How to buy boots.

My new boots.

 Buying the right boots for a Canadian winter is a big deal. There could be snow on the ground for five months, after all. You are given lots of advice on this, much of it conflicting. It is delivered with an almost religious fervour. Despite the thousands of beautiful boots on the market it seems you should be asking two boring questions. Are they warm and are they waterproof?
One friend tells me she buys boots and they sometimes just last one winter, It's tough out here, man.

Rene Levesque Park, Montreal

When I first moved to Canada everyone told me I needed proper boots. Big ugly things which make you look like a cross between a pig farmer and an eskimo. Then I noticed a lot of women in beautiful fashion boots out in the snow. Why am I being told to look like a farmer and they are all in thigh-length patent leather?
Two pairs of leaky boots later I have finally done the right thing.
But I know I'm turning Canadian because I actually think these things look good.
Spot the tree

I need lessons in wearing them though. I wear thin socks and walk with my husband to the Metro. The boots appear to be ripping the skin from my heels. He looks at me pityingly. Well, look at your socks.
What's wrong with them?
They're too thin.
Another sin against a Canadian winter I didn't know I was committing.
My friend listens intently to my heel agony story and smiles.
Ah, you just need to break them in, she says.
Wintry sunset, Quebec.
for more Montreal clothing winter rules go here


  1. Hi, nice boots and they're exactly what I want, but I can't find them at all in Northern Europe. Many Scandinavians wear those boots and they're quite fashionable, in my opinion.

    By the way, I just want to say that we use the word 'inuits' not 'eskimo' because it's rude.

    Happy new year.

  2. Yes quite right. oops.
    If you do buy any just make sure you have toughened up your heels first.

  3. You know when you've been in Canada a long time when you start writing about boots!

    It's better when they are waterproof because you can buy a half size larger and wear warm socks.

    If you buy warm ones that aren't waterproof you end up with wet cold feet!

    Oh and yes Eskimo is American! Come on now Anne!

  4. Warm socks and Bandaids are what I'm currently wearing.

  5. Nice boots, and I see the marmots have moved in already. Probably a good idea to have them evicted before attempting to wear them.

  6. Nice boots! I'm still figuring out Canadian winterwear too. One thing I can't figure out is how all these Canadians can stand to wear their heavy winter coats and boots when they're inside the mall or while running errands. If I'm dressed properly for the cold, I find I'm sweltering after 60 seconds once I get inside.

  7. Melissa
    Absolutely correct. I have never worked that one out either. Although I have noticed on the ridiculously hot metro here we are the only ones who strip down to t-shirts. Everyone else is sitting in hats and scarves and huge coats. Do they actually sweat these people? I want to make a film about the metro heat and film folks stripping down to swimwear on the train and playing with beach balls but that's just me.

  8. The subject of boots is one that I've dealt with for many years having grown up and lived in the Midwest U.S. I've made both good and bad buying decisions and learned that it's always best to choose function over fashion. And sometimes you can achieve both! Like your boots, by the way.

  9. Yes yes it's all true but I can't help cast an envious look at those patent leather beauties as I trudge past in what we used to call clodhoppers.


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