My name is Cheryl, and I'm a fashion vicitm
Several years ago my mom bought me a very practical pair of Prada rubber boots. They've lasted me through rain, sleet, and snow in high style. However, the recent weather (i.e. four snowfalls so far this season) has taken its toll on my poor boots, which recently sprouted matching holes on the insoles. These little holes began to allow not only snow and rain but also cold air to reach my toes, which started to go numb. So I tried to patch up the holes with duct tape and superglue--to no avail. I invested in several pairs of wool socks--again, to no avail. I was beginning to lose hope, but I still kept wearing my beloved boots; after all, they were more practical in the snow than stillettos.

Saturday I hit a wall. I was running errands in the Village when a certain sense of doom began spreading through my body from my toes upward. Granted, this could have been frostbite. Anyway, as I was standing in line at Kiehl's, I noticed 80% of the women in the store were wearing Ugg boots. I shuddered. I made fun of our former intern Alexa for her two-month-long quest for a pair of Uggs (she finally found one, via telephone, at a store in Indiana); I made fun of all the Hollywood starlets for pairing their Uggs with miniskirts and short-shorts; I made fun of all the suckers shelling out $500 for a pair on eBay and those on the waitlist at Nordstrom, whose next shipment of Uggs will July. As I left the store and made my way west, nearly every other woman was wearing a pair. And you know what? They looked warm as hell.

So, in the name of fashion journalism, I decided to investigate. I made a detour to 8th Street, aka "the street with 10,000 shoe stores." While all the stores were sold out of Uggs, almost all had some form of knockoff. These, of course, ranged in price from $198 to $70 (for some reason, they appeared to get cheaper the farther west I walked), and in style--from the plain beige ones, to a furry trim, to a woven stripe, to pink and dark brown and baby blue. At one store, I picked up a boot to see its price (of course it was unmarked) and got tag-teamed by two salespeople who then blocked the entrance to the store as they delivered their pitch "$198 but I give you better price!" "What your size, miss?" To which I pushed them out of the way and shouted, "I DON'T LIKE TO BE PRESSURED!" Then they laughed at me. Bastards. If I could remember the name of that obnoxious store, I would tell you not to go there, but I'm pretty sure that, like most of the shops on that block, it didn't have a name.

Finally, at Davidz (tacky, I know) on 6th Avenue (between 8th and Waverly), I found a pair of Emu boots at a price I could stomach ($70). What the hell, I thought. My toes are fucking freezing. I slipped my feet into them and my eyes welled up. At long last warmth. Then I stood up. Walking in them was like walking on pillows. Never have I worn a more comfortable pair of shoes. Then I yanked up the legs of my pants to take a look in the mirror. "Oh my god, they're so ugly!" I said. "But so trendy!" said my earnest, non-aggressive salesman. "But so warm!" would've been a better selling point, but it was a valiant effort on his part. I bought them.

MW spent a good 10 minutes making fun of them on Saturday night. But, ha! It snowed Sunday, so I busted them out for brunch. I saw people checking 'em out. My friend Sarah, in town for the long weekend, gushed over them and said she wanted a pair, even though she lives in San Diego, where the temperature rarely dips below 60 degrees. Best of all, my feet stayed toasty--and dry--the entire time. It is now Tuesday and I have yet to wear another pair of shoes. I wore my boots to the gym yesterday and brought my sneakers to change into in the locker room. I am even looking forward to the cold front this coming weekend, knowing that nothing can penetrate my mighty sheepskin boots.

I realize that my boots are ugly as sin and--even worse--ridiculously trendy. I am okay with that. It's a small price to pay for warm, dry feet.

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