Yes, my darling little bagels, you can’t do smoking hot science without hot footwear. How else can you distinguish yourself from the effete fly-pushers and bean-counters who fill the halls of academe? This week, everyone’s favorite scientist is featuring boots that will help you walk tall on the road to fame and glory.
Hornback alligator with hand-tooled tops; maker unknown—probably J. B. Hill. A discreet lift of the pant leg reveals the carved wonders beneath:
Half of the beauty of cowboy boots is in their tops (“shafts”), which can be quite elaborate, with tooling, inlay, fancy stitching, and custom designs. Women can show off these tops, since it’s appropriate for them to wear their boots over their pants or with skirts. A man who did that, however, would look like a geek. So I often wonder why men like me spend so much money on those fancy shafts that never show. My best guess has come from asking females why they spend lots of money buying fancy undergarments that are always hidden (this is what keeps Victoria’s Secret in business). It turns out that they’re not anticipating romantic dalliances or even getting hit by a car: they invariably answer this question by saying, “It makes me feel good about myself.” So I guess that’s true for men and cowboy boots.
Tooling boots is a dying art and takes inordinate skill and lots of time, making the final product pretty pricey.