Advice Requested: Winter Boots and Russian Textbooks

I need to buy new winter boots. I have had my old ones for about 12 years. They are L.L. Bean, slip-on style, and they were excellent boots (comfy, waterproof, warm without being too hot, grippy soles) until last year when something changed with the rubber on the bottom of the boots and it stopped being grippy and is instead hard and slippery. Clearly that is not what is needed in a winter boot.

I looked online at L.L. Bean to see if they still had the same type of boot, and they do not (these are probably the closest equivalent), but also I saw their prices and now am willing to branch out, brand-wise. Do any of you have boots you’d recommend? I don’t have anything particular in mind other than grippy soles (I fall easily enough as it is, without adding slippery soles), which makes it both harder and easier to make suggestions. Like, I liked the slip-on style, but I don’t think I would mind switching to laced. It would be nice if they were cute, but my old ones were not cute and that didn’t bother me. My old ones were the lightish brown of construction boots, but I don’t mind switching to a different color. My old ones were shortish, but I don’t mind the idea of trying taller. Just: GRIPPY SOLES. GRIPPY. And I guess fairly waterproof, since I use them for shoveling and for walking in snow/slush. And durable, so I don’t have to do this too often.


Also, William is learning Russian online. He likes languages and wanted to try something with an alphabet different from ours, so that’s what he picked. He said just now that he thinks he needs a textbook or something, because sometimes the online source will say something he’s not sure is right; I think the actual story is it appeals to him to have a textbook. His birthday is coming up, and teenage boys are very hard to buy for, so if anyone can recommend any sort of Russian-learning book, I would be very glad to hear about it.

40 thoughts on “Advice Requested: Winter Boots and Russian Textbooks

  1. Susan

    I like Sorels for winter boots. I don’t have a style to recommend…my favorite pull-on style is discontinued but it was wonderful that I was able to buy replacement liners when I went on a winter hiking/snowshoeing/dogsledding trip and what if my boots got totally soaked?

  2. Carolyn

    I don’t have ANY suggestions, but I just wanted to say how cool it is that he’s ASKING for textbooks :) (Not to mention, my husband was tasked to learn Russian in the Marine Corps, and it’s one of the most difficult language learning programs they offer. So he has certainly given himself a challenge, which is also awesome!)

  3. Laura

    The magic of L.L. Bean is that you COULD send them back for a new pair because of the lifetime warranty. I personally would feel anxious and terrible and guilty about it (for no good reason), but it is possible!

    My winter boots currently are from Costco, the brand is Khombu and they’re great. They were 29.99, which is some sort of magic Costco price- I just googled the brand and it looks like the boots usually cost way more? Either way, if you find a style you like I’ve found them to be very grippy and extremely waterproof and warm.

  4. Chris

    I took a year of Russian in high school and a semester in college and it is challenging, but fun to learn. I kept my textbook from college for many years, but when it became clear that I would never need to know how to speak Russian on a regular basis I donated it. I have started regretting that decision within the past month or so.

  5. Kerry

    I don’t have a recommendation for a Russian textbook, but I do have a recommendation for how to get a recommendation fora Russian textbook. Many universities post syllabi’ online, and it should be pretty easy to look for a few Intro to Russian classes and figure out which textbooks are most popular.

  6. Barb

    Sorel is an excellent brand, and will last a long long time. I think I saw they’re having a sale now? I needed some winter boots and bought some on a whim from target and they have been great!

  7. nonsoccermom

    I have a conversational Russian book from my college classes, called “Russian As We Speak It.” I’ve found that one handy. Is he using Duolingo? I love that app and am taking Russian daily myself. It seems like a good time to brush up.

  8. Deirdre Brackett

    LLBean will take the boots back and apply the cost toward new boots!!!! Yes, even if you’ve had them several years!

  9. Suzanne

    This is my second year of wearing these tall Hillary boots in black from Landsend:

    They are comfortable. There’s a zipper on the side that I don’t use; I pull them on and use my toes or toddler to remove them. The soles are — well, I’m not sure I’d call them GRIPPY, but I wouldn’t call them NON-grippy either; I might refer to them as non-SLIPPY instead. But in any event, they make me feel comfortable walking along on snow with possible ice underneath. Again, second season wearing them and they look just the same as they did last year.

    I liked them because they weren’t forty million dollars and they looked warm (they are). And I see that they are currently on sale for $43.99.

  10. Jessica

    If something changed with your LL Bean boots can’t you utilize the lifetime guarantee? I would call them and see if you could get replacements or at least substantial credit towards something similar. I have Sorel boots I love, but I got them very much on sale. Otherwise they are spendy but they do last ages.

    1. Squirrel Bait

      Oh, good call on the Yaktrax. I have a pair, and they work great. We get the occasional ice storm here, and the metal part of the Yaktrax sort of digs into the sheet of ice when you walk around. Way better traction than any boot could give you alone. The only downside is that they take an extra minute to put on, and they feel a little weird if you wear them into the store or whatever. You could leave them strapped to your boots all the time if you wanted to, though.

      1. Corinne

        One caveat: They will gouge linoleum. So if you are the kind of person that likes to do things like leave boots on while bringing groceries into the house, be warned. But otherwise both my mom and dad use these and love them for the confidence they provide in icy weather.

    2. Jenny

      I was going to suggest the YakTrax too! I am an expat in a Scandinavian country and have yet to learn how to walk down on icy hill or find boots that are grippy enough for my peace of mind, so I use YakTrax and cleats regularly. I keep them in a small, waterproof bag in my purse so I can pull them on whenever it’s looking a little slippery outside.

  11. Phancymama

    Sorel boots are great, but heavy duty. If you don’t want boots, Merrell Jungle Mocs have awesome grippy soles and are pull on shoes. I like lands end shoes and boots too.

  12. Matti

    I have winter boots that I love! SO much so that I have two pairs. If you go to Amazon and type in Columbia Minx Boots a wide variety of styles, heights, colors will pop up and I wholeheartedly recommend them. I have the tall lace-up style and they have been so hard working, flexible, and grippy. The soles are covered in small like ninja star shaped nubs, and so flexible that you can feel the ground under you. Depending on the style/size the prices range from $30 and up.

  13. JenniferB

    The Columbia Minx boots have been fantastic for my family for several years. I like the short side-zip one (Minx Slip II Omni-Heat) in the link, but they have different heights, styles (we’ve owned 3 different adult styles), & colors. Three of my daughters (ages 7, 13, & 16) all wear them too. I love that they’re super lightweight, warm, and easy to get on & off. I do not live in an area with harsh winters, but I’ve worn these in snow many times and in negative temps and have always been dry & toasty. They are so comfy that they’re my go-to every day run around shoe in the winter. The Omni-heat lining is fabulous. Reviews are excellent and the soles are mega-grippy!

    I hope this link works:

  14. Alyson

    Personally, whenever I look at boots I’m astounded at the prices people pay for footwear. I went full Bean last year (the classic boot) and I think they were under $200. I have the shearling lined ones – now they’re just over $200 (and non-shearling is closer to $100). However, they do occasionally go on sale and I think you can get a discount if you sign up for the credit card. I bought them because I figured they’d be the last boots I’d ever buy (I’m not yet 40). I have no problems returning them if they stop functioning.

    I’m on my 4th pair of sunglasses from Bean (Native brand, but I can switch if I want). They take everything back no problem and don’t make you feel bad. If I have them for 20 years, I’ll probably buy a new pair, but less than that and they can replace them, thanks. They are SO COMFORTABLE. I’ve found nothing really compares to what I’ve gotten at LL Bean – and should it be awful, I take it back. I’m also obsessed with their tote bags. (and they have yak trax, their own branded ones, made in USA for like $20, which I found reasonable)

  15. Katie

    I love love love love love my Bogs. They’re not the typical rubber ones that my kids all use as both rain and snow boots. Mine are waterproof suede from top to bottom with a fuzzy lining. I wear them without socks all winter long and they are the best. I’d gotten mine from zappos a few years ago but I don’t see them there anymore. But, they still have them on amazon in certain colors and sizes:

  16. Amy

    I usually do not comment HOWEVER today I have no choice, I feel it is my duty. I have owned two pairs of the LL Bean Storm Chasers (low slip ons) in the last 15 years and they are my absolute favorite boot for winter and here’s why:

    1. They have very grippy, substantial treads.
    2. They keep my ice cube feet warm. On standard run-errand days I can wear regular athletic-y socks. For long term exposure outdoors (i.e. walking dog or shoveling, a mid weight wool sock keeps me toasty).
    3. They are waterproof so slush is no problem.
    4. They are cute but not too trendy (something I cannot always pull off, which is why I have a hard time with Sorels).
    5. They are affordable considering the excellent quality.
    6. They are versatile, I wear them almost every day of fall/winter.

    *I do own Sorels and they are a premium brand, but for practicality LL Bean can’t be beat.
    *I did try the LL Bean Storm Chaser Boot but had to return them because the top of the boot rubbed at the back of my ankle. I prefer the low slip ons, also who wants to mess with laces when you can just shove your foot in and go?

    I love this shoe!

  17. Maureen

    Thanks for this post. I am also in the market for new winter boots-so this was perfect. I decided to try the LL Bean Storm Chasers-the lace up boot. Right now there is a 20% off promo, which I believe lasts through tonight. I like the idea of the lifetime guarantee-and they have free shipping, even for Alaska.

  18. Katie

    These might not be the kind you’re looking for, but I’ve loved my Teva boots for Colorado winters. I have the ankle length of the de la vina style. They also have a medium and a high version. You can find them on pretty good sales too. What I’ve liked most about them is they’re comfy straight from the box, they look good with everything (imo), they’re very durable against a wide variety of weather, and they wear scuffs well.

  19. Emily B.

    I bought Sorel lace-up boots (the Joan of Artic style I think) last year and I’m not a fan. I don’t like having to sit down to lace & unlace them each time I wear them. And they feel so heavy & clunky on my feet. Plus if I walk for longer than 10 minutes in them, they rub uncomfortably on my ankles. My mom has a pair too and agrees they are disappointing. So, I’m in the market for a tall slip-on pair that are lighter weight but still warm. I’ll check out some of the links above. :)

  20. Corinne

    I’m voting for you to send the boots back to LL Bean and request a replacement. The rubber should not get hard and slippery. That to me falls clearly under the quality warranty.

  21. Elizabeth

    Another vote for Sorels – last well, waterproof, loads of styles.

    I just bought a pair this winter that were cheap because they were last year’s style (tall, faux fur lined, blue laces) and they are perfect – stylish, warm, dry, and GRIPPY soles. They are not usually CHEAP but they last well (so everyone says).

  22. ButtercupDC

    I took Russian in college and wanted to stay on top of it from time to time, and I don’t have a textbook per se, but I really like the “Russsian in 10 Minutes a Day” workbook, which was fun for vocabulary and practice forming the Cyrillic alphabet and such. I would like to second both the recommendation for checking out online college syllabi (my courses definitely used what would’ve been acceptable for a high school student) and the recommendation for the DuoLingo system, which I’ve found really cool and useful.

  23. Jenny Grace

    I studied Russian in college, and I believe still have my textbooks, which I remember as being good.
    But I also graduated from college over a decade ago, so I’m hesitant to recommend, because I’m sure there’s something newer and shinier out there now. I do remember that they came with companion workbooks (paper) and Activities (CD-ROM based, so you could listen to people speaking Russian, etc). Although, I’m sure the online component probably covers that in this day and age. Does anyone still use CD-ROMs?

  24. kerri

    Another plug for exchanging your current llbean boots for a new pair with their guarantee (they’ll at least give you money toward a new pair if they don’t have the same kind anymore). Winter gear is one of the few things I’m willing to spend a lot of money on, and llbean is definitely worth it. I think I have the snow sneakers, which have been phenomenal – comfy and super non-slip.

  25. Shawna

    I have Baffin Judy boots and they are super-cute and incredibly warm and great for the Canadian winter, BUT they are pretty hard-core and I don’t know if you need boots like this where you live.

    It’s my second set of Baffins and the first pair lasted for about 7 years before I wore through the soles. They’re not cheap but we’re entering the time of year where you can find them on sale more easily. I got mine at Sail.

  26. Kalendi

    I recommend Sorel’s. I have had mine for almost nine years and they are only recently wearing out. They were a little pricey, but I certainly got my money’s worth. They are a lower boot, excellent grip, and lined to keep my feet warm. I also wear yaktrax on those icier days to get down the hill from my house. (I live in Colorado)!

    I don’t have a recommendation for a Russian book. I took a year of it and loved it, but my textbook is no longer in print. I also recommend looking at university websites and online courses to see what is recommended. Also even though this is older I recommend Russian Made Simple (I have used both the German and French books and they are a great introduction to the course:

  27. Ruby

    I’m from California, so I’m not exactly an expert in the winter-boot department. However, I will say that I got a pair of Timberland boots for Christmas, and I adore them. They are incredibly sturdy (I’ve worn them almost every day since I got them and they still look exactly like they did when I when I first took them out of the box), and really cute. I wore them on a recent trip to the Midwest where it was below freezing, and my feet stayed perfectly warm and dry. I wouldn’t say the soles are any grippier than, say, a regular pair of sneakers, but they have plenty of traction–I’ve worn them on slippery surfaces with no problems.

    I couldn’t find the exact ones I have, but these are pretty similar: Except mine are a very pretty burgundy color that I couldn’t find anywhere on the website. They are pricey, but worth it–and it looks like some of the colors are on sale!

  28. vanessa

    Bogs! they slip on, fit fat calves, can be worn for rain or snow, are super comfy (i wore mine tramping all around NYC) and come in a variety of cute designs.

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