07/29/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 09/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Julia Wilkinson's Gold Boots: Canadian Swimmer Sports Flashy Footwear On Olympic Pool Deck (VIDEO)

When Julia Wilkinson walks out onto the pool deck at the London Aquatic Centre, she twinkles from her shins down to her toes.

Her glittery, gold boots reflect the colour of medal the swimmer would like to win at the 2012 Summer Games.

It's also a chance for the aquatic fashionista to show her style in a sport where there isn't a lot of opportunity to do so. Everyone dresses more or less the same in bathing suits, flip-flops and their national team's warm-up suits.

Footwear, however, is where Wilkinson can let her fashion flag fly. Her sparkly, shiny boots are a magpie's dream.

"Some of the girls, we have a little bit of competition about who can kind of out-diva the other one and I'm definitely a front-runner in that competition," the Stratford, Ont., swimmer says.

"It's kind of fun, silly, girlie things to do because we spend so much time in the pool being focused on being an athlete."

Upon her arrival in the athletes village, Wilkinson immediately found a mall nearby and had her fingernails painted red and white with a gold stripe.

Wilkinson built up to her boots. In her senior year of swimming for Texas A&M, she wore maroon high-top shoes in Aggies colours onto the pool deck.

Her fiance Shane Minks, who played baseball at A&M, bought her a pair of glow-in-the-dark shoes for last year's world championships in Shanghai.

"This year, I thought I needed something to top that," Wilkinson explains. "It's an Olympic year."

While searching online, Wilkinson hit the jackpot when she discovered a pair of gold boots made by the Australian company Ugg.

"I love wearing any kind of boot on the deck because it keeps your feet warm," she says. "I was a little unsure about the amount of money I'm spending on them.

"I called my fiance. He's super frugal, but he did say 'If these are going to make you swim fast, go for it.'"

Wilkinson qualified for the Summer Games in three events at trials in Montreal in March. She went under a minute in the 100-metre backstroke for the first time in her career.

"The sparkly gold boots worked well at trials so I am going to ride that train to the Olympics," she says.

Wilkinson will race backstroke and freestyle in London, but not the 200 individual medley because it conflicts with the backstroke event.

The Olympic Games are an international platform on which shoe manufacturers market their wares. Think of the buzz around sprinter Usain Bolt's golden shoes. It was only a matter of time before marketing opportunities reached the pool deck.

U.S. swim star Ryan Lochte has his own shoe line with Speedo, including a pair of emerald green high-tops he's worn on the medal podium. The company is also selling an American-themed women's deck boot in its 2012 collection.

Alas, Wilkinson's purchase of the gold boots didn't come without buyer's remorse.

"I saw they have sparkly, red ones now," she exclaims. "I thought 'Oh, red is Canada' but that's a lot of money to spend on deck shoes and I'm living on a swimming salary."

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