The Annual Get Real with Myself Footwear Rant

It's a YLF tradition!! I do it every year! And I am still struggling to learn the obvious! 

What what what is wrong with me? 

I know what is wrong with me. Constitutionally, I am a shoe lady. Mr. Suz refers to me as Imelda. I want all the pretty shoes! 

But here, my friends, for my own accountability and your amusement, is my reality...and -- should any be needed -- further evidence that for all my sensible talk of practicality, on some level I am still insisting on buying for my fantasy life and refusing to face facts! 

Here is the pattern of my days this year: 

Once a week: Walk 2 miles to work. Teach all morning. No office, no locker. No place to leave my coat, even, except the back of my chair. Walk back. Sometimes meet a friend for lunch on my way back. Sometimes go to another meeting on my way back.

2 or 3 additional days a week: Walk to library for research. Walk to campus (as student). Either for class or meetings. Again-- no office, no locker.

3 to 6 days a week: Go into town for errands or to meet friends, on foot. Walk in and out of stores, banks, restaurants, etc. on slushy, snowy, or wet streets. Coat stays on unless I am out for lunch or supper or a show; footwear stays on.

3 to 4 days a week: walk to gym. Coat / boots go in locker during gym. 

Every day: spend several hours to most of day working at home. 

Once every 6 weeks or so: Go to big city for day trip or overnight(s). Tend to dress less casually but footwear will need to be walkable. 

So...this is my reality.

From early-to-mid December (in a typical year) to the end of March or even mid-April (approximately 16 weeks) the weather is wet, icy, snowy, slushy, and often very cold:

I need functional but somewhat attractive, flat or block heeled waterproof insulated boots, with lug or at least rubber/ grippy soles. And slippers for indoors.

  • True snow boots like Uggs are too casual looking and too warm. (Though I own those boots and wear them for my regular walks and outdoor stuff and on truly stormy days.)
  • Non leather rain boots would make me sweat.
  • Most booties are not warm or protective enough and would get ruined.
How many of the right kind of boots do I currently own? 

  • 1 short pair
  • 2 knee high pair (one with a block heel, one flat). 

ALL BLACK (not a dominant neutral for me). So that is 3 pairs of footwear for approximately 112 days or almost 1/3 of the year. 

How many slippers? 

1 frustrating pair (because inside lining always gets bunched up.) 

From April to May (approximately 8 weeks), I need:

  • Booties.
  • Sneakers.
  • (very occasionally) a dressier pump.
Often, waterproof is best, because weather can be wet. A bootie that is weather proof will get the most wear, even if I own and love others.

How many booties and sneakers of this type do I own? 

2 (blue snakeskin, grey Aquatalia).
2 sneakers. 
1 dressier pump. 

From early-to-mid June until mid-to-late-September (approximately 14 to 16 weeks) I need, primarily:

  • Sandals or open heel or toe styles, or
  • (occasionally) sneakers, or
  • (even more occasionally) dressier pump style.
How many sandals of this type do I own? 

(Currently) 4, though 2 are on their way out due to wear/ comfort issues. 
2 sneakers. 
2 dressier pumps. 

From mid to late September until the mid-to-end of November or early December (approximately 10 weeks), I need:

  • Booties (mostly weatherproof because it can be rainy).
  • Flat casual boots without insulation.
  • (occasionally) a dressy closed pump.
How many of this type do I own? 

2 booties (see above)
0 flat casual boots without insulation.
1 dressier pump (see above). 

This adds up to about 14 pair of truly practical and usable shoes for all seasons, all 52 weeks --- not counting gear. 

How many other fancier, more delicate, dressier booties and shoes -- that is, virtually unwearable footwear -- do I own? 

  • At least 10. Probably more. I don't even want to look right now. 

Argh. More and more I think I need to buy stock in La Canadienne and Aquatalia. And just refuse to look at anything else. 

It's true that my summer season (sandal) is almost as long as my winter season. The "shoulder" seasons are (together) approximately the same length. But because they are rainy, even though in theory they would allow more delicate booties, in fact, with my lifestyle, those booties are rarely worn. 

Well, that's my observation for the day. Thanks for reading if you got this far. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    You crack me up.

    In your defense sweet Imelda Suz, you DID think you were moving to the West Coast. Don't worry! 

    I LOVE how much you walk. High Five. 

    Soooo, you need MORE weatherproof footwear, but not proper snow boots. Paul Green, Sudini, Hunter and Ugg make weatherproof footwear too. 

    PLEASE get better slippers. I like Camper. 

  • Christina F. replied 3 years ago

    I had this moment many moons ago, due to foot pain and how NYC sidewalks tear up delicate shoes. I'm also often keeping up with a much taller fast walker. I do NOT like changing shoes once I get to work, though I can, unlike you (been there with the teaching thing, though.)

    I think the one bright spot as been that I've been seeing (or maybe just finding) more and more cute practical shoes as years go by. I think you crave variety in the winter especially, and will need to keep looking for cute stuff among those high quality brands you mentioned.

    So really, the solution is... buy MORE shoes!

  • Sara L. replied 3 years ago

    I don't have any advice since I've never lived anywhere with your type of winters.  However, I can commiserate with getting bored of the same footwear.  I don't even like to wear the same shoes two days in a row, so I can see how wearing the same boots day in and day out would be very wearing.  I hope you get some good advice.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Thank you, Angie! You're right -- I did think I was moving west...and I suppose a couple of hundred dollars for lesser worn shoes is not the end of the world. I *do* get to wear them once in a while at least...

    Yes, the slipper situation has me crazy this year. I have the Merrell Ice and they offer me great support for my PF and are good on our freezing cold floors (and to nip outdoors with recycling, trash, or for the newspaper) but this particular pair must have been defective. I'm retiring them at the end of the season. 

    I thought I might wear my Munro booties or my pretty Zara sparkly sock booties indoors. But it turns out they are too much trouble for most's a pain to take them on and off when getting up off my cozy daybed, where I work. :(  Still, I do wear them indoors when we have people over or when I go as a guest to another person's house. 

    After I wrote this post I realized that you had to completely revamp your footwear capsule to account for newly recognized needs for flats last year. And you went about it with a happy, practical, can-do attitude. So that is going to be my approach. Now that I know I will be in the east for at least one year, I'm going to see if I can find some great wintery footwear on sale now. I will check out those brands as well as Blondo. The main difficulty I face is the predominance of black for this type of boot. If I could find the right navy boot, I'd be so happy! Also I love grey...or even burgundy...

    On the hunt! 

  • LaPed replied 3 years ago

    Big sigh, I hear you. I spend half the year in my Blundstones... I haven't figured out how to do nice shoes in not-nice weather. I suspect you're already lightyears ahead of your environmental norm, Suz.

    I've been wearing my Allbirds Loungers as my house shoes this winter; they're great! (And will become outside shoes again in early summer.)

  • Sisi replied 3 years ago

    Suz, the situation does not seem that bad to me. After all you have enough shoes for your dominant climate. Maybe some holes, but still, the situation is not tragic. As per the "unwearable footwear" nothing is wrong with you, it's just that, in my opinion, fantasy-life purchases are hard to die!  (says the one that after 10 years on YLF still makes an appalling number of mistakes). :) I sympathise.

  • Lisa replied 3 years ago

    I certainly understand buying fantasy shoes and not real life shoes.  Too often I look at heeled boots and shoes, and even buy them, then rarely get to wear them because my daily life requires flat shoes for comfort.  

  • SarahD8 replied 3 years ago

    What an excellent analysis, Suz. Your head has really got things worked out, but I can hear your heart’s desires coming through too. Tough balance to strike.

    Some practical suggestions:
    -Could you add a pair of snow boots in a lighter color, like tan or white?
    -If you have a pair or two of flat, slip on shoes that are not getting much wear, how about converting them to indoor-only shoes and ditching the frustrating slippers?

  • Joy replied 3 years ago

    YLF turned on my shoe-love gene. Before that I had about 5 pairs of some fort of footwear for year-round, mostly black with a pair of brown.
    Slippers, I stock up on Smart Wool no-show footies and wear the heck out of them inside as slippers and with shoes when I go out.
    Yes, stock up on those weatherproof shoes, booties and boots. I managed to find some great La Canadiennes, Aquatilia and Blondo weatherproof/grippy soled booties and flats greatly reduced at Nordstrom Rack and am loving them in this snow/slush.

  • texstyle replied 3 years ago

    Walking a lot certainly does change up the shoe requirements - that's why I own so few "dressy" shoes or sandals - they just don't hold up to the walking 1+ mile test.

    I can only speak for summer shoes because winter for me is ugg slip on sneaks and waterproof booties.

    Last year I searched all summer for a new pair of basic tan sandals. At the very end of the season I finally found these but have not really worn them enough to determine the 1+ mile test. I will say The Walking Company does offer a lot of shoes with better support. Not sure if you have access to them in Canada.

    I'm planning to add another summer sneaker to my collection and at least one more walking sandal. The eccos I've owned for a while didn't pass the test for me and I will be passing those on. The Teva sandals (I also own tan color) are not truly walking shoes (too flat for me) and I only wear those when I won't be walking a lot.

    I find for myself, I require a slight heel or other slight arch support.  The ecco sneakers barely pass the walking test (too flat).

    I do own a pair of black munro sandals but they don't get worn often.

  • Joyce B replied 3 years ago

    Oh Suz, I am like Imelda, too! I agree that you need to add practical footwear but you also “need” pretty shoes, they must be really enticing with so much harsh weather. Only my fussy feet can curb my shoe purchases, but I still research thoroughly and end up with a lot of good ones :-)

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Tex, same here for those Eccos. I definitely need arch support. I put a SuperFeet insole in mine. It's not as high an arch support as I actually need, (because the shoe can't accommodate a higher one), but it definitely helps me and I do wear them. I also had to pass along the Ecco Damara sandal because it was not sufficiently supportive. I'm always on the lookout for not-completely-but-almost-flat sandals with arch support. But I do better with this requirement and typically find the right type of thing. 

    Finding weather-ready boots in colours other than black is a much, much harder requirement. Alas...

    Joy, I need more support and protection than footies indoors, alas, due to plantar fasciitis. And VERY cold floors. We have no basement beneath our kitchen/dining area, and temps are often -20 C -- a floor gets icy and even though we do have rugs, it's still frigid. 

    SarahDB, that is what I would like -- a lighter pair of..not "snow" boots (which to me are for extreme weather, like my Uggs) but weatherproof boots. This is hard to find. And hard to wear, to be honest -- because lighter colours do get spotted with slush and salt. Nevertheless, even grey or burgundy or navy -- that would be great! 

    Lisa, I guess we have a similar problem. 

    Sisi, well, I suppose I do have enough to get by. It's true. But a bit of variety would be nice. And less guilt about the ones I don't/ can't wear, and less sadness about the fantastic outfits I can't complete with the shoes I do have to wear. :) 

    LaPed -- I can't even wear my darn Blundstones any more! I'm between sizes and they are aggravating my plantar fasciitis -- I need more arch support, I guess. Sigh -- they are a very useful type of boot for me. I have been looking for an alternative. 

    Sara -- thank you for commiserating! 

    Christina -- yes, New York would be like Toronto. My situation in Kingston is even worse -- much more snow and slush and dirt and salt and for longer. And this, in fact, is part of my problem -- I lived for years in Toronto and I am sort of living "back there" in my shoe imagination. Booties would have worked better, for longer, there. But the basic idea is the same! 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Joyce, thank you! And show us your great collection, please! 

  • Joy replied 3 years ago

    Got it. Maybe fleece-lined pull on Ugg boots should be your slippers. I have considered them for indoor footwear and wish I had not returned a white pair l’d bought for that purpose. You probably need a variety of tall boots which can be hard to find to fit the calf.
    Joyce is right. You do need pretty footwear, even if it must be functional.

  • Emily K replied 3 years ago

    I feel your pain. Rugged footwear dominates the year for me, too--mostly due to dirty/rough/muddy/composty conditions and not to snow/slush, but, still.  I think it makes sense for you to buy more La Canadiennes--you need to feel attractive and comfortable at work and to be safe during your commute.

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago

    I don't have any suggestions or great ideas, but did find it interesting to see how you broke down the year, and your activities.  Obviously, we share a similar climate calendar  - except for the wet and slush, which we don't really get here for much other than a couple of weeks in April when it's starting to melt, and I don't wear booties in April or May if I can help it.   I honestly don't know what I'd do if I were in your shoes (pun absolutely intended) either.  I do think you have high demands on your footwear because of your chosen means of transportation coupled with your climate, and then how you want to dress... and perhaps it's a matter of reframing your response to it rather than trying endlessly to find a magic solution . I don't think there is anything out there that you haven't tried or seen already.   I'm just thinking aloud here.  

    I do think that this analysis is worthwhile for all of us though - and I'm going to see what my collection looks like vis a vis the reality of my environment.  Plus I really need winter house slippers  but am feeling bad about replacing what I do have which was a Christmas gift a year ago.  Wouldn't look great if I suddenly started sporting a pair of Campers or Merrels, although I'd love to. Right now I'm in barefeet ;)  

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Suz, DEAD RIGHT. I had to revamp most of footwear capsule last year due to that magical one inch heel that works best for me. One and half inches are now my "high heels". I do not compromise on footwear comfort and passed on more than half of my collection (DFS was very happy). I put the lion's share of my budget into footwear. I relaxed into it, was patient and thorough, and also very lucky. I am SO happy with what I got, and have a head start this year. It helps that fashion is celebrating the type of footwear I need, and that I shop when I travel - so there is a very good assortment. I'm also not a shoe gal so I'm happy to duplicate and wear the same pairs over and over again (although it does wear them out faster). I amped up my bag collection to compensate - I have seven Furlas. Enough said....

    I KNOW you'll get what you need and have success - you're that type of person! We will help you every strep of the way.

    Soooo, a few thoughts:

    • Start a separate slipper thread for ideas
    • Dr. Martens are EXCELLENT weatherproof shoes too. You can also add a layer of spray. 
    • Shop online
    I'm working with a client and have to run, but will chime in again later. 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Look what I found at the Rack...

    The suede one is blue but it doesn't say it is the weatherproof version so I think I have to say no to that. Which puts me back to black again...but still. I don't have a mid-height leather black (I do have a suede with lug sole). 

    Still hunting...

  • Diana replied 3 years ago

    Ha, I had this rant a few weeks ago.  

    I ended up buying these, and really like them.   Waterproof, warm, good for walking, really good traction.  Only thing is that the calves might be too wide for you - mine are 15" and are a perfect fit.  The lining is wool and slightly itchy but since I'm never going to wear them over bare legs I don't care.  

    ETA: I don't think the issue with not having enough of a variety of good winter-worthy footwear is on us.  I looked very extensively and the vast majority of the boots that fit our criteria are black, brown, and/or too gearish.  

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    Suz, this is a great analysis of your reality, and I am not one to give advice, since my current shoe obsession is this pair (Find below) that is way too expensive for the short wearing period I would have. I actually ordered them, and I love how they look and feel, but I’m afraid to ruin them, and I have more than enough shoes for the in-between seasons already. I’m probably going to take a deep sigh and return these. What I really need is a new pair of hiking boots. Not exciting, but a need for my lifestyle.

    I like the idea of trying to find some lighter colored weatherproof booties for you. You got this!

  • AviaMariah replied 3 years ago

    I have some of the same problems as you and I am also a shoe gal so I feel ya!  I have terribly fussy feet that are not happy without a lot of support.  I have seasons similar to your except maybe not so extreme.  Plus I live out in the country and have kids 5 and 3 that I love/want to run around with without worrying about messing up my shoes.  My Aquitalias from NAS a few years ago are getting worn out and I need to up my sneaker game!  What about these boots?

  • replied 3 years ago

    I think focusing on a capsule of winter boots that are not snow boots is an excellent idea.

    I feel sorry for you that you can’t wear cute booties very often. :-(
    I wish I could make it better!

  • Cardiff girl replied 3 years ago

    Speaking from the land where National dress is the Wellington boot I understand where you are coming from on the footwear issue.l shall follow this post with a great deal of interest.

  • LaPed replied 3 years ago

    Suz, I remember you mentioning that about your Blundstones -- so frustrating!! I was between sizes, too (but in width, not length). I went with the larger and added a 4mm alpaca felt insole which ate up the extra volume. Doesn't provide any arch support, but makes them SO MUCH warmer.

    I don't know if the style interests you, but these waterproof Fly Londons have been on my mind as a way to split wears with my Blundstones and add some winter colour. 

    I think you could easily justify a chelsea or other flat casual style from Aquatalia or La Canadienne. It seems like a lot of money for a casual shoe, but if you wear them 3-5x a week for 4-5 months each year they will earn their keep and then some. 

    What I can't figure out is when the heck people wear their cute oxfords and loafers! I feel like I go straight from sandals in September to boots in October with no transitional weather to speak of. And mud season is even worse...

  • cindysmith replied 3 years ago

    I need to get this brutally honest about all of my wardrobe.
    I'm crocheting instead.

  • Aurore replied 3 years ago

    Being a wardrobe assessment newbie, I don't have anything to add to your analysis, but thank you SO much for having done it! It's really inspiring - I should definitely do the same.

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Lol. You are not alone. The shoes I must wear due to all my walking are in a short line by my bed. However, I have shoes stashed under the bed in three large underbed wheeled containers, on shoe shelves in the closet, in baskets at the top of the closet, in baskets all over... and snuck under the ottoman (Lilypup has been ousted from her doggie den under there...)

  • replied 3 years ago

    This is a great post.  Interesting.  Insightful.  I am so relieved that I do not have that shoe gene.  

  • Barbara Diane replied 3 years ago

    That’s not Imelda territory at all :). But I understand the disconnect between desire and practically.
    I’m impressed by all the walking you do, especially in your climate.
    Good luck finding some color variation.

  • Firecracker replied 3 years ago

    I love shoes, too, and I appreciate your analysis, Suz. My most practical boots for Seattle winter are black, also. I was wearing my Blondo moto boots so much I bought a pair of tall Blondo boots on sale this winter. I wore them in snowy Indiana when I visited my folks in January. I really, really appreciate my Blondos, but I can't say I love them for their style. They are super functional and yes, stylish, but I have so many other boots and shoes that I love for their style. They just aren't all-weather options.

  • rebekahphoto replied 3 years ago

    sigh.....I read your post and much of it echos for me also. I dont have much advice, just some commiserating....I commute by bus every day, and walk all over in mostly rainy conditions from Oct--April....I need support insoles and grippy soles (and socks!) and yet I do love pretty shoes--but in all reality have been wearing my Blundstones almost daily. Although today I have on the red metallic Reeboks! happy valentines day!

    so ill share some of my pretty (but rarely worn) shoes, at least someone can see them! (and the MR also thinks I have way too many shoes.....)

    I do highly recommend Haflinger and Merrell slippers. lots of styles with arch support.

    Cole Haan also has some waterproof and supportive chelsea boot styles that might work for you. I am curious about some of the dressier Blundstones, for the color options, as I also need some regular everyday boots that are not black with a lug/grip sole......

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago

    Another vote for Fly's. I have a black patent pair that only come out when it's crappy out . Waterproof and super warm.  But I seem to recall Fly London doesn't fit you?

  • Jenni NZ replied 3 years ago

    Oh! My shoe-loving heart is crying out to you over the ocean!
    I think a number of us on YLF may get called Imelda! My DH has called me that and so have my staff, though no-one will admit to it but a patient told me they had!
    Sorry I have no answers on kinds to buy( it doesn't snow in Auckland and when it did a tiny bit once about 3 years ago it was front page news and the first time in decades). I just want to commiserate. And to wonder if I should do a similar exercise of how many days do I have to wear certain types of shoes, eg sandals!

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Jenni, I do think the exercise can be useful...especially for someone who walks a lot in poor conditions, like me. I also think you deserve all the sandals, all the time. :)

    LisaP, good memory. Fly tend not to fit me. Same with Docs. British and AU sizing is just a tad "off" for me as a rule. Between a 4 and a 5. (Finding 4.5s is rare here). Same with US sizing, actually. I'm best in an EU 37 and have to pick between 6.5 and 7 US. 

    Rebekah -- I love all your pretties! Thank you for sharing!

    Sharan, I am missing that mid-calf moto style right now and even in black it might be a good addition. 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Diana, I should look at Reiker again. And thank you for confirming that I am not nuts!

    Janet, those are exactly the kind of thing I wish I could wear!

    AviaMariah, your Sweeties lasted longer than mine! I like Sarto so I can check those out. I am not crazy about where they end (i.e. shaft height) but they do appeal to my magpie gene.

    Smittie, Cardiff Girl, thank you!

    LaPed, I might try some different style of Blundstones. I have the chisel toe (which doesn’t have a lug sole so isn’t great in winter — but fits narrower, so worked for me). The others are mostly too wide for me. But I need to experiment a bit in store. If I get one that allows an insole with arch support (doubtful, because it’s always hard for me to get Blunnies on because of my high instep…) well, still, I can experiment…

    Cindy — that’s the spirit!

    Aurore — it’s useful, if sobering!

    Rachy, Sterling, Barbara Diane, thanks for commiserating…

  • Gaylene replied 3 years ago

    Well, I’m going to repeat myself here, but the best slippers I’ve ever found are my Glerups. And, obviously, I’m not alone in my love:

    The soles are durable enough to take quick trips outside in the rain/snow, the uppers made of felted wool mold to your foot so you can insert an orthotic for more support, the wool is super toasty, and they slip on and off like a breeze. You wear your Glerups barefoot for the best fit. Glerups can be washed in the washer and can be molded to your foot when damp so can adjust the slipper to fit foot peculiarities.

    I have both red booties for at-home lounging and charcoal low-cuts for travel and “dressy” times. My sister uses hers for Tai Chi classes since they glide easily on hard surfaces. Everyone in our family has at least one pair, and most have 2-3 pairs. My red booties are 5 years old and still going strong—the cowhide sole is worn so smooth, it is now completely waterproof.

    ETA: I should add the Haflinger-style Glerup is the least popular among members of my extended family. The booties and low-cut styles fit better and are more versatile.

  • SarahD8 replied 3 years ago

    Suz, take a look at Bussola brand. They tend to have a broader assortment of colors -- olive, grays, tans, burgundy. I don't think they're known for being waterproof like Aquatalia/La Canadienne but you could spray?

    My much-worn cognac riding boots are by Bussola and I think they are very good quality and extremely comfortable. They are sized in European sizes.

    In my experience gray boots can take a bit of a beating and develop a patina rather than looking shabby. Might be a good choice for a lighter boot?

    I wish La Canadienne would make boots in more colors! I love my 2 pairs of LaC's but I only need so many pairs of black boots and I don't wear espresso brown.

  • replied 3 years ago

    (I hope you do start a separate slipper thread).  

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    I wonder if some Fly London’s night work for you with cushy inserts. I love mine and they are a great merging of fun style and function in cold yucky weather.

  • Emily K replied 3 years ago

    The Aquatalia "Geneen" is a really nice find! 

  • Gaylene replied 3 years ago

    Can I just add I empathize with your shoe rant. An average day for me means walking at least 10km on city streets and hard-surfaced pathways in all kinds of weather. To keep up with this amount of walking, I need shoes which provide good arch support and are comfortable from morning until night. I’m also 69 and plan to keep up witth this lifestyle for as long as I can, so I can’t afford to compromise on my footwear. ALL my footwear has to take me places in style AND comfort—with no exceptions!

    My workhorses are French, Dutch, German, and Spanish brands which marry style and comfort. I also love my Frye boots and Fluevogs. I suspect my willingness to spend a good portion of my wardrobe budget on footwear might not be shared by many on this forum, but I remain unapologetic. Shoes and boots are essentials in both their fashion and real-world definitions to me.

    Hardening my heart to avoid succumbing to pretty, but ultimately useless, footwear hasn’t been easy, but doing so has allowed me to develop a footwear wardrobe which fulfills my need to be fashionable but realistic about my requirements.

  • Vix replied 3 years ago

     I walk lots in pouring rain and don't do the shoe change thing so I hear ya on that part at least.

    -- Aren't we feet twins (high arch, narrow heel but wider forefront) but you don't like Pajar?

    I really like my Pajar snowboots but wish I'd known they also had "Grippers" (the grips flip in and out of the sole) for our black-ice / packed and slippy snow periods. Which thankfully were missing this year. I know they DO have blue and gray at times so maybe keep and eye out and Superfeet them, too? [I have to.]

    -- You can have Vibram treads/lugsoles of varying thicknesses added to your soles. Makes a big difference when it's slick from rain (edit -- or ice, too now!)

    -- Have you checked out ARA or The Flexx brands? Some very "comfortable" styles but I've found classic silhouettes that do get compliments. ARA has some Gore-Tex styles, and The Flexx has some waterproof leather/suede. 

    In general, though, most of my dressier leather boots and booties aren't labelled as waterproof -- they just are.

  • unfrumped replied 3 years ago

    No good solutions here since I don’t have that climate experience. For the main walk I don’t see how to escape a high- comfort shoe ( boot, sandal). You are a big sandal- wearer and I am not.
    I use some types of loafers year- round because I can wear with fleece tights vs. sheer hose and potentially no- show footies. I kind ghd look but there is an element of building outfits from shoes up, IYKWIM. Hence I could ask, could you identify a waterproof loafer - not for severe slush , but for mild rain, puddles- that lets you extend wears? Prolly will not stay on your feet though! Or as maybe mentioned above, find a “ fun” waterproof boot that comes in colors ( shorter one look less like “ rain boots “) and juxtapose outfit with that?

  • Lynn replied 3 years ago

    Great analysis Suz. I need to do the same. I don't really have any practical advise but just want to sympathize re: plantar fasciitis. It is so frustrating. Sounds like we have similar feet except I really need narrow widths which makes boots really difficult to find. Luckily I have a more forgiving climate. 

  • tulle replied 3 years ago

    I will be following this thread carefully for tips! I've been considering some Aquitalia boots, because they seem to work so well for you, and  meant to ask you:  do you have narrow, low-volume feet?  Like you, I walk a lot, and as my feet get crankier, I am more drawn to foam footbeds and flexible soles, so fashionable footwear is becoming the impossible dream.  I do NOT look cool in sneakers, and flats make me feel stumpy, so although I wear both, I'm always hoping to find magic shoes that feel like clouds and make me look taller. Weather adds another dimension.  When it's dry, my block-heeled Clarks suede desert boots are great. For snow, rain and mud, I'm devoted to my red Hunter wellies, cushioned by foam and shearling innersoles.  The built-in arch supports are heaven, and even if I wear them for hours, they don't  make my feet sweat, not sure why. Plus, they're red! (A Valentine's Day gift from my husband a few years ago.)

    Sorry to hear that you are dealing with plantar fascitis.  Do you do stretches for it?  After a painful bout several years ago, I learned to head off recurrences by stretching out my leg and pulling my toes back while pushing my heel forward as far as possible.  I do this stretch often, especially after walking, and so far it has worked.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Thank you all so much -- this forum is the greatest! 

    Tulle, re the plantar fasciitis -- I'm actually not in any pain right now, but every now and again it flares. I had a lot of treatment (physio, stretches, even the laser jolt thingie) and I continue to stretch and roll my arch on a ball. And to switch up my footwear and wear footwear with PF inserts. It all helps keep it under control.  

    My forefoot is medium width (but verging to narrow) but I have a very narrow heel. That's why I can't wear a loafer or most pumps (to unfrump's point). I also have a high arch and high instep (which probably also makes a loafer difficult to fit.) Most Aquatalias I have tried are TTS. They fit narrower than some other makers' but not all styles are equal -- I had to put an insert into my Sweetie moto boots or they felt way too wide/ long. Whereas my Taylors (a more refined bootie) and my tall riding boots are fine as is. 

    You've got me curious about the Hunters -- if those have arch support they could be a great addition to the "weather footwear" capsule! And, red!! 

    Lynn, narrow widths would make it even harder. Argh! 

    UF -- you're right, a loafer wouldn't stay on me. And honestly -- it's not warm enough/ sturdy enough for our climate most of the time, not outdoors. Only good for spring/ fall here. But a fun waterproof boot could be good. 

    Vix, I didn't know that about Vibram soles -- that is really great info! Maybe I can get more wear out of some of these items in my closet than I think with that change. Thank you! I DO like Pajars, by the way. I can look again at those on the site. Our dept. stores don't stock all the styles. 

    Gaylene, thank you, and you are so right. I'm with you on being willing to spend the money on the footwear. I've never regretted my pricey Aquatalias and don't even regret the dressy La Canadienne heeled boots that I rarely wear -- somehow they don't make me feel as guilty as those pretty unworn booties, because I know for a fact that one day I will *need* those boots and they will be available at precisely the moment I call on them! 

    Janet, those are fun. I love the colour. I wish Fly fit me a bit better. But maybe with an insole....

    Sarah, thank you -- I will look!

    Sterling, I'll start a slipper thread later this week! Gaylene, a friend of mine was just swearing by her own Glerups....

  • Helena replied 3 years ago

    Suz, first off, how fantastic is your lifestyle that you can walk so much! No great advice, but I do commiserate ... Fwiw I love my Blondo booties; super-comfy and pretty good for a broad range of weather, although not the deepest winter, when frankly I just give up on fashion for a month or two!

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    I think I need to bookmark this and come back and study it in detail.

    Do you ever wonder if there's perhaps some kind of Murphy's Law for shoes? For instance, it doesn't matter how many pairs of shoes a person might have have, during any given season at least a quarter of them are languishing unworn while she rotates between the same three (irreplaceable) pairs until they fall apart? 

  • tulle replied 3 years ago

    Approprio:  Yes!  Because what the eyes love, the feet reject...

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Pattens. I need PATTENS!! 

  • Style Fan replied 3 years ago

    Suz, I feel your pain.  I am always looking for boots to wear in the winter that are comfortable to walk in.  I have tried Blundstones but I am between sizes.  I also have all kinds of problems with my feet.  Too many to list.  On the bright side, they are pretty.  :)
    I have tried Reiker boots on and they fit me well (European sizes do work for me).  I wonder if that is a way to go.  They are comfortable, have reasonably good arch support and some of them are waterproof.  I sort of regret not getting a pair last November.

    I put Birkenstock inserts in my footwear but that is my solution for arch support.

  • annagybe replied 3 years ago

    I don't know if you can get this brand in Canada. I almost got these because they were very comfortable & warm. But decided I really didn't need them.

    These were also great with a really nice faux fur lining. And green was cool

    Actually now that I think about it was the second pair I almost got.
    Anyways both were nice

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Oooh. Anna, I really like those!! I'm going to see if I can get them here. Thank you!

    And yes, off to check Reiker, too. And Ecco, for that matter. Some are too wide, but...

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago

    Yes, Taos is available widely in Canada!  My bff is the rep for the Prairies.  They are a nice boot, that's for sure.  Euro arty -ish.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Seriously, Lisa? I like the second one in Indigo but on the website, they won't ship to Canada. I don't know where you can get them here. I went to the store locator and they are all in upstate NY. Can you ask your friend if they're in Ontario and where? Or how I could order? Thank you? 

    (The voice of desperation, here, but this is a style I don't have and they have a wide variety of colours -- it would at least give me options!)

  • Sal replied 3 years ago

    Good luck -  you have a plan forward and it is a great idea to put it all out like this.

    I will be spending most of my budget on shoes this year - I need ankle boots and shoes..and am just working out colours and shapes at the moment...  

    I like those Tao boots a lot and think they look like an excellent addition in a different colour.

  • LaPed replied 3 years ago

    approprio -- I think this is absolutely the case. I can tick off so many pairs I've bought knowing full well they will only ever be "low-mileage" shoes... Eternal compromise.

    The sizing thing is so interesting. I'm typically caught right between an EU 39 and 40, but the Blundstones I have (an AU men's 6.5 I think?) are near perfect for a winter shoe. If I were wearing without wool socks I could perhaps go smaller.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    This is why it's tough to buy shoes online, unless we already know the brand and how it fits. 

    But I found the TAOS Crave in my area! I can order it to try. On sale, too. 

  • Runcarla replied 3 years ago

    No wonder you are dealing with PF! Whenever I buy footwear, I factor in the cost of 'pimping them out' with specialized inserts/inner soles due to fussy feet. That is usually an additional $35-45 per pair of shoes! There isn't much out there, even in the very best of shoe brands that I would be able to wear off the shelf.

    The type of socks are important as well. I am now up to 5 pair of Smart Wool socks, so can get throught a work week with warm and comfortable feet.

  • annagybe replied 3 years ago

    Hooray! Glad you found a local source

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    I do add inserts -- the heel type seem to work best for me, Carla. And I avoid flats, which have never worked for me and work even less now with PF. I can (just barely) wear sneakers with superfeet insoles -- without them, forget it. Best is a heel (or thick rubber platform like Fitflops) with arch support and/or a padded PF heel insert -- but only certain ones. I've tried a ton of them. Some work better than others. I also have to ration running and skating -- I still do these but a bit less. Once or twice a week. 


    The reviews for that boot persuaded me. It is not listed as waterproof -- but it has a lug sole, and I have spray. People north of the 49 say it is warm. And seriously, I have never read such great reviews in my life! I don't own a combat type boot -- obviously it is super casual and not refined, but I do have more refined options and it would just be fun to play with a different colour for a change from black! 

  • Christina F. replied 3 years ago

    I’ve had my eyes on those Taos Crave boots in green or bronze but can’t justify them. I’m glad you were able to find something promising looking.

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago

    Yes , seriously . Taos is in quite a few stores here , and I know she sells them to stores in SK too . I’ll ask if she can find out where in ON they are sold .

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago free shipping too .

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Thank you, Lisa! I got the ink blue on sale from the online version of my local store -- should arrive shortly. It gets incredible reviews. Is more rugged/ sportier than my ideal in some ways -- but honestly, I have my La Canadiennes short boots (which are a nice in-between) and my tall ones (dressier) and the Aquatalias and the idea of something in a different colour than black is just too exciting to pass up! 

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Suz, I was going to suggest Toas too. YAY, you ordered them.

    Docs run big. Try the smaller size. Arche is another goodie. 

  • Sheryl replied 3 years ago

    Try Thursday Boot Company -  They ship to Canada.  I have been really happy with my President boots in burgunday, and I think La Ped owns the Captain in burgundy.  I have PF, and I found these really comfortable from the first wear.

  • shevia replied 3 years ago

    Oh Suz you started a shoe rant when I wasn't looking and now I don't have time to read all the comments! I did get so far as to read you cannot wear Blundstones (the winter uniform shoe of all of Israel including my kids and husband). Did you respond to Angie's mention of Doc Martens? That was my next thought. I am visualizing optic white and shiny, which are on trend right now I believe. 
    On the positive side, I am envious how much walking you work into your day. I am also a big walker, but have to find excuses. I used to walk to work in New York and Tel Aviv and I loved it. 
    And also Imelda (wink) are the white booties irrelevant to your lifestyle?

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Shevia, yes, sadly -- and now I own not one but TWO pair of great white booties (the Imeldas and a pair with a heel) and never, ever just can't in our weather, honestly. Well, except for 3 weeks in May. 

    Docs and Flys (and Campers) also present fit issues for me, alas. Some styles are better than others but mostly I'm between sizes in these shoes. European sizing works better as a rule. 

    Sheryl, thank you -- I didn't know of them!

    Angie, many thanks. I'm going to be PPP about this and get a few good options going for next season (and maybe even this one, with sales.) No danger of sales goggles, because we're talking about a much needed item. I got the La Candiennes in October and have worn them almost every day since for a total of at least 100 wears so far this year. They're a wonderful and comfortable boot but it would be nice if I could mix things up a bit. 

  • approprio replied 3 years ago

    Pattens? Now you're thinking outside the box. Then I recommend Trippen. They're a seriously strong shoe and I find them extremely comfortable.

    I haven't tried them in snow though. We don't get much of it and I need an excuse to wear the rain boots.

  • Mainelady replied 3 years ago

    Suz, what a great analysis! As always, the fabbers have offered wonderful supportive comments and suggestions. I am happy you were able to order the TAOS and hope they work for you. I think it is awesome that you can do so much walking!
    Imelda in Maine here. I can relate to so much of what you said about the need for outdoor appropriate boots and shoes. I have a large capsule and I wear them often. I do have to pack shoes or booties to put on when I get to work usually from mid November - late March.
    There are several types of water repellant, water resistant and waterproof sprays you can apply to your footwear. It is essential to read product details and follow directions precisely, but we have used the sprays and been very pleased with the results.

  • LaPed replied 3 years ago

    Ah, to Sheryl's point, yes, Thursday Boot Co is great! I love my burgundy Captains. I only have room for thin-to-medium socks in them, so they come out a few times a month in the winter on warmer days (like today!). Same goes for my Frye Veronicas. 

  • jussie replied 3 years ago

    Awesome walking. Great that you gym and study too. What a legend. I only have 2 pairs of winter shoes- one pair black chelsea boots and one pair brown chelsea boots. I save the brown ones for “good” as they were super expensive, therefore wear the black ones EVERY DAY in winter. If I am going out to a restaurant or dressier social event I will wear a high heel shoe, but this a only a couple of times a month- and only for whatever portion of the day the particular event is occurring. Around the house I wear Birkenstocks.
    I can wear the chelsea boots at my job too, and walk a fair distance in them.
    In autumn/spring/summer I wear a lot more variety.
    I hope all of this makes you realize you are totally normal, just bored with winter. Xx

  • Inge replied 3 years ago

    Oooh I so hope those Taos will work, Suz!

    I can also recommend Uggs when you need another casual water-resistant Winter boot suitable for lots of walking. I have the ones below and wear them lots. They are very lightweight, have a lug sole, a removable insert so you can add your own insert or orthotic. I also like that they have a built-in wedge heel and that the style (with the asymmetrical shaft) is a little different than other Uggs, which makes me feel a bit more stylish ;-)

  • replied 3 years ago

    Nice work, Suz! Exactly, no danger in sales goggles: it’s not like winter boots are your favourites to buy anyway. ...although you find your tastes changing now that you know you need to zero-in on this category.

  • Inge replied 3 years ago

    Oh, and how about these in grey, Suz (if a wedge heel works for you)?

  • Inge replied 3 years ago

    Not waterproof, but pretreated to repel moisture and stains:
    (in grey)
    (in grigo or clay)
    (in gunmetal, might be fab with your hair!)
    a higher shaft version!!

    and a higher shaft Chelsea bootie in chestnut

    Also love the fig colour of these slippers for you :-)

  • RobinF replied 3 years ago

    Ooh the Taos are GORGEOUS!

    I have the same weather issues as you but fortunately work in an office so carry my shoes in the winter. I have always been a total shoe freak and would be so bummed to have cute shoes and not be able to wear them. You do have some good options here though, cute AND weather proof!

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Suz, REALLY happy you're finding fab solutions with the very best attitude, and much love to you. xo

  • Roxanna replied 3 years ago

    Oh, Suz... This makes me realise I need a 'get real with myself' post too n the near future. It's so hard to reconcile all the pretty things with ones climate and lifestyle! Though you've got some good options going here...

  • Rambling Ann replied 3 years ago

    No one has mentioned Pikolinos. I love every shoe/boot I've bought from them, and they have the best colors. Doesn't say waterproof, but tI generally don't get wet feet in them even so. I found these at Zappos, they have them in tan too.

  • DonnaF replied 3 years ago

    I noticed that Taos says their 37s are 6-6.5 (like ECCOs) instead of 6.5-7 like Dansko. Please report back on their sizing. I have a feeling I am between sizes in Taos just as I am in ECCO.

    I also see that Nordstrom carries the Taos combat boot but not in the navy.

  • Beth Ann replied 3 years ago

    Oh, Suz, I love that you walk everywhere!  I wish I could, as I really need to move to keep my head on straight, let alone keeping my body healthy!  Still, really comfy walking shoes are really hard to find in good weather.  Add in cold and heat, and the need to look professional, and you are looking at a challenge, but it sounds like you have new wind in your sails!

  • Beth Ann replied 3 years ago

    Popping back on to say that I'm your shoe opposite.  I spend all day in my car, and I'm taking my shoes on and off at least 6 times a day -- particularly when arriving at or leaving a client's home.  No tall boots for me!  However, I can wear shoes that wouldn't be "walkable," and I don't need to worry about wear and tear except on truly rainy or snowy/icy days.  I do have to cart around a lot of instruments, so shoes need to be stable.  

    I've worn my Munro Robyn's alot, and a pair of grey suede heeled booties that are 2 1/2 inches and fairly elegant.  I've also purchased two pairs of fun booties.  The first are prettier than they look in the pic, and very comfy.  The second are rubber rain booties.  My feet do sweat a bit in them, but they're not too bad -- particularly because I have to pull them on and off all day!  Wicking socks help.  

    I find that patterns are a way to honor my maximal, dressy self, particularly when I'm often in bootcut jeans.

    I've collected several of the boots suggested to you.  Hope you find a new pair to make the remainder of winter a little bit more fun!

  • Elizabeth P replied 3 years ago

    Fascinating analysis Suz. I can’t do something like that, the truth of my shoe collection is not a truth I need to face. But it does put your situation in a very clear light. Have to say I’m envious of your walking life.

    Those TAOS look great, I hope they work. Dare I ask what your local source was?

    A brand I don’t think anyone has mentioned is Valdini.
    Canadian, weatherproof, stylish. I have a couple of pairs and find them very comfortable. . I hVe no idea where you’d find them though, here they are sold at an independent shoe store. Here is a link to their Facebook page with the styles shown.:I hope this works.

    I will second gaylenes love of glerup slippers. I got some last year after my sister and her dh raved about them. I suspect they won’t have enough support for you though. But you may to put some sort of inner sole in them.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Sorry, all -- I had a work deadline yesterday and couldn't do more than check in, but look at all the great options you have found me!

    Now, however, I want a pair of Angie's new boots, except in silver! ;) 

    Not even joking. 

    My Taos boots arrive tonight. I got them from Becker Shoes, which deliver. We have a local store but I don't think they have this style, though I might be wrong. Anyway, I ordered. 

    Elizabeth I remember you mentioned this brand to me before! I'm going to check them out. I don't think I know a source but it's worth looking. 

    Beth Ann, that is a really interesting set of observations - I'd never thought about the challenges you face but they are considerable! In and out of shoes in people's you wear something inside if their floors are cold, or just go in socks? Love those rain boots. I do think I'm going to get a pair this year -- I hear the right socks help.

    I'll report back on sizing, Donna. If they fit like Eccos, that is good for me because I'm pretty much a perfect Ecco 37. But it is weird because in NA sizes, I'm between 6.5 and 7 and often order 7 in boots. (My La Canadiennes are 6.5 because I find they fit very true but I order Aquatalia in 7 because some styles are a bit narrower and I like a heavier sock in a boot.) I usually wear 7 in sandals for feet swelling...but took 6.5 in the Sam Edelman Okalas -- 7 was all wrong in the arch.

    Rambling Ann, thank you. Sveta is a huge Pikolinos fan and I've heard they are very comfy. The styling is usually too maximal for my taste (but then, so is the Taos I ordered!) But it is always worth looking and a comfortable foot is a happy foot! 

    Roxana, believe it or not, I am feeling jealous of you in Toronto! I realize that a lot of my footwear mistakes are based on buying patterns that would have worked for me there. I walked incessantly in the city, too, but it is not as snowy or slushy there as it is here and booties would have worked on more days than work here.

    Inge, what a sweetie! I really like some of those options from Ugg. I find my Adirondacks to not provide enough lift for my PF so I have put a lift in (which helps). Ugg is so warm and cozy! I am coming to a conclusion that I need a luggage coloured or cognac boot -- it would add to my sense of variety and be a real boost with grey and navy in winter. Hmmm.


  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Just for fun...

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    I've been looking...  :) 

    Alas, I'm a bit between sizes in Docs -- one size too wide a long for me, the other too short... but I'm on the hunt! 

    ETA, what about these? They don't have them in my size at Nordstrom but they are available elsewhere in the US. I'd have to find a Fab friend to ship to me...

    They might be a little too wide/ loose and unsupportive for me and too round-toed. 

    This is my perennial problem and how I get myself into this fix. I prefer a more refined look but need to accept my conditions here. 

    Chelsea is definitely a solution, though. I am sure of it. 

  • Glory replied 3 years ago

    Very well stated Suz! I can definately relate to this being in the same neck of the woods as you. It leads to very limited options. I have a couple of pairs of go to boots which I have to wash the salt off of each and every time I wear them. I do love how much you are walking!

  • Elizabeth P replied 3 years ago

    Suz, if you find Angie's boots in silver, let me know.  And I'll do the same.  Cuz that was my EXACT reaction... I need those in silver. 

  • karen13 replied 3 years ago

    Excellent thoughtful analysis as always. I need to do something similar.

    I tried on and almost bought the TAOS Craves in burgundy in November. I suspect they may be wide for you if I liked them, but laces and inserts may make them adjustable enough. I can’t remember if I sized up - I’m typically a 37 or a 6.5W or 7M. I have an ancient hard translucent plastic 3/4 custom orthotic that fit well in them.

    Have you looked into custom orthotics? The materials and styles have come a long way. I definitely flare my PF if I don’t wear mine! Which are 30+ years old.

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Suz, the Elodies are WELL worth a try. A little chunkier than you regularly wear - but why not!

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Ordered the Elodie in silver on sale, Angie. We'll see if it works out...I think it will be fun. I like the slight wedge for my PF and I can probably put an insole into it for warmth and/or extra padding. Crossing fingers. 

    This boot situation is getting better all the time... :) 

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    EXACTLY. My fingers are crossed with you. 

  • Jenni NZ replied 3 years ago

    I read the very start again. I think you need to tell Mr Suz that there is no Imelda about it at all! Because on Aurore's thread you said you have about 15 pairs? I think when I had 52 Imelda was more just than for you.
    BTW, may be apocryphal, but have heard that the real Imelda said "Everyone said I had 3000 pairs of shoes but I only had 1200?". Talk about excess, nasty corrupt dictators that she and her husband were :(
    Sounds like you've had lots of help here to get some extra suitable ones, and I hope the pretties can get a small spin in your very short Spring x

  • Gail replied 3 years ago

    I have the Rieker Sybille boot similar to Diana's , mine are 4 years old so a little different in style. They have been absolute workhorses for me. Waterproof and warm. I've worn them up in Buffalo in the snow where the temp with windchill was -26. I had warm socks on too but my feet get cold very easily and they stayed warm even hiking around the mostly frozen Niagara Falls. 

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