It’s boot season in New England, and it’s not just going to be about hiking boots this time. Once viewed as the trucks of the feet, boots can range from lightweight crossover sneaker models to full on ridged, heavy, foot protecting, warmth insulating boots. In between are a myriad of choices associated with fashion specialized needs. The Shoe Smith carries Keen, Merrell, Oboz, Red Wing, Duham, Hoka, New Balance, Aetrex, and Neos brand boots.
How it all Began
The earliest boots were an amalgamation of existing lower body accessories with the goal of greater ankle protection. These individual parts of sole, skins, and furs would become one piece of footwear somewhere around 1000 BC. The harsher northern climates of Asia and North America would motivate people to make footwear that offered protection and insulation that rose up to the knee. As we saw with The History of Socks: 5000 BC – Now, this footwear born out of basic necessity would become a highly regulated status symbol and embody the cultural norms of the time. Notably, one of the main charges against Joan of Arc in 1431 AD was in regard to laws that forbid women from wearing of boots. There’s more if you want to follow a blog that covers all the minute details of history related to boots.
Types of Boots
Fall is the time for hiking. Remember, Why The Shoe Smith Loves Hikers? Well, now it’s all about the boots! There are boots for the trail, and for going off the trail. Whether it be cold, wet, slippery, or a crisp autumn afternoon, we’ve got you covered. Hiking boots often blur the line between shoe and boot. In the ladder you would expect more stiffness, ankle support and protection from the elements. They could be used for backpacking, or rough terrain, and may be more desirable in colder weather.
These are more than just footwear that might have a steel toe in them as protection against getting your toes squished. Work boots are typically made of high quality leathers and a stitched to endure downward forces exerted by carrying or opposing the forces of heavy things. Traditionally, they have a familiar no-nonsense exterior that is made to withstand the abuses of hard labor. However they can share crossover traits with hiking boots. For example, we carry the Detroit by Keen, designed after their critically acclaimed hiking boot the Targhee. Which is a hybrid hiking/work boot. It is breathable, slip resistance, oil resistant, waterproof, and comes in soft and steel toe models.
Winter is just around the corner, and with it comes the need for a pair of insulated boots with good traction. Whether it be for walking on a trail, working outside, or traveling from your car into a grocery store. Remember, this is New England, and sometimes the winter trek into the grocery store can become a daunting expedition in the winter.
More specifically, there is also the snow boot, which is always going to be waterproof, or at least water resistant. Whereas a winter boot is guaranteed be neither. Furthermore, the snow boot is more like a winter hiking boot in that it is meant for going off the beaten path. Unlike hiking boots, they are heavier and extend further up the leg, which keeps out the snow, but limits mobility.
Or more specifically, the NEOS Overshoe. Nothing is worse than having cold wet feet and having to forge on through your day. Well, suffer no more! You can slip these over whatever shoe you’re wearing faster than you can say, “Can I shovel the sidewalk in slippers?” They are waterproof, slip resistant, rated for use down to 0ºF, and weigh under 1 lb. That way you can swoosh these on, shovel the snow, head to work, slog through the parking lot, and then swoosh them off when you get inside. Created by two guys in Vermont 20 years ago, The Shoe Smith has been carrying these marvels of the 21st century since their earliest beginnings, and are proud to see them become a renown category of footwear all their own.
Try it To Believe it
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but rather, just the beginning. Footwear is one of those things where words can only say so much. So once you’ve read it and seen it, you’ve got to come on down to The Shoe Smith, 503 Main St. Willimantic, CT and try them on to believe what works for you. The Shoe Smith loves boots, and so will you when see what great boots he’s got!