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Wait, Duck Boots Aren't Rain Boots?

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The Rain Boot Roundtable

Few categories of shoes are more polarizing than rain boots. Some people swear by them whenever the ground is a little bit wet; others will wear a pair of canvas sneakers during a thunderstorm without thinking twice.

Should you own some? Or are they just the dumbest shoe? Do you even care?! Below, we had some Racked editors — Julia Rubin, executive editor; Cam Wolf, menswear editor; and Cory Baldwin, shopping editor — debate the pros and cons of rain boots. I’m Tiffany Yannetta, our shopping/cruise director, and I’ll be moderating.

Who do you think won the debate? Reply to this email or tweet at us! 

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Tiffany: Hello, and welcome to the rain boot roundtable. My general opinion, to kick us off, is that I think an all-weather shoe is important, but I'm not sold that it needs to be a rain boot. Let's begin with Cam, who is pro-rain boot.

Cam: I like what you're saying about an all-purpose shoe, it's very important to have one. An all-weather shoe can solve all the weather problems at once — and so why can't that shoe be a rain boot?

Cory: I've got a disagreement with that because rain boots are fine for the rain, but they are absolutely not snow boots.

Cam: I wear my rain boots in the snow with a heavy pair of socks, and I'm perfectly warm and dry.

Cory: I'm happy that that works for you, but I don't think we should recommend that people purchase rain boots for this purpose. Especially because they're hideous, which I think Julia can speak to a little more.

Julia: They are HIDEOUS. They're too high, they cut your leg off at a weird place. When rendered in rubber, the shape is exceedingly disgusting.

Cory: They're floppy, I will add.

Julia: Or too stiff! You never look at someone and think, "You look really good in that pair of rain boots." Oh, you know what it is? They don't conform to your leg.

Tiffany: The way a leather boot would?

Julia: Yes! You're literally in these rubber buckets, and no one looks good in rubber buckets.

Cory: My legs stick out of the top in a weird way that makes me look like I have mammoth calves. Hunter boots were so cool when I was in high school, I wanted a pair so bad. My mom and my sister had pairs — I tried to steal from both of them — and they just looked terrible on me. This could be why I'm biased against rain boots.
 
Cam: Wait — can we just stop really quick? Because I want to set a baseline. What boots are we talking about? When you're thinking of a rain boot, what’s the image in your head?

Tiffany: Cam, define rain boot.

Cam: Rain boots are duck boots, that's what I think of when I think about rain boots.

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A man in duck boots, a woman in wellies. COME ON, CAM. | Photo: Getty Images

Julia: Wow, this whole time we've been arguing in parallel universes. A rain boot looks like a Hunter boot. A wellie. We’re talking the tall, typical rubber boot.

Tiffany: Duck boots, though — I always think of them for the snow.

Cory: Duck boots are snow boots. I say this as someone from New Hampshire, very close to Maine. Duck boots are for snow.

Cam: Why would they be for snow?

Julia & Cory: They just are!

Cam: What do you mean, they just are?

Cory: They're not rain boots.

Julia: They are a known snow boot.

Cory: There's that whole thing that they sell out before snow season every year.

Julia: Oh my god, Cam.

Yes, there’s more. You can keep on reading here.
 

Feature
How These Farmer-Approved Shoes Became a Footwear Staple
Blundstone boots.

The Queen Street West district in downtown Toronto is often referred to as one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the world. Hip retailers like Lululemon, Brandy Melville, Kit + Ace, and Frank & Oak have stores dotted along the way, and there’s a plethora of swanky bars and restaurants, art galleries, and vintage stores too. Both locals and tourists alike recognize the area’s vibe as young, eclectic, and intriguing, and just about every fashion trend is strikingly visible.

Which is why Hector Vijil, a 28-year-old El Salvador native and Toronto resident, thought it was peculiar when he noticed everyone in the area suddenly wearing the exact same pair of craggy, leather boots a few months ago. Vijil, who works as a manager at Shoes.com, knows his footwear trends pretty well, and he had seen these boots around before, but now they were really everywhere. He quickly learned the boots — elastic-sided and ankle-high, with branded tags popping out of the front and back — were made by Blundstone, the rugged Australian footwear company.

“Literally one in every three people are wearing Blundstones on Queen Street, and they are all over Montreal too,” he says. “I think it’s become a favorite the way Vans and Converse are. What’s interesting, though, is that the guys and girls wear the exact same boot but mold them differently into their style.”

The boots Vijil kept seeing everywhere — which he has now, too, of course — are Blundstone’s original 500, or some sort of variation of them (the brand makes pretty similar versions of the same boot, but tweaks it slightly for different models). The reason he finds the boot’s ubiquity so intriguing is because Blundstone is typically associated with farmers down under and outdoorsy beatnik-types; it’s certainly not the boot of choice for fashionable folks.

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