Friday, January 24, 2014


I've got a question for the readership. Specifically, the female readership.

We're foot—slog—slog—slog—sloggin’ over Africa!
Foot—foot—foot—foot—sloggin’ over Africa—
(Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!)
Here it is; is there something particularly enjoyable about high boots? I'm talking about you're basic over-the-calf to just-below-the-knee sort of boots.

That kind of boots?
Seven—six—eleven—five—nine-an’-twenty mile to-day—
Four—eleven—seventeen—thirty-two the day before—
(Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!)
I ask this because I've noticed something for years now in the wet winter and spring months in Portland.

I understand why all the pretty colorful toes disappear; it's freakin' cold and wet out there! So boys and girls alike toss the Tevas and the flip-flops in the back of the closet.

But us guys tend to fall back on what we wear when we're not at the beach; running shoes and sneakers, many of us. Low quarters. Ankle boots, if anything boot-like.

But a LOT of you gals seem to break out the riding boots.

I'm talking everything from cowboy boots through fluffy Ugg footwarmers and strappy motorcyclist specials all the way to the classic German infantryman's jackboot.
Don’t—don’t—don’t—don’t—look at what’s in front of you.
(Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again!)
Men—men—men—men—men go mad with watchin’ ’em...
And I've always wondered - as someone who used to wear combat boots and now has to wear steel-toed boots for a living - why these diceboxes are so popular with our Portland gals.

Don't get me wrong; most of them are very practical and many of them are even flattering and pretty. But they' Big. Heavy. Hard to put on and take off.

So I guess I just don't get it.
Try—try—try—try—to think o’ something different—
Oh—my—God—keep—me from goin’ lunatic!
(Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again!)
So, with so many other options for leather to put on your feet, gals...

What's with the boots?

’Tain’t—so—bad—by—day because o’ company,
But—night—brings—long—strings—o’ forty thousand million
Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again...

(The lovely ladies of Portland and their boots from Urban Weeds


India said...

With the exception of the first pair pictured with the tall chunky heel (fashion), what I see are warm, comfortable, practical footwear for stomping around the city (which can be just as hard on a shoe as the trail), good in wet conditions, and a couple of which look to be capable of hybrid street/trail use. I've been known to hike in my red cowboy boots when necessary, and stomp through puddles and potholes with nary a hesitation. Boots are way more practical than ballet flats or stilettos, and running shoes are FOR RUNNING ;-)

Or maybe they're just trying to cover up their cankles.

FDChief said...

I guess the parts about this that I don't get are:

We hardly ever get snow, and

Most of the high boots I see are pretty clearly "for urban use only".

So a pair of low ankle boots or even high-top shoes would seem to serve as well for puddle-jumping and sturdy foot-protection.

Off-street? I TOTALLY get the point behind over-the-ankle boots (there was a reason for the old-school German jackboot as a piece of combat couture.

But I've worn tall boots for riding and there are a lot of drawbacks to them as comfy footwear.

Point taken, though. Hmmm. Any other gals with a different perspective? OR guys? The woman in your life have a pair of well-loved boots she couldn't do without?

(Oh, and I should note that Portlanders seem to take pretty good care of their dogs; I've seen more nice pedis around here than in a LOT of other places I've visited - outside the Sunbelt where it's open shoes 250 days a year. It's like the weather here is SO bad that when it isn't the gals like to get all prettied up to show off. Guys? That's a WHOLE 'nother story. Honestly; there should be a civic ordnance that allows you to stop any guy wearing sandals in public and send him home to trim his nails if he looks like a freakin' Sasquatch. Ugh. Just WRONG.

Ael said...

If you are wearing a skirt, high boots keep your calves warmer.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Boots are warm, they protect from splashes. Also, I seem to have inherited some sort of genetic foot issue from my father…the bones and connective tissue in my feet are stranger and stranger with age; boots always make me feet feel more 'together' and less fatigued at day's end. I like long flowing skirts, but in our very cold damp weather, even over thin leggings, boots do help keep me from freezing and resorting to jeans in semi-formal occasions.

I do have very muscular legs and always have…some tall boots do not fit my calves. Obviously, I don't buy boots online!

I also muck around the gardens and goose pen a lot and like wet-proof boots for that. I own more boots than I do high-heels!

FDChief said...

So the Bride, asked this question, replied: "Well, you know how when you wear boots the only part of your leg that shows is right around the knee, so that way you don't have to shave your legs."

No fool, the Bride, and a woman who likes to do things the efficient way...

Anonymous said...

Well, riding-style boots with skirts is a fashion.

Bad weather boots are a whole different thing. Ankle boots are fine in some situations. I use men's work boots (no steel toes) in snowy or truly foul wet/muddy weather because of the deep tread soles and I'm anticipating walking a fair distance. I don't enjoy wearing them because they are heavy but they definitely get the job done as far as better footing and keeping my feet dry.


FDChief said...

No argument that sturdy boots are great to have when the weather gets bad, Jill.

The odd thing I was commenting on, though, was the number of big high boots I was seeing on the effete sidewalks of Portland, where the worst hazard may be a bit of discarded clove cigarette dropped by a passing hipster...

No question; when the going gets bad, both bad and good girls (and boys) go with the big ol' boots! That just didn't seem like the case here.

Anonymous said...

I understand about the big boots and average weather - that makes the boots a fashion or style rather than utilitarian footwear.

? Sort of like the guys who work in offices and wear very worn, lovingly saddle soaped and polished work boots (such as construction workers wear) to work. As far as the environment goes, they could wear flip-flops. So,the work boots are a fashion/style thing.

It might be my age but I think women need to be careful with those high boots as they can lend a hooker'ish image rather than a cool one. When it's done just right it looks quite nice but the attempt frequently misses.


Lisa said...


The big, tall boots -- esp. when worn with summer dresses or the torn hose (as in the last pix) are mostly fashion, and it's the same here in the SE where you really don't need boots at all. It's like the Uggs, or wearing pj's into Starbucks: women see the stars wearing them in magazines on Rodeo Drive and want to be cool, too.

The effort to look casually workmanlike-yet-fashionble has been around a while. Frye boots were the thing in the 70's; they've had a recrudescence. Ditto Harley boots and shoes.

Myself -- being away from (neither ahead of or behind) the pack, I've always worn short chukka-type or hiking boots because I like the way they feel and wear. In the South, that means I wear them with shorts or skirts. I think heels aren't too functional, and high-heeled tall boots fit into that category.

Lisa said...

p.s. --

Jill's comment reminds me of one from "Pootie Tang"(2001):

You think that just cuz a girl likes to dress fancy and stand on the corner next to some whores, that she's hookin?

Which circumstantially argues Jill's point.

FDChief said...

Jill: Yeah, I could kinda see how that could happen.

Lisa: The chukka or ankle-high hiking boot sorts of things are very practical around here; they keep your feet out of the wet but are practical with jeans, slacks, skirts, or shorts depending on the season. That's what made me wonder about the top-boots. They seemed less adaptable and more work.

I do get the being stylish, but, as I said, being guyish in that respect find it difficult to sacrifice...well, anything, for style.

And I will say this; if you're wearing boots that come OVER your knee? You really should either be a dominatrix or fly-fishing. There's really just no middle ground there...

FDChief said...

Oh, and I should add this as another Portland oddity;

When I moved here I noticed that many Portlanders - typically women but occasionally men - went out in the cold, wet winter months in their Teva sandals...but with wool socks underneath.

The Tevas-and-wooly-socks thing was all over in the Nineties. Since then I've seen less of it, but you still come across a Portland gal sporting fuzzy socks under her summer shoes.

Strange, but there it is...

Lisa said...

Yes, the "boots that come OVER your knee" is definitely a "Pretty Woman" effort.

The socks with sandals is a terrible fashion faux pas, aside from being non-functional. It seems our fashion sense is often a terrific pastiche.

I read a recent NYT obit about a NYC cobbler at whose shop the folk musicians used to gather in the 60's. What he had introduced was the open-toed mens sandal, which before that time had only been worn by island men. Now of course, you see male toes everywhere.

My personal fashion mantra is functionality, and that usually means closed-toe shoes. Spectator pumps are fabulous and tasteful when called for, but I personally don't groove on the open-toed Teva - Birkenstock nexus which I know is Portlandia, through-and-through!