Friday, September 16, 2011

Adventures in Fall Boot Hunting

...Far kinder to woodland animals than actual hunting.

Yes, it's that time of year again. Fall weather is starting to creep up (with a decent dose of rain to announce its arrival) and that means I'm trekking out to department stores and browsing boutiques for my perfect pair of fall boots. I really need to just get 2 pairs of whatever I like so I can save myself the trouble next year (my boots only last a year because I wear them daily and the soles and the heels get worn out beyond repair). Anyway, I'm super picky when it comes to boots but I usually go home questioning my final buy and falling in love with it as it carries me through fall, winter, and the beginning of spring.

This year I decided to do something new. I finished my classes and was in the vicinity so I popped into DSW to take some photos of things I liked. Not to waste time while I was there, I also tried on a handful of my favorite pairs. Pictures and tips on shopping for shoes to follow!

Anne Klein $89.95
I fell in love with this pair at first sight. It's exactly what I'm looking for every season (sometimes I go home with something a little more glam and less practical but this is Platonic ideal concept of a fall boot. It's a nice long boot ending just below the knee made of good leather. The shape is classic. The toe is tapered but wearable and not too pointy, square, or round. The heel is nice and sturdy and the buckle just adds something special.

Tall heel but manageable. Look for a height you're comfortable with but regardless pay attention to the structure of the heel. Is it a block or a stiletto? Does it taper at the top or bottom and how does it balance when it's just resting on a flat surface. To check how stable your walk will be, don't just practice strutting around the store but bring something you always carry around with you (especially if it's heavy), backpack, hangbag, or anything you need to maneuver with (e.g. a stroller) and see if you can easily walk around. If you can't, it's only get worse when you have to run around when life gets hectic.

Problem 1: A lot of empty space in the calf area. I'm not sure if this is the style or I just have large feet proportional to my calves or small calves proportional to my feet.

Problem 2: There's not a lot of give in this shoe. It's possible the leather will soften a bit over time but right now it's tough to bend the shoe (which you need to do while you're walking unless you're doing a specific kind of army march). Also, the buckle is interfering with movement.

While these boots look very cute, you want something that works for you 100% and if you can't get that, settle for just short of 100% instead of a mediocre 60%. If it's meant to be, it will happen and I've never gone a fall/winter since I started wearing boots (maybe middle school) without a good pair of high-heeled leather boots.

Kelly & Katie $59.95

This is definitely the most budget friendly boot I saw. Again, I love the overall shape and the buckle. It's very simple and classic and so it'll go with a lot of different outfits. Or at least I say it will.

Problem 1: A little extra space in the calf region. This is only a problem because I think with socks I might want to go half a size up and then the space in the calf will get larger.

Problem 2: I'm not loving the way the fabric wrinkles. There's a good amount of give but even in a relaxed position, having too much space in the leg and too many folds creates odd illusions when it comes to the shape of your legs.

OPTION 3:                                                                                                                                                
Franco Sarto $79.95                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
I am completely enchanted by the idea of an over-the-knee boot. I've done snakeskin, zippers, no zippers, pointed toe, rounded toe, square toe, high high-heels, moderate heels, kitten heels, basic leather, patent leather, etc. etc. Let's just say, I've had my fair share of experiences with leather high heel boots. But never over-the-knee. This version is the first to really speak to me. I think I like the fact that the style is so simple that the special detail is that it's a longer boot.

It seems like there's a lot of space in here but I'm fine with that because it's actually fitted through the calf and just loose towards the knee which is good because that way I can bend my legs and function as a person and not a mannequin. My worry is going up half a size and getting more space at the knee.

Aside from a bit of wrinkles they look gorgeous, right? Well...

Not so much. This pair was wrinkly in a very odd way. Here, it almost looks like the cells in my leg have atrophied and I have a chunk missing from my ankle. I don't know what to make of this. Also, I feel a little unsturdy as I think the boot moves around too much as I'm walking, bunching up and thus sort of interrupting my balance.

I will keep you posted on how the search goes. Will I choose one of these three? Will I continue the hunt? You'll just have to keep reading to find out. I know, the suspense is dreadful.

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