I have never been an UGG person. I have nothing against those boots from Australia. They have their purpose, just not on my feet. Can’t explain it. Just not my thing.
Actually, I think I can explain it. I love slippahs. Flip-Flops. Go-Aheads. I love how they feel on my feet, I love what they make me think of (namely Hawaii) and I love my feet and tootsies going free. I have even been known to wear my slippahs in the snow here in North Carolina, in defiance of winter.
Just let me go barefoot
Maybe it’s because my feet get hot. Maybe it’s because I like having a closer connection to the earth. Man, don’t even get me started on having to wear neoprene booties on my board. Can’t stand it.
And if I can’t do that, if I must wear shoes, then let me go sockless.
Sometimes, though, in the winter, that is just tough. And impractical.
But this winter, I found a solution!
Enter the Hey Dude boots from the UK!!
Now, Hey Dude makes a variety of shoes, including something that looks rather UGGish and they sell them on their USA website. Across The Pond, Hey Dude apparently has a growing share of the skate and surf footwear market. But the boots I’m talking about are the Vigo Easy Life Work Boots. Jay Manning from Kent who is a fellow member of the 100/100 Facebook group posted a picture of his Vigos, with his bare legs in them, propped up on chair by what looks to be a wood stove and that was it. (I had a chat with Jay whilst writing this and turns out Hey Dude is one of his sponsors! He is a pretty rad UK sup pro who rides for Fanatic. Check him out!)
A little research turned up a review in SUP MAG UK that proclaimed them to be the must-haves for Apres-SUP in the winter.
Given that, I just had to try these boots for myself.
First off, you can’t get them stateside. You have to order them from the UK, and that means a pound to dollar conversion thingy. But PayPal does all that for you. Easy-Peasy, Lemon Squeazy.
First thing you think when you take these boots out of the box is that they are gonna be heavy. They just look it. But as soon as you pick one up, that preconception flies out the door faster than Larry Cain on the Chattajack starting line. Super lightweight yet obviously durable. These are the boots James Herriot would wear whilst taking care of all those creatures great and small. The boots Heathcliff might tramp across the Moors in to visit Cathy. The boots Harry Potter would wear to …oh never mind, you get the idea.
The upper is a tough waxed leather that can handle just about anything. It has a waterproof lining that I recently put to the test walking the new pup in through the snow. No socks. And my feet were dry and warm. Warm because the boot is lined with cozy faux fur. Think a Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man jacket but for your lower extremities. All of this yummy fuzzy goodness caresses your feet and calves, making wearing this boot super comfy. Yet, the tops of the boots will fit nicely underneath the cuffs of your pants or jeans. No Hans Solo look required.
Soft on the inside too
The footbed is extremely cushy. I have worn my Vigos for several shifts at my local place of employment where I am standing on a concrete floor for hours. The comfort and support was just right. Hey Dude says the footbed will mold to the shape of your foot over time. Hey dude, that is actually happening to my pair! So, it’s like having a custom orthotic.
The sole is unique – it has kind of a retro look to it – on the brown boots it is a contrasting white.
Best of all though, these boots are indeed THE BOMB for putting on after you’ve been on your board in the cold water, and you are just DYING to release your feet from the confines of stinky, slimy, clammy neoprene booties. Not only do they just plain feel good, but the slouchy swede trunk of the Vigo makes getting them on and off easy. Just what you need after you have contorted your body into a thousand different positions wrestling with your rubber foot prisons.
Just the sight of them in the back of my car, as I am toweling off my dogs makes me giddy with the anticipation of soft, warm, sock-free winter walking comfort.
Hey Dude makes the Vigo for both men and women in two colors – black swede with green leather uppers and brown leather with the white sole.
And to Mr. Manning, hey dude! Thanks for posting that picture and helping me and my feet have a better winter! Cheers!
Standup Paddle Mag UK Review: http://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/11/13/give-winter-the-boot-hey-dude-shoes-uk-vigo-work-boot-review/
Fanatic SUP: http://www.fanatic.com/sup/