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As we slip off our worn-down summer sandals and zipper-up our newest pair of boots, we begin the exciting transition into fall. As the chilly season comes around, new shoes are a must to prepare for the climate changes. When purchasing cold-weather footwear, we want to guarantee that it will survive the unpredictable weather Mother Nature tends to throw our way.

Personally, I prefer to splurge on fall boots. I save money on shoes during the warmer months of the year, assuming that the pricier options will be durable enough to last for more than the few seasons. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are a few designers who sell expensive winter footwear that do not always hold up.

For instance, take my first pair of Ugg boots; they were the dictionary’s definition of catastrophe. Within minutes of wearing them in the snow, I came to find that these fluffy kicks were not water friendly. Both my feet and designer boots were soaking wet. After taking my shoes off and letting them dry, they did not return to the cute, sheepskin exterior. Instead, they transformed into a crunchy mess of not-so-fluffy Uggs.

At the time of purchase, I also bought the Ugg Cleaner and Conditioner. Even though the instructions told me to wet the outside of the boots and apply the conditioner soap, that was not the route I should’ve taken. After washing down the boots and letting them dry, they became even worse. I had a pair of a mangled shoes, and they were not the slightest bit wearable. My comfiest pair of boots were now destroyed, and I was out $180. After doing some research, I began to find out that others were having similar troubles.

This year, I started doing research on Hunter boots, which are intended to be worn in the rain. But before purchasing them, I wanted to make sure I would be getting my money’s worth. After asking around school, I found another NNHS student whose experiences with designer boots had been as “pleasant” as mine. Senior Bella Antonelli bought a pair of Original Hunter Wellington boots that she intended to wear in rain and snow. Much too soon, the shoes were trashed. Antonelli left them to dry and couldn’t believe her eyes two days later.

“A grey film developed on the boots although they had already been treated with Hunter brand boot treatment,” Antonelli said. “I cleaned them and reapplied the treatment, but the film developed again within a mater of minutes. Paying $160 for rain boots and seeing them destroyed after being worn in the rain is extremely frustrating.”

To protect other buyers from the same harsh realities, I strongly recommend researching products before purchasing them. In truth, I own and love both Ugg boots and Hunter boots. My experiences have just led me to be more careful with them. I understand that too much snow or rain could cripple them, but I love the style and fit of each. For me, these brands are worth it.

However, Antonelli and I boast different opinions and so might you and I. Before you splurge on your must-have pair of designer booties, make sure you read the fine print. You need to understand what you are paying for.

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Research now, splurge later