Let’s start this off by acknowledging I wear my shoes and boots until they die – as in hole in the toe, heel fallen off, sole paper thin gone. Tennis shoes especially get extended duty. After they provide a full range of usefulness in the athletic arena, they make their way to the work shoe box and usually end up as wade-around-in-the pond shoes until the smell is too foul to bring them into the house. Then they sit in the barn just in case I need something expendable.
My favorite black, steel-toed work boots were recently retired only because the soles had peeled off both pairs to the extent they were flapping on the ground as I walked. Water freely flowed into the bottoms of my feet, but only when I nearly stumbled into the creek, did I decide it was time to move them to the trash container.
So when I was contacted this summer by the folks at Bogs Footwear and asked if I would be interested in testing out a pair of their “boots for farmers” I was a little dubious. You see I already had a pair of Muck Boots similar to the ones Bogs was sending me. Although the Muck Boots had more than 10 years of wear and were torn near the top and smooth across the soles, I figured they were good for another decade easy. Just getting broken in, you know?
I told the Bogs representative how I am about these things, and he confidently replied that I would love the Bogs Ropers and all the company wanted was for me to give them a try. He asked what size I wore and I said 10 and half wide. He said they don’t come in half sizes or widths, but if I need a wide the size 11s would be perfect. I was skeptical. Even the Muck boots had taken a few years to stretch out to the proper width for my duck-like feet.
Well, the new Bogs Roper boots arrived in July just as the drought was peaking. No time to put on footwear that is “100% waterproof,” and “comfort-rated to sub-zero conditions.” They sat in my office all summer, all fall and nearly half the winter. In fact I kind of forgot they were back in the corner until last week.
That’s when I was hiking around checking on the bald cypress seedlings I had planted in the swampy part of the pond a couple of years ago. It was pretty day, and I was venturing deeper into the soggy area. That’s when I felt that cold rush of water filling up my right boot. If you were ever a kid with a hole in your goulashes, you know the sensation I’m talking about. I looked down to verify that indeed the tear in the boot had made itself available to muddy brown pond water, which was rapidly filling the boot. With a desperate leap, I scrambled to get out and in the process pulled the boot right off my foot. The sock came off too.
I was nowhere near dry land, so I got to hobble and hop over the semi-frozen mud trying to find a clump of reeds or grass to stand on until I got back to the dry path. There was no saving the boot or sock. They are still stuck in the muck and just may never be found again.
So this week I took out the new Bogs Roper boots and pulled them on. You know they fit pretty darn good. I can wiggle my toes and the heels don’t slip. The tag says they are “Designed for comfort and durability with a 13-inch shaft and flexible four way stretch 7mm Neo-Tech insulation. An all-purpose, self-cleaning outsole kicks away dirt so that you always have a sure step. Contoured fit with a wider toe box and narrower heel for maximum support.”
I like the big handles you can pull them on with and they have this cool little ledge behind the heel you can hook on the toe of the other boot to pull them off without bending down. No doubt the "Aegis antimicrobial odor protection in the insole" will be appreciated by those who keep their shoes in the closet with mine.
Best of all the tag says they “keep you comfortable when you’re dealing with the unexpected.” What farmer couldn’t relate to that?
So I’m going to give them a try and I’ll let you know in a dozen years or so if they made the grade.