Category Archives: Softgoods

Ba-Bye Winter Boots

My poor winter boots. They barely saw the light of day let alone a snowy day this year. I wanted to strut them out on a regular basis but they sat woefully in my closet for most of this skinny season. Now it’s time to stash them away in the attic and cross my fingers that we’ll have more time together next season. Call me the Imelda Marcos of winter boots. They are all my faves. Warm, fuzzies, mostly pull on because after a long day in ski boots you want something less constraining.

Good-Bye Emus

Oh so stylish ankle boot with water-resistant Australian sheepskin and high-loft shearling on the inside. When you’re in a hurry to get to the hill and you don’t mind looking like you have slippers on your feet, grab these. They’re super hard to keep clear of water spots but the comfort makes up for the slacker look. The hardwearing EMUsole and double stitched seams make this boot one you can wear for many seasons.

Good-Bye Timberlands

Like cowboy riding boots, my Timberlands hold their shape and look great no matter what muck you walk in. The leather’s waterproof and lightly insulated. The upper cuff has a layer of shearling. This model has been discontinued but I was able to get my hands on a pair. I’ll withhold them from the attic this summer for those cold morning horseback rides.

Unfortunately, the Timberland Crystal Mountain Lace-Ups will go up.

The Crystal Mtns are made of recycled materials in the linings and outsoles and a dash of fleece all the way to the knees. The full-grain leather and nylon outers are waterproof making thw whole boot incredibly warm. In fact, my legs have never been so warm in the winter. A Smartwool fabric footbed wicks and warms my toes. They’re ideal for deep snow outings and stylish nights where you want to wear skirts or straightleg jeans. However, the lacing does require some effort so I didn’t wear them out as much as I’d like.

Good-Bye Chacos

The Belyn Baa was Chaco’s first try at a winter boot. The only problem is they forgot to make it waterproof which kind of defeats the purpose. The leather uppers and shearling lining make this snowboard-steezish boot way cool and warm except you’d only want to then wear them in the snow. It’s any kind of deep or you’re trudging around Tahoe’s 20 percent you’ll have a puddle under your sock in no time. You’ll be most happy with these boots when the streets are icy but not snowy. The Vibram outsole has tons of grip.

Good-Bye Rubber Ducks

I never felt like running in my Sporty Snowjoggers but they had the perfect blend of qualities for a snowboot. Slip-on, waterresistent (but they’ve been waterproof for me so far), warm but not so warm you couldn’t wear them in a wet spring or fall, plus they have this hip, retro vinyl shine. I had no problems wearing them on the town either shopping or dining.

Good-bye Kamiks

The Centrigrades never saw the light of day this year. The most bomber boot in my collection is used primarily for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and outdoor winter concerts. Needless to say, this wasn’t the season for a -40 degree boot with waterproof nylon uppers, thick Zylex liner, rubber outer shell and IceCLAW rubber outsole.

Good-Bye Tevas

At first I didn’t want the Vero Boot. I saw the laces and shook my head. But the hidden side zip had me at Hello. The low volume Thinsulate keep the boots from feeling clunky. In fact, these are the most lightweight in my collection. They’re sleek enough to wear with my knit dress or plaid wool skirt. But they also pair well with jeans. There’s not a lot of support from the footbed but that didn’t seem to affect my dogs when I wore them all day on the SIA show floor in Denver this January.

Good-Bye Sorels

The latest addition to my (boot) family is also the most versatile. I scored the Tofino CVS Boots
at the Vevo Powerstation Sorel Lounge during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Form, meet function! The olive color, waterproof shell, quilted upper, Sherpa pile lining, and molded rubber outsole do the job outdoors on the trail but will get you all sorts of coos in the club as well. These boots answer the call for style while still making for the ideal every day winter shoe.

Good-Bye Hi-Tecs

The Snowflakes have been with me the longest. More shoe than slipper, they are made of waterproof suede and Thinsulate insulation. The sole is sturdy and the lugs capable of gripping on slick sidewalks.  

Good-Bye Acorns?

Ok, I’ll admit that these wool slip-ons avoid banishment to the attic. More slipper than shoe, I wear these with jeans, shorts, skirts, but I hardly ever wear them at home. They’re too warm. The recycled rubber outsole has tons of grip so these make a durable slipper you can take car camping. This is my shoe of choice for my drive back from Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Outdoor Footwear Turns Funky

Fall is officially here and the weather seems to be cooperating. It’s our last hoorah to hit those mountain trails while there’s still dirt on them and bust out the fall footwear. You gotta figure two, maybe three, more months and then ‘poof’. Everything’s white and you’re wearing insulated Gore-Tex and waterproof boots.

Until then, it’s all about the cross-training and pre-season ski conditioning so don’t wait to slip on one of these new fangled footwear creations and get cracking.

fall footwear

The Tecnica Diablo Max almost…almost… looks like a regular trail runner. But it’s this TRS Max technology that puts it in a league of its own. Stable, shock absorbing, and super cush, these shoes can go anywhere and your feet will feel like they’re encased in marshmallows. This is not a shoe for Tarahumarans. The wide sole and the oversized rocker profile help stabilize the foot on uneven terrain. Good news for those of us with weak ankles. $130.

fall footwear

You, Dude, check out my bitchin’ Five Ten Karver skate shoes. But yo, Bro, they work sick seshes on my BMX and mountain bike. Take that you skinny bitches with your clipless pedals. This is so other world from a climbing shoe but they’re rocking the sticky Stealth S1 Rubber. I plant and my foot stays, Bra. For reals! Plus, they’re beefy and bulky so I know I’m cool when (if) I go endo. For dudes and betties. $135.

fall footwear

You say tomato, I say tomaaato. You can run in Vibram Five Fingers all you want but I’ll take a pair of flyweight Hoka’s over those feetkillers any day. The Hoka Mafate are the same used by ultra-runner Karl Meltzer and he’s posting impressive results. They’ve got to be some of the weirdest/ugliest trail runners on the market but we hear they can go 600 miles without disintegrating despite how light they feel on your foot. Tons of cushioning, a wide platform and some serious rocker will have you planting each stride with confidence. $170.  To read more about Hoka check out this page!

fall footwear

When you’re headed south for some rafting or canyoneering don’t forget to pack the Chaco Ponsul Bulloo river shoes. The quickdry poly canvas upper is brushed on the inside so it feels soft around your foot whether you wear socks, and the removable ChaPU footbed feels cush under your foot. The Keen-like rubber toe protects from rocks and other pointy objects and the Vibram Idrogrip sticky rubber sole works in and out of the water. Not to mention how cool they look on your feet. FYI- they run about a half size big. $120,*Not in stores until Mar. 1.

fall footwear

Time to chill. Slap on a pair of Teva Mush Frio Ballerina Mesh shoes for both comfort and steeze. They
weigh in at 3.4 ounces! They’re collapsible and packable, making these slipons the perfect choice for those TSA checks, trips to the yoga studio or driving home from a run. They’re surprisingly warm given their weight but the antimicrobial mesh lining will keep sweaty feet from stinking. The men’s version has laces. $45.

Know Before You Buy. Burton Fail

We always have to find out the hard way. I will never purchase anything from Wal-Mart that could break. NO returns or exchanges after 30 days. Period. Staples is off the shopping list too. My CyberPower Battery Backup went belly up after a year. I bought the thing because of a 10-YEAR warranty! Staples just shrugged their shoulders and I walked out of that store for the last time. Luckily, the manufacturer took care of me and sent a new battery and all’s right in computerland.
Granted, most companies do stand by their products and repair or replace, no questions asked.The stores present the problem. They make the money from the sale and then turn their back on you when the product they pimped doesn’t work? That’s wrong. If a manufacturer’s defect is the culprit, the store should accept responsibility then deal with the manufacturer themselves- sending us happily on our way with a replacement product or our money back. That’s plain good customer service.
But what if the manufacturers themselves throw up their hands?? I called Burton today. My heated Mighty pants sprang a split in the inseam. Arrgggghhh. Looked down one day and there it was. Here’s what I learned about Burton’s touted W48 warranty program: 1)You have to have an original receipt with the price so make sure if it’s a gift you ask them how much they paid. (Do you know where your clothing receipts are two or three seasons later? Not to mention if you buy a jacket for your son, it goes to his brother and then to your nephew. Where’s the receipt then?); 2) The product has to cost more than $200 or you’re SOL after the first season; 4) If you bought it from Craigslist, eBay, or any other “unauthorized” retailer you’re also SOL and 5) They don’t repair only REPLACE. So if you really loved your jacket or pant and it fit you better than anything you’ve ever worn, too bad. Don’t get attached. They’ll send you whatever they have in stock to replace it with. I don’t want new or different pants. I want the ones I have. To be honest, I didn’t pay for them so I couldn’t get them replaced anyway. But they’re worth a lot to me.
Even if I fixed them myself, I can’t even send them the receipt for reimbursement. “We just don’t do that, ” said the CS agent. Do What? Stand by your gear? Believe in your own products enough to say, that’s one bad apple; we’ll fix it? At this point, it’s not about my personal pants, it’s about a company’s policy.
Bottomline- If you do shop or gift Burton, do so at your own risk.
Built to last. That’s the mantra. You spend $300+ on a jacket or pants, you don’t expect to toss them in a year. Ok, I know that many of you do because it’s too much of a hassle and causes too much stress to get something fixed. My broken pearl strand is going on its fifth year in a box.
But if you knew that a company stood by what they make, you would believe in the company. You would always shop them first. You would trust that it wouldn’t fall apart in a year. A lifetime warranty says our products will last a lifetime. That includes hand-me-downs, resells and give aways. It’s the life of the product, not YOUR lifetime. It shouldn’t matter where you purchase something. The product should be the same quality regardless of where it was purchased. That company put the product into the market. If it’s faulty, they need to own it. I understand normal wear and tear. But a popped snap, busted zipper, unraveling seam, these shouldn’t happen. This economy is too fragile to be purchasing disposable items.

In conclusion, I would like to give a shout out to Obermeyer, High Sierra, and White Sierra for standing by the products they make- no questions asked, no receipts required. And BOO to Burton.

P.S. Super props to Affliction Clothing. I had a broken zipper, sent them a short email with a photo and got this response:

Dear Jill,

Please return the item(s) to us for exchange. Please write on a note to us what you would like in exchange (the same item) including size, model number and color. Please also include your full name and mailing address so we can mail the item back to you and mark it as defective in the note.
Please use this return shipping label to mail the item back to us so you don’t have to pay for the postage.


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