What I Wore: Test Drive

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steve madden bomber jacket ll bean fleece leggingsJacket: Steve Madden (XL; plus size option) | Sweater: LL Bean (XL; plus size option) | Fleece Leggings: LL Bean (L; plus size option) | Socks: Lands' End | Boots: Merrell | Hat: Halogen (old; this year's version) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Crossbody Travel Mug: GOAT STORY

Monday my office was open but after taking care of some emails and tying loose ends, I took the day off.  I had an appointment in the morning; my sister offered to take Em for a whole day of fun and then drop her off for a late afternoon playdate and dinner with a bestie.  But this meant an unexpected date day with Karl!  We got some tasks accomplished, and then we strapped on our hiking boots and went for a long walk around town, the lake, the roads.  This gave me a chance to test drive these new boots.

merrell arctic grip waterproof boot review vibram soleSince slipping on ice in 2014 and breaking my arm, I'm pretty nervous when the temps drop.  Karl found out about Vibram's Arctic Grip soles and I was sold.  They keep their grip, even on wet ice! One of Karl's yoga students got a high-shaft pair from Merrell and I liked how the soles were a tad bit gritty, but not enough to scratch up wood floors.  I knew the tall shaft wouldn't work with my wide calves and I felt a shorter boot would be easier to wear with work clothes as a commuter boot.  There's a lot of styles from Merrell with the Arctic Grip sole; I decided to go with the Aurora 6 because it's almost all black, it's fuzzy and warm, a shorter boot, and pretty subtle looking.

merrell arctic grip vibram waterproof bootI went up a half size to be sure there was room for thick socks and my wide feet; while the shoe is perfectly comfortable I think I could have stuck with my normal size.  It's roomy but it doesn't slip.  The boots are warm, but my feet don't get sweaty on a warmer day, even with wool socks.  The laces are the bomb; they don't slip.  Tie them in a basic bow and you can hike all day without having to retie.  As for the slipping, I haven't had the chance yet to try it – the weather has been too warm for ice but the boots have been through puddles and mud, worn on asphalt and slick DC sidewalks, on gravel and slippery rocks across a stream.  No blisters, no hot spots, and hopefully when the ice comes to the DC area, no slips and falls!

This outfit was also a bit of a test drive of what I may wear Saturday to the Women's March. I'm thinking these fleece leggings (they're thick enough I was comfortable this day without my Thermaskin leggings underneath; if thinner or colder out I'd do both), different wool socks that fit under the leggings, these or another pair of waterproof boots.  On top, considering the weather will be in the 50s I'll likely wear either this jacket or the longer jacket I'm wearing in this post.  Underneath, I'm not sure.  I ordered a March shirt but it hasn't arrived yet.  I wouldn't do this sweater; it's cotton and heavy and I got sweaty wearing it. Likely two thin layers so I can adjust and then a lightweight scarf.  As for a bag, I'm still figuring it out.  We have this fanny pack which is just a hair larger than the size allowed for the march, I may try to get away with it.  If not, I have a smaller fanny pack I'd likely use.  I also have this clear tote which is regulation size for a clear bag; it has a crossbody strap and I may take that.  However, I'm really getting into Festie/Prepper Allie mode for this day and am trying to go as light as possible.  I know for long days I do better with weight on my back or hips/fanny than on my shoulders. Each person is different, wear what makes the most sense to you.  But if you're going, wear thin layers, have the top layer be waterproof, and be sure your feet will be comfy!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Those boots may mean I could get up the hill in my parking lot to my apartment! I note they don’t have wide width – I normally go up a half size to make up for that. Should I with these, you think?

    1. I have wide feet. I went up a half size for the same reason (also wide ankles/shins) and didn’t think I really needed to. I ended up wearing them for the march and since then and they don’t slide, don’t rub. The half size does help when wanting to wear thick socks!

  2. I’m trying to decide on a purse too. I was really hoping that I could try out my hydration pack at the march but no backpacks. 🙁 I’m leaning toward wearing my bean boots with wool socks and arch support inserts.

  3. Hi Ali, Thanks SO MUCH for the info on Merrell and their new no-slip hikers. I’m in New England, and need something to walk the dog in the snow and ice that will fit my short stubby feet. I just scored the last pair of these in my just-shy-of-size 5 in Graphite from Merrell’s website – fingers crossed that they’ll fit.

    I’ll be breaking my ban on watching news coverage to keep up with Saturday’s activities. Be safe; I’ll be there with you in spirit!!

  4. Chacos have the Vibram soles. They’re all I wear. Since I live in Central FL, I can get away with it 360 days a year. Super comfy and great in a summer mini monsoon. But if I needed winter boots, these would be my pick!

  5. I have loved the Merrills I have had over time. I don’t need snow boots down here in AZ, but those look awesome!

    Down here, we’ll have a parallel march and it is suppose to be chilly and rainy. I have had a super busy time at work the past week and am grateful to have your thoughts to work off of for what to wear and bring!

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