There are always a couple of partial posts waiting for tweaking. I’m currently working on two that list the best and the worst of the stuff we bought prior to our trip. The Women’s Techsun 2 hadn’t made either list – until this week The skinniest part of me are my feet – long and narrow – so it’s a challenge for me to find shoes that fit. In the 60’s I wanted go-go boots, and in college I wanted Frye boots but they didn’t fit and I’ve never been a masochist who wears uncomfortable shoes. Fortunately, I’ve found boat boots, sandals, and shoes to fit my elegant tootsies.
In Hampton Virginia in November I purchased a pair of the Columbia Techsun 2 boating sandals at West Marine. Yes, they are moderately priced, so perhaps I shouldn’t expect much. Somewhere in the Bahamas the bottom sole detached from the top sole. EW glued them with 5200, but it didn’t last – that should have been a major red flag. In boating, you don’t attach anything with 5200 unless you’re sure you want it there forever.
In Puerto Rico, we rented a car to go to the West Marine in Farjardo for a major shopping expedition, and new boating sandals for both of us were on the list. EW found a wonderful pair of Teva boating sandals, but the only thing available for me were … Columbia Techsun 2 – again. Columbia is a good company, and the sandals fit me so well that we decided to give them another chance.
Big mistake. Big. Huge.
We were in Puerto Rico just before Easter. It is now early August of the same year – barely 4 months have passed and this week as I was walking in Grenada I felt the familiar old flap-flap. The soles had partially separated from both sandals.
Let’s discuss how we use boating sandals:
- They are worn on our feet when we walk on the boat, docks, beaches and rocks.
- We also use them to walk to town.
- In all situations noted under Number 1 above, these sandals often do get wet. That’s one reason we purchase boating sandals, so we can jump into the water off the beach to haul the dinghy ashore. We wear them in the rain. We wear them when wading where it is rocky. They are boating sandals and “boating” implies that we can get them wet. In fact, here’s how Columbia describes the sandal on their website.
Adjustable, supportive and incredibly water worthy, they’ve evolved from last season to offer even more comfort and durability. Water-resistant straps adjust for a customized fit and a textured, anti-slip footbed prevents embarrassing wipeouts. Techlite™ provides lightweight contour and cushioning in the midsole and a dual lug pattern on the Omni-Grip® rubber outsole offers ultimate traction on both wet and dry surfaces.
The sandals I purchased in Puerto Rico were an improvement from those I had purchased in November - 5 months before, so I had high hopes. They are comfortable, they fit very well, and they have good treads. The treads on my sandals show a bit more wear than EW’s do, but his Tevas are more expensive and certainly tougher sandals than the Columbia Techsun 2 for Women. I can accept tread wear, but the flapping is annoying. So, guess what EW discovered when he repaired these sandals (using a different type of adhesive)? Wait for it ..
You’re not going to believe this….
Cardboard. You know that somewhat stiff paper product used for boxes? There is a layer of cardboard between the upper and lower sole. What do you suppose happens to cardboard when it gets wet? If you suggested that it disintegrates, you win the carnival beads. I do not consider cardboard to be “incredibly water worthy”.
How can Columbia manufacture boating sandals made with cardboard and why would West Marine continue to sell them? We (EW) had to repair my shoes on Sunday since no stores are open during Carnival in Grenada. I hope the repair holds, but expect to be flapping my way around the island until I can find new boating sandals.
Columbia Techsun 2 – you are dead to me.
Columbia Sportswear, you are on notice.
NOTE: I emailed customer support for Columbia and sent them this article, giving them the opportunity to respond. That day, August 8th, they sent the standard notice:
On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Columbia Sportswear Customer Care <email@example.com> wrote:
Thanks for writing to us, and we look forward to helping you with your inquiry. Our current response time is 2-3 business days; for fastest service, please contact our customer care team at 1-800-622-6953 with the incident number you received. Our business hours are 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (PST) Monday thru Friday. We look forward to serving you.
It is now noon on Thursday, August 11.
La Luna Out.