When I took our daughter shopping at an outlet mall after Christmas, I fell in love with a pair of Timberland boots. They were a golden wheat leather with red laces.
I wasn’t looking for boots. When I saw how cute these boots were, I thought of all the reasons I needed boots: my heavy duty Minnesota snow boots are overkill, my soft furry Minnesota boots leak, I don’t have mud-bearing boots to wear when we cut down our Christmas tree.
I didn’t immediately buy them. I wasn’t wearing the right socks for trying them on, so I wasn’t sure about the fit. I hadn’t planned on spending $100 for boots I wasn’t looking for. And as you might have noticed, my reasons for needing these boots aren’t compelling.
The whole time we shopped, which turned out to be about seven hours, I thought about those boots. Our daughter was shopping for shoes, so I had several opportunites to try on the boots as we went back and forth between shoe stores. I thought about how if I bought these boots, I could toss two pairs of boots when I got home, and wouldn’t that be a favor to everyone!
Because of the price, and the socks, and the fact that I hadn’t been looking for boots, much less drop $100 on a pair of boots that I was making up a need for, I ultimately didn’t buy them. I used the trick my husband uses to tamp the urge to impulse-buy: wait a week and see if you still want it.
It’s been two weeks and I’ve only had occasion once or twice that I might have worn these boots (though looking out the window as the day finally dawns, grey and wet — let’s make that three times). Now that I have some distance from them, I don’t feel as much like I MUST HAVE these boots as I did when I first saw them. Though I just looked at pictures of them again as I’m typing this and they are awfully cute.
Instead, as I look at the weather and see how warm it’s going to be on this January weekend, I’m thinking about the garden. What I really need is not a pair of cute boots, but of useful gardening shoes. I’ve been wearing the same pair of Keen hiking shoes to garden since we lived in Florida 10 years ago. The uppers are pulling away from the soles, and have hardened over the years so that they hurt my toes when I’m squatting or shoveling on the steep hill out back and my toes jam into the ends of them.
Of course, I think this every year. “I need new gardening shoes!” and yet, I procastinate. If you Google gardening shoes you’ll get all these pictures of impractical rubber boots or crocs — nothing with laces. How are you supposed to shovel in those, or tromp around on steep hills without your shoes falling off or you feet slipping around inside them? On these hills I need something that straps on tight. And they need to have sturdy soles. And in summer I don’t want boots that come up to my knees.
I don’t buy new gardening shoes because the nonsense sold as gardening shoes is not what I need. I need a simple, rugged, low shoe that I can wear in spring, summer, and fall. Something with traction and that holds my feet in place, something comfortable that can get wet and dirty, and something with a tough enough sole to shovel through rocky soil with. What I really need is hiking shoes, and have you looked at hiking shoes? They’re hideous.
I saved money by intentionally not buying the Timberlands, by putting them off. This means I have money for gardening shoes! Except I’ll probably save money again by unintentionally not buying gardening shoes. I don’t like my options, or what I think will be my options, so I’ll put off shopping for them and ultimately won’t get new ones. What’s an 11th year on these Keens?