Best in Boots

Your brief fall primer

Autumn is here and that certainly means one thing—it’s time for boots. This year offers a gamut of timeless styles and edgy trends. We’ll help you find the quality, fit, and fashion statement that’s right for you.

Sole Searching

A good pair of boots is an investment that will pay off for years to come. Opt for full-grain leather and a well-attached sole. “You can identify good quality boots by looking at how the sole of the shoe is connected to the rest of the boot,” said Sarah Kinsumba, a fashion stylist based out of Los Angeles and Paris. “Lower quality boots use a glued sole. Yes, they’re less expensive, but their lifespan won’t be long and it will be impossible to replace the sole when it gets worn down.”

If the Boot Fits

Shop for boots in the afternoon when your feet are already swollen from the day. Bring socks that are as thick as those you will wear with your boots. Inside the boot, your foot should feel supported yet snug. Don’t buy boots that are too tight, hoping they will stretch. Leather will soften but not expand enough to keep your tootsies from getting sore. If you’re not sure, ask a boot specialist to size you.

All About the Ankle

They’re comfortable and versatile enough to go with most outfits. Perhaps that’s why ankle boots are all the rage this year. Designers are presenting a bevy of choices from metallic or glittery lace-ups to vintage-style mod kicks in all shades of red. Watch out for the explosive white and nude shoe trend. No matter which pair—or pairs—of ankle boots you get, they can be your go-to shoe this season. Slip them on with ripped jeans for a cool, casual look. Wear with a flirty dress for a fresh take on the day. Or pair with your favorite shorts to spice up your evening look.

Just for Men

U.S. shoe sales for men will soon surpass those for women, according to market research company NPD Group. So, what are men buying and wearing this season? Look for the Chelsea, a man’s ankle boot made popular by the Beatles. The slim design now comes in a variety of colors. A shoe this sleek works well with nearly any ensemble, from collared shirts and tailored slacks to jeans and a trendy T-shirt.

Cowboy Chic

Texas style triumphs again. Cowboy boots are all over the runways with Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein and other big-name fashion houses offering bold takes on the tried-and-true staple. You don’t have to rope and ride to wrangle a pair of cowboy boots this season. New looks include steel-toes, patchwork patterns, and tints of lavender or white.

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