I’ve been a bit preoccupied during the last several months. It was easy to ignore the wear and tear, long ago replaced laces, and undone stitching as I bounced from project to project, ran errands, or took a walk. The cracks in the bottom meant that I had to be sure to wear the boots if there was a chance of rain. Of course I’ve also found that if you’re out in the rain for any length of time, an umbrella really doesn’t cut it, and you want something water resistant regardless. But with winter coming up, I definitely needed solid soles.
Shoe shopping isn’t my idea of a good time. The last pair of Birkenstocks gave me a good 5-6 years. I choose those in part because I had read that they used fairly sustainable materials, though I drove to the other side of Chicago to find a place where I could try some on. I wasn’t too keen on doing that again. I’d also heard of Tom’s Shoes one-for-one program, and figured that if I don’t care that much, it gives me an easy decision criteria.
I still had to drive out to Woodfield Mall to actually try some on. One thing I discovered is that the standard Tom’s Shoe is more of a light summer shoe – usually worn without socks. Not so much use for winter, but something I could use next year. The other thing I discovered is that they don’t have wide sizes.
There was one day where it was warm enough to give them a try. Lots of space in the toes was pretty much expected. With socks, the front of my foot was definitely squished. Without socks, I feel like my heel is sliding around loose. As an experiment, it may not work out. Or perhaps I should get some low socks and cut off the front part.
Meanwhile, I needed winter shoes. Tom’s also makes some ‘Botas’ with a little thicker construction, lined interior, and raised sides. They also have laces, which I imagine helps take up the slack in the shoe size; I got these a half size larger to account for thick winter socks. I had them out in the rain; the seemed to survive the first 30 minute walk okay, were wet by the time I got home, but comfortable the whole time.
Tom’s also makes some lighter laced shoes, but I was hoping to avoid them since I generally leave the laces tied and slip the shoes on. The laces one the Botas (without the sides up) are huge and I’m not sure what to do with them.
I do have one concern with the Botas – either I stepped in something, or the soles are delaminating. Hopefully it’s just a surface layer leftover from manufacturing and won’t be a long term problem.