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Give me the boot any day.

2008-03-03 - 10:49 a.m.

I cannot count how many times this winter I’ve thought to myself, I love my boots. I originally purchased them after Grommet was born because I was envisioning the need to have good footwear for playing in the snow, building snowmen, and taking walks to escape going insane from being house-bound during the winter part of my year-long maternity leave.

My only regret is not getting them sooner, and letting myself precariously shuffle along in my more-fashionable, but infinitely less-practical, leather Hush Puppies during my last pregnancy. Now, as winter boots go, those Hush Puppies didn’t exactly make me the worst sufferer-in-the-name-of-fashion: they had a full rubber sole that was only slightly elevated at the heel, and they were supposed to be guaranteed waterproof (not that they, or any other pair of Hush Puppies I’ve ever owned, has lived up to this guarantee – every single one of them has leaked when immersed in the ubiquitous Ottawa-winter slush). Nevertheless, they didn’t grip very well, and when I was pregnant even doing up the zippers was a challenge, first balance-wise, and then because my swollen feet didn’t want to cram into them anymore. I had one particularly spectacular wipe-out in those boots at 7 ½ months along.

Now I’ve got big, thick, clompy, Baffin Technology boots that are rated to –40 degrees (the point at which Fahrenheit and Celsius equal out). They have a heavy-duty exterior and removable thermal liner. They have huge, grippy tread. Best of all, I can just step into and out of them so I don’t have to futz around with zippers, clips, or laces.

With all the snow and severe weather we’ve had this winter, they’ve been a blessing. On the Quebec side in particular they’ve come in handy, since Gatineau seems to be absolutely terrible at clearing snow and sidewalks, and rarely gets the snow cleared at bus stops. When everyone else is gingerly trying to pick their way over the snow bank when we all step off the bus, I just clomp on through and blaze a trail for others to follow in my footsteps. I keep a pair of black ecco business shoes (i.e. not heels, and really, not “flats” but more kind of like a feminine version of a man’s dress shoe) in the office and never have to worry about carrying shoes with me.

I know there must be people out there that read this all with a slight feeling of pity for me – that I can’t appreciate the “aesthetics” or “femininity” of heels or even pointy-heeled boots. To those people I say “right back atcha”. I cannot comprehend deliberately subjecting myself to precarious, uncomfortable footwear. My big compromises are the one pair of “chunky” heels I own (and even then, rarely wear unless it’s a formal event and my dress demands them), and a comfortable pair of platform sandals that look dressy and kind of like they are heels because they are high, but are very sturdy, to the point I can easily walk a couple of kilometers in them without batting an eye.

Want to read a better-researched and thought-provoking blog entry on high heels? Read this article, written by a man who admits to the fact that his own personal taste in women runs to the “fashionable”, even while he cannot understand why women consent to wearing heels. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, gloating at marching to my own drummer and having bought my toasty, practical boots.

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