Rocky Side-Zip Paraboots

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I basically own three pairs of shoes. One is a pair of flip-flops that I wear around the house like sandals. Another is a fancy pair of dress shoes that I dust off for weddings, bar-mitzvahs, funerals, and schwanky dress-up events. But for everyday wear in professional office environments, during travel, and for general romping about, I keep a pair of 10″ Rocky side-zip leather boots on my feet seven days a week.

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The handy side-zip means that getting in and out of these boots is loafer-fast — an essential feature for daily wear or moving quickly through airport security lines. The lacing enables me to customize the fit for my feet, but once that’s done, I go months without retying the laces. These boots are designed for use by police officers and other law enforcement and EMS-types, so they’re versatile, rugged, and incredibly comfortable (once they’re broken in). The black, all-leather uppers have clean and simple lines, so they look good in any casual office environment. The boot styling provides ample ankle support, which is nice for hiking, long walks, or keeping my feet dry in wet, snowy, sandy, or muddy environments.

During a typical week, I’ll wear these boots to work from Monday to Friday, then keep them on my feet during the weekend as I wander through the deep snows of Lake Tahoe, or explore abandoned buildings, or stroll along sandy beaches of the Pacific Coast. Yet even after all that abuse, 20 seconds’ worth of buffing is all it takes to clean the boots up in time to walk to work on Monday. When new, there’s an initial break-in period that lasts for three or four days (during which I carry band-aids to prevent blisters). But the leather softens up quickly, and thereafter they feel perfectly natural on my feet. An occasional dose of shoe polish is all that’s needed to keep them looking great. I’m on my third pair now, and with regular shines to condition the leather, I easily get 3 years of daily wear out of ‘em before all the cumulative abuse makes them sub-optimal for office wear. I buy mine from Galls. Check out all the testimonials — kind of hilarious.

-- Todd Lappin  

Rocky Side-Zip Paraboots
$135
Available from Galls

Manufactured by Rocky Boots