Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Winter Millipede

My parents called it (or them) “the millipede” – referring to the family’s various footwear residing in the hall…

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You may well ask: How many pairs of black winter boots does one woman need?? However, in my opinion there is no fixed answer to that question... Not in this climate, anyway! Winking smile

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These high leather boots are good in the late autumn, or as long as the streets are bare. Not so good in snow/ ice/ slush, as the sole is rather thin and the heel doesn’t fit with any kind of ice-creepers (well, none that I’ve found so far, anyway!)

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These stretchy rubber ice-creepers, by the way, were a bad purchase for me (I realised too late). I can hardly manage to get them onto any pair of boots even when the boots are dry and off my feet…  Just forget about attempting to put them back on after having taken them off in a shop etc!

 

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In snow, these boots are a better alternative than the high ones. Lined with sheepskin, they are warmer – and my “easy-to-wear” ice-creepers1 fit them well:

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However, the shorter shaft may not be the most elegant choice with a skirt. Nor is a leather boot the best alternative in slushy weather. So… keep looking…

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These are synthetic, so better at keeping the feet dry in slushy weather – but instead less good at keeping you warm when it’s really cold. But they have built-in ice-creepers that fold very easily in and out:

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Walking far on that kind of ice-creeper is very tiresome; but if you only need the spikes to get across difficult icy patches here and there, it’s a good solution.

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Here’s an alternative for really cold and icy days! Waterproof but “breathing” ankle boot with sheep skin lining, thick and heavy sole, and ice-creepers which fold (with a bit more effort!) in and out of the sole, front and back separately:

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The spikes give a good grip on hard ice, but you need a tool to fold them in and out, and to clear the soles of grit that tend to get stuck in the deep-cut pattern. Not recommended while balancing on one leg in the street. (If you’re acrobatic enough to manage that, you probably don’t need the spikes anyway!) It worked out all right for me to wear these when walking to the supermarket on a recent very icy day, though – because at the supermarket they have a carpeted area at the entrance, where one can also sit down for a while. But in the town centre, they would not be so good… So… Keep looking…

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Yay! Quite recently I found these – and at half price too! Goretex (waterproof, breathing), very light, warm, good sole, and my “easy” ice-creepers fit on them…

However, I’m still not sure I’m ready to throw out my old “moon-boots” just yet… I’m not keeping them for their elegance Winking smile– but they’re the only footwear yet that have kept my feet warm even when standing still waiting for the bus in really cold weather and snow…

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PS1: Close-up of the “easy-to-use” ice-creepers (you fasten them around the ankle with a leather strap):

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PS2: For extra extra safety, on a particularly slippery day, I sometimes bring an “extra leg” on the walk…

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13 comments:

  1. My daily life varies from yours because of where we live. Ice creepers? New information. Now I know a little more about the world. So now I am wondering about old boots, old people and their boots, wheelchairs and icy paths, and whether these ice creepers are a version of a traditional footwear. Maybe in the next week or so you could tell us some more about this. By the way I live a few degrees south of the Equator. Although I have travelled a little, I have never had to deal with ice.

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  2. Oh my goodness, what an education on "Boots".....Being born and raised in CA, I didn't know anything about "Winter" boots. Thanks, I'm much smarter now.

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  3. Wonderful post. Proving that the most interesting writing is almost always things that you know about intimately. And in this case, I knew nothing about! I had never encountered the term 'ice creepers' but of course it all makes sense that one would need some help in such a climate as yours. Thank you!

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  4. My goodness how many pairs of boots do you own? Now I feel like a guy asking you that question....they never understand us women and our shoes....smile.
    I understand the why of it all though, and I'm glad that you found a pair of boots to your true liking.

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    Replies
    1. I was really looking forward to seeing a winter millipede, since we have millipedes here all year long....little did I know.

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  5. Wow. I have learned something today. I didn't know snow creepers existed. Coming from sunny Australia we don't need such things where I live.

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  6. I have never seen so many ice creepers i my whole life! But I know you need them...living in Sweden. We only have the one kind that I know of, the elastic goes over a shoe and has many long spikes under the foot.

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  7. They would come in useful here, too, but only for a handful of days each winter, and I try my best to avoid having to set a foot (let alone both feet!) outdoors on those days.
    Most of the time, our winters are just wet and cold, and slippery only where people have done what they are required by law to do: sweep their sidewalks after it has snowed. That makes walking on those sidewalks a lot more dangerous than simply leaving the snow there, where it offers a much better grip to the soles of our shoes and boots than the treacherously "clean" looking swept areas.
    So, what I need in winter are boots that keep my feet warm - which is easily achieved by buying them half a size bigger than necesseray, and wearing an extra pair of socks, preferably the hand-knitted ones from my mum. And dry, which is best achieved by my warm, moleskin-lined wellies.
    For obvious reasons, I always need a pair of brown and one of black boots, to make sure I can always wear the matching pair with either of my two winter coats. Can't be seen wearing the brown boots with the grey coat, or the black boots with the brown coat, can I! :-)

    I love it that your parents called your family collection of footwear the Millipede!

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  8. They all look comfy and practical to me :) I am trying to educate people how to prepare themselves over here, when seeing some people wearing very 'chin' clothes for the rough climate. Well, I prefer to stick to my practical shoes/boots and warm jackets. Have a Nice Lucia Tomorrow :))

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  9. Comfy and practical is much to be recommended in my book. Many years ago (30 or more) my Mum bought me a pair of the ice creepers in the belief that living in the Outer Hebrides we were living somewhere really cold and icy. In fact the Islands get relatively little ice or snow. I still have the ice creepers but have used them perhaps once or twice since I got them. If, on the other hand, I lived in central Canada (when I was there once it was -26℃ and very snowy) I'm sure they would be invaluable.

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  10. my word, all this and not one is one you can use all the time. i really never thought about the different types of ice and snow requiring different types of boots. i have only owned 3 boots in my life, one rubber boot that went over shoes and that was when i was 10 to 15, a pair of dress leather boots in the 70's and a pair of fun boots when i was 15... I had no idea all these existed... i guess i would if i lived in snow and ice... thanks for showing us all your boots and ice thingy's, very interesting to me

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  11. Isn't it funny how sometimes it's the things that seem most ordinary and mundane to ourselves (and hardly worth blogging about) that turn out to be of the most interest to people in other parts of the world! Thanks to all of you for your comments!

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  12. Oh my goodness, I had no idea about the various kinds of special boots to walk on ice and snow
    !

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