Is it just me, or has the world become overly specialized? With more and more products flooding the market, and more and more people doing different stuff all the time, it seems like everything new is developed specifically for one special thing. Gone are the days of the one-quiver anything, now you have to have a different something for each endeavor. Powder skis, groomer skis, park skis, backcountry skis. Downhill bike, cross-country bike, park bike, commuter bike. Small stream trout rod, big river trout rod, smallmouth bass rod, largemouth bass rod. You get the picture, and that’s just the hard goods. When it comes to soft goods, the issue is even more dynamic with baselayers, mid layers, jackets, hats, pants, and of course shoes.
Let me be upfront in saying that I am both a gear hound and a shoe hound. My closet is loaded with both from years of dedicated and deliberate accumulation, much of it specialized to the point of never getting used because as often as I would like, I never seem to use my ten-mile-and-above-wet-weather-hydration-compatible-high-altitude day pack or my low-light-late-season-snowing-but-not-too-hard-high-exertion ski goggle lenses. True, sometimes the situation calls for a specialized piece, but usually I just go with whatever gear I’ve used the most because most of the time confidence in what you are using trumps any advantages over-specialization brings to the table.
This is why my go-to footwear over the past few weeks has been the Patagonia Fitz. At first glance the Fitz is just another sneaker – albeit made by one of the largest and diverse outdoor brands in the game today – but look a little harder and the Fitz is much more. This is a shoe for all occasions due to its construction and style. Allow me to elaborate.
From a technical standpoint, the Fitz fits the bill for all types of active pursuits. First, it’s a lightweight shoe, has a breathable mesh lining, cushy insole and foot bed, and a grippy rubber sole for traction. All this adds up to a super comfortable sneaker equally adept at urban assaults or short day hikes. I would not hesitate to take this shoe out on the trail – in fact, I have done this – because the suede upper prevents the usual wear and tear from dirt, sticks, and the rocks I usually kick down the trail pretending to be a caveman version of Pele. Speaking of suede, that brings me to my next point: style.
The Fitz is low profile, meaning they look great with shorts and allow pant or jean cuffs to drape over them with ease. The leather adds a touch of class to this shoe allowing you to sport them at the bar or the boardroom – with three subdued color options, they can almost pass as a type of dress shoe (this may be a stretch depending on what you consider a dress shoe, but they have leather so…). The stitching of the Fitz Roy silhouette, and Patagonia logo, is a unique feature I have not seen on a shoe before – this is no Swoosh.
I tend to opt for some type of sneaker in the summer as oppose to flops just in case I need to break into a sprint at any given moment, plus I enjoy the support for my freestyle walking habit. The great thing about the Fitz is it satisfies my wife’s desire for me to not wear skate shoes – she finds them tacky, and I don’t skate so they also make me a poser – while satisfying my desire to be ready to chase a purse snatcher, climb a tree, race a bike, hop a fence, dunk, launch a staircase, send a gap, or otherwise display my athletic prowess at the drop of a hat.
I can do all this while still keeping it cool and classy in the Fitz, and that’s all you can ask for in a shoe.