Monday, January 3, 2011

Bunny Boots: the choice of champions (in Alaska)

Or at least, the choice of those that want to keep all ten toes during cold weather.  And no, they aren’t made of bunnies, though they could resemble two obese ones if you squint your eyes.  I was a skeptic too, until last winter (and my first road test).  My laugh of derision would echo through the house every time I saw the LFG hubby’s bunny boots, otherwise known as Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots.  He has three pairs, two the standard white (Type 2), and one black (Type 1).  All ugly, real ugly.

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Yet it seemed determined by fate that my laugh would not be the last one heard around the house.  Until very recently, my boot collection consisted of several stylish boots from different outdoor clothing merchants.  They looked cool.  They also, most unfortunately, felt cool after a time.  I am not a hardcore outdoorswoman in winter or summer.  Venturing outside in 10 degrees Fahrenheit to ride a snowmachine at x mph (I can’t say just how fast, you’d never believe I was in my right mind) is not the high point of the year, but I’m married to someone that thinks it is, so I step outside on occasion and join him in my subpar non-bunnies. 

Now some facts I picked up while doing ACTUAL RESEARCH, SORT OF.  Take a deep breath, I amazed even myself with the depth of scholarship in this post.  The Type 1 bunny boot, the black Mickey Mouse boot, is rated to –20F.  I can’t conceive of an instance that I would need a lower rating than that, but this is Alaska, so it’s possible.  For those more adventurous/stupid, Type 2, the white boot, is rated for –64F.  And if you need colder than that, you are either mental or a polar bear.

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Bunny boots make one feel like quite the nitwit.  They have instructions written on the outside of the boot in several places.  It’s as if the manufacturer couldn’t be sure wearers weren’t of the litigious ilk of that woman that sued McDonald’s for millions because she spilled hot coffee in her lap.  Hot coffee, imagine that.  So I imagine the lot that produce these boots are thinking along those lines.  “We can’t be sure some stupid fool won’t __________.”  You fill in the blank. 

I think the corporate lawyers (in conjunction with a preschool teacher) designed such printed basics as: keep double laced to hold firmly.  And I refuse to consider why it would read “Keep closed unless airborne” unless they are thinking of a body hurtling over the snowmachine handlebars.  “Oh, I am going to hit that tree and go flying.  Best I open up that little air valve thing-y right now!”  Can you imagine trying to get through airport security wearing these babies?  And don’t even think of folding the gusset the wrong way because wearers are commanded to “fold gusset this side only.”

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An article about the history of bunny boots explains all: they were originally meant for the United States military, hence all the directions and great fashion forward style.  I note the article reads, “Bunny boots are very popular in Alaska.”  I looked in vain for a footnote that read “Amongst rabid snowmachiners and those individuals possessing a Y chromosome,” but that seems to be an omission in an otherwise quite scholarly article.  The above picture is an action shot of a snowmachiner wearing the black bunnies.  Exciting, no?

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If I had to categorize ugly boots, bunny boots would definitely be in the top ten, along with Ugg boots (aka “Make your foot look like a big duck foot for under two hundred dollars”) and moon boots, which for those of us that remember their heyday in the eighties, laugh at the resurgence in popularity.  Or at least, I hope we do.  I still haven’t forgiven mother for buying me a navy pair in grade school.  And now I have Santa to blame for my new black Mickey Mouse bunny boots.

Any bunny boots in your closet?  What are the ugliest boots you’ve ever owned or seen? 

21 comments:

Marguerite said...

Okay I can admit it. I own a pair of Absolute Zero Winter Safety Boots. Why safety? no idea, safety from cold toes? they're rated to -74 celcius (I think that's like -100 F?) So if I ever visit the north pole I'm good. I like them for walking through deep snow cuz they come up to my knees. But you have a point - they're ugly as all hell. You wouldn't ever catch me about town in those things.

Kate said...

Okay, I'll confess. Way back when I loved my hot pink moon boots. ;>) But, these bunnies are equally stylin...

Happy New Year!

jeansgarden said...

Christine, I had never heard of bunny boots before today. Here in Maine, we are mostly loyal to Bean boots. But I loved the instructions written on the boots, and your explanations of their popularity. lol. Happy New Year, and I look forward to more of your wit in 2011. -Jean

Grace Peterson said...

Congratulations on your new Bunny Boots, Christine. I think I'd take the not-so-attractive attributes as long as there was a promise of keeping my toe-sies warm. I do have to wonder about those outside instructions though. Nothing a little shoe paint won't remedy though right? LOL Kidding.

lifeshighway said...

Thanks for the great laugh. Very funny post.

I had to look up Moon boots, I don't remember them at all. You have my utmost respect to even venture outside in Alaska so your ugly boots are a moot point to me. Wear whatever you need not to fall over and die. (Southerners tend to be a bit dramatic when it comes to the cold)

The ugliest boots, that is easy. Rubber wading boots my Dad made me wear when he took me fishing.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Bunny Boots are a must in your area. My hiking boots aren't pretty but they keep my feet warm and dry. I don't need the -F variety very often. If I did I would have some of these stylin' Bunnies.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

This was hilarious. What is the world coming to, having your boots with wearing warnings. Gosh...

biobabbler said...

=) Hee. Delightful. My ugliest BY FAR are my Sorels. They are HUGE black canvas/rubber things and I have long feet (being v. tall) so mine are GIGANTIC. A very kind friend of mine once said that when I wear them (with ski pants) I look like a super hero. =) The kindest POSSIBLE description.

Orion Designs said...

My husband also has 2 pairs of bunny boots and I have one. I've never worn mine and I never will. I try not to venture outdoors when it's below -20. With the right socks, my Blondos (from Boot Country) are fine for that weather, and they look good too. That's so important.

Melanie said...

Those look great Christine ;) I used to have a pair of sorrel boots, equally as clunky and stylin.

Potato Queen and Mulch Boy said...

Does it mean I'm crazy if I say I now TOTALLY want a pair of these things? I hates cold footsies, and don't care how dorktastic I look if my feet are warm.

mike 'hazeltree' thompson said...

as delightful as ever...they actually look quite elegant compared to the plodders i wear in the garden...but we dont have your extremes of temperature so welly boots are more likely worn at this time of year...regards to hubby!

Wendy said...

cool - you had moon boots? One of my studnets came to school in those recently. They're sooooo funny. Those instructions are pretty ridiculous. The people who can' figure out how to lace a boot are the same folks who can probably not follow written directions.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Christine, I have enormous feet, so ALL boots look ugly on me! Oh, not only boots ... I particularly hate the way my Crocs look and refuse to wear them. Wishing you a happy, healthy, and warm-tootsie gardening year! P x

Barbara said...

That is one ugly pair of boots. I wouldn't have thought anything could be worse than the moon boots I used to have, but at least no instructions on the outside. The bunny boots at least have a distinctive left and right foot. Do they also say "left" and "right" on them?

kobolila said...

Ugly or not; Love my Bunny Boots!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kobolila/5352878078/

Anonymous said...

The military surplus white bunny or Mickey Mouse boots are great for extremely cold weather. When I flew for the USAF in Alaska, back before it got warmer , I wore them when not wearing my "Quick Donning" black flight boots. Once, on a military exercise, when I was an umpire for the USAF, I wore them all day on a frozen lake when the temperature was -55 degrees below zero. My feet were toasty warm. The military parka and fat boy pants worked great, too. Just my two cents.... Don't buy foreign made substitutes, though.

Christine B. said...

Real life experiences are always appreciated at this blog. Saves me the trouble of making stuff up.

CB

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, but somewhat spoiled by a little ignorance and a few clueless comments from readers. Do some of you seriously not understand why there are directions printed on the outside of the boots?

These were designed for the MILITARY, and it has nothing to do with corporate lawyers and liability. Like most things military and elsewhere in society, these will be used by people with a wide variety of skills and intellects and need to be reasonably idiot-proof. People who think these simple/obvious directions are stupid have probably never experienced the stress of combat or operating under extended sleep deprivation.

Sorry to sound harsh, but ignorance bugs me. If you don't know why something is the way it is, research it (as the author did later in the post) and then remove your incorrect assertions. PS - I love my bunny boots for the long Alaska winters.

Christine B. said...

Wow.

CB

Doug Garrou said...

Interestingly, the air valve on the side is needed if you fly while wearing these boots. Their design includes an enclosed layer of insulating air. If the valve isn't opened at altitude, there's a risk that the (relatively) high pressure still trapped inside the boot will rupture the boot when the outside pressure is low. Also, these boots should ideally be warmed up inside before venturing out into the cold. Otherwise they will superbly insulate the cold air inside them!

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