Wardrobe Staples: Women’s Leather Boots

I wear custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), so shoes are always, always a sore spot — some popular styles just don’t work for my feet. I have to go with the practical over the cute or sexy, most times. Could be genetics, or partly the result of my growing up spending hours dancing in ballet slippers — but in my late teens, after a round with plantar fasciitis, I was sent to see a podiatrist (a doctor specializing in feet).

I came away with custom inserts that give my feet the support they need, but sadly, that’s also when my shoe style plummeted. (Sad panda face.) So, I’m well acquainted with not wearing trendy shoes.

Recently, I able to make it to Nordstrom’s first Vancouver warehouse sale. Shoes were my priority. The goal: low heel boots. The result? After 95 minutes of waiting in line that stretched out into the parking lot, a yield of two boot finds. I didn’t even look at clothing, ha. I’m trying to pare my clothes collection down. I resisted the temptation.

Was it a Nordstrom Rack-like experience? That’s what I was sure hoping for. (Canada doesn’t have any Nordstrom Rack stores, I believe. Hopefully, some are on their way). Shoe-wise, that wasn’t the case; I was a bit disappointed in the selection. Since I did walk out with two pairs of boots (yay!), obviously it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

But warehouse sales are always so hit-n-miss. A hit for me, in that I found what I was specifically looking for. There was a separate line inside just for some designer stuff, which probably included more shoes, but I ignored that. That line didn’t look like it was moving. I’m not very label conscious with designer brands, anyway.

Find #1 – Women’s Tall Black Leather Boots

I scored a pair of Frye tall boots in a streamlined moto style, the Phillip Harness Tall Wide. I was pleasantly surprised these fit my calves; there’s zero elastic but they zip right up. After looking up the model, they are an extended fit/wide calf at 15 inches. Perfect for my just-under-15-inch calves. It should be noted mine are actually a mismatched pair (serial numbers don’t match, and the top calf width are a little different, so one fits slightly tighter).

Frye Phillip Harness Wide boots in black

But the thing is, these just fit — no muss no fuss, they’re comfortable, they fit my custom orthotics (overriding factor in my shoes), and the leather is nice and has some heft (because the lining is also leather). So, I don’t think I’ll need to look at black tall boots again, I’m set. The soles are a tad slick, though. I’ll think about getting an added rubber layer to the bottom for better traction. Sure had fun pirouetting on the tile, though. 🙂 Nothing fancy, I can manage one revolution.

There isn’t too much going on — I appreciate the clean lines. There are rings on both sides of the ankle that connect the strap, and the zipper is actually on the back, not the sides of the boot. The toe shape is not too square. I’m not sure jeans will work for me, but thick leggings are definitely doable. I have a cheapie pair of black tall boots from Payless in vinyl I’ve been making do with; they have served me well. So, the Fryes are a welcome upgrade!

Find #2 – Women’s Light or Neutral Booties

The second pair are nice neutral taupe/tan almond toe booties, by Lucky Brand. With no straps or enclosures, the narrow fit of the footbed works for me, as my feet and the inserts don’t slide around much. They have a nice grippy, non-slippery sole. I’m tentatively hoping they’d even work as travel shoes and hold up to the demands of walking a lot. For serious out-all-day sightseeing, I usually end up in sneakers. They should also work well with tunics over leggings, dresses, and skirts.

Lucky Brand pull on booties

Both of these have low heels, under one inch, which is what I was specifically looking for. Anything with a significant heel for everyday wear won’t be very practical for getting the proper foot alignment and support from my orthotics.

I used to have two pairs of inserts, but I’m down to just the one pair now. If you’re curious, my inserts are made of plastic. They are 3/4 sole and completely useless to anyone but me, as they were made from a mold of my feet.

So, if you ever come across a pair, take a look on the bottom for a sticker. Public Service Announcement: There may be a 1-800 phone number listed that connects to the doctor or lab where they were made, or individual contact info. Either way, please use the contact info on there; I’m sure the owner will be very thankful.

I know I would’ve been. I had a backpack stolen from the hostel I stayed at in Prague several years back, and besides souvenirs from my travels, I was pretty sad to lose my other pair of custom inserts that were inside that bag. So, now you know.

— Have you scored a good shoe find lately? —



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Taupe pull-on women's booties by Lucky Brand

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