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After much hemming, hawing and measuring my calf, I finally caved and got myself some Gentle Souls boots (in black). The big push was that because I'd taken so long to decide, Frye's official site took down the Veronica back zip boots in the specific type of leather I wanted. (That took all of 48 hours, proving to me that when I like something and think I'll come back to it later, the opportunity withers at the roots and disappears into the dust from whence it came.) This is the tall version of the boot I wanted. Frye's has an amazing range of leathers, and even when something wasn't to my taste, I could appreciate the colouration and distressing. What drew me to the Veronica tumbled leather boots was how soft the tumbled leather looked. There are similar versions of Veronica, but in pull up form. I knew from trying on boots in store that pulling up boots, especially tall boots, was something of a struggle for me. A zipper, or even some form of button system, would be a real game changer. (Strings are nice to look at, tying them was never my best skill.) I was also genuinely worried, that at 5", 15' shafts with a habit of running long would be virtually unwalkable. For the price, I kind of wanted what I bought to be as perfect as possible. An 11.5' shaft makes a good compromise.

My father, you understand, helped instil a love of boots in me. He's a petroleum engineer by trade, if that helps. From a young age, it was sort of inadvertently ingrained into me that boots were best when they had a) protective steel toes and b) good rubber soles with lots of traction. Dad also really likes leather, which as we can imagine, beyond the realm of Texan oil companies and working on rigs, is not the most convenient material to wear in tropical Malaysia. But when boots were all the rage in the '90s, it was Dad who encouraged me to try wearing them. Prior to that, the most comfortable pair of shoes I'd ever worn were these lovely suede ballerina slippers I wore to death. I was quickly won over to the school of traction and protected toes.

Back in Asia, boots are largely fashion items. The heels are absolutely ridiculous. Oh, they are on fashion boots here too. Many boots have soles more appropriate for oxfords or work shoes. Some look downright slippery on a flat surface, others are narrow or peculiarly-shaped. One of my almost-purchases was perfectly stylish, with more straps and buckles in different configurations than is reasonable, but the sole was more of what I'd expect on a pair of office-bound leathers.

Here in San Francisco, I have the pleasure of wearing my boots every day, in rain or shine. My last pair of boots, a nice pair of Snowfly (a Malaysian brand) ankle boots, have lasted me at least 7 years. I found a nice store downtown that resoled them even better than before, with strong stitching down the front. Because the insole had deteriorated over the years, I tucked in some good gel pads, and these snug boots continue to do what they do best, but better.

A major selling point of Gentle Souls was in fact the flaxseed cushions in the gel soles. I know breaking in boots is part of their worth, but I wasn't sure torturing my feet while I walked made walking more pleasurable. Walking around in worn-down soles is painful. I look forward to trying out the cushioning system in my new boots. The absorbent deerskin lining in every shoe must be a bad insider pun. I will be wearing boots made of gentle souls, and I should add, I am quite fond of venison. Soon-ish, more talk about food, I think.
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