In praise of rain boots in summer
In Manhattan, snow often leaves the streets muddy and slushy for days, and rain often creates puddles even on the sidewalks. You surely don’t want to step on wet pet droppings without rain boots. You can often see people in rain boots on a sunny day because they would put them on even for a slight chance of rain.
Seoul is not so easy to navigate on foot on a rainy day. Dog droppings may not be so common, but we still have to care about the pollutants. The rain contains various pollutants, and when your shoes and feet are wet, you have to bare the pollutants and dirt all day at work. Because rain boots were not so common in Korea, I didn’t want to stand out wearing a pair, so I had to let my shoes get wet. But three years ago, I started to see people wearing rain boots, and I bought a pair for myself. And this summer, rain boots are all in fashion.
However, women wearing rain boots have been attacked on the Internet. A media outlet reported that a pair of rain boots costs 700,000 won ($606). Here are some of the harsh postings: “Why would you pay 700,000 won for a pair of wellies you would wear when you are farming? Are you out of your mind?” “You have to consider your figure before following the fashion trend.”
I looked to see if the 700,000 won rain boots really sold out. A few years ago, a foreign brand’s collaboration with a high-end designer was priced at 700,000, and the most expensive pair sold at department stores now is 380,000 won. They are mostly priced between 70,000 won and 200,000 won. If you buy from an online shopping mall or market, you can get a pair for 10,000 won to 30,000 won.
A well-known shoe company in Korea offers a pair at 40,000 won. The rain boots people are wearing on the street are mostly sold for 20,000 won to 30,000 won. These ladies don’t deserve criticism for being extravagant or ostentatious as they are just the victims of reckless and irresponsible vulgar attacks.
Instead of getting your feet wet with polluted rain, it is much better to keep your feet dry with rain boots and to prevent your shoes from getting ruined. Men may also want to try rain shoes that look just like regular shoes. I bought my pair of rain boots for 28,000 won. They look very nice, and a colleague even asked me, “Did you pay 700,000 won for them?”
You can also find nice, inexpensive rain boots at online and offline shops. I highly recommend a pair of rubber boots as they will ensure a more pleasant monsoon season - as long as you would listen to my explanation.
* The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by SUNNY YANG