One of my readers, Lori L, has asked about the performance and fit of winter boots. I asked Adam Archdekin, our BOGS sales representative, to tackle this topic.
BUYING KIDS WINTER BOOTS
Buying winter boots. Fun!! There are so many brands, so many styles and so many colours to choose from. It can be daunting. I know. While I may work for Bogs, I also have 2 kids to fit every season. And I’m not sure if your kids are like mine, but there are about a thousand other things my kids would rather do than go shopping. Like go to the dentist. So you want this to be easy, because you only want to do it once.
When you boil it down winter boots need to be two things, warm and comfortable. You might be thinking “Dry too!!” And you’re right of course, but I lump dry in with warm, because wet feet equal cold feet.
Believe it or not, it’s not hard to get warm and comfortable all in one boot.
The very first thing you need to consider when buying a boot is fit. It’s also the second thing. And the third. Boots that are too small lead to cold feet. Boots that are too big, the same thing, cold feet. What’s commonly misunderstood with winter footwear, and outerwear too for that matter, is how a winter boot works. The boot does not warm the foot. It’s the heat the foot produces that warms the boot. A good boot has the ability to trap and hold that heat in the boot. That’s what the insulation does.
So you need just the right amount of space in there to keep the foot warm. If a boot is too small, there is no way to keep the heat in, there just isn’t the space. But rare do we parents buy boots that are too small. We like to go as big as we can to try to keep our kids in the boots for as long as possible. But, it’s entirely possible to buy too big. When a boot is too big, the foot has to work harder to heat up the space in the boot. Think of it like this, you have a big house, it’s cold outside, so you buy a nice little space heater, to heat the whole house. It doesn’t work, does it? There isn’t enough juice in the little heater. You need a furnace to heat the house. If you have a little foot in a big boot, it’s the same thing, there isn’t enough juice. You need a boot that fits.
Losing warmth isn’t the only problem when you buy a boot that’s too big either. When the boot is too big, it wears out faster! Really. If the boot is big, it will slop around on the foot. When that happens, kids drag their feet more, wearing out the soles of the boot. On the inside, there’s more friction from rubbing, which can lead to the lining being worn out. Even worse, blisters on little feet!!
So how do you tell if they fit? First, visit your local Bogs dealer, like West End Kids! Once there with the boot on your little one’s foot you can use one of your favourite parental gifts, x-ray vision! What? You don’t have that? Ok, me neither. So how do you see inside to tell then? With Bogs and some other brands, you can take the insole out of the boot and have your wee one stand on it. This will give you an idea of how much space is in the boot. Ideally, there should be a finger width of space at the end of the boot. Maybe a finger and a half. If there is, then you’re all good for length!
Now slip the insole back in and take a walk around the store. Walking should be easy. Even running. Shuffling is not a good sign. When kids shuffle, they are trying to keep too big boots are their feet. Another tell tale sign the boots don’t fit is “MOMMY/DADDY! It HURTS!!” Very bad sign. Should you see either of these, try another size. Don’t get hung up on a brand. Some boots just don’t fit some feet. And fit is most important.
Ok, now here’s something else to consider. They fit great in the store, but what about next week? Or next month? This is one thing Bogs does incredibly well.
Bogs’ Neo-Tech insulation is elastic. The way it fits now, is the way it’s going to fit next week or next year. It always goes back to its original shape. Because of this, you never lose insulation. This is very different from a “pack” boot. A pack boot is a boot with a felt , usually wool, liner. As you wear a pack boot, the liner gets thinner. As the liner gets thinner, you get more space in the boot and at the same time, less insulation as the insulation gets thinner. So when fitting a pack boot, it needs to be a bit more snug when it’s new.
“But wool felt is so warm!” Yep, in most cases it certainly is. “There’s no way that rubber Bogs are warm.” Yep, it is. Bogs Neo-Tech insulation is 7mm thick, the same thickness, or thicker, as most pack boots. Inside the Neo-Tech are lots of little air pockets that pockets trap and hold heat. It’s something that can only be done with natural rubber like the Neo-Tech Bog’s uses. It just doesn’t work with synthetic rubber. You couple that thickness with the fact that the Neo-Tech doesn’t compress AND the fact that Neo-Tech is inherently waterproof and, PRESTO!! Warm (and dry) feet!!
Most good winter boots are waterproof. But make sure you know what the company means by “waterproof.” Some just have a waterproof shell around the foot, but the shaft (up the leg) is not. So the first puddle that gets stepped can be a big, not so pleasant surprise. Bogs boots are seam sealed all the way up. Water? No problem. Slush? We laugh at slush! Mud? Made to be tromped in! We encourage jumping in puddles. It’s fun!
So go to West End Kids to get fit. Their knowledgeable staff will make sure the boots aren’t too small and aren’t too big. They will make sure the boots will be the right size next week. Make sure your kids can walk and run in them in the store.
And if you want to make your kids laugh, get yourself a pair of Bogs and go jump in puddles with them!