Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Thing that Winter is Missing

New Boots

After the epicness of cleaning out my closet, I discovered that a small number of articles needed replacing. Chief among them are my winter boots.

Let me be clear. I am not talking about 'fashion boots.' Those vile, ridiculous, usually fake leather or real leather knee or thigh-high contraptions. No, I gave up on those last year when I realized that the space between summer and winter in this city and thus the time during which I can wear 'fashion boots' is approximately one week. Okay, maybe that's a bit of an over-exaggeration. Two weeks.

That's riiiiiiight....the temperature goes from about 30 degrees Celsius to about -15 in that short span. The leaves don't really change colors slowly so much as they all drop off the trees at once. In a single day.

So, with that in mind, I figured the task would be simple. A wedged-heeled boot so that I don't look like I'm standing in a hole. With trends on the rubber sole so I don't slip on the inevitable ice. And a cozy lining (like shearling or something similarly thick and warm) that extends all of the way down to the footbed and wraps around the top of my toes. Fashionable, knee-high, waterproofed leather or suede on the outside. And, of course, affordable. If I'm feeling greedy maybe a little arch support thrown in for my flat feet. What could be easier?

Apparently sending humans to Mars and back. The massive problems:

Inexpensive boots are crap

They are paper thin, they are completely unlined, they hurt my feet. :(
"Fashion" boots! Insane inventions of people who live in cities where winter means a little rain. I shake my fist at you.

Serious winter boots are butt-ugly

Okay, listen. I'm not going on an Arctic trek. I'm not using these particular boots for snow sports. I just want my toes to not freeze when I go out on the town in the middle of February (seriously, it could happen here). But I also want to still looking cute. Is that so hard? Does comfort really have to mean wearing the cobbled equivalent of grannies panties? To illustrate:

Hey, good-looking! Not. Or, you know, there's always Uggs. I mean, forget not only trying to look elegant but even respectable with all those damn salt stains. I guess they don't have to use salt on their roads in Australia. But at least they have a complete liner. Too bad that won't help me out when the snow has soaked through to my toes and they've turned black from frostbite.

Even "serious" winter boots have crap liners

I mean, really, this is a problem. You research the boots above and find out that they have a 9 mm removable liner made from some space aged material. Good to minus one million degree temperatures. Great! Give me some of those liners. But as soon as you move to look at cute winter boots made by the same company, you have to buy the liners separately. What a load. Seriously. Frustrated. Why is this such a problem?

(the cute boots in question. They might as well cost $500,000 for how much I can afford them. Then add to that another $10,000 for the liners. And -- oh wait! Those liners aren`t even for the wedge version! Whhheeeeeeeeee!)
Other boots that were considered and rejected because of no liner, not enough liner, or ugly:
1. Sorel, as above.
2. Uggs, as above.
3. Emu. Same problem as Ugg. As in, you're really going to charge me that much money for shearling that stops just when I need it most? (at the footbed) Or for - gasp - non-waterproof boots?
4. La Canadienne. For pete's sake, you'd think a company out of Montreal would be able to get it right. But no, not a decent liner in sight. Waterproof, sure, but winterproof? And what's with the millions of models with no wedge or heel higher than a half inch? Just smack some treds on that sucker and we're good to go.
(I suppose this is close to what I mean. But, again, might as well be $500,000. Plus there's no way to know from the website whether the lining extends all the way to the toes)

5. Manitobah Mukluks. All right. So, being pretty local, these boots might be as good as it gets. They cost slightly less millions than Sorel or La Canadienne both do. But I'm still not sure whether they'd stand up to melting snow and salt stains (yes, I know we used sand on the roads here, but I am eventually going to head back east. Plus, which is worse: salt stains or snow + sand = mud stains?).
The big advantages are the shearling footbed (where it is actually needed) and the rubber sole. The other disadvantage is that pesky no-heel business. But for some reason I am willing to make an exception for mukluks. Probably because to put a heel on a Mukluk would be an abomination.
Well, that's all I can really find at the moment. Does anyone else know of amazing winter boots that don't cost an arm and a leg? Maybe I'll just have to save my pennies for the next...month and a half before the snow comes and get myself a super expensive pair. Although seriously, for that amount of money, I think I deserve a more substantial but attractive winter boot than the available options.