On the lead-up to my first winter in New York (as a naïve Georgia transplant), I felt like I was strapping in for the apocalypse. Twenty-degree temperatures? Blizzards? Have mercy.
I marched myself to the fanciest shoe store in Park Slope and allowed the clerk to mansplain me into buying heavy-duty, knee-length snow boots from Pajar for much more money than my intern budget could afford. They did the job, of course — they were primed to withstand arctic winds, thanks to heaps of plush faux-fur lining the inside, but not flattering in any sense. They made me feel ridiculous as I endured once-overs from the fashion people I interviewed, even more so when I realized that no one else on the subway was wearing bizarro clunkers like these.
My second year here wasn’t much better. I bought a pair of Sorel boots that resembled clown shoes and felt like leg weights; they were so big and unwieldy. More recently, I’ve started to wise up to the fact that actually most people here don’t give a shit about buying crazy rugged snow boots. Every stylish person I know just wears the most unassuming ones that will comfortably get them to their destination and then swaps them out for regular shoes.
Then I chanced upon these men’s snow boots at a small-town Target in Connecticut. They lack any visible branding, fit me like a glove (I wear a size eight in women’s, and also bought a size eight in men’s — they run a bit small), and cost a mere $45. In these puppies, I don’t feel like I’m wearing the ugly puffer jacket of shoes. There’s no over-the-top faux-fur nonsense, quilting, or shiny patent on them, and that’s kind of the point — they’re perfectly understated duck boots at a discount, and I like it that way. I’m clearly not the only woman who thinks so. As one online reviewer by the name of Catwoman says, “It is a men’s shoe but is still a great look for a female. Anyone can rock it.”
And most importantly, they’re warm and durable — during the first few snows of the winter season, they’ve held up against ice and sludge well, while keeping my toes cozy. The cushy rubber bottom is lightweight, so it doesn’t feel like a workout when you’re climbing up the stairs, and feels comfortable on my feet even after hours of Christmas shopping in Soho. I can even say I’m confident that they’re equipped to handle whatever the bomb cyclone throws our way this week (I took them for a test-drive on my coffee run this morning). But with only $45 on the line, I’m also not sweating it too much.
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