Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Slochteren, Netherlands.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Papenburg, Germany.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Our Oboz hiking boots, and the local electricity

And no, the two don't have anything to do with each other. They are just a couple of things we wanted to talk about today.

First, the electricity.

Albania suffers from an old electrical infrastructure that is mostly based on hydroelectricity. I read that the amount of electricity available fluctuates depending on rainfall, and they often switch power sources from one plant to another throughout the year, and throughout the country on a regular basis.

And we've seen that a lot of the more modern hotels and commercial buildings have their own diesel generators because power outages are such a common problem. 

When we were out walking the other day, we came across one of the transformers here in the village.

Looks a little old.

Since we arrived at the villa on Wednesday, the power has gone out three times. We noticed that they keep a couple of flashlights handy on the coffee table in the living room, so it's obviously a regular thing.

Yesterday, the power was off when we woke up, and it didn't come on until about 11:00am. So of course that turns off our household WiFi, but fortunately, we have cellular internet through our phone, and the battery in our phone is good for at least a day, even with heavy use. Ruth's laptop is good for maybe 4 hours on battery, but my laptop will be four years old this summer and I notice the battery is deteriorating. I'm probably good for about 2 hours.

Speaking about products deteriorating, that brings us to our hiking boots. Long time readers will remember that we had been fans of Merrell hiking boots for many years, but the last pair we had fell apart quickly. So in October of 2019 we switched things up and bought the Oboz brand.

At the time, I said "...we will see if we can get more than two years out of these."

Well, it's been a year and a half now, and while they are doing okay, they are definitely showing signs of wear and tear. Which is expected of course, given the amount of hiking we do. The upper parts of the boots are holding up really well, but the soles are starting to wear and by the time we get through the summer the boots will likely need replacing. 

Mine seem to be wearing slightly more than Ruth's.

So it looks like we'll probably get another six months out of them, and by the two year mark they'll need replacing. Overall, we've been really happy with them. Only one issue has been that when it's wet out, or you are hiking or climbing over wet rock surfaces, they are quite slippery. I've done some research into this, and apparently there was a year or so with certain models where they had a manufacturing problem... something to do with a release agent for the rubber, and they covered the problem under warranty, even when the warranty had expired. But we're never in one place long enough to see if we could take advantage of that. Either way, more recent reviews say they've fixed this issue and it's no longer a problem.



  1. Albania’s president lambasts US ambassador on TV talk show


    1. Yes, the election here is tomorrow (Sunday).

  2. I shattered my heel and Oboz are the only shoe I can wear without discomfort. I love their sandals.

    1. Ouch on the shattered heel! We haven't seen their sandals, we will have to look for them when we go to get new hiking boots in the fall. We will definitely be getting another pair of Oboz, considering the amount of hiking that we have done over the past year and a half and some of it was hard hiking, the boots really have held up well and have been really comfortable.

  3. Looks like Albania is not into renewable energy.
    I had brand new work boots that I didn't wear for two years. The first day I did the heals disintegrated.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Albania is a relatively poor country with a small population, I think at the moment they have more important things to deal with first before investing in renewable energy! Give them time and I am sure that they will start heading in that direction.

  4. Thank you for the information on Oboz boots. I absolutely love my Vasquez Breeze III boots. We walked 1000 kms on the Camino Frances and Muxia extension in 2019, then put at least a couple thousand more kms on them since then, but I think it’s getting time to replace them if we plan to do any long hikes. Unfortunately, Vasquez changed their boots and the Breeze III are no longer available. I will check out the Oboz boots, in particular whether they now have vibrum soles. Thanks again!

    1. Wow, sounds like you guys do even more hiking than us, good for you! :-)

      Your Vasquez Breeze III boots held up well if you have put that many kilometers on them, maybe you should stick with that brand and just find a different model. We do like our Oboz and we think they have held up way better than our Merrells but I don't know that they would hold up to the amount of hiking that you have done. I also don't know if Oboz uses Vibram soles, although it does look like they have at least one model that does. I know the soles we have are not Vibram.

  5. Keep an eye out for Faruk Fatih Ozer, who has evidently fled Turkey for Albania with $2 billion in cryptocurrency.

    1. Lol, the chances that we see this guy are pretty slim! He could probably walk right by us and we would never know.


We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...