Boot Etiquette

Ahh, memories of the freezing rain I had to walk home in one day in grade school. The bus stop was about 1/2 mile from my grandma’s house and the timing of the rain was such that there was no salting done. I basically skated-in-shoes the entire way over about 1/2" of ice. I only fell twice!

Hiking boots are okay, the problem is that road salt is terrible on quality leather (and gums up gore-tex pretty bad), and most hiking boots are cloth/leather down to the sole, so they get ruined pretty fast by walking on salted streets, which is a waste of a good pair of hiking boots. The advantage of snow boots with the rubberized lower foot, is they will not be destroyed by salt. Plus, I just think the rubber foot is superior in waterproofness to waterprooffed cloth or leather.

If you are a woman, OP, the Columbia Bugabootoo (very similar design to the Sorel I linked to) is my most favored brand. They are often on sale at places like Just don’t buy the zip-ups- the zippers suck.

I’ve had the opposite experience. If I pay less than $100 for a pair of boots, they don’t last more than one season.

I love my Blundstones - they are waterproof, warm (when worn with wool socks), extremely comfortable, and I can happily wear them indoors (this is how I address the “what to wear at work” problem). The last pair I had lasted seven years.*

I don’t do a lot of trudging in deep snow, tho. I mostly get around by bike, and I find them extremely useful for that.

    • they would have lasted longer if they weren’t steel toes, and if I hadn’t accidentally melted the sole by stepping in a fire in year 2.

Freezing rain is the devil. It doesn’t happen too often here (only once every couple of years or less), but chipping your car out of 1/2 inch of ice is just about enough to make you start looking for houses in Arizona.

ETA: Blundstones are Australian boots, Sorels are Canadian boots - which are you gonna choose for winter boots? :smiley:

You shouldn’t wear dirty wet boots or shoes beyond the entrance as a the floors will a mess through the whole building. Bring a pair dry shoes when you go to work or other peoples houses. Boots make you fell like you have stones tied to your ankles after a while, so I’d think you’d want comfortable shoes for work anyways.

Depending on how fast your feet sweat, this may not be a factor, but I always keep a jar of shoe powder in my desk to prevent my smelly boots from suffocating everyone in the area.

I’d suggest finding a second pair of boots, and keeping them in your car. They can be cheap and ugly, but they have to be waterproof. Keep a pair of warm socks in them.

That way, on that day in March when it started out nice but was nasty by the time you headed home, you have an emergancy pair, in case you end up with a broken down car.

Matter of fact, there are a pair of snow boots, socks, mittens and a scarf in my car at all times. I’ve got a plastic box in the trunk to keep them corralled.

Thanks very much to everyone for all the good advice! I will let you know if I make it through the winter without breaking a bone. :smiley:

OK, here’s a dumb question. I’ve got a pair of Baffins. They work great, are waterproof and warm, all that good stuff. But my foot moves around in them so much that my socks slowly work their way down off my toes. They fit length-wise, they are just way wide. Is there some magic trick to stop that from happening that doesn’t involve duct tape?

I’ll second the comment about cotton. Try this: take a cotton sock (or glove, shirt, whatever) and soak it in the sink. Do the same to an equivalent polypro, wool, or nylon garment. Hang them up to drip dry. Come back an hour later and give them a feel. Polypro will only be damp toward the bottom half while the cotton will still be soaked through and feel much colder. Check it again every hour or so and you’ll see what I mean.

Aside from the comfort factor, cotton loses most of it’s insulating power when it’s wet whereas wet polypro is still 80% as good as dry. That little fact may have saved my life once when I fell through the ice (I had some help getting there, even I’m not that dumb).

I’m thinking about ordering these, since no one is slamming Sorel.

The price seems to have dropped a bit since my last boot purchase. :slight_smile:

Have you tried adding insoles? It’s kind of counterintuitive, as insoles decrease inside volume from the bottom up instead of the sides, but shoes are weird that way. It’s worked for me with at least one pair of boots. I hate that bunchy sock thing.