Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When Life Calls for Boots

Dear Winona,

As I have to walk about 30 minutes total everyday in the "brisk" Canadian winter weather (as frigid as -40 somedays), I need some pretty warm winter boots. Most people revert to UGGs, but I just can't bring myself to wear them. For the past couple of years I've been using some calf-height plain suede boots, but the soles have long since worn away (meaning I will fall over if someone so much as brushes me) and the inner soles actually cause my feet to bleed. My question is whether you can suggest any UGG alternatives?

Please and Thank you,
Frostbitten Frida

Dear Frida,

Your email reminds me of my favorite Chinese proverb: "When your feet are bleeding, it's time to buy new boots."

My prescription for your problem is not exactly pretty. In fact, just the opposite. For your situation, I recommend swinging the pendulum away from pretty, all the way past UGGS, and into full-on ugly. In a follow-up email, you mentioned that these boots will mostly be for walking to and from places, so you won't be wearing them to, like, your job as an usher at the opera house. This is the perfect opportunity to go for warm, go for comfy, go for ugly, and just own it.

My favorites happen to be the ones I received for Christmas: classic Sorels.

Chic? Not quite. Warm, waterproof, comfy as hell? Yes. I've worn them almost every day since December 25th--with scrunched up jeans and wool socks, with girly dresses, with hot pink tights. Heck, their company motto is "When Life Calls for Boots"--your life is callin' for boots, homegirl!

Here are my Sorels in action (as part of an outfit that would probably result in the loss of your extremities if worn on a -40 day, but I took these pictures on the warmest, nicest day in Oregon winter history, sorry):

Warm feet are a must when fixing your hair on a bench.

Forgive the bulging belly; my Spanx were in the laundry.

Oregonians are famous for our love of North Face jackets and our lack of balance.

My outfit (which is also what I wore to my new year's party, if you were dying to know) would have been way cuter and warmer with the addition of thick, pink socks, but when I told my photographer boyfriend to hang on while I put some on, he said, "No! Let's just get this over with!" (Ah, the glamorous life of a fashion blogger...)

Still not convinced? Check out this lovely lass, who's about a hundred times more stylish than me and seems equally enamored of her warm, fuzzy footwear.

And if you still absolutely positively hate this idea, check out my other winter boot posts here and here.

Godspeed, my bloody-footed friend.

These boots of my dreams (and maybe yours?) are available at Nordstrom (yes, seriously), Zappos, and tons of other places for around a hundred bucks. Also on Ebay for $30ish. Totally. worth. it.


Anonymous said...

Check any army surplus store for great winter boots.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen someone having so much fun in their winter boots!

tiff said...

I think those Sorels are totally chic and practical, the latter being something with Uggs know NOTHING about. Splash around in slushy puddles? Yes, Sorels, big fat NO to Uggs.

WendyB said...

I think I'm going to get an entire custom wardrobe made of Spanx.

Anonymous said...

Why the hate on UGGS? Trust me girls, guys think they are uber sexy.

Joanna Goddard said...

these pics are so cute. i love the mix of sexy dress and rough-and-tumble boots. awesome.

Anonymous said...

Frida. As an actual fellow person who lives in the snow (Wisconsin) I feel your pain. And while I love you Winona...I'd rather stay indoors than wear Sorels.

I too am over uggs, and most men I know are very much over them too (unless of course that is all one is wearing).

Anyway - I have a few cute and warm winter boots - my favorite being from Enzo Angolini. I can't find the exact ones online but some brands I love for winter boots are:

Aquatalia by Marvin K.
my favorite boot is their "Wasabi 2".

La Canadienne also has a lot of cute waterproof winter boots, I'm fond of their "Vania" and "Galaxy" styles.

If you want something more fun, casual, young.... I would try the Juicy Couture "Snowfurry". They are like much cuter updated moon boots.

And if you just need a boot to go check the mail in I think that Tretorn makes the cutest rain boots ever -- the bonus is they are lined with fur to keep those tootsies warm!!

Good Luck

daddylikeyblog said...

You are so right! Army Surplus stores are some of my fave shopping destinations, but I always forget to include them in posts like this. I'll write a whole post dedicated to them soon!

Ms. Bubble--
It's true. My ugly sorels make me giddy!

Yep. UGGS actually make more sense in Southern California than anywhere that receives precipitation.

Oh my god, please order two and send one to me!!

Hahaha since you're sarcastic about 90% of the time, I have no idea how to interpret this comment. But I will say that I do adore UGGS and I'm willing to stand as a beacon of hope for downtrodden UGG lovers around the world!

You crack me up. I'm glad you've found winter boots that you'll leave the house in, and I must say your suggestions are mega cute! Thanks for the tips.

hannah said...

delurking to wholeheartedly agree that sorels are the best. boots. ever.

Caro said...

I thought I was all smart because I got leather boots, not suede, so they're waterproof. BUT not salt proof! So great idea.

And is that a dress layered over a lacy slip? or did it come that way? love

Anonymous said...

carolyn s - I have leather boots. Let me tell you, stain guard spray is the best thing ever for suede or for leather.

Winona you look so cute in your pics! I live in Van and the temperature hovers a little above zero, so I've been able to get away with knee socks and tall leather boots under my jeans most days.

Anonymous said...

La Canadienne makes nice, attractive waterproof winter boots that you actually could wear to work.

bigglassesgirl said...

um, off topic, but I love your hair. Is that too junior-high? Anyways, as a Canadian I too can vouch for sorels. And Kodiak hiking socks to pair with not-so-tough-ass boots. Love.

christine said...

um, you are so pretty! yay for functional shoes!

jen fu said...

I am moving to Utah, from California (hi, I'm crazy!) and I just picked up these:

They are comfy, they are pretty goddamn sassy, and they are both warm and waterproof. Thinsulate! Woo!

Anonymous said...

I jsut got these:
They are as practical as Sorels and keep my feet quite warm, but they are slightly less clunky and come in cute colors.

Unknown said...

Leave some cuteness to the rest of us, girl. I really envy your hair!

And Sorels are adorable too.

Anonymous said...

Also being Canadian, I know how amazing and practical Sorels would be (my city gets to -50 Celcius on occasion!). Unfortunately, childhood winters past have left me with a crippling traumatized fear of them, and if I tried to put them on I might vomit and pass out. Then cry a little. While passed out.
That's what happens when your mother forces you to go to elementary school in early 90s sorels.

Jello on Springs said...

Aww they look so cute on you. And I agree, one can own ugly lol and look damn good doing it! I have a pair of boots that my dad bought me and I hated them at first, called them "fisherman boots" but they're also the only pair of boots I can actually wear when it snows so I've had to improvise and I kinda sorta love them now.

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker, first time commenter. :) I love your blog, Winona. I also love my new boots:

Going to Utah from California next week, so I'll definitely need them.

Clare said...

I actually don't think they're that ugly! I'm almost wanting to buy a pair myself, despite the fact that we rarely go below freezing where I live.

daddylikeyblog said...

I'm so glad sorels could lure you out of lurking! Heck yeah, they rock!

It is indeed a slip layered under a dress. I bought the slip for 3 bucks at an antique store and I layer it under EVERYTHING--it's featured in my Spice Girls concert outfit as well.

Thanks babe! And I'm so with you on the knee socks--I pretty much want to marry knee socks.

I'll have to check those out!

Not too junior high at all. You are welcome to compliment my hair as often as you'd like. Perhaps every day? Do you want my phone number?

You're so sweet.

Jen Fu and Met--
Welcome to Cuteville. Population: Your boots!
God that was lame. Sorry. But really, I love both of you guys' boot finds.

Come on now, you're hoggin' some major cuteness yourself. And yay you like Sorels!

I grew up in a tiny logging town in Oregon, so I have that exact reaction to Carhartt jackets. But we'll get through this. Together.

Jello on springs--
Isn't owning ugly the best?

Few things make me happier than when readers de-lurk and comment! One of those things is Elimidate, and another is your new boots--MEGA cute, girlfriend!

They are pretty endearing, huh? I say go for it. I wore mine to class today despite the 50 degree temperatures. It rained a little, so I felt justified.

Anonymous said...

A big YES to these boots. And to you in that dress.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE those boots! I look at them every time i pop by the general store to pick up other items... and every time I secretly dream of wearing them with tights and dresses!
I think you may have just pushed me over the edge...
Glad to see it's possible to combine these items.

Mariah said...

All of my hipster Montreal friends wear la canadienne's. they aren't the MOST cool, nor are they the MOST warm, but they are the most of both things at once. very comfortable, very waterproof, very warm, and reasonably ok looking.

Anonymous said...

Love La Canadienne's!! Tahra is what I have. WIll checkout the other ones.

LallaLydia said...

3 words: you. are. adorable.

a few more: I dig the new layout, very nice, just like Laila described :)

Anonymous said...

how about these cute vintage 70's ones that are quite similar but in red. You'd rock this colour Lady W!

Anonymous said...

Oh, the link didn't work. Oh well, they were cute! In the sale section of the Urban Collection of you are interested.

Anonymous said...

Thank You! I'm very surprised you are rocking the Sorels and even more surprised that I actually think they look good. Thanks for the suggestions from everyone who commented too. Now my question is how I'm going to choose!

Anonymous said...

Sorels are considered chic? This just blew me away - in a good way! As a Wisconsin native and current Minnesota resident, the need for warm, waterproof, comfy (read: practical) winter boots outweighs the need for stylish winter boots any day. I usually rock my Sorels under (yes, under) jeans. Now I have a desire to get something other than a basic black pair & really incorporate them into my outfit. Thanks, Winona!

GLAMOUR said...

You made those normally UGLY duck feet boots look totally chic! nice work!

Michelle said...

Okay, so I have those exact boots, except mine are "merlot" in color. They are great! I am in Fairbanks, Alaska where it gets to be -60F at times, so warm boots are a must, but really, I don't want to look like I have giant furry bear feet either. I am so happy to know that someone else finds them "winter fashionable"!
P.S. I love the name Winona. You're parents are very obviously pretty cool cats!

Anonymous said...

love those boots I have so many ugg boots Im also looking for something different cute and warm for this winter. Those are so cute a must have for this winter

Lini said...

I just wanted to thank you for getting me completely obsessed with the Sorel boots. I live in Boston and we love our Nor'easters here! I use to wear Timberlands every winter, but have found them to not be very slip-proof on the ice and not very warm on cold, bitter days. I've been driving myself nuts trying to find something with the durability of a Timberland and the warmth, coziness of an Ugg. I am now completely obsessed. We just had a snow storm on the East Coast and I wishing for another one as soon as these Sorel boots arrive.

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