Today I am veering off from much broader subjects and honing in on something seemingly small. I’m thankful for warm boots. There’s nothing quite like pulling them on, toes sinking in to the fuzzy lining, feeling the supporting weight encase your ankles and calves as you buckle or zip or lace (sometimes all three!) them into place. Running your fingers over the buttery smooth outer layer. Standing up and feeling the substantial soles grounding you even while lending you a certain new grace.
I have a love affair with shoes in general. The frilly, the ridiculously high heeled, bejeweled, glittering, spiked, studded…well-made shoes are like works of art. Someday when I have my gigantic dream castle, I’ll have one whole room lined with illuminated shelves just for my shoes.
As much as I love shoes and will sometimes wear fancy ones around the house for no reason other than that I enjoy dressing up, I also like going barefoot. I like being connected to the earth, with my toes squishing in the mud or feeling sun-warmed grass tickling my soles on a summer day.
As a child I would race around with bare feet as often as possible. I remember being so ashamed of the dollar store sneakers we could still barely afford, wearing the same pair for years, scrubbing them with an old toothbrush and bleach to try to whiten them, duct tape patched holes. I remember a jock in my class stabbing his pristine Jordans with a pen, destroying them so his mom would buy him yet another new pair, wanting to stab that pen through his ungrateful face. I remember saving up for my first pair of combat-style boots, not Doc Martens but some cheap, rubbery knock-offs that still felt wildly unattainable, that felt like such a prize and barely left my feet again.
Maybe I’m overcompensating a bit now for what I lacked then, but I’m fine with that. I was lucky enough to fall into a job that involves receiving a lot of footwear, then finding contests where I often win shoes or giftcards to shoe stores, and more recently becoming a product reviewer and brand ambassador, which allows me to work with and promote some of the shoe companies I love most. It’s pretty fantastic.
Which brings me full circle back to my original point. Of all the possible shoes, warm boots are the best. I want to give a pair to every kid with taped up soles and snobby classmates. I want everyone to have that sensation of shiny new boots crunching through fall leaves, invincibility radiating up from your toes and pouring out into the bluest Bradbury sky, only shoes but much, much more than shoes.