Fashion

Best boot-buying tips

Author: Canadian Living

Fashion

Best boot-buying tips

Snow, slush, ice! Your winter boots have to contend with a lot. But how do you find a pair that doesn't force you to forfeit fashion in order to gain function?

Robin Keeler, fashion director at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto, describes which winter boots are best and offers helpful tips to help you shop for the right pair.

Canadianliving.com: What's the most practical style of winter boots for a long, hard Canadian winter?
Robin Keeler:
Essential to any wardrobe in Canada, winter boots must be comfortable, durable and fashionable, while protecting your feet from the elements. Consider spending more money proportionately on quality boots than on most other wardrobe items. When thinking of what kind of boots you want, consider the climate and what you'll be doing in these boots. Will you be walking a lot? Shoveling snow off the car? Hiking?

Winter boots constantly worn in snow and ice should have a waterproof upper part, and the soles should provide good traction. The boots should also cover a good portion of your leg and should fit you perfectly. Top closures prevent snow from entering into your boots. Most people need several types of winter boots to fit their lifestyle; generally speaking, one boot can't do it all.

Canadianliving.com: What features should you look for in the best winter boots?
RK:
Warmth, protection, durability, traction and comfort -- and good looks.

Canadianliving.com: How can you find something that's both pretty and practical?
RK:
Manufacturers have come a long way in the creation of boots that will take you through ice, snow and sleet right into the boardroom.

Anything too bulky or casual will not do here. Instead, look for a knee-high pair in leather with a rubber sole that has some tread. Always treat leather with silicone spray to prevent salt stains and to keep the boots supple. The heel should be medium height and substantially thick (nothing spiky).

For versatility, stick to a simple style (not too much detail or hardware) and a neutral colour.

We love these fall boots, if you don't need the warm of a full winter boot:

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Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Peek-a-bootie

A cut-out bootie may not have the longest shelf life for a Canadian ladies—with the impending snow and all—but we just can't get enough of them. The style is especially lustworthy when cut outs are paired with edgy hardware. Jeffery Campbell cut-out boots, $150, littleburgundyshoes.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Little Burgundy

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Midas touch

Try dressing up a black block-heeled bootie with a dose of gold. We love this brushed gold accent. Ostwald Helgason for Aldo Rise, $180, aldoshoes.com. 

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Aldo

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Twinkle toes

Back by popular demand, the open toe bootie trend maintains its momentum for fall.  Open-toe booties, $158, anntaylor.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Ann Taylor

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Spot on

The fiercest animal pattern—leopard—is making a triumphant return this fall. We like it best in small hits like on cuffs, purses and boots. Suede and pony hair leopard print bootie, $98, express.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Express

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

A leg up

Steer thigh-high boots out of raunchy territory by choosing a small block heel and wearing them over jeans. The boot elongates legs and instantly gives you sex appeal. Thigh-high suede boots, $130, lechateau.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Le Chateau

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Shine on

Spice up a classic Chelsea boot by choosing a patent finish. The shine adds a touch of edge with a side of sophistication. Patent leather boot, $180, ca.shop.ecco.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Ecco

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Block it to me

A sturdy block heel looks sleek and cool—plus the style is super comfortable, making them a perfect everyday boot.  Shellys London bootie, $130, littleburgundyshoes.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Shellys London

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Biker babe

Motorcycle boots have quickly become a modern classic. Pair them with virtually anything to instantly add a bit of toughness and a whole lot of chicness. Leather motorcycle boot, $65, callitspring.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Call It Spring

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Amazing greys

Smoky greys are turning up everywhere this season, in clothing, scarves, handbags and footwear. Skip the traditional black and try something a little lighter. The colour goes with everything! Grey boots, $130, aldoshoes.com.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Aldo

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

Commander & chic

Combat boots possess a tough girl coolness—not to mention they're so '90s, which means so on trend. We love them with skinny jeans or paired with a skater skirt. Black leather boots, $70, lechateau.com. For more fashion advice, visit our Style Desk blog.

Image by: Canadian Living By: Julia McEwen Source: Le Chateau


Page 1 of 3: Best material and fabric, flattering fits and more boot-buying tips on Page 2.

Canadianliving.com: What materials are best for winter boots and why?
RK:
Rubber is lightweight and is used to make most winter boot outsoles, and it offers good traction on wet surfaces. Rubber winter boots often come with a thermal liner, which protects your feet even more.

Sheepskin breathes and wicks moisture away to keep your feet dry and warm. Leather is another good boot material, and holds up well to wear. Leather can also offer many different looks, from sporty to dressy (depending on the origin of the hide), and it comes in a range of colours.

CL: What kinds of heels and soles are best for women who want to be practical and stylish at the same time?
RK: Practicality states that a flat boot or one with a low heel makes most sense in winter. A higher heel, however, is more flattering to the leg and is, of course, dressier.

Whatever the heel height, make sure that the sole is waterproof and slip resistant.

Canadianliving.com: How high should boots be?
RK:
The height of your perfect boots may depend on the length of your legs. Short legs gain extra length with tall (e.g., over-the-knee) boots, while shapely legs look great in ankle boots. Heavier legs look best in boots that rise to the knee, and are paired with matching tights -- the combination both slims and lengthens the leg.

Canadianliving.com: How do you determine the perfect fit for your winter boot?
RK:
Most people's shoe/boot size increases with age. Stay open to this fact and have your feet measured from time to time and select the right size.

Canadianliving.com: What would you say is the most important consideration when buying a winter boot?
RK:
As with most things -- you get what you pay for. Purchase the best quality you can afford.

Page 2 of 3: 5 boot-buying tips and boot care for long wear on Page 3.

5 tips for shopping for winter boots
Keeler provides shopping tips to help simplify your search for the perfect pair of winter boots.

1. Shop for boots after you have been on your feet for a while (when they swell to their largest). The true test is how boots feel on tired feet.

2. Don't buy boots in the hope they will eventually "stretch out" -- they rarely do. Remember: No one looks good when his or her feet hurt.

3. Boots come in so many styles that you probably will need more than one pair, depending on your budget. Consider the following styles for the following uses.
• Active (flat, fur lined and cozy)
• Everyday (low heel, neutral colour, quality, versatile style)
• Fashion (trendy, high heels, hardware details)

4. A pair of good black boots is a wardrobe staple. A flat, wedge or low heel will provide most comfort and versatility.

5. Get some good insoles in your boots -- they can tighten boots that are a touch loose and eliminate foot odour at the same time.

CL: What kinds of heels and soles are best for women who want to be practical and stylish at the same time?
RK: Practicality states that a flat boot or one with a low heel makes most sense in winter. A higher heel, however, is more flattering to the leg and is, of course, dressier. Whatever the heel height, make sure that the sole is waterproof and slip resistant.

Boot care
Keeler offers these tips to help you keep your boots looking their best season after season.

- Boot care is simple but important. Looking after leather boots, especially, requires some effort. Many products on the market keep leather protected and conditioned.

- When not being worn, preserve the shape of your boots with boot trees.

- In winter, remove salt stains with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Once the boots have dried, condition and polish them.

- Check heels and soles periodically. Are the heels run down? If so, send them to a repair shop immediately.

Page 3 of 3: For more great footwear-finding tips, check out How to shop for the perfect pair of boots.

Looking for more fashion advice? Try: 

Fall trends: 5 must-have accessories

6 fall trends to wear to work

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