Many moons ago, this writer spent several years working as a delivery driver. I worked mainly with residential customers, making between 65 and 120 stops per day. I also worked in upstate New York. That meant trapsing around in the snow during uncomfortably long winters. I quickly learned the value of good footwear.
This post describes how I made the journey from galoshes to duck boots. There were many steps along the way. At each one, I learned a valuable lesson about keeping my feet warm and dry. I look back on the experience now and wonder why it took me so long to find the perfect pair of shoes.
Galoshes Were a No-Go
That very first winter my boss recommended a pair of company-issued galoshes. I appreciated the offer, but I politely declined it. These were not the calf-length galoshes of my youth. They were not the knee-length rubber boots my father wore when we went camping, either. They were somewhere in the middle.
These galoshes were big, heavy, clunky boots I was expected to wear over my work shoes. I tried them on just to be fair. However, five steps and I knew they weren’t going to work. There was no way I could wear them and hop in and out of the truck without risking my life.
Shoe Covers Came Next
I knew I could not wear the company galoshes, so I moved on to shoe covers. This was more than 30 years ago. The shoe covers back then were nothing like the GC Tech waterproof shoe covers I recently looked at. I started with a pair of thin silicon covers I absolutely loved. They were lightweight and waterproof. However, they didn’t last two weeks. They simply fell apart.
From there I purchased vulcanized rubber shoe covers. Back then, we referred to them simply as rubbers. No doubt they stood up to the punishment. However, they didn’t cover my shoes entirely. The tops of my shoes were still getting wet. On the worst days, I was getting snow in my shoes.
On to Hiking Boots
Failing with shoe covers led me to try leather hiking boots. My older brother swore by them. He told me that if I kept them well-oiled, I would have no trouble with rain or snow. He was right, but only to a point. First of all, the leather did not hold up well against road salt. Second, the oil didn’t make them waterproof. It made them water resistant. Big difference. The more saturated with water they became, the heavier they were.
Duck Boots Save the Day
By this time, I was getting desperate. I decided my best bet was to pay attention to what other route drivers were wearing. So I kept my eye on the FedEx guy, the UPS guy, and even the milkman – yes, he was still delivering back then. I noticed most of them wearing duck boots. Eureka!
I went out and bought my first pair as soon as I figured it out. Needless to say, I never looked back. For the rest of my years as a delivery driver, duck boots were my footwear of choice from late November through the end of March.
These days I live in Florida and have a desk job. I no longer need duck boots. However, I do appreciate a good pair of waterproof shoe covers. They more than meet my needs at this point in my life. Still, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the footwear journey of my delivery days.