Jan. 19 2023 08:00 AM

My search for a boot that keeps my feet warm, dry, and comfortable during cold weather continues.

I must start this blog off with a bit of a disclaimer – what I’m about to say is probably going to come off as a bit of a rant, and that’s because, it is. If you want to start a passionate conversation or spirited debate with me, just mention winter chore boots and I’ll have plenty to say on the matter. I have my regular favorite rubber boots on lockdown, but when it comes to cold-weather boot options, it seems that I’m continually disappointed.

At our recent family Christmas gathering (held mid-January), my sister came out to the farm to help with calf chores. She asked me for an update on my boot saga because she had gotten the scoop on my struggles finding good winter chore boots the month prior. And, since it’s obviously such a riveting topic (you may catch some sarcasm in these next few paragraphs), she just had to know the latest news on my search to find the perfect boot.

I’m fairly certain the topic of winter chore boots is a hot-button issue for many. Whether it’s in passing conversations with other local farmers or long conversation threads online, it seems so many of us have war stories about boot brands that have let us down, while a select few have been victorious in the search for that perfect winter boot. The fact that some people have managed to find winter boots that somehow manage to fit comfortably, hold up to the daily wear of our lifestyle, keep their feet warm, provide necessary traction and support, and actually keep water out is unfathomable to me at this point. I know that list is a lot to ask of a boot, but people really do claim to have found their love match in the cold-weather boot department.

From constant leaks in brand new boots, to repeated tears in the rubber seams, finding a boot that lasts more than a few weeks is starting to seem near impossible. I’ve tried on so many brands and styles of boots over the years in an attempt to mix it up and hopefully discover some hidden treasures, but for the most part I have come up short. The other challenge is usually finding women’s sizes that stack up to the price and quality of all the men’s boot options out there. I usually end up buying the men’s boots in the smallest size I can find, sacrificing a good fit for warmer, more durable options.

I’m not going to throw out any brand names here. Honestly, if I had found a boot that works, I would happily share that, but I’ve come up short in all my hunting thus far. The one positive note I have is that a lot of brands offer some sort of warranty, which has been immensely helpful. At this point, I’m just counting down the days to spring when I can get by with thick socks in my plain, trusty rubber boots. I truly hope other farmers out there have had better luck keeping their feet warm and dry this winter.

Molly Ihde (Schmitt)

The author dairy farms with her parents and brother near Hawkeye, Iowa. The family milks approximately 300 head of grade Holstein cows at Windsor Valley Dairy LLC — split half and half between a double-eight parallel milking parlor and four robotic milking units. In the spring of 2020, Molly decided to take a leap and fully embrace her love for the industry by returning full time to her family’s dairy.