I still remember when I decided I was done with cold toes; it was about five years ago in January with the high temperature of the day below zero. I had six Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluations scheduled back-to-back; all six were bank owned properties, and all six were unheated.
The thing about unheated houses is that the temperature is much lower inside the house than it is outside. The inside of these houses never sees the sun, and the basements are usually the warmest part because they're somewhat insulated from the cold by the earth. It's weird to experience.
At any rate, my first two inspections were typical run-down single family homes in need of a lot of repair, and my toes froze during each inspection. I just did what I always did before I had super-warm boots; I took my boots and socks off in-between inspections and held my toes up to the heat registers in my truck to un-thaw my toes.
My third inspection that day was a huge run-down duplex that was in especially bad shape. I was only able to get through about half of the inspection before I couldn't take it any more; I had to stop mid-inspection and go out to my truck to un-thaw my toes. As I sat there getting some feeling back into my feet, I thought about how ridiculous it was to waste this kind of time every day, and decided to put an end to all of this silliness by getting some B.A. boots.
I went to REI and bought some Baffin Endurance boots rated to -148°F. They're big and mean looking; enough to scare small kids that are easily scared by big boots. They have big knobby treads on bottom, they're tall enough to get through most snow without getting your pant legs wet, and they have a cinch at the top to keep snow out. Oh, and a carabiner ring with no apparent purpose.
At first when you put your foot into these boots it feels like the boot is too small, but then you realize they're super-padded and super-insulated; they're supposed to feel like that. They're almost too big to drive with, but not quite. It feels great to put these boots on, cinch the top, then go trudging around in deep snow. It's a lot like driving through deep snow in a four-wheel drive truck.
Today I'll be doing a buyers inspection on an unheated bank-owned property, so I'll be wearing my big boots today. I'm just a little disappointed that there's no snow to trudge through.
In the five years I've had these boots, my feet have never been cold wearing them. These boots are also very rugged; I wore my first pair for a couple of hours every day during the winter for over four years. They're still great boots, but I was quite tough on them and they're not too presentable any more. I got a new pair last year, and I expect them to last for just as long.
I did a little shopping around online while writing this post, and found these boots in stock for $160 at VermontGear.com. If you're someone who spends a lot of time outdoors during the winter and you don't mind wearing comically oversized boots, get yourself a pair of these.
You'll smile every time you put them on.
Author: Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections