To some readers this is going to seem stupidly obvious; to just as many others, sacrilege. There's a school of thought that says leather soles are always preferable to rubber on the grounds that they can be more easily re-soled. The rubber sole camp argues that if you go with a nearly indestructible material in the first place you won't need to get them re-soled. Fortunately the positions are not mutually exclusive: When you get your new boots with their beautifully smooth leather soles, guaranteed to result in a concussion the first time you step on a patch of ice, head straight to your local cobbler and get some Vibram treads put on them—the local guy charged $28. They'll save you a broken neck, save your shoes from quite a bit of salt damage, and won't prevent you from re-soling down the line.

Also, spray the s**t out of them with a waterproof protectant before stepping outside. Doesn't matter which brand. They're all the same stuff.

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