Functional Fashion: All A”boot” Boots

Just+some+of+the+many+styles+of+Hunter+boots%0APhoto+via+Flickr+under+Creative+Commons+license

Just some of the many styles of Hunter boots Photo via Flickr under Creative Commons license

Julia Dank, Contributing Writer

Being that we have officially entered spring’s rainy season, there’s one thing we all do not want: cold, wet feet. Therefore, it is important to have shoes that protect our toes from Mother Nature’s wrath.

Years ago, snow boots tended to be the kind that made your feet look like inflated marshmallows and rain boots made you look like an old fisherman. However in recent years, we have been seeing more and more companies release stylish footwear designed with the functionality needed to survive the wet months.

One of the most popular brands to make fashionable snow boots is L.L. Bean. While their boots are not typically “stylish” in a traditional sense, people have really taken to them. Leonwood Bean invented the “bean boot,” also known as the “duck boot,” in 1902, and was later inspired to create his company, L.L. Bean. While bean boots have been around for over a century, they did not become popular until recent years. Bean boots have actually become so popular that they are often on backorder or sold out, leaving customers waiting for up to months at a time.

Bean boots first started out as a boot for fishermen and hunters, but now they have worked their way into everyday wear by both men and women. A style that was used solely for function has now become a large part of winter fashion.

Another shoe company that has grown rapidly in recent years is Hunter, a brand founded in Scotland in 1856 by an American entrepreneur named Henry Lee Norris. Just like the L.L. Bean boots, Hunter’s have been around for over a century and have just become popular in fashion this decade. I first found out about the rain boots when I went on a Girl Scout winter camping trip. One day, on one of our walks through the snow to the mess hall, my counselor, who was from Scotland, was wearing a pair of yellow Hunter boots with white welly socks. I had never seen the boots before then, and now you can find girls everywhere wearing them.

Hunter rain boots were originally created for the function of protection from wet weather, but just like the L.L. Bean boots, they have become a popular trend in women’s fashion. Hunter offers a wide range of colors and styles in their rain boots, along with outerwear and accessories for men, women, and kids.

Both of these brands tend to be on the pricey side. If you like the duck boot style, cheaper alternatives can be found at stores like G.H. Bass & Co. and Cabela’s. If you like the Hunter boots, try looking at Target; they offer quite a few styles of rain boots and an even wider selection on their online store.

With companies like Hunter and L.L. Bean, those who need protective footwear can now look stylish at the same time. No more sacrificing the ability to feel your toes in order to wear that cute pair of flats. No more ruined tennis shoes from running through the rain. No more function over fashion.