The Ecco boots are still hurting. I'm going to have to put washers around the plastic lace hooks so I can squash the Ecco, yak, bull hide, bellows tongues in another place. Otherwise they will never [ever] break in! They've had hours and hours of being clamped really hard where I can get the clamp's screw pad to fit between the lace hooks. It obviously isn't doing the job as far as my permanently sore ankles are concerned.
This time I've tried stacks of rubber washers over the lace hooks to protect the lace hook and the leather. After more hours of being squashed hard by the clamp there was still no improvement in comfort.
Now I'm trying a line of saddle oil along the bellows tongue crease. This oil made Brooks saddles far too soft so it might just help the cause.
Now back under the hard clamping for a few more hours. The smaller, round head of the screw clamp provides localized pressure. While the flat, iron foot inside the boot spreads the load along the bellows crease. I'm screwing the clamps as tight as I can physically manage.
It's a shame the thick bellows crease is causing so much trouble because the toes of the boots feel very comfortable.
I've tried all the likely combinations of lacing. Logic suggests tight lacing would push my feet back in the boots away from harm. Loose lacing allows much more flexibility in the uppers. Neither option has worked so far.
The sheer thickness of the leather used to make the bellows tongue means it cannot adopt a nicely flat fold. Instead it feels like a hard, raised ridge right down through the inside of the boot along the edge of the tongue. Fortunately it is only the inside fold which is causing such pain. I'm not even aware of the outer ridge. My last pair of Ecco boots felt like I was wearing carpet slippers. They made the Salomon boots feel like plywood boxes! Distant shopping in the car.
Tuesday 27th 36-47F, 2-8C, thick mist clearing quickly, overcast, calm. Woken by noisy tree harvesting machinery at a distance. It must be hell for those living right next to it! The boots were no better as I limped off painfully to see what was happening.
The deep moan of a big diesel was being overlaid by the rattle of branches being chopped to pieces. With regular, deeper and louder sounds when a whole tree trunk was being fed into the machine. The limit seemed to be set at 2' in diameter because one, larger trunk was left behind as the tractor and machine moved forwards at intervals. The scale of the machinery can be judged by the tractor driver facing backwards in the cab.
All the cutter's grinding action was taking place in the smaller box in front of the huge green hopper. A vertical chute quickly filled the hopper or could be turned to load a trailer behind another similarly massive tractor. This was carted off for the chippings to be piled high where vehicular access from the road was better. It was odd to see a brown bird of prey hanging about on the ground quite near the roaring machine. Yet as soon as I clomped along the road it took off and disappeared into the distance. Birds really do not recognise vehicles as a danger.
After another morning of the boots being clamped at the tongue folds I put the boots back on to work in the garden. Climbing ladders to trim apple trees and generally wandering about gave the boots a different form of exercise. I laced the boots only to the bend at the ankle and this seemed to help. Still a long way to go before they become comfortable. No amount of clamping seems to flatten the fold in the thick leather tongue. I'm not sure the synthetic saddle oil made any difference. The image [left] shows the thick fold today after days of fierce clamping. No ride today.