Baby Needs New Shoes!–Just Shoot Me Now

I recently posted this on my facebook page:

Dear shoe manufacturers:
Not all snow is dry, and not all rain is warm. There is this thing called WINTER, which in many places is COLD and WET at the same time, which means all those cute, suede, pompom-bedecked fluffy things will turn into mush in approximately two hours.
Boots 7Thank you so much for your attention to this matter.
Cassondra, the frustrated shoe shopper

Hey, I would totally wear those boots on the left. I think pompoms are cute on boots!

Okay…This whole thing started about two weeks ago when I was cleaning out the garage, making a path to the Christmas decorations.

That’s when I heard it.


Plink-plink. Plunk.

That’s the sound of rain on my metal garage roof.

It was a cool rain, but that didn’t matter because the day had been a warm seventy degrees.  This is Fahrenheit, for all y’all who are not in the States.

The problem? Half of our stuff was in the driveway. Power tools. Furniture.

And books. Stacks of books I was going through .

Anyway…I was in a sweatshirt, jeans and my ratty, beat-to-hell work boots.

I started running instead of walking—moving things back into the garage, into my van for donation, or down to the street for the trash pickup. I set my priorities based on what would be ruined by the rain.

But then the temperature started to drop.

See…that rain was the edge of a front.  It was the polar vortex arriving in Southern Kentucky.

Polar Vortex.  Yeah.  A few years ago, before the weather people decided to jump on the wagon of sensationalist journalism, that would have been “an early cold snap,”  and a completely normal event.  But I’ll save that rant for another blog.

Back to the temperature dropping and the rain falling on my driveway full of stuff.

I was running like crazy…and then wait.  Ewww.

What the heck is that?

My foot was cold.  Boots 5

My foot was WET.

I looked down. I’d been too busy to notice, or maybe I’d just ignored it. The sole had almost fallen off of one of my ratty old boots.

Not that this was a big loss.  That’s the ratty boots in question–now dry–on the right.   See the sole separated from the body of the boot?

Yeah, they were cheap boots, and as a result of getting caught somewhere, unexpectedly needing boots for a trek through the woods, a cave, or some situation in a dirty old barn, over the yearsBoots 3 I’d ended up with several pairs like these.

I ignored the wet foot and kept working, moving stuff out of the weather.

By the time everything was under some kind of shelter–even if it was a plastic trash bag—I was soaked and cold, and the other boot had started to leak. I needed dry feet, pronto.

I went in the house and looked under the shelf in the bedroom closet. That’s the space where I keep suitcases and boots.

I found the boots on the left over there–with three-inch  heels.


I found cute short boots with lace ties. Boots2

I found my stand-by punk stage boots.

NOT what I needed.

I went back out and kept working, slogging across the yard with the sole of the right boot slapping back and forth, threatening to trip me, and the hole in the left boot leaking like a…well..a ratty old boot.

By the time everything was secure it was dark, 35 degrees, and I was starting to shiver.  I came inside, looked in the mirror and figured out I was darn-near  hypothermic.

A hot bath and a hot meal later, I snuggled up to a heating pad and faced the truth.

My world was saved, but it was time for new boots.

Boots sad faceAnd therein lay the trouble.

For me, hypothermia is far less frightening than the prospect of shopping for new boots.

Now for some of you, this might be as simple as a trip to the nearest store and a happy trip home with something cute.

But for me, this was a sentence to hell.

Because if I actually NEED a particular kind of shoe, shopping becomes pure torture.  I want what I want. I want it now, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time and stress finding it.

Are you starting to see the problem?  In my experience, the above statement and shopping are mutually exclusive.

Here’s the thing. If I’m going to spend a fair bit of money, I have these rules.

First…the shoes have to fit. No heel rubbing. No toe pinching. No feeling like I will fall Boots 1sideways and turn my ankle when I walk. No seams rubbing parts of my foot and causing blisters. If I have to spend hours and hours in a shoe, I want to think about something other than how much my feet hurt, thank you very much.

That’s my stand-by, cheap punky boots over on the right.  They were $15 at Payless shoe store a few years ago. I lucked out. I wear them everywhere and even though the vinyl is starting to flake off one side,  I bless those chunky boots each time I put them on, praying they’ll last because they’re comfortable and they’re so “me.”

But that’s not what you buy to hike through the woods or to do real work, yaknow?  I can’t use that boot to slam a shovel into the ground.  Shovel-slamming is a whole nuther level of quality.

Second…if I spend a lot of money, the shoes need to be solid.. I expect to get years out of them. I don’t care what the name on the label is. I want performance and longevity.

Third—and the most problematic part—I want everything performance boots can offer in one boot.

I want them to be waterproof, comfortable, and functional.

I want it all.

Fourth— I want it in my hometown, where I can know.. try on the boot before I buy it.

I have picky feet, and I am not interested in the process of mail order shoes.  Order, wait for it to arrive, try it on, find it doesn’t fit, mail it back, get a different size, wait for it, try it on, find it doesn’tBoots 4 fit, mail it back, try something else, etc etc etc.

I’d rather dig my eye out with a nail file.

My willingness to put up with shoe bullsh*t is incredibly low.

See that photo on the left? That’s the boots from up earlier in the post. But you can shove them down to be mid-length like this, or even further down to be awesome scrunchy short boots!  Three boots in one! This adds value for a shop-o-phobe like me.

Okay…so I searched online for boots–sturdy, waterproof, warm, tough-as-hell boots–finding out which ones were worth money and which ones were not. Then I spent two days going to stores.

Yes, that’s right..I said two days—that’s a lot of time I could have used for other things, by the way–driving to stores, searching for a sturdy, waterproof boot that would handle serious rain and snow, had tread that would not land me on my butt every time I walked out the door, and that did not hurt my feet.

Conclusion? No such boot is available in Southern Kentucky.

We can put people on the moon, but we can not do this simple thing.  We cannot give Cassondra what she wants in one boot.

NOW…perhaps Sorel or Merrell or some other hoity toity manufacturer makes such a boot, and perhaps you who live in more snow-focused regions have these boots in stores. But they are NOT available in a store in Southern Kentucky.

Harrumph.Boot Saga 2014

In the end I had to drop back and punt.

I had to get more than one pair of boots to do it all.

I now have two pairs of boots, and though I grit my teeth to say it, I need a third.

The first pair is a reasonable approach to a rain boot. After searching through every store I knew, I finally gave in and went to my personal hell—the mall.

I found those boots in the photo above.

They gave me an insert to keep my heel from riding over, and another insert for more arch support, and I went home with my new RAIN boots.

But now I need snow boots.  And I need work boots.

Enter the stopgap.

I call them the Mars Landers because when I tried them on and looked in the mirror I said, “OMG, I’m a Transformer!”boots 8

I had these little skinny legs and these enormous monster-esque feet with tread that looks like something out of a sci-fi horror flick.

They are not waterproof, and really they’re not all that sturdy. But if I seal the seams with waterproofer, they’ll probably get me through the winter, even if it snows a lot.

I found them at a second hand store.

I brought them home and for what it’s worth, I’m wearing them now. They’re very comfortable once you get used to walking with feet five times the size of your own.

The search for the perfect boot continues.

So help me choose boots, Bandits and Buddies..

Do you have snow where you live?  How deep does it get?

Do you have special boots for when it snows?

Or do you have a “wet” winter?  If so, what shoes or boots do you wear in the pouring rain?

 Do you live in an area where you need boots that can take a beating?

I so WANT pompom boots.  Do you own any boots with pompoms?  If so, do they wilt in the weather?

What boots get you through the cold, wet seasons?

And the big reveal…do you like to shop for shoes?

Or are you like me, and shopping is your own personal hell?

Come on. Dish about your boots.  Not the high-heel, sexy boots. I’m talking about the boots you wear when you have to dig the car out of the snow or go with the Sunshine Scouts on a hike through the national park in winter or get stuck in the mud.

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  • flchen1 says:

    I’m not much help, Cassondra! I do like boots, but don’t really have tough ones. I have a pair of black fake leather ones by Nine West with a chunky heel, a pair of fake Uggs from Costco which my daughter’s basically assumed custody of, a nice black leather heeled pair for dressy occasions… I’ve briefly considered combat boots…

    But I’m not sure that quite fits my style (or lack thereof) 😉

    • Cassondra says:

      Oooo! Fedora, you got the rooster.

      Do you remember when everybody was wearing combat boots with skirts? I know some guys hated that look, but I thought it was cool in a funky kind of way.

      I’ve worn combat boots before–and in a pinch I can wear my husband’s. Now I’m wondering why I didn’t think of that!

      • flchen1 says:

        Combat boots have always seemed kind of cool to me–should have figured that would be something you’re familiar with, Cassondra 😉 And hm… don’t think the GR’s wearing boots today…

        • Cassondra says:

          Fedora, I understand that the US military may in fact be testing combat boots to fit chicken feet–specifically because they believe the GR may be a deadly weapon.

  • Jane says:

    We do get the white stuff, but luckily it’s not like what’s happening in Buffalo right now. I usually wear my Timberland boots when the weather is nasty and I just bought some rubber boots for the rain. If it’s cold, but dry I usually wear my Emu boots. I’ve always got my eye on some North Face boots, but haven’t found the right pair at the right price yet.

    • Cassondra says:

      Jane, I love Timberlands. They are almost always comfortable on my feet. The ones I had last time had really low tops though–almost like shoes, and I wore them like most people wear tennis shoes.

      Alas, all of my Timberlands have worn out (I wear boots a lot I guess)

      If I can find a waterproof pair, that might just fit the need perfectly.

    • Jane, I saw on TV that things are really bad in western NY, with more snow on the way. I hope it will let up soon.

  • Helen says:


    I feel your pain for getting shoes that are comfortable I have rather large feet and most shoes end up hurting somewhere although I don’t own boots I don’t need them here in Oz I am more comfortable shoeless or with thongs (flips flops) and in winter I wear ugg slippers and there is no way I would every buy shoes on line I need to try them on first I am not paying out good money on something that I am not sure of.

    I hope your new boots end up great

    Have Fun

    Oh and I will probably have no internet for the next couple of weeks we are off on our cruise to New Zealand tomorrow have lots of fun everyone will catch you all soon hugs 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    DC gets snow, sometimes very little, sometimes enough that life comes to halt. Six inches or 8 are what brings life to a complete stop. Life slows down a lot with just a couple.

    My boots are my only boots, they’re for snow or heaven forbid ice. I just do walkers for everything else.

    I just ordered boots that have fur trim, no pom-poms. The thing is they’ve arrived, and I haven’t tried them on. You see if they fit, then I have to accept winter is coming. The mail order company also allows returns until 31 Jan. I now order probably 50-60^ of my foot purchases. Stores under threat from on-line are just sealing their doom; they have fewer and fewer choices, with the emphasis on the latest fashion, rather than the basics.

    What I really hate about shoe shopping is that there are three moll stores, but they are geared to the teen/twenties crowd. You are greeted by loud, loud rock music. The sales girl or guy with great hair in the latest style just sniffs when you walk past the 3 and 4″ heals for the little selection of flats. Once they accept that is what is one the list, they chill and get a little nicer, maybe to get me out of the door.

    Shopping in general falls in to fun–looking to see what great deal I can score–or painful– looking for something I need.

    • Cassondra says:

      Ah, Shannon, your “looking for something I need” is how I view almost all shopping. Just EVERY now and then I get a hankering to make the rounds of TJ Maxx and sometimes Kohl’s. But if I can avoid the mall, I do. I park at the entrance nearest the store I have to visit, go in, grab my stuff, and leave.
      I know that makes me the odd girl out, though. A lot of women apparently like to shop.

      I have also noticed a trend to play screaming rock music in stores. There’s a wine/liquor store in the small town south of me, and they do this. I go in and it’s so loud it just about gives me a headache. I asked them once, “So are you going specifically for the 20s crowd at this store?” And they’re like, “No! It’s just supposed to be a party!” I just nodded. This kid was not going to understand that not everyone plays music like that at parties, and the middle-aged people have more money to spend on alcohol than the kids….but I gave up. I did leave feeling like I’ve turned into a curmudgeon though. My husband and I joke about it, randomly yelling “Get off my lawn!” at each other.

  • catslady says:

    I was never a shoe shopper because I have very skinny feet (not so much now lol) and always had a horrible time finding anything to fit, much less that were something I really wanted. A few years back I found the most comfortable boots. I only wish they were a tad higher but I rarely have to get in deep snow now (although Pgh. does it’s share but rarely have to go out in it when it’s that bad). I’m so glad I’m not living in Buffalo right now!

    • Cassondra says:

      Catslady, I’ve been watching that coverage of Buffalo and I know they’re used to snow up there, but my gosh, I don’t know how they’re coping. We have friends up there, and we haven’t heard from them. I’m hoping they’re okay and just busy trying to dig out.

  • I have a confession, Cassondra…I have no boots. None. Not functional ones. Not cute ones. None wish pom-poms. Of course, the fact that I live in Texas, means I just stay put when the rare snow fall happens or it’s super muddy outside. 😀

    • Cassondra says:

      Suz, I used to have no cute boots. I confess that Tawny’s love of boots kind of got me to keep boots in mind when I had to go shoe shopping. I’ve since added the ones in the blog. Before that I had only work boots or snow/hiking boots. Working outside a lot and working on this old house pretty much requires a selection of boots. Some days I am envious of your “no need for boots” climate. Until summer. Then I’m perfectly happy where I am. I think the Texas summer is a whole nuther thing as compared to Kentucky.

  • Cassondra, what a fun post! I love the photos. I’m sorry you had such a miserable afternoon, though.

    Do you have snow where you live? How deep does it get?

    We do. It rarely gets deeper than a foot and seldom that deep anymore.

    Do you have special boots for when it snows?

    Yes. They are too wide. I have to double-sock, and even then they’re big. But they don’t come in anything less wide than Medium.

    Or do you have a “wet” winter? If so, what shoes or boots do you wear in the pouring rain?

    Our winter is usually rainy, sometimes with ice storms. I wear my boots to go outside in the snow. Otherwise, it’s sneakers. They fit. Though the closest store that stocks narrow is in Atlanta. Luckily it’s near where GRW meets.

    Do you live in an area where you need boots that can take a beating?

    Not really.

    I so WANT pompom boots. Do you own any boots with pompoms? If so, do they wilt in the weather?

    I have no pompom boots. The only pair of boots I’ve ever been able to get that fit have 3-inch heels. I bought them in a moment of insanity, and they murder my quads, not to mention the balls of my feet, which–given the sneaker habit–are not used to having all my weight shoved down on them.

    What boots get you through the cold, wet seasons?

    I pretty much wear sneakers all the time unless there’s snow/ice to be dealt with.

    And the big reveal…do you like to shop for shoes?

    No! I loathe and despise it. I have narrow feet. Stores, however, mainly stock Medium and Wide. They’ll be glad to order Narrow, of course, with no obligation, but–as you note–massive potential hassle. There’s one place in town that stocks a wide selection of narrow shoes.

    Or are you like me, and shopping is your own personal hell?

    I hate shopping. Like you, I go for something specific. I want to get that and go home, not try on a zillion things I’m not especially interested in anyway. If I’m going to browse and sample, I’d rather do it in a bookstore.

    • Cassondra says:

      Ah, Nancy, narrow feet is one thing I’ve NEVER had. I’ve cursed my (only somewhat) wide feet at times because a lot of shoes I try on are too narrow for my feet, and they are inevitable the cutest ones. But I find that Designer Shoe Warehouse has a lot of shoes that fit me, so when I need decent dress shoes (which I usually don’t pay much for–I get those at Payless or somewhere cheap because I seldom wear dress shoes now) and am willing to spend more, I go to DSW. They have an entire “narrow” section, by the way–at least the one where I shop has that.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey, my Evil Twin! Grins. I LOVE boots. I adore them. I coo over them and covet them. Grins. I have work boots – duly waterproofed – as well as hiking boots, snow boots, rain boots and cool “wear with skirts/pants” boots. I have LL Bean gum boots. I LOVE those. Rain or light snow, they are the bomb. Also love my polished black dress boots, and my suede-y brown boots. Last winter I bought big furry snow boots that are heavily waterproofed. LOVE them. Looking forward to wearing them this winter.

    However, like you, I buy ’em to last. And when they do wear out, I’m devastated. Usually because it takes me a while to find a replacement. It took me two years to find a pair of black boots to replace the others that finally just died (zipper ripped from the leather, heels wore out, etc. etc.) Grins.

    I’m a huge fan of Timberline and Carhartt boots. And LLBean gumboots. I had my first pair of LLBean boots/gumshoes for nearly 35 years. LOVED those suckers. Had ’em repaired more times than I can count, but they held up until two years ago. I figured I got my money’s worth out of the first pair, FOR SURE. Grins.

    • Cassondra says:

      Jeanne, I have yet to shop at LL Bean. It’s that whole “mail order” thing. I don’t want the hassle of buying and having to ship back to return. I have enough trouble getting a letter in the mail. And when I want/need something, I usually want/need it NOW or soon.
      Mail order clothing is meant for people with WAY more patience than I have. Or people who live in the UP. Which I think, by very definition, means they have way more patience than I have.

  • Cassondra, I feel your pain. Seriously, I have troublesome feet and I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I’ve given up on looking for beautiful boots and shoes. I just want something that doesn’t hurt. Luckily I’ve found a brand of walking shoe (Saucony) that suits my foot and I buy those suckers in bulk (just bought two last week and they cost more than a holiday in Bali!). But when it comes to something a little more glam, I’m in trouble. At the moment – well, for the last 8 years – I’ve been getting by with a pair of Colorado ankle boots that seem to go with most things. Unfortunately the sole is getting so thin – yeah, I know, after ONLY 8 years – that they’re killers to stand in, particularly on hard surfaces. The time is approaching where I must replace them. And like you, the horror of the boot shopping experience is making me delay and delay. Good luck on your hunt!

    • Cassondra says:

      Anna, when I find a pair I love, I’m actually willing to pay to have them resoled. Assuming that’s possible. It isn’t for some shoes. I wonder if you could have your awesome Colorado ankle boots reworked and get another eight years out of them?!
      I am really grateful that I don’t have problem feet. Shoe shopping is hard enough for me with semi-normal feet (Is there really such a thing as normal feet, since everybody’s feet are different?) Hmmm…I’m thinking shoe manufacturers have a hard go of it. All those different feet!

  • gamistress66 says:

    I feel your pain, I hate shoe shopping & boots are the worst. I needed new winter boots too – snow boots. I’m not a fan of fashion boots, I don’t want heels that will only result in me causing further damage to knee &/or ankle, I don’t tuck jeans into boots (not a look that works on short me even if I was willing) so only interested in ankle high boots, also have picky feet which further reduces possibilities & no desire to pay a small fortune for a pair of shoes much less boots I’ll wear even less. I want boots that are sturdy and will keep my feet relatively warm/dry as well as reduce the risk of me falling on my butt on the snow & ice. my boots are for shoveling snow & crossing slushy slippy parking lots. comfort, definitely preferred. so yep, not easy to find what I want. Alas, my old boots (I discovered during a major snow storm last winter) were not only a little snugish, but not so water
    proof anymore.

    went to DSW a couple weeks ago walked in, saw rows of boots, started looking turned around and walked out again till my niece arrived (we were meeting up to make the attempt together plus she’s my shoe shopping good luck charm). I got lucky, after going through all the boots & even trying a few on, I found 2 pairs at a reasonable price that seem like they will work (got one black & on brown pair, and yea, that’s why she’s my lucky charm). they are both still in their boxes but will hopefully not only work, but delay any need for boot shopping for some time 🙂

  • Deb says:

    Oh, my gosh! You are so right on with this blog post, Cassondra. I hate to shop, first of all. Finding boots for fun or for snow is a chore and a half. I had a favorite pair if ankle boots in a taupe color for fun and wore them until there were holes in the soles. I also had a pair of work boots that lasted until forever. I have not found any boots I have liked in years that are a reasonable price. My winter boots are suede and it is a pain to spray them several times to keep them waterproof, but the soles are real non-glide rubber. So, a plus for not falling on thy arse.
    Your rain boots look like a pair of shoes I had in college…duck shoes, we called them. Cute, but hurt my feet.
    Snow (in Iowa) is, well, synonymous with winter. 😉

  • Had to laugh when I saw your post, Cassondra, because I discovered this weekend that i need new boots.

    I’m not talking serious work boots. My dh handles the heavy lifting. I have a pair of snow boots, but I’ve only worn them a couple of times. I need indoor fashionable boots. My problem, however, is that I have wide feet. It’s hard to find wide boots. They make them all for skinny & normal feet. I think I’ve gone shoeless for more times in my life than I’ve worn shoes – and now I’m paying for it. I also need new tennis shoes so a trip to the shoe store is in order – but I’m trying to finish this WIP and just don’t have the time to spare.

    I feel your pain.

  • Kaelee says:

    I live in a snowy climate and last year my boots disintegrated. Wet feet=cold feet. Calgary gets chinook winds which can cause the winter to go from bitter cold to melting in the space of a couple of hours and if the wind stops blowing it ices up. I went looking at the end of winter for a new pair of boots. I hate shoe shopping as I have very wide feet. I ended up buying a pair of men’s boots (North Face). I have been wearing them quite a bit this winter and my traction is wonderful, my feet are warm and dry. They are not fashionable but at my age I want safety and comfort.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Cassandra, LMAO right now with ever post you make, the more we are alike. I too HATE shopping when I needa certain thing, even non -wearable. But shoes, thise are in a pile, both figureally and literally ( I have a pile of shoes laying oon the middle of my bedroom floor waiting to be donated) and I’ve kept 3 pair of flip flops; one for rain, mud, or if I really get lucky, sand. This pair looks like your falling apart boots. Flip flop number 2 is for everyday wear, and number 3. Is for going someplace nice. I also have 3 pair of sneakers for the same reasons, but none of my sneakers have backs because I hate my feet to be claustrophobic and I want those shoes off as soon as I walk in my door. And in southern Indiana, we didn’t get the warning rain, we got 5″ of snow, so I had to dig out my snow sneakers. I do have 2pair of dressy sandals I use for funerals and things and I DID have one pair of suede boots, until my daughter, the proud owner of over 100 pair of shoes, decided she “needed” my boots. Now I am left with one pair of short, suede boots which don’t keep my feet any warmer or dryer than my winter sneakers.
    Doesn’t So Ky have any Rural Kings? That’s where my hubby gets most of his work and snow and fishing boots. Yes ladies, my husband owns more shoes than I do. He also owns more clothes, 6 big drawers, two over-filled closets, all but 3 of the coats in our coat closet and he is encroaching on the third closet.

    Does anyone else see anything wrong with this? These are the posts I wish we could add our own pictures too.
    And btw Cassandra, my daughter owns the pom pkm boots.

  • IreAnne says:

    I can so relate to this post! I have the same problem with boots and I also have a payless pair that I have had for a bout five years and I hope they never wear out 🙂 I live in Northeast Ohio and can’t find any boots to keep my feet warm and dry. I have come to the conclusion I need to go to Canada for a decent pair of boots. They know boots!! I have friends there and their boots are perfect 🙂