…The time of the year to revive your favourite pair of fall/winter boots, or for those with a little saved up this year, go out and buy a new pair!
As they did last year, Cougar teamed up with 50 bloggers to try out some of their new styles. Last year, I reviewed a pair of red rain boots that I didn’t really love. I never did update my post about those boots, but Cougar was nice enough to send me a different pair – Regal rain boots (which are still for sale this year!)
I’ve been wearing them a LOT – rain boots are a HEAVEN SEND for city dwellers. They were especially useful during those crazy spring slush/hail/rain storms in Montreal, but I’ve worn them around in Toronto as well. The only downside to them were that they were incredibly heavy. My pace was considerably slower in those boots, and after about 5 minutes, my ankles and lower shins would hurt from having to support the weight of the heavy rubber soles.
So when Cougar contacted me again this year, I was skeptical – one pair of heavy boots is enough for me – but intrigued by their new styles. Cougar prides themselves on creating boots that keep your feet dry and warm, but don’t compromise on style.
This year I opted for the Portico boots in brown. [Random tidbit: Portico refers to “a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building.”]
They seemed like a good combo between the warmth I need during the fall and the protection I need in the winter. They’re suitable in the rain, but not strictly rain boots.
When they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised! The construction of the boots was impressive (unlike the red boots from last year!) and I liked that despite having a similar rubber sole to the Regal rain boots, the Portico boots were much lighter weight and less of a burden on my wimpy ankles.
The outer material of the Portico model are suede for the upper body and “montana” leather (I have no clue that means) for the foot. The stock image from the company site makes it seem like the leather foot is a much lighter shade than the suede, but in real life, that’s not the case. They are comparable in shade – it’s simply the texture difference between suede and leather that reflects light differently, so the leather foot area may seem lighter.
But the materials aren’t the only things that reassure me that these are quality made boots. If you can see, the boots are laced up, which means that in slushy or snowy weather, moisture and precipitation can easily seep into the boot. HOWEVER — the boot tongue is actually stitched into place in order to keep your feet dry!
However, my sister (who always complains about how her muscular legs can never squeeze into boots) did mention that because of the stitched in tongue, she wasn’t able to loosen the laces enough to allow for her leg + jeans fit comfortably into the boot. [On the other hand, she did mention that she thought she “looked cute in them.” (her observations, not mine!)]
I have the opposite problem: boots are sometimes too loose around my calves, but the laces on the Portico model do help tighten the boots up. [NOTE: The laces are more aesthetic than functional – a zipper that runs from the ankle all the way to the top is the primary way to take the boots on/off.]
The only real problem I encountered with the boots are that the stiff suede material is not very forgiving when it becomes bent (i.e. at the ankle).
The creases created around the ankle by the simple act of walking cut into my feet, even through my socks, and I have a scab on each ankle from the abrasions. I know that this is a common problem when breaking in new shoes, but I’ve never had this problem with my other leather boots – this was definitely a case of the stiff material not being pliable enough.
Another issue of note, is that these may keep your feet warm, but they have a tendency to overheat, almost to the point of discomfort. I recommend carrying a pair of flats in your handbag if you are going to be in a heated building all day.
Verdict: I am definitely going to be reaching for these boots often this season. Their neutral colour, functionality, comfort, and style make them a practical choice. The Portico model retails for around $250 CAD and can be purchased at retailers across Canada.