In praise of the humble gumboot

You may recall that I recently purchased my first-ever pair of gumboots, specifically to wear to a muddy sporting event my daughter was taking part in. Well, I know you’ll be thrilled to read the next instalment in this exciting story, entitled, “Why Didn’t I Get Gumboots Sooner Because They Are So Versatile!” Read on for more of this enthralling sequel. Or not. It’s okay if you go watch Netflix instead.

If you’re still with me, allow me to expound on how amazingly versatile the humble gumboot is. You can wear gumboots with any outfit! Getting married and it’s raining? Forget those white silk stilettos with the diamante ankle strap and get yourself a pair of gumboots! Going to a swanky product launch and you’ve parked in the city where the puddles are ankle-deep and literally right next to where you’re opening your car door to step out? No problem, you’ve got your gumboots in the backseat! Ruined your favourite black wedges squelching through the mud to get to a park bench where your colleague thought it would be a good idea to hold an outdoor meeting, but you’ve still got to go to your son’s cross-country event later in the day? That’s okay; your trusty gumboots will be there to catch your tears as you throw those mud-covered black wedges in the rubbish bin. I’m telling you, gumboots are ideal for every situation.

All of the above situations happened to me in real life, by the way. Except I only had my gumboots for the last one. And I didn’t use them to catch my tears because I needed to wear them to the cross-country thing at my kid’s school. I was the only parent in gumboots and I was grateful because the mud on his school field was even worse than the mud that ruined my black wedges. Which I bought at Kmart in Australia and have worn so often the wedge heel was worn practically flat. RIP, favourite black wedges. There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s my pair of gumboots.

And I’m not sure if this is gumboot etiquette or not, but does anyone else clean their gumboots when they get home in order to keep them looking nice? Because I sat and wiped mine down with a wet cloth and then put them gently by the front door to dry. My husband side-eyed me, but didn’t say anything, so… You know, “asking for a friend” and all that.

The other day I was driving behind a truck and noticed that on either side of the back there was a gumboot turned upside-down on a small post. What a brilliant idea! They won’t muddy up the floor of the vehicle, the rain will clean them off, and they’re always handy when you need them. I’m not sure I’ll be able to find a mechanic who can retrofit my station wagon with those little posts near the back hatch, but if you know of someone… Asking for a friend.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk about gumboots. I’ll try to swap them for jandals when the weather warms up, but I can’t promise anything. My kid has a lot of muddy sporting events this summer, too.

Katherine Granich

Editor, Tots to Teens

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