If you are looking for something on the little un-ordinary side shoe wise then you should really take a trip to the Hayloft while you are in Gatlinburg. We went down in search of the Virbam five finger shoes just a few days ago. We have been a huge fan of the Vibrams since we first saw them last year and after shopping all over the internet and our local stores we discovered that the best prices and selection were at the Hayloft just up the road. What a pleasant surprise for us that was especially since our daughter is growing and needs a larger pair almost every other month. The best part about the Hayloft is their service, you don’t get a lot of personal care these days when you’re shopping for shoes. They know if you are shopping at the Hayloft that you are searching for a perfect fit and in most cases that you are on a vacation, they want to make sure that you feel comfortable both with your purchase that your fit.
Once you have selected the shoe you want to try on, they measure your fit and they also make sure that you understand their reasoning behind the fit. A lot of people these days seem to want smaller feet than they really have, and as you can imagine the wrong size shoe can prove disastrous once you have left town and the store is no longer in walking distance. I was particularly happy they took the time to make sure I was making the correct choice when choosing both my own and my daughters Vibrams. These are certainly shoes that can be either an awesome choice for any outdoors enthusiast or a total disaster on catastrophic levels. We are very intense hikers and when you start up the side of a mountain a very snug fitting shoe like the Vibram five finger can either be an asset or a danger. They really give me a lot of grip on the stones and allow for a firm hold when you’re climbing on stones or across creeks. Since the shoes do go from wet to dry land, if the fit is off you are in big trouble.
Blisters on a hike can cause a person to limp back to their car in pain and agony, and as well know it is hard enough to get the average child motivated these days so them being in pain while on a hike is never good. That is why I am so happy with the folks at the Hayloft, they know my daughter very well and even call her by name when we visit. They never fail to measure her foot when we go to look for a new pair of shoes, they know how important any type of hiking equipment can be. I have bought many shoes at other larger name stores over the years and the experience was never the same, it was always very impersonal. We have had people measure for a size before, but we know it is important that they also give our daughter room to grow and amazingly so do they. They care and that makes the difference, not just in the store but on a hike too. As I walked up the side of the mountain this week I reflected back to our day in the Hayloft, and the fact that if it weren’t for the care they took our hike would have been far less enjoyable. The shoes my daughter had first chose would have been too small and here she stood, precariously balanced on a stone in the middle of the creek at Greenbriar with perfect balance because she had the perfect fit.
That is why I am grateful for the small town atmosphere that we have here in Gatlinburg, I am grateful that we don’t have the larger “convenience stores” in our area that would never have taken the time to tell me that shoe would be too small once it started to move on my daughter’s foot. I guess knowing that your shop is so small can create a larger sense of pride on ones work that can’t be replaced by a larger selection or sometimes even better prices. Since they don’t have the large amount of returns or complaints at the Hayloft, they are able to offer competitive pricing and I found that their deals on Vibram are actually better than what I found on ebay. And had they not been so picky when I was purchasing my shoes, or my daughter’s shoes I would have more than likely purchased my first and last pair of Vibrams on the first purchase and never bought another pair after that. They are a very particular fit and anyone who has ever bought a pair will tell you that they love or hate them. That is when you know if they bought them at the Hayloft or not. As you will find, you may not know your size when it comes to all shoes and even with a very fine shoe the fit can make or break the owner. That is why when I purchase anything I try to shop locally, I know they will take the time and care to ensure the best fit.