I once hiked Switzerland in a pair of Nike Air Max 1’s — in winter. It was not ideal. 

Turns out there’s a reason they’re marketed for the city.... They belong in the city. Hell, I’ve watched a grown man tenderly remove the slightest of dents from the bumper of those shiny white NAM1’s. These are NOT the coupé for a country drive.

It’s probably worth noting here, that if Nike doesn’t make it — I don’t want it [not the philosophy of TMM]. So when I stumbled across a roguish pair of waxed canvas boots with ‘Aggressive Traction’, inspired by none other than Nike founder and major in the 10th Mountain Division, Bill Bowerman, for ‘Tactical Manoeuvres’ — my mouth started murmuring weekly wages and my fingers started involuntarily air-punching PayPal details. 

‘Tactical Manoeuvres’? I’ve been know to smoke bomb a party or two in my time — this could take my smoke bomb game to a whole new level. Think of the awkward conversations I could avoid WITH STEALTHY EVACUATIONS THROUGH GARDENS AND OUT BACK GATES. NAVIGATING HAZARDS. FEET SANS CASUALTIES.

So, throwing caution and cash to the breeze, I punched some plastic numbers from a plastic card into a plastic time machine... 48 hours later, £175 down, and peaking anxiety, a small man arrived, with a smaller plastic machine, and an even smaller fake plastic pen. I scribbled a fake signature, threw a fake smile, and boom! A giant cardboard box, around a smaller cardboard box, around the finest smelling waxed canvas this side of the office, was before mine eyes.

A short 24 hours later and those lads were all up in the Pen-y-Fan, Wales, on their virgin incursion — or what I imagine the military describes as ‘a forced march in adverse conditions’. Or something. 

Yes, we had little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain that even seemed to come straight up from underneath. And through it all, I sprang with the youthful exuberance of a baby goat. Up and over in no time — ankles un-twisted, feet un-wetted, completely un-welted. 

Mission accomplished.

* Refer to the Pen-y-Fan review for 2:09 of stinging rain.

Never get caught in an uncomfortable conversation again —