(Ben Kleppinger)

By Courtney Tennill

Whenever sudden rain showers hit Richmond, people used to complain about not having an umbrella, jacket or poncho. This spring, people complain about not having boots. Take one look at Powell corner on a rainy day and you’re almost guaranteed to find a dozen people with their jeans tucked into rubber boots of every color.

According to Bobbi Thomas, co-host of Fashion Police!, these boots are one of spring’s hottest fashion trends. And they’re so popular that even dogs on the streets of New York City have been spotted wearing them.

Part of what set this trend on fire is that it’s a twist on something that’s already practical. On rainy days, rain boots are much more practical than tennis shoes or flip-flops because they’re more effective at keeping you-and your pants-dry. But eventually, the boots became a fashion statement by themselves-and people started wearing them whether it was raining or not.

And unlike so many other fads, they’re affordable-available from places like Target for less than twenty bucks. Looking for high-end boots? Marc Jacobs sells a pair for a whopping $145.

Some Eastern students, even those who don’t necessarily own a pair, appreciate the trend.

“I like ’em,” said Suzie Wallace, a senior early childhood development major from Dawson Springs.

“I mean, some are pretty ugly. And I hate it when people wear, like, pink-and-yellow polka-dotted ones with a green shirt. But I would wear them,” she said.

Laura Lawson, a sophomore mathematics and statistics double major from Shepherdsville, agreed.

“I think they’re cute,” she said.

Emily Gilbreath, a sophomore wildlife management major from Kansas City, wears them-but only for function.

“As far as wearing them for fashion, they’re not that cute. I wear them when it’s raining, but I’m pretty embarrassed,” she said.

Other students were less accepting of rubber boots making a fashion statement.

“People wearing rain boots for fashion? That’s like wearing a parka when it’s eighty degrees out,” said Alissa Chase, a freshman nursing major from Edgewood.

Reg Lee, a junior English major from Hawaii, laughed at the idea.

“I think they look retarded,” he said. “We’re not in kindergarten anymore. We should wear shoes that match our age and mental capability.”

James Croushorn, a senior philosophy major from Harlan, expressed the same sentiment.

“You don’t get to tuck your pants into your boots unless you’re in the army and you’ve jumped out of a plane more than five times,” he said.

So whether you admire the colorful display of footwear on Powell corner or it triggers your gag reflex, keep your eyes peeled. The forecast for four of the next five days: cloudy with a heavy chance of rain.