Yay! Info on the snow boots!
Here's the deal: The folk at Nature Shop said, "Hey! Would you like to review some of our winter gear?" I said, "Sure! What've ya got?" They gave me the choice of long undies, coats, or winter snow boots.
Apparently I chose boot.
Having recently (well, last year) suffered through one of the coldest Irish winters in modern memory, I was ALL about the boots. Had some long undies, have an Italian family who insists on giving coats even when you tell them repeatedly you don't need one (got another this year), but only had boots suitable for walking around cities, not going out into nature. (In retrospect, I should probably have gone with more long undies, because I could have used them without having to wait for snow. Oh, well. Live and learn!)
I got my choice o' boot and I went with the Taiga Buckle Waterproof by Merrell, because I LOVE Merrell shoes. My first, official "walking around Europe" shoes, back in 2007, were Merrells – super comfy. (Don't believe me? I took this picture on Mt. Etna, years before I had a blog, because I loved them so much.) Nature Shop sent me the boots free of charge – that's yer disclosure right there – but my opinion cannot be bought! That's all me, baby.
I ordered the right size (woot!), even allowing for some fluffy sock action. Even with the side zipper, getting one's foot in and out of the boot takes a bit of effort, and you really can't tuck your pants in, since the fit is so snug around the ankle. That being said, it's ALL worth it. My feet are extra sensitive – blisters and a serious case of "tenderfoot" torment me, despite all that tromping around in the Marine Corps – so good footwear is essential. The support is great, the built-in squooshiness being both gentle and firm when it comes to shock absorption. The ankle support is likewise great, especially on slippery surfaces, and the toes have plenty of room.
"That's great, Katrina, but you said it was a snow boot."
That I did, sir and/or madame, that I did! And what does a snow boot need to do?
It needs to:
- keep your tootsies warm
- keep said tootsies dry
- keep you from slipping on slick surfaces and falling on your tushie
My lovely Merrells managed to do all three – and believe me, I tested 'em out! I think only once during the Great Roman Cold Snap of 2012 did my toes get even a tiny bit chilled, and that was after riding in an unheated car for 30 minutes. I have to admit, I was rather surprised by the warmth. I expected a tiny bit of cold to creep in after walking around in chilling, wet, snowy conditions for a few hours, but it really didn't. Through playing in fresh snow in the yard, treading over icy paving stones near the Colosseum, even splashing through puddles – my feet were actually the warmest part of my body!
You probably wouldn't want to wear these out to a fancy dinner (actually, I accidentally did that in Spain recently, and it turned out all right), but for practicality they can't be beat! And if my previous pair of Merrells are any indication, they will last a long, long time.
A little bit about Nature Shop: "Nature Shop is an online retailer selling premium "nature inspired" brands and products that are kind to your body and to the environment." They also spend a minimum of 10% of their net profit doing good in the world. With offices in the UK and New Zealand, no matter which corner of the globe you're in, and no matter what the season, they can probably help you out. (Heck, despite the best efforts of the Italian postal system, they managed to get these boots all the way from London all the way to the relatives' house in Rome. Not bad!)
Conclusion? The selection at Nature Shop is good, even for someone with wee feet like me. They do good things in the world. They also addressed the package exactly right and managed to get the boots to me, even though the local postal system is not ideal. Last, and certainly not least, the boots are GREAT!