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(CU Independent Graphic Illustration/Josh Shettler)
(CU Independent Graphic Illustration/Josh Shettler)

#BoulderGirlProblems: Have your flip-flops and your snow boots, too

It’s October — finally. Finally a break from Boulder’s unsuspecting summer heat. Finally time for pumpkin-flavored goodies. Finally the air is crisp and fresh. But for all the good things that come with October in Boulder, the month brings some negatives too.

October may be the month of cider-sipping and aspen-leaf-gawking, but it is also a month of midterms, sugar-crazed children in costumes and unpredictable, unannounced and abrupt changes in the weather. I have lived in Boulder long enough to know that weather patterns here are as moody as the anxious biology student studying fervently next to you in the Norlin Commons.

(CU Independent Graphic Illustration/Josh Shettler)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a winter person. I love the cold weather, fog, hats, scarves and gloves. You know what else I love? I love sandals, and so does the rest of Boulder. We are a city of Chaco-happy, Teva-sporting and Birkenstock-loving people. Look around on campus — you are likely to spot a few not wearing shoes at all.

This is one of the more challenging problems that a Boulder girl can face, and as this week’s abrupt shift in weather has proven, it is a looming one. Forcing your free-spirited feet into the confines of shoes is no one’s favorite game. So what can you do when it gets too cold for flip-flops?

It is going to be hard to avoid this problem. Even the fiercest of flip-flop wearers will have to force themselves into a pair of socks (ugh) and closed-toed shoes (double ugh) once those cold temperatures settle in and snow starts to fall. It is not an easy fix, but opening up to a few fall fashion tips can save you and your flip-flop-wearing feet this winter.

Ease into it. I know how hard it is to part away from your summertime footwear. It’s hard to have to hide your hard-earned Chacos tan behind the veil of a wool sock. In order to cope with the inevitable, I have set up a series of transitions for myself, to make the change in seasons, and thereby footwear, a little more bearable.

It’s all about baby steps. For one, there’s no need to rush into a stiff pair of boots at the first frost. My general rule of thumb is if there is any precipitation, you probably can’t wear your flip-flops. Additionally, if there’s a frostbite warning out there, it’s probably a good idea to slip into a pair of sneakers. But outside of that, you’re in the clear.

By no means does fall mean it’s time for conventional footwear. You have still got some good months of foot free-balling ahead of you. And when it finally does get too cold for your naked toes, ease the transition by wearing some clogs first. Fashionable? No. But they are about as close to a closed-toed sandal as you will get.

Experiment: don’t let your friend with the Ugg boots tell you it is not okay to wear socks with sandals. It is. This is Boulder. Trust me, layering some wool ski socks with your prized Birkenstocks is not going to win you a “Most Eccentrically Dressed” award in this town. So, embrace the ski bum and dirty-hippie, casual-footwear Boulderite that you are, and pull off what might be called “Colorado chic.”

Be flexible in your footwear choices. To state the obvious, Colorado weather changes with the tip of a hat. Better to accept it and move on rather than dwell on the fact that anytime you step outside, you need to be sure you packed a bottle of SPF 75 sunscreen, an expedition quality parka and a swimsuit. You know, just in case.

That being said, you need to be flexible when it comes to seasonal changes in Boulder. Don’t get too upset by the fact that you might have to tuck away the Chacos for a few weeks in November and December. You and I both know that come January, we’ll have a week or so of springy, 75 degree weather in the dead of winter. The perfect winter weather reprieve for you to break out the flip flops once again.

I am torn between the excitement that winters in Colorado offer us (the excitement of ski season, snowy days) and the dread of having to trade in my all-purpose Teva sandals for stuffy, stiff boots. But this Boulder girl problem has got some definite loopholes, so take advantage. Free feet are happy feet — don’t let the fast-approaching Boulder winter tell you otherwise.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Taryne Tosetti at

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One comment

  1. For me its either summer sandal season or winter sneaker season. I love to wear my flip-flops, Flat T-strap sandals and mid to high heel sandals as soon as the weather is over 40 degrees and show off my pedicure. The only closed toe shoe I like is Sneakers. Boots and Uggs no way. I have one pair of high heel boots mainly for special occasions and weekend bar trips. I don’t even bother to polish my toe nails or get pedicures in the winter because nobody sees my sexy feet.

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