Look down. Look at your shoes. Look up. Is it sunny and gorgeous? Look down at your shoes. Look back up. Is it now sleeting and miserable? Such is life in the confused city of Rochester, and such weather makes for unhappy feet and rather dicey decisions when it comes to putting shoes on them.
Surely you’re tired of snow boots -— I know I am. But sneakers? Those might be wrecked in the spurts of snow or leftover salt. Sandals? Dream on. It is a tricky season indeed. With such unpredictable weather, the answer seems to lie with the ever-reliable rain boot.
Now I must be very honest about my personal views on the rain boot. To put it plainly, I think they are detestable. I know they are worn for functionality and not for aesthetic value, but there must be a better way to merge the two.
I find nine times out of 10 they are unflattering to the shape of your leg, contort in weird shapes around your ankles, make farting and squeaking noises, generally smell and come in boring shades or — quite the opposite — entirely obnoxious patterns.
The only time I’ve seen rain boots look stylish was on a skinny blonde girl who wore them with cut-off shorts at a music festival, on a clearly sunny day with no impetus to ward off puddles.
That being said, I think there have been some mildly successful efforts to revamp the rain boot. It happens every season, and some have been less compelling than others, but a certain pair caught my eye in Aldo the other day: They were almost a shrunken pair, reaching only mid-calf, one in all black and in another in cream with black accents. They looked chic enough, and the shape seemed to suggest minimal contortions around the ankle.
Other rain boots’ stylings echo the current riding boot trend, in a silhouette that sort of hugs the calf rather than the traditional roomier shape. I have seen rain “booties” with rubber heels, and I have seen rain boot-moccasin hybrids — both contributions are notable but neither excite me in the slightest.
In a perfect world, weather would not affect fashion choices, and I could wear even-plane platform sandals, suede oxfords, nude desert boots and canvas patterned sneakers whenever my heart desired. Though, the weather does present a sort of challenge doesn’t it? And rising to meet it is what churns up the most creative looks.
Being uncomfortable — sort of the opposite of what I discussed last week — in your environment at least inspires you to think outside of the box.
So I will wrap up with two very inconclusive statements. One: that rain boots are dreadful but in some cases may be the best option in select styles. And two: that other shoes can work but only if you keep a wary eye on the horizon and are willing to be flexible. As for socks … well, that’s another column entirely. Stay tuned.
Burritt is a member of the class of 2013.