I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with the Patagonia Tin Shed Buckle boots. Hike in them? Wear them with skirts or skinny jeans? Fell trees in an Oregon logging camp? What? What do I do with these things?
Fortunately, you can do all three because at $200, these boots are not cheap. Before you go shrieking to Payless for a pair of $29.99 knock-offs that you’ll wear out after one season and toss, consider the company behind these $200 girly-girl-meets-bad-ass-logger boots.
Patagonia is a refuge of reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose. They are sensitive to our fast-fashion, quick-wear-it-one-season-and-throw-it-out society.
By sensitive, I mean that they are clued in but choose not to perpetuate. Patagonia wants us to reduce what we buy because every item of clothing, shoes and accessories in our closets was produced at a cost to the environment. If made poorly in the first place, as so much fast-fashion is, it re-poxes the environment via landfills, where they will remain forever. Biodegradation is never a given.
First and foremost, Patagonia, through their Common Threads Initiative, is committed to designing products that are made to last and thus, reduce our environmental footprint.
Second, Patagonia repairs its clothing. They donate their factory seconds to field activists and send unsold Patagonia goods to people who lose their belongings in disasters. You can sell your gently-used Patagonia products on the Common Threads Initiative eBay site. They encourage you to send your threadbare Patagonia clothing back so they can recycle it into new fiber, fabric or repurpose what can’t be recycled.
Patagonia believes that if products are in use, they aren’t in the landfills so they will proactively ensure a product lives a long life.
The Tin Shed Buckle boot is a product of this philosophy. Leather tanning involves toxic-heavy materials so the manufacturing of leather goods has an abysmal environmental footprint. It is what is. We can’t all wear shoes made of leaves, decomposing wood and used bike tires. That’s why Patagonia consciously made the footbed from 70 percent recycled polyurethane and with a tread that can be re-soled.
Imagine that. A shoe made today, can be re-soled and worn for years. The style of the Tin Shed Buckle has endured and will continue to. Laura Ingalls Wilder wore these from Little House in the Big Woods all the way to These Happy Golden Years.
While homemade calico dresses and pinafores are passé (though the prairie look did make a brief come-back in the mid-‘1980s), the boot style is definitely not. The Tin Shed Buckle boots can be worn with bootcut jeans or pants but you’d be covering their essence. It’s like wearing a pair of $200 undies.
To really give these boots airtime, I found success with jeggings or leggings. Regular skinny jeans just bulked and gathered at the upper. The resulting look is something worn by 80’s boy bands. So jeggings or leggings are best.
For skirts/dresses, I recommend a straighter-line or pencil skirt instead of a traditional a-line. I don’t know why this works but it does. One very sweet look is with the Aventura Ellery dress, gray tights and the Darn Tough Vermont Knee Hi Flower Power socks. The socks are the pizza resistance.
Other Marie-approved dresses are the PrAna Nadia, Horny Toad Oblique V-neck and the Horny Toad Panoply. But really, look for any dress/skirt that is relatively straight and has a hemline that is about 2-3 inches above the knee.
If the hemline falls below the knees and is a-line, you’ll have the Little House on the Prairie look going. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the style, it worked well in the 1860’s, but the shorter hemline and straighter skirt gives a modern, chic edginess to complement the rugged boot.
Note: You must exercise patience when putting these boots on and taking them off! You literally have to loosen the laces all the way down the last lace hole. If your house is on fire and these are the only shoes available, run outside barefoot because you will surely burn with the house if you don’t.
That being said, I would pay $200 for these boots if Patagonia hadn’t provided them.
They run true to size, the heel is narrowish (which I love), the leather is high quality, and you can pull off many timeless looks with a variety of hem lengths, skirt cuts, jeggings, leggings and pants. And it’s all backed by a company that actually gives a Schlitz about the environment and sustainability.
I challenge you to scavenge your city dump for a Patagonia product. Take a picture, send it to me, and I’ll gladly hand over these $200 boots and buy myself a new pair.