Written by Russ Bengtson (@russbengtson)
This is my winter morning routine, at least the getting-dressed part: Pick a T-shirt and socks, pull on the same jeans as always, layer on a hoodie, a coat, maybe a flannel, then struggle to pull on the same Nike Terra Arktos boots I’ve been wearing since — well, maybe not Thanksgiving, but it sure seems like it. This is every day. This is winter. This is not a problem.
For starters, there are three other seasons in which to stunt. If the price of that is two (or even three) months of snow and slush, so be it. After all, those who live in the sneaker mecca itself, Portland Or., sometimes get two or three months of rain. Every single day. We all have our bad weather cross to bear, except people who live in Los Angeles—but they have to live in Los Angeles.
There is something very comforting about having decisions made for you by outside forces.
Wearing sneakers in the snow is an option, of course, but one that I choose to eschew. Not because I dislike sneakers, but because I like my toes. Nor will I flatfoot out of my apartment in someone’s grails just to stunt on Instagram. (How many people spend their mornings cleaning every speck of snow off their Jordans before putting them back in the box?) And while I will occasionally change into sneakers once I get in to the office, all too often I just stay booted all day.
Again, this is not a problem. There is something very comforting about having decisions made for you by outside forces — for a while, anyway — and knowing that I will be wearing those same boots day in and day out just makes mornings so much simpler. It’s the same reason I’ve never had a problem living out of a suitcase, and why a good portion of my sneakers are in storage at any given time. And it’s probably why, come good weather, I just wear whatever’s closest to the door anyway.
Are there sneaker choices that work in winter? Sure. And on non-slushy days I’ve even broken some out — Sneakersnstuff’s Goretex Reebok NPC IIs (although they could have used a traction upgrade), and my trusty Nike Lunar LDV Trail Lows, which have now trekked on three continents. The rest can wait. Winter is a time, if you have a lot of sneakers, to refresh the rotation and maybe dig some pairs out that haven’t seen the light of day in a while. Or, if you have fewer pairs, to do some (probably long-overdue) cleaning. It’s even a good time to thin the herd, whether by selling or donating little-used pairs.
Those blue-tinted Air Jordan soles should stay icy long after the ground isn’t.
The truth is, sneakers can be exhausting. Releases follow ceaselessly one after the next, and keeping up is almost an impossibility. (And that’s just trying to keep track of them all, not trying to actually buy them all, which would require Jimmy Buffett’s travel schedule and Warren Buffett’s budget.) Without a winter in which to step back and take a breath, I probably would have burned out on sneakers years ago. Sure, it’s unfortunate that the worst weather of winter comes at peak sneaker release season — namely NBA All-Star weekend — but saving those drops for a few months isn’t the end of the world. Those blue-tinted Air Jordan soles should stay icy long after the ground isn’t. And if you were one of those people who waited six months for the “Red Octobers” to drop, what’s another one- or two-month wait to wear them?
The bottom line is this: Hating on winter is pointless, because it’s not going anywhere. Especially this winter. So either move to Los Angeles (or Phoenix, or Hawaii) or embrace the break. The changes of season are what make the Northeast great. And if one has to wear boots for a month (or two) to enjoy it, that is a price which I will gladly pay.