I have a simple working heuristic for how I want to spend the rest of my life: if I can’t do it in boots, I don’t want to do it.
I grew up tramping around my family farmland in little black rubber boots which we still have up on one of our fireplace mantles. I grew into muck boots, and now I’ve got a pair of riding boots I love, too.
Boots are great. They slip on easy (no laces to tie), they emphasize the calf muscles, they keep your legs safe from snakes and such, they set you apart in a room (and make a bit of noise to assert your presence), and they generally give you a boost of masculine energy in whatever you’re doing.
Most importantly, boots are the shoes of action. If you’re wearing boots, you’re ready for anything: landscaping, farming, riding horses, hiking, driving tractors, driving trucks, tending animals, cleaning out septic tanks, hunting game animals, birthing calves. What more is there to life?
Boots are flexible – they aren’t even limited to the outdoors. You can get nice boots to go into offices and go out to weddings and church. You can’t really get shoes that are good for going out to the barnyard or the construction site.
But despite their range, there is the unmistakable curse/gift/doom of the booted man: that he will be spending most of his life in the outdoors, working with and fighting against and loving the forces of nature. I’m ok with that fate.