Halifax: Swiss soles

It happened on the floor of my hotel room in Zermatt, Switzerland. After a full day of swoosh, swooshing in the Alps, and a brief promenade through the ski town, I had schlumped my way back up to my fourth-floor room, dropped to my tired bottom and reached for the zipper of my boots. But it didn’t move. The white Aldo kicks that have been stompin’ me through winter since halfway through my undergrad had finally called it quits.

Caught without appropriate footwear in a town covered in snow, I hit the streets of Zermatt for a suitable replacement–a mission, I admit, I took on more than willingly. My new boots had to get me through, not only the rest of my Swiss week, but the worst of a Halifax winter, which blends snow with sleet, icy winds with bouts of rain, and sole-freezing temperatures with mysterious heat waves.

A black, too-practical pair first caught my eye. Stamped with a waterproof seal of approval and outfitted with fierce cleats, these boots had allowed the sensible gene, hidden somewhere below my fashion sense, to momentarily rear its ugly head. Thankfully, that visit was cut short by the milk chocolaty boot from Manas (manas.com) that then pulled my attention. Treads galore covered a necessarily sturdy rubber sole that was topped with a warm brown worn-leather upper lined in soft wool. I squished my ski-socked foot into my Italian leather gems (Italy is separated from Zermatt by a few gondolas and chair ride), tossed the French-speaking saleslady my Visa and signed beneath a total in Swiss francs. Oh, Europe.

Within my first week back home, my boots had traded their multicultural beginnings for a mixed bag of weather, walking me–effortlessly and stylishly–through gleaming snow, brown-sugar-hued slush, sheets of rain and murky puddles. Oh, Halifax.

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