Red Work Boots

I am going to be volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity worksite on Thursday. Because I didn’t bring my work boots with me to California, I went to buy some. The store was very closely packed, and there were lots and lots of boots in boxes.  I started to work my way down the aisles, looking for women’s sizes, and a sales man approached me with a smile to offer assistance.

I explained why I needed the boots, and he asked if I would actually be pounding nails. “Possibly,” I said. “Or, I might just be helping out.” He grinned. He showed me the six styles they had for women, and we discussed whether or not I might need a steel-reinforced toe.

I said that I didn’t want to spend $120 because I expected to be wearing the boots only two or three times a month. He showed me a man’s boot in a size 6 and suggested that it might be small enough for me. I put it on and right away realized it was too big. He said, “Well, you actually have to lace them up and walk around in them, you know.” I said I knew that.

Subsequently, he found a dark red size 5.5 pair in the back, and I tried them on. These boots fit just fine. As I walked a few paces, he said “That colour looks lovely on you,” and I looked up at him to try to gauge his demeanour. I couldn’t tell if he was being patronizing, flirty, or just awkward.

They used to call that colour oxblood.


  1. I just bought a pair of steel toed boots for work. Where will the similarities end? Only paid $70 for mine and got to climb on the UofC scaffolding to check building envelope thingees. Got to wear a hard hat and vest – oh the vest, was bright orange and yellow – brought out the colour in my face. Maybe we can do H4H together somewhere in the future.Mine are boring beige.

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