Three years ago, during my first 'country winter', my friend Rosie, one of the moderators on I Want My Mum, the parenting website I co-run with The Analytical Armadillo, told me about Kiwi Sheepskin boots. She fair raved about them, so much so that a rare (for me) thing happened. She 'made' me buy a pair.
Ever since I saw Pamela Anderson on a beach wearing a bikini and sheepskin boots, I've wanted a pair. Of sheepskin boots (I've already got the breasts, thank you). I know, I know: makes no sense. Now that I live in the country I decided I positively needed warm boots. I mean, I have neoprene lined wellington boots, from my days as Fishing Correspondent of the Independent (oh yes really).
Sheepskin boots have got a bad name in the last few years, mostly because you can get really cheap rip offs (i.e. not sheepskin at all). But you need to ignore all of this. If you need warm boots nothing beats sheepskin. Don't think of them as high fashion items - they're not, they're not even a low fashion item, you missed the boat on that one; but rather think of them as what they are: practical, but nice, objects. To my mind, few things look more stupid than girls/women inadequately dressed on a very cold day.
And I thought this well before I became a mother, okay?
Kiwi sheepskin boots are really well priced. I got the Musketeer Ultimate Sheepskin boots and they now cost £107 odd including everything: P&P and customs. I think I paid about £90 for them. Who remembers. I got them in chocolate and they are rarely off my feet in the winter. They're beautiful, much nicer than the website makes them look, although I never wear them with the cuff folded down, and I doubt you will too. But you can get simpler boots, shorter, different sole, for a shade under £68. That's significantly cheaper than anywhere else I've found for real sheepskin.
A few things to note: I can't walk long distances in mine. It's all too 'soft' inside and your foot slips around. So for long walks, you really need proper walking boots. What they're excellent for is cold winter days, leisurely walks, just being out and about. Not hiking.
The sizing: I got mine too big. The sheepskin compacts after a few wears so if you're inbetween sizes, I'd counsel going to the smaller size. After a few season's wear the sheepskin inside the foot chamber wears out, so buy new insoles for extra cosiness (these you can buy anywhere, they don't need to come from there but do make sure you buy real sheepskin - not synthetic - or your feet will stink).
The service I got three winters ago was great.