Shop Talk : Getting the boot
The Farmers Almanac says we should expect a colder than normal winter with low precipitation and slightly higher than normal snowfall. That means our feet need to be prepared for a variety of weather - rain, mud, snow, slush, ice and freezing temperatures. The best defense is a good offense - in this case, a good pair of boots, and luckily, success is only footsteps away.
In Vineyard Haven, there are several choice stores, such as Brickman's, The Green Room, and Trader Fred's (also in Edgartown).
Brickman's offers a large selection of boots for snow, rain, hiking and aesthetics. There is a variety of last year's most popular brand, Uggs, which start at $139.95. Rain boots ($19.95 & up) are another popular choice, according to sales associate Liz, and they provide practical protection for the predominance of the year whether or not it's snowing. Liz sees a lot of Merrel Hiking boots ($100-$150) purchased for the winter because of their insulated, waterproof protection and their long lasting, heavy-duty construction. Another great overall winter boot is the Bogs Boot - technically a rain boot but an Islander essential "muck" boot because of its height and 30-degree temperature rating. For youngsters, both Bogs and Tundra winter boots ($40-$70) are insulated.
The Green Room offers a selection of upscale, durable and sophisticated boots for the whole family. Sales associate Lauren Major provided a wealth of knowledge and helped me to navigate their impressive selection. Their Frye boots (average price, $268) come in many styles and colors, are made with incredible quality, and are fashion-forward. Frye has been around since the 1960s, as evidenced by the fact that in college Lauren's mom had a pair of their Campus Boots, which they still make today. Their trendy Steve Madden line (average price, $150) has women lining up. As a single mother of two in her 30s, Lauren wants to look both classic and trendy, which is why she favors the Madden boots with studded designs.
The Green Room carries the Minnetonka line - a great product, and the North Face Snow Boot ($120) - a warm, waterproof option that looks smart. The store is a licensed dealer of Redwings, a very exclusive line of boots that are popular on the Island and great for working and everyday wear, because they can be dressed up or down.
Trader Fred's offers the price-conscious shopper some great, durable boot choices. Men might enjoy their Five Star insulated work boot ($39.99) or their Addison Infantry combat boot ($59.99 compared to their listed $125 suggested retail). Kids have a good option with their Alaska Boot line.
In Oak Bluffs, Basics offers numerous choices. Their Uggs line includes the basic popular boot ($139.99) and the hiking boot ($199. 99), which sales associate Courtney says are great for winter hikes in the White Mountains. Kamik's is their snow boot line of choice because of its 25-degree-below-zero rating, solid build, availability for the whole family and great price point ($65). Many workmen come in for the Wolverine work boots ($104 and up) and the Merrell insulated, waterproof hikers ($129).