), and it did not have a wet feeling inside. My pant was wet , but it did not feel like the inside of the shoe was really wet (though my socks did get wet).     After getting hit by the wave, it did destract me enough that I forgot to take a  bride "single" shot at the beach (hate when that happens). :)  ...   I don't think anyone really noticed I was wearing a hiking boot until I layed down on the floor to take a shot, and a Bridesmaid "exclaimed" out loud ,  he is wearing really heavy duty  Hiking Boots! ... LOL ,  you will only know why when you actually see this shoe, from the bottom. *
Shot this week a  “Business Dress”  Event at “The Modern Honolulu”  (formally the Edition Hotel) , and  “The Plaza Club” in Downtown  with this  Red Wing #8691  with  a black wool dress pant     it  seemed to disguise well as a dress shoe    No one  kicked me out for  not having a dress shoe on (or looked at my shoe strangely)  , LOL.
10/28/11  ...  found out on a trip  ... that this shoe , even though it does NOT have a aluminum Toe  ... does have metal in it  ... it set off a alarm when I walked thru a metal detector.
* Also, found out that if you go to the RED Wing store (in Aiea) and have your foot measured ... the size is pretty true.   When the store measured my foot I was a  Regular width which I special ordered (the store only stocked Wide)  ... But, I also bought my normal  1/2 size larger  ... so it would be easier to take on and off at the Airport. (and if my foot swelled on a trip)
This "might" have been a mistake with this shoe because it  probably would have fit perfectly if I bought my correct "measured" size.  I think this heavy shoe actually had a pretty good fit at my "correct" size.
*** This has become my BEST Work shoe  EVER !
Next test will be  Nov. in New York  (maybe in the snow) :).

This all Black shoe can be worn with  wool pants or Jeans.   Nice!

I have found the Perfect   Photographers  Work Shoe/Boot !   The WaterProof  Red Wing Hiker # 8691 in Black.

I plan to wear this shoe “Everywhere”    and will probably end up wearing less  Dress shoes in the future.

11/30/11 Update:  Just came back from a  10 day New York trip ...  30-40 degree cold, Rain , NYC sidewalks and roads , puddles   ... 
* This Waterproof  (and slightly heavy)  8691   really  shined on this trip. and it was the ONLY shoe I took in this trip.  
I am talking over  100 NYC blocks of walking  and two  rainy days that was not higher than 40 deg. ... walking quickly thru puddles, bad roads and sidewalks. 
This shoe PASSED with flying colors !  
Can you tell this is now my favoite shoe "Ever".       Now, I am wondering if I will ever bother to buy another Feragamo , ever.   (I might try a  Merrel Pulse II  if they ever do a black   lol)

Hope this helps someone,
Ross D. Hamamura
The Tourist of Light

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