Last year I have the wonderful privilege of working in the Macy’s women shoe department all Fall and Winter long. One thing I was surprised about was how little women knew about shoes let alone the boots they were shopping for. They didn’t know what would be a great boot that would last seasons/years and would add a timeless look to their wardrobe. Pretty much most women wanted $20 plastic boots. Personally, I do not think that is the way to go when you are shopping an essential.
Note: I am talking about a high classic riding boot that is essential for an everyday fall wardrobe. Some of these tips can be applied to shoe shopping altogether for men and women
1. Where to Find Wide Calf Boots
I have huge Italian cyclist legs. My thighs don’t have that much fat on them, and my calves are actually pure muscle. I guess from riding my bike and running up and down two flights of stairs dozen of times per day when I was young paid off. So I need wide calf boots. So why wouldn’t I mention where to find wide calf boots? Plus, women keep on asking where they can find the widest of the wide. Even if a brand offers “wide calf”, it still not necessarily wide calf. For example, Micheal Kors and Coach offer a wide calf size but they are not really wide. Because the boots are made so narrowly that their wide calf is for normal women. Not for us big leg girls. Here are places and brands that actually offer wide calves that I trust. (No particular order)
- Ashley Stweart
- Franco Sarto
- INC (only at Macy’s)
- Charlotte Russe
- Karen Scott
- Lane Bryant
2. Go for Genuine Leather or Vegan Leather Boots
If you want any shoe to last more than one year. Leather, leather, leather is the way to go!!!!! I bought a moto boot from Torrid that I fell in love with, the next season I pull them out and on the second wear, they fell apart. The sole just came right off…. I was so disappointed. I only got to wear them for a season. The reason….. they were not leather boots. So I highly, highly recommend leather or vegan leather if you’re looking for a classic riding boot that you want to last a few years.
Now there are some high-end brands that you know are going to be leather. For example, Coach, Micheal Kors, Channel, Ugg, Tori Bruch, and etc. Here are some other brands that I know carry leather or produce their shoes in leather.
- Born: I love Born shoes, they are the most comfortable and I highly recommend them. If their riding boots came on wide calf I would so get one.
- Clarks: all Clarks shoes are made of leather
- Rockport: Same goes for Rockport
- Frye: Frye makes a great shoe! The one thing I would watch out is to make sure it’s the ones with the zipper on the side or you will not be able to get your foot in them.
- Franco Sarto: just a great shoe designer
- Vince Camuto: another great shoe designer and Macy’s seems to get less of his shoes each year.
- Torrid: Last year Torrid came out with a genuine leather boot and it was amazing! This year I noticed they are expanding that and even came out with a genuine suede.
- Sperry: All their shoes are leather if they are not made of cloth and the upper part of their duck boots.
- Dr. Martens: They totally have changed from offering a great sturdy work boot. They also offer Vegan leather boots now too.
- INC.: I love their boots. Even though their shoes can be narrow their riding boots are not that bad. Great price! The cheapest on the list. Offer in a wide calf that even fits my leg.
Now here are some websites that sell vegan leather shoes. It’s so hard to find things online that are actually true vegan leather. I notice some things come up and they are synthetic plastic shoes. If you know of any other websites please let me know. I want to show everyone environmentally friendly clothing too.
3. Budget ($150 – $250 USD)
I’m not going to lie, for a good boot you are not going to pay $50 USD, it will not last that long. I am going to be realistic you are going to spend around the $200 USD plus range. Sometimes close to $300 USD. Now, I do not know how that would translate in other countries but you can use the exchange rates. The only time you should spend under $100 on a boot if it’s a trendy boot that has flowers or a design on them that you will not wear that much. For example these Sam Edelman booties…
Do look for sales and coupons! I know Macy’s has their great shoe sale and friends and family twice a year and one of them is in the fall before the holidays. You can also presale with them if you fear they might sell out of your size quickly. I do not recommend Black Friday (November 24th, 2017), there are better sales that happen before and after that time of year.
This brings me to my number one boot pick and recommendation………
The I.N.C. Fawne Riding Boot
- It is genuine leather
- You can use coupons and applies to all Macy’s sales.
- It’s only $179.50 which is good for budgets and saving up.
4. Buy Your Boots Before Christmas
Like Holloween and Christmas decorations, stores tend to get their boot shipments in early. By December they are done ordering their fall collection and January/ February they are getting rid of their fall stock and making room for their spring collection. Very little new shoes are coming in.
Also, end of November and throughout December people are buying shoes, mainly boots, as gifts for friends and family. So by January, most stores and websites are sold out of your size. I know it can be hard to find a boot you like and matches your style, and not to have your size anymore is a bummer and then you settle. If you’re about to spend almost $200 USD on boots it’s best to get what you want. Trust me, I’ve seen women get upset and cry because I do not have their size in a boot when January comes around.
*Note* Men if you plan on buying a boot for your girl for Christmas please find out her shoe size. Ask her mother, sister, girlfriend, or her. You can even look at a pair of her shoes, the size is in the shoe! Also, Do Not Wait Until Christmas Eve To Buy The Shoes!!!! I’ve seen so many women returning shoes because their boyfriend/husband bought the wrong size.
5. Treating Your Leather Boots
Okay, now you’ve found your leather boots! Now it’s time to take care of them. Leather is skin, and like your skin, you have to condition it and put lotion on. So once and year you have to apply leather lotion to your boots and shoes. Preferably, at the end of the season when you put your boots away is when you are supposed to condition them.
Sometimes you get boots and they look a little scuffed-up and dry, that is because when companies do not sell boots that they are going to produce for next year they store them away in a warehouse and the boots get a little dry. That’s when you have to apply lotion when you receive them.
You can get leather lotions cheaply at Amazon or Target or Walmart. I got mine at Amazon.
Not only does it condition but it makes your leather water resistant (not proof) so you don’t worry if you get your boots wet. When rubbing in the conditioner use a lint-free cloth and let it dry for 24 hours.
Now for Suede, I recommend Scotchgard Leather Protector for Suede and Nubuck
And I even use regular Scotchgard for my canvas shoes.
Follow these tips and I know you will find the perfect boot for yourself this season. And please take your time in shopping.
Love you all,