My subtheme for this assignment is boots, such as outdoor winter boots. I spoke to several different people about boots they own and what they look for in good boots, as well as doing some observation of students on campus and reflecting on my own relationship with boots.


Interview 1
The first person I spoke to about winter boots was a student that works for Landcare on the St. Paul Campus. She explained that she owns two pairs of boots, one being a pair of bearpaws (similar to UGGs), and another pair of heavy duty hunting boots.


She said she wears these boots when it is wet and cold outside, not just when it is snowy. I asked if these were waterproof, since they're suede, and she said she regularly treats them with waterproofing spray, so yes, they keep her feet dry. She said these are comfortable to get to class in and easy to put on, but not good for being on her feet for extended periods of time. She also mentioned that they have little traction, so they are not good for when it is icy outside.

hunting boots.jpg

She stated that these were her preferred boots for extensive outdoor activities. These are the boots she currently uses for work (shoveling snow on St. Paul Campus, as well as other outdoor landcare activities). She said she likes these because they are lace up, which makes them easy to put on and she can secure them around her jeans to keep snow out. She said they have good traction and are very waterproof, however they are very heavy so they can make her tired if she works all day.

She is in the market for a new pair of boots exclusively for work, and would like them to be more like her hunting boots than her bearpaw boots. To improve on the hunting boots she has, she would like them to still have good traction, be water proof, and be lace up. She would also like them to be lightweight, inexpensive, warm, and comfortable, maybe something more like a winter hiking boot than a hunting boot. She said she doesn't care what they look like, as long as they are a neutral color and nothing crazy.

Problem Statement 1
Janelle, a 24 year old student and Landcare worker, needs a way to work outdoors in the winter, staying protected and comfortable because being on your feet all day requires comfortable, lightweight footwear, and working in the snow requires warmth, traction, and water protection.
(She specifically said that she would like hiking type boots that are lightweight so she doesn't get tired walking around at work)

Interview 2
The second person I interviewed was a student building manager for Coffman Memorial Union. He uses boots more to walk to school in and for ever day life, but also must have suitable shoes to shovel off the stairs around CMU while he is at work.


He currently owns three pairs of boots. The first pair (pictured on the far left) is his favorite, being comfortable and practical and showing off his love of Canada. He said these are warm and have great traction, as well as being comfortable and stylish. His one major complaint is that the top of the boot flairs out, letting in snow.


His favorite part of these boots are the tiny maple leaves as the traction grips on the bottom. He likes leaving tiny leaf imprints in the fresh snow.



He made sure to point out the tiny Canadian flags, the moose, and the flannel on the upper part of the boot as contributing factors as to why these were his favorite.


The second pair of shoes in the lineup is his newest, a leather pair he bought online. He bought these more for their style than their practicality. He got these at under $100, and likes that they're fancy without being too flashy. He can wear them everyday, but also with more formal outfits.
The third pair of boots is a pair of Keen hiking boots from REI. He said these were very practical, water proof, comfortable, and warm. He pointed out that they have a rubber toe, which helps him since he stubs his toes all the time. He wears these to keep warm, or to keep dry in the snow or rain.


He said if he were to get a new pair of boots (with no price limit or rational thought), he would want some like these NorthFace boots. He said these were the urban version of heavy duty winter boots, and liked all the features they have to offer (style, lace up, traction, warmth, waterproof). He also loves to wear Birkenstock sandals, so he thought any kind of boot that would form to his foot would be more comfortable than something overly squishy or padded.

Problem Statement 2
David, a 22 year old student and building manager, needs a way to walk around campus and work comfortably, stylishly, and warmly in the winter because there aren't boots that are both practical and offer the comfort that his birkenstock sandals do.
(He specifically mentioned that he liked the comfort level of his birkenstocks and how he would wear them all year if they were warm and covered his feet).

Interview 3
The last person I interviewed was just a student here. She owned 5 pairs of boots, mostly ones that were stylish rather than practical. She owned bearpaw boots (see interview 1) and several different pairs of lace up leather boots in different colors and slightly different styles. She had similar comments about the bearpaw boots as the girl in interview 1, such as they are warm and comfortable, however they have a flat sole which makes them unsupportive for long period wearing. She likes them because they are easy to put on and go with many outfits, however they are not very waterproof and don't have good traction. They are better for cold winter days, rather than snowy ones.


All of her leather boots have pros and cons for each style, but she mostly likes these for the style. They tend to be more supportive than her bearpaws, so she wears them all more often. They also have better traction and are more waterproof. However, they are colder since they have little insulation, unless worn with wool socks or legwarmers. Since these boots all are on the nicer, more expensive side, she doesn't like to wear them when it is snowing outside (especially not for shoveling).
She also owns a pair of white boots specifically for snow. However, these are not stylish or very comfortable for walking long distances, so she doesn't wear them very often. If anything, she will shovel her driveway or wear them on the way to somewhere if it is snowing outside (changing into other shoes when she gets to her destination).

If she were to get new boots right now, she would look for new snow boots. She would go for more protective boots, such as a hiking or hunting boot, that were more practical than stylish. Her current snow boots are on the more stylish side, and are sorely lacking in the waterproof and warmth departments.

Problem Statement 3
Lindsay, a 22 year old student, needs a way to stay protected from the Minnesota snow while getting to class, preferably with style, because it snows often and a lot in Minnesota, causing transportation issues for students.
(She specifically mentioned that her current snowboots are uncomfortable to walk around in and don't offer the best protection from the elements because they are a bad mesh of attempted style and function).

Since it hasn't really snowed yet this year, I had a hard time observing all of the aspects of winter boots. What I did observe, however, was people using boots as a part of their style and to keep warm. Many Female students on campus wear stylish leather boots, such as riding boots and lace up boots. The other large category of boots is warm boots, such as bearpaws and UGGs.

riding boots.jpg

Men don't tend to wear boots, unless it is snowing outside. I saw mostly leather or suede lace up shoes, as well as moccasins.


Again, one of the biggest factors in winter boots, snow, was missing while I was doing this assignment. However, I was able to experience boots in terms of cold protection and in comfort for walking around campus and standing. In evaluating my own collection of boots and my experience in wearing them, I found that I prefer boots that are supportive and allow my feet to stay very warm. I have issues with one of my ankles, so I like lace up boots as they offer that support in walking around. I also tend to get larger boots so I can layer up wool socks to keep my constantly cold toes somewhat warm during Midwest winters. I tend to look for more expensive boots to purchase, such as those made with real leather, because these are more substantial and will last more than a month. I do a lot of walking so my shoes go through a lot of wear and tear. Buying a more expensive product is worth it to me because it can last me several years. (For example, the heels on my favorite leather pair just wore out, and I'm investing a little money in them to get the soles redone because the rest of the boot is still worth using).


You selected your interviewees remarkably well. They provided a varied and intensive background for boots. They have multiple uses for their boots and provide plenty of good fodder for ideas.
Congratulations on having all of the parts of the assignment in place.
I would have liked to see you provide documentation of your observation. Did you you see anyone modify their boots in interesting ways? Did you consider observing non young adults use boots? Children and seniors I'm sure have vastly different boot experiences to offer.

Your interviews are very detailed and your blog is beautifully laid out. The images with the transparent / white backgrounds are an impressive touch that make the blog feel much more professional. However, that makes the set of images in the middle which did not have white backgrounds seem a bit out of place, it would be nice if they could have been cut out as well, using Photoshop or Gimp. The information you collected was very detailed and it sounds like you got a lot of usable information, but it would have been nice to see a bit wider age range than just 22-24 year old students. Interviewing older people can be nice because often they have lived in many different parts of the country and have a very wide range of experiences.

You provided very detailed information into the interviews and supplemented them with great visuals. Very well done. For the description of the interview you mention both pairs of boots then go on to describe a single pair without clarifying. That tripped me up as a reader. Also the problem statement for the first one started out very good, but then got muddied as you added specifics. Also, as Austin mentioned, maybe work with the pictures a bit. If you could make them more uniform in background and size it would add to the look of the post. Overall, very well documented interviews. You gained a ton of usable content that will be very useful.

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This page contains a single entry by juddx067 published on November 10, 2013 10:55 PM.

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