Feb 9, 2014

Miracle Shoes

I'm hunting for something which may or may not exist. In preparation for Germany, I'm hunting for a pair of boots.

Maybe that's too specific. I have problems with specifics, so let's just say that I'm hunting for some kind of footwear.

What criteria does this footwear need to meet?
Well, for starters, they have to be good for walking around the city, which is what I imagine I will do 90% of the time in these boots. Comfort is a priority.

They have to be office appropriate. This is kind of tricky because I don't know what kind of office attire is acceptable. My interviewers were wearing relatively casual but smart looking clothes. One of them was wearing a button down shirt, and the other was wearing a shirt that may not have had buttons. But it didn't look sloppy or overly informal. And it was friday, which is kind of a casual day. So this footwear has to be German Small Architecture Office Smart Casual. This, vague as it is, is also a priority since I will be wearing these to work. I considered asking for an office portrait of footwear, but this seems suspect. Leather is good. Big chunky gnarly treads are nicht sehr gut.

Waterproof /Water-resistant. This is a kicker. It rains a lot in Stuttgart. It's cold and rainy for most of the year unless it's snowy. So I need boots that I can wear through sleet, snow, and rain.  Some shoes claim high breathability, which seems to be critical here, although in my research, it seems that claims of waterproofing are dubious and temporary at best since waterproofing only happens up to a point. The waterproofing rubs off, your feet sweat, all these things can happen to let moisture in. I relaxed my standards when I realized I just need something mostly water resistant. Something to crunch through a few inches of snow and some puddles. And I should probably invest in some wicking socks as well.

I need shoes that breathe. I've owned a pair of waterproof boots before, and the thing of it is that waterproofing generally works both ways. I have sweaty feet, so my feet tend to pickle in a bath of of sweat. Especially if I'm wearing them all day. As a general rule, the more water-resistant a shoe is, the less breathable it is. Many of the shoe review comments that I have paid close attention to tend to attest to the fact that "breathable" materials like GoreTex and eVent linings are better than nothing but are not a panacea to sweaty feet.

I plan on wearing these boots hiking as well in the mountains and steep hills around Stuttgart, so they should work as hiking boots. Actually, given the other criteria, this is an easy box to check.

Oh, and the boots should be under $150. If I found the perfect boots, I'd be willing to spend up to that $150 mark. I have not found the perfect boots.

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