Reader Kimbra sent me this request:
I was hoping you could point me in the right direction for a pair or two of fiscally conservative multi-purpose boots. The type that can be worn with a pair of jeans or a skirt as well as either keep my feet warm or have room for thick socks. For example, at work I am on my feet most of the day as well as inside/outside so a versatile pair of boots appropriate for indoors and outdoors that can be worn with jeans or something more professional would rock my world.
Now, Kimbra’s needs are fairly specific and probably don’t apply to each and every one of you fabulous readers. But as I was responding to her request, I realized that I had concocted a set of questions that could be used by ANY woman to locate her ideal pair of boots.
So, if you’re questing for a new pair this season, ask yourself:
- What’s my preferred style? To me, the shape of the boots shown above represents the tall-boot baseline. Those beauties are the Calvin Klein Selma boots, and they’re a far cry from “fiscally conservative,” but you can find similarly-shaped boots just about everywhere: Tall shaft, medium heel, solid color including the heel and sole, absolutely no detailing. Even if those boots look far too dull for your taste, it’s best to begin with a very plain, sleek, pared-down design and THEN start adding embellishments like buckles, slouching, exposed zippers, etc. Build your perfect boot in your mind, then see if you can find something similar in the shops or online.
- Which neutral will I wear most? For most women, it’s black. But cognac brown goes with EVERYTHING and generally looks more expensive.
- Is a heel practical? If you are on your feet all day then super-tall heels are right out, but can you deal with 1″ or 2″? Are you better off with a flat/riding boot style? Or will these be boots that never walk more than five blocks at a time?
- Are your feet fussy? High or fallen arches? Bunions or corns? Need loads of support or flexible soles? Read customer reviews, check construction, ask questions, do everything you can to make sure that your potential new boots will caress and love your fussy feet. (Check Barking Dog Shoes’ boot recommendations for some ideas.)
- Do I have fitting concerns? If you have wide or narrow calves, small or large feet, or any other traits that make boots tough to fit, you may prefer to shop in person. But if not, I highly recommend going online. I’d try scouring Zappos and Amazon. The first two will allow you to refine your search and hunt down styles that you really love. Amazon makes the hunting harder, but has KILLER deals. If you find a style on Endless or Zappos, check Amazon to see if you can get a better deal.
- What’s my budget? Multi-purpose boots can be bought cheap, but real leather and quality construction will last longer and be kinder to your feet. Still, never, ever spend more than you can truly afford.
If you run through these questions before clicking “buy,” you’ll have a much better shot at finding a pretty-darned-close-to-ideal pair of boots for yourself!
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