Not all boots are created equally. Clearly… since my favorites are actually a half size smaller than the shoe size I wear, and are up to 1.5 sizes smaller than some of my boots that I *think* fit just fine.
Now, regular readers and old friends know what’s coming. My analysis paralysis and I are into boots right now, leather pull-ons in the western and/or harness styles to be precise. If you’re looking for cute, trendy, fashion boots, this post isn’t going to be too applicable, but if you want something functional in nature that will last for many years… let’s talk.
It starts with fit. Here’s a great, brief explanation of how pull-on boots should fit. I like to try pull-on boots on with a thin, knee-hi sock, no matter what I plan to wear with them once they’re broken in.
And here’s Country Outfitter’s fit guide for the major brands. Some have a great little synopsis about the company too. For instance, I now want to try Ariat because the fit model says one could run a marathon in them, and I want to try Nocona because the founder of Justin Boots daughter started THAT company after her father’s death, when Justin moved out of their home town. You’ll have to go read the fit guide to learn what happened next!
I also think pull-ons HAVE TO BE leather, and the best you can afford. Other boots – again, especially the fashion sort – can be whatever works for you and your budget, but for pull-on boots, the magic happens as the leather stretches ever so slightly and makes for a custom fit. That won’t happen with synthetics.
Heel and sole are highly personal. I like something in the less than 2″ range, but not slick on the bottom. I don’t want work boot lugs if I can help it, but I don’t want to tiptoe on wet concrete or high-gloss wood floors either. See above… the right sole will also conform to your foot and be uniquely supportive.
Toe is another consideration. I like an almond toe, which is a little pointed but not so much so that your boots are inches beyond your big toe. I don’t mind a square toe or a rounded toe.
I’ve been in boot meccas and have tried on just about every major brand that has been in business more than a decade or so, and those of you who know I don’t enjoy the traditional shopping experience will be shocked to hear that I think most of you who are new to pull-on boots should go try on as many brands, styles and even a couple of sizes in each. Given that my weight and shoe size now is about in line with what it was when I did my last big boot sensory overload shopping trip, I’m going to try to avoid some analysis paralysis and sit ‘n shop… and appreciate free return shipping.
What say you?