#100wears: Muroexe Materia boots

This is not a love song. In contrast to most #100wears posts, this is not a story of a garment being so incredibly useful and/or pleasant that I haven’t been able to stop wearing it. No, this is an ode to me (and maybe my unnecessary stubbornness) for having put up with a suboptimal pair of footwear for three years. Now, after 120 wears and a boot alternative at the horizon (stay tuned), I’m ready to end this rather sad affair.

I bought them on sales in January 2017 for 65€. You can still get them for 95€, probably cheaper during the January sales. C was excited about the brand (he has acquired a pair of sneakers since then and is very satisfied), Juan already owned several pairs and was very happy with them. They were made in Spain (some of their production is made in China, though) and vegan. The marketing was sleek and aspirational, just look at the little tag that came with the boots:

I don’t know which size I ordered (and the size tag has long rubbed off) but I had to change them for a smaller pair, most probably 40 to 39. I had to bring them to a cobbler a year after having bought them to re-glue the sole (7.50€), and will do it again before bringing them to the December swap because they are letting water in again.

Please, understand me correctly! These boots have been a reasonably OK experience for the occasional Barcelona rain and the very mild Mediterranean winter. But that is also the whole point: they perform just OK when a pair of sneakers would do better and are suboptimal for the weather they were supposedly created for. I have several major complaints and both are purely design issues that somebody hasn’t really thought through:

1. The sole has 0 grip! Dude, you have to be an idiot to make a rain boot that has no traction on slippery surfaces. Or somebody who is so Mediterranean that ‘they forgot’. It is ridiculous. The only way you can walk in these is what my dad would call ‘as when they put little booties on a dog’. I have had only one serious fall while wearing these, though. On the stairs of my apartment building, slipping and then sliding for a while ending in a broken lunch box and a very painful elbow for weeks. But that was scary and could’ve ended much worse. The point was brought home to me most powerfully on a dinner date with Julie where I complained about this and we then proceeded to compare the soles of our ankle boots: hers was a grippy Danish thing made for all the tricky textures of wet leaves and slush, mine was a Barcelona fantasy of a wet weather boot.

No, you don’t want a surface this smooth in contact with the famous Barcelona tiles when those are wet.

2. As for being ‘waterproof’, as promised on the website, and setting aside the fact that the joining line is clearly not that solid (2 re-gluings in 3 years), they have exactly the same problem as all waterproof lace-up boots. Your feet will be dry as long as no water reaches the lacing… after that you are done and can go home. Or spend all day with wet feet (that won’t get dry because they are encased in waterproof material). But, I’ll admit, this complaint is equally valid for a pair of classic Docs and other similar wares. Those, however, might be slightly more breathable…

3. This might be a less universal complaint but it does ruin my experience with these boots. What they call ‘goma’ / ‘rubbery texture’ on their website (a side note on both prices and text differing between the Spanish and English versions of the Muroexe universe) feels incredibly plastic IRL. I own a pair of Nokian Hai rainboots and the texture is very different. In the Muroexe boot my feet feel trapped in plastic bags.

I also happen to have very sweaty feet… so the experience has been very sweaty and very smelly, as the already noted waterproofness will take care that nothing evaporates. My boots have probably spent more time on the balcony stuffed full of lavender bags than they have spent on my feet. And the insoles have seen several machine washes.

4. In comparison with the rest, this might be minor, but still speaks about the design flaws: the laces won’t stay laced. I don’t know what they are made of – and they are cute – but never in my adult life I’ve had to redo my laces so often. In combination with wet weather and the 0 grip soles this becomes not only annoying but dangerous. The only way I found to deal with this has been tucking the ends of the laces in the boot itself. Not optimal.

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My decision to finally let go of these boots actually has to do with having had to spend several days nonstop in them… I was fine wearing these for a couple of hours on a rainy day in Barcelona, and I always had a pair of office shoes to change in. But I took only the Muroexe boots for me on the Portuguese train trip, spent five days wearing them for extended time periods… and I was disgusted. See you never, Muroexe, we are not a good match!

On the other hand, the aesthetics are good and translate well across a wide range of formal to informal styles:



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So come pick them up at the swap if you are around size 39/40, walk carefully, and are not prone to sweaty feet. That plastic is sturdy enough and shows little wear, so maybe they can be your new best friends.

Have you had this kind of complicated garment relationship where you know very well how suboptimal the thing is but are very reluctant to let go? Are you suffering something like this now? I do suggest that you look for a way out, especially if your suffering is physical or endangers your health.

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