I am just not going to title this “These boots are made for walking.” Because that’s too obvious, and I am seriously trying to get out of the sixties mode. Although that’s hard right now, because we are reading a lot on the peace movement and pacificism and non-resistance. We even sang “We Shall Overcome” in church on Sunday.

But none of that is about boots except maybe the once-popular hippie icon called Granny boots. These are the boots our great-grandmother wore, something like Army boots built on a woman’s last, laced up over the ankle, about as sensible and as sexy as oatmeal. These are the kind of boots I wear. This is my second pair. The first pair wore out after only eight years, not a good boot record. When I worked at the historic museum in Stockholm (Maine, that is) we had a pair of high laced women’s boots that had come from Sweden ca. 1890. I could still wear them and they were comfortable.

Plain means wearing boots or at least sensible shoes, the sort nuns used to wear. It means footwear that says there’s nothing frivolous going on here. Boots get you places, through mud and rain and snow, sometimes at a trot or even a run. Boots give you a foundation in life.

I see young women on the UWO campus in boots, but not sensible boots. They are wearing either the spiked heeled boots that are called something besides Granny boots, that Granny wouldn’t have worn unless you have a very interesting family history, or suede Ugg boots, which look like bedroom moccasins. These boots will go out of fashion soon. Granny boots – serious brown boots – were never in fashion, so they can’t go out. That’s another good thing about Plain. It doesn’t budge in the fashion world, because it is beyond the Vogue palings.


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