Do you love suede boots? Do you avoid wearing them in wet climates because you’re worried about their durability? Do you love gumboots because of their water resistance and yet dislike their casual nature? Marj has been busy posting all kinds of things about boots on our Facebook page lately, but here are some of the top tips for choosing the right boots for you:

1. Consider your lifestyle. This piece is what many people consider the realistic bit, the practical facts – the bit that some would call boring, but I think is essential. Think a bit about what specifically your boots need to do in your environment; keep you warm, dry or comfy? Do they need to be high boots for deep snow banks or puddles, or will shorter boots do? What would you like to do in the boots? If you love short boots and have deep puddles, maybe it won’t matter if you’re driving to work from a covered garage. Carefully think of all the pieces of your life that the boots need to fit (aside from your feet!)

2. Consider your personal style. Here’s where it gets fun. Once you’ve figured out practicality, look at your personal style. Do you need your boots to be trendy, fun, comfortable but less than stylish or do you want the highest heels and the softest leather? What colour would suit you best and give you the most versatility (if that’s important to you)? What size of heel would suit your body type best (hint, narrow people = narrow heels (e.g. stilettos), curvy people = curvy heels (e.g. court shoe or curved wedge), stronger bone structure = stronger details (e.g. Miz Mooz), finer bone structure = finer details (e.g. Jimmy Choo)

If you need your boots to keep you dry and you love style and fun, there are a number of beautiful rubber boots made by various companies (Hunter boots, although lovely, aren’t the only game in town). If you don’t need to worry too much about keeping dry, then a nice leather boot will keep you relatively rain-resistant, provided you’re not trekking through the deep rivers around the storm sewers on a regular basis. Even suede boots can be worn regularly in a wet town with a good leather protector, regularly applied. You’ll need a suede brush too and when those babies get wet, just let them dry and give them a brisk brush and they’ll be good to go. One caveat on suede and other leather boots – quality goes a long way. Expect to spend $200-700 on a really good quality pair and expect that they will last several years (with good cleaning and repair). I myself have a lovely pair of suede boots that I’ve had for three years and they still look as good as new (brushed regularly and heels repaired for a few wear and tear nicks – adds character).

3. Consider your budget. Boots are a great place to look at cost per wear over the lifetime of the boot and a good place to invest your clothing dollars. If you want more of an investment, you can either buy something classic that you won’t tire of, or if you like trends, buy as close to the front of the trend as possible and you’ll get a few years out of them (unless you live or work somewhere where you are scrutinized for your style and need to change it up more often). For example, the chunky heel is making a comeback – if you like it and want to invest, get it now and wear it for the next couple of years as the trend trickles down to late adopters.

Here’s an example of how you can look at this kind of investment:

cost of  boots / (the # of wearing days in boot season x number of years of expected wear)  = cost per wear over time

$500/(90 days per year  x 5 years) = $1.11 per wear over five years

Suddenly, the cost of boots seems more reasonable and the quality is worth the investment (provided you’re not easily bored and you really love the boots you buy). Realistically, for a good pair of boots, I’d probably wear them a bit more often than every other day (I wore my suede ones pretty much every day the first year) and sometimes boot season is a little longer than six months, so the figure will vary, but $1 a wear is pretty good value for me, especially if the boots wear well and look great for a long time. You’ll need to decide what is good value for you and spend accordingly.

But what about those of you that like a lot more variety? Well, it works pretty much the same way, except you might want to buy more pairs of boots with a lower price tag, say 5 pair at $100. Your cost per wear will be more overall even though you’re wearing them less and you’ll have to replace more often, but if you want variety, that’s another way to approach effective boot buying.

$500/(36 x 2) = $6.94/5 pair = $1.38 per wear per pair over two years. Factor in replacement and your cost doubles.

You’re going to be wearing them less often because you have more boots in your rotation, but they won’t last as long when put under hard wearing conditions, so you need to consider the price of purchasing boots each season as the others wear out. This approach is a bit like using your Visa card for short term balances. The interest rate is higher, but the minimum payment is lower, which can make it manageable. With the first example, your up front cost is the same, but your overall cost per wear is less expensive with a quality pair and you get more time out of them without replacing. It’s important to consider what will work for you.

Want some help figuring out which boots suit you? Drop us a line and we’ll be happy to chat. Happy booting!