Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Winter Boots, Why Are You So Hard To Find?

Oh, this ugly trend is available in four colours

This past weekend I picked up a new pair of winter boots. Yes, it’s only September but experience has taught me that in order to secure a pair of size nine boots that meet my many requirements, I need to shop early.

And what are those requirements? Well, for me, the ideal pair of winter boot needs to:

  • Have a tough sole that will provide traction (I live in Central Toronto where snow’s not really an issue but ice is)
  • Have no or minimal heel 
  • Be somewhat warm 
  • Be waterproof or least have the potential to be 
  • Have an unfussy design that looks good with jeans and khakis
  • Have enough space to accommodate my manly calves and non-skinny pants 
  • Not make me look like I just stepped off the farm
  • Not look like something a 14-year-old girl would wear

To me, the above list is just obvious but based on what I saw while shopping, boot designers would disagree. Far too many pairs of so-called winters have either heels or thin, smooth soles, neither which are going to do me any good when I’m chasing after a streetcar on an icy sidewalk.

2.5" heel? Pass.
And those that do have acceptable soles tend to either look like out-and-out work boots or something that would only be appropriate for a teenager to wear. While I understand why sensible-sole boots exist in both of those categories, I have no idea why it’s so hard to find a winter boot that has a versatile, city-appropriate design and won’t cause me to fall on my ass if I slip on some ice.

In total, I couldn’t find even six pairs of boots that I would consider acceptable for everyday winter wear.

Now, to be fair, mid-September is a bit early to be shopping for winter boots and because of that, I know I didn't see everything that’s available. For example, I didn’t see any Artica (Browns’ in-house winter boot line) products on sale yet.

But I do think that I saw enough of the 2012 winter boot collections to say that once again, there are just too few options out there. Also, the sheepskin (or sheepskin-like) trend continues to persist despite the fact that these boots are ugly and completely impractical for a Canadian winter.

A few brands that do already have their winter boots out and on sale are Uggs, Steve Madden, Michael Kors, Geox and Sorel. None of the offerings from the first three brands met all of my criteria, the Geox boots just didn't work for me and bad past experiences with Sorel have forever crossed that brand off my list.

In the end, I picked up a pair of Timberland boots. They weren’t cheap but they meet all my requirements and appear to be well-made (but then I thought the same of the Sorels).

Hopefully I won’t need to bust them out for a least another couple of months. But once I have worn them for at least two weeks, I`ll let you know how they’re doing.

The winning design

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