Footwear for the well-dressed scientist: day 2

October 19, 2010 • 10:02 am

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.

21 thoughts on “Footwear for the well-dressed scientist: day 2

  1. OK, it’s seriously unnerving how this blog has taken a strong Isis the Scientist turn.

    (Are these new boots? I seem to recall the breaking-in phase of boots to be a long and painful process — back when I used to rope and brand.)

  2. They are a hoot alright! (Though these at least remind of the ones I bought during my Texas stay.)

    For your next number, I would like to know how boots helps in herding cats. I’ve always wondered about this must-be connection.

    Tooling boots is a dying art

    I though it was at least a part dyeing art from the beginning?

    Anyway, it’s all part of the evolution of markets, AFAIU. Or WEIT, as someone (but no tool!) once put it.

  3. Anybody out there by any chance know anything about a bootmaker named Foley, no longer in business, who was improbably located in Maine?

    And another nagging question, now that the topic is open: why are women’s sizes numerically different from men’s?

    1. The shoe size is the length of the last in inches x3 minus a certain amount – this differs according to the system – in general in the US it is this figureminus 22.5 for women & minus 24 for men in the US. So if your foot measures 1 foot you should be a 12. Plenty on the Wikipedia entry for shoe sizes!

  4. “So I often wonder why men like me spend so much money on those fancy shafts that never show.”

    I wonder the same thing every time I get a certain type of email spam in my inbox.

  5. off topic: I see that “Atlas of Creation” book on top of your bookshelf there. I remember the turkish scam artist who sent free copies to everyone a few years ago, at great expense to himself. The pics are great, but the text is crap. I am surprised it still adorns your collection, despite the hideous insinuations inside.

    1. Actually, a good pair of boots, of the proper size, is very comfortable. I often wear my boots without socks.

    2. There seems to be a misconception that these things are uncomfortable. If they were, I wouldn’t wear them. They’re VERY comfortable—in fact, more comfortable than my usual shoes.

  6. Nice boots!!!
    Concerning the “unseen vanity”: I worked as a radiohost/radio-speaker on the classical music channel here in Denmark for more than 15 years, and every time I had a direct, live broadcast the last thing I did before going on air, was checking my make-up. Lipstick, light powder, eye-liner … check!
    I were absolutely certain my radioshows were better when my make-up was perfect 😀
    All the technicians laughed at me, but hey, what did they know 😉
    (Vanity is a strange thing.)

    1. I WAS … not were … certainly not were … I meant to say: I was certain …
      (typos and a general lack of basic English grammar. Sigh)

        1. Herre min hatt Ophelia! Do not beat yourself up – there are only so many hours in a lifetime… & I am sure you have other talents!

  7. I was in Phoenix a few years ago and I still regret not buying myself a pair of fabulous boots. The were not cheap and I didn’t stop to think, sigh.

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