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ISSUE 120 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/2/2007

Styles past, present give winter the boot

By Lauren Radomski
Variety Editor

Friday, March 2, 2007

When temperatures drop and snow begins to fall, Oles break out their boots. While most students at St. Olaf face few serious snow-related obstacles (after all, three major campus buildings are connected), nothing says warmth and comfort like a good pair of boots.

If you have a fondness for noticing people’s footwear, you’ve probably observed the wide variety of boots stomping around campus. Dressy boots for women are a popular choice, but beware: Knee-high Steve Maddens with four-inch platforms may look hot, but don’t expect them to provide you with the same degree of warmth. Safety can be an issue, too, as stilettos offer little stability on slippery steps or snow-laden sidewalks.

Makers of Uggs, the popular sheepskin boots from Australia, claim their product can keep feet warm in temperatures as cold as 30 degrees below zero. Because the sheepskin is “naturally thermostatic,” a pair of Uggs also cools feet when temperatures reach as high as 80 degrees. In colors such as tan, baby blue and light pink, Uggs abound at St. Olaf, paired with everything from denim skirts to sweatpants.

Yet for some Oles, the best boot option is the tried and true: heavy-duty clunkers designed to combat Mother Nature at her worst. These are the kinds of boots you may have worn with your snowpants in elementary or middle school. And they’re making a comeback.

Sonja Tosteson ‘10 is the owner of such boots. “I’ve had them since seventh grade and I love them,” she said. Navy blue Sorels that hit above the ankle, Tosteson’s boots are made for more than walking. “If I feel like going off the path, I can go off the path,”she said. Tosteson praised her boots’ warmth and durability, part of their lasting appeal. “The day I lose them will be the saddest day in my life,” she said.

Another boot enthusiast is Samantha MacDonald ‘07, who shares an affection for old-school styles. “I’m obsessed with my snow boots,” she said. “I’ve worn them everyday since it snowed.”

When MacDonald bought her ankle-high, rubber-soled boots at Marshall Fields two years ago, sentimentality played a role in her purchase. “They reminded me of my elementary school boots that I missed – and they were pink,” she said.

Like Tosteson, MacDonald said her boots give her a sense of adventure. “My snow boots make me feel empowered,” she said.

Women aren’t the only ones who appreciate a good pair of old-school boots. Adam Lozeau ‘08 owns a pair of green rubber boots with yellow laces. He prefers to wear his sock-less and even indoors. “Last weekend I slept with them on,” he said. “It was great because then I didn’t have to put them on when I got up. But it made my feet smell worse.”

Asked why he wears a pair of ankle-high Columbias, Alec Johnson ‘10 said they offer both warmth and injury protection. “Actually, I stubbed my toe pretty bad and the boots are kind of protecting it,” he said.

So as we start the snowiest month of the year, don’t forget to keep your feet happy. Give winter the boot by investing in something new, or even better, resurrecting something old.

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