Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rubber Boots, Rain Boots, Wellingtons: Tired of Wet Feet

You can only let your feet get soaked so many times until you breakdown and just say, "no more". Yesterday happened to be that day for me: mid-winter, rained over night, and above freezing temperatures following weeks of snow meant puddles galore. It was a slip and slide. Worst of all, the dams created in the middle of sidewalks due to snow banks made it a very tough-love slip and slide.

I managed not to fall while trying to avoid puddles in shoes that weren't waterproof and had a flat sole from years of use. What did happen was that I lost my balance enough times that I just said, "f*** it", and walked through every deep puddle. It was only a matter of time before I fell over while walking on wet ice on top of snow banks.

Why Wet Feet?
As my feet froze for the rest of the day, the question of why I let this happen popped into my head repeatedly. It's not like I couldn't afford a pair of shoes considering all the other useless crap that I bought recently. No, it was just plain cheapness. To be honest, I did plan on getting waterproof boots this year, but they were "deferred" due to the useless crap.
Finding Waterproof or Water-resistant Footwear
The only winter and water resistant boot that I wanted was a pair of Timberland's. Yes, the same pair of Timberland Men's 6" Premium Boots that everyone seems to wear when it gets cold. Being popular, they are preapproved for style and look like regular boots. As a huge fan of Timberland footwear for fit, comfort, and durability, it'd be logical to stick with success.

There definitely was a hang up related to the price (more than CAD$ 160) for a while though. How could I blow almost $200 after taxes on shoes that would get trashed in snow on their first outing. I eventually got over it as my last pair of Timberlands lasted a good 3 years with heavy use. Unfortunately, I started seriously looking into buying them too late in the season and local retailers already went through the motions of clearing out their stock. Bummer. This left the gates wide open.

Open the Gates: Hunter Wellington Boots
As a jaded and lazy person, the next obvious option was something popular and worn by everyone: Hunter Original Tall Wellington Boot. The second there's a hint of rain, the Wellington boots, usually Hunter branded, come out en masse. This is a very popular fashion item among the ladies. With men, it and similar rubber boots are more likely to be seen on the farmer, a sewer worker, fisherman, or hunter -- not as an everyday, casual item. Being insecure, I naturally decided to check with Mr. Google to see how "acceptable" the look was and came out satisfied. I was actually discussing this with a friend and she was adamant about how rubber boots belong in the field. She was very against the idea of wearing rubber boots in the city.

The biggest reservation I had about Hunter boots was that I thought I read somewhere that they shouldn't be worn in below-freezing temperatures a while ago. Well, I couldn't find the reference again. In fact, the official website suggests that they are good for "all seasons" (under "Ownership and Care"). And a bunch of people on Google say that they've worn their Hunters in snow.

Problem solved, concerns dissolved, time to put in the order? Nope. I also read some online comments and reviews that weren't very favorable relating to durability. Having never owned a pair, I couldn't say how valid those comments were, but it got me thinking again: do I really want to blow that much money on a pair of brand new shoes or boots to be trashed in bad weather? They are listed at CAD$ 160 on the manufacturer's website (at time of writing).

Kamik Hunter Boots: Cheaper Rubber Boots
I bounced around from Sorel to Muck, back to Hunter for a while, and eventually settled on Kamik. Specifically, the Kamik Men's Hunter Cold Weather Boot. It's rubber, designed for cold weather, and most importantly, only around CAD$ 50 and available locally. I had seen these available at a popular local hardware retailer and thought that they weren't worth a look. However, they showed up in an Amazon search and I was impressed by the amount of positive feedback Kamik products received. Very impressed indeed. And for only $50, they were worth a shot. If they worked out, I could get a pair of Hunters later.

Having just picked the Kamiks up, I haven't had a time to test them out yet. Hopefully they work out, but if they don't, sweet, I have a pair of cheap and water resistant boots as a backup.

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