Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Quest for the Perfect Black Riding Boot, part 1

Sam's Oktoberfest is in the fridge, Tom Brady is on my TV (I love you Tom!) and pumpkin spiced lattes are back at Starbucks.   This can only mean one thing friends...I've survived another Carolina Summer and, even more importantly - it's boot season!!

After day in and day out of 90+ degree heat and oppressive humidity, the weather has FINALLY started to cool off enough for me to even consider putting anything other than flip flops on my feet.  Oh but if only it were that simple.  You see, I am cursed with what are apparently freakishly large calves for a woman.  9 times out of 10 when I try on a pair of knee high boots, I can't get them zippered closed.  And forget about pull ons.  That's just a joke.  I got such a complex about this last Fall that I actually pulled out the measuring tape.  Sure enough, they are 15.5" around at the largest point.  And of course most riding boots have a 15" shaft circumference.  Lucky me.

After lots of breaking in and stretching (thick wool socks + a spray down of rubbing alcohol on the inside of the boots), I finally got the Winding Ruffle boots from Anthropologie to fit me. I LOOOOOVE these boots and I get compliments on them whenever I wear them.  I've had them for 3 seasons now and they are still going strong.

But y'know...a girl needs options!  I spent all last Fall in search of a black pair of riding boots only to come up totally empty. I purchased and returned - are you ready - 5 different pairs.  And that doesn't even count the 2 hours I spent in the Nordstrom's shoe department terrorizing one of their associates!

So here we are, another fall is upon us and I am still black boot-less.  Because the designers at Anthropologie hate me, they refuse to make their boots in black.  I mean seriously, look at how many non-black options they have!

Thanks to free return shipping options, I will effectively be creating my own boot testing salon later this week.  Currently on their way to me:

The Frye Paige Tall Riding Boot.  Shaft circumference = 16".  Very promising indeed.  The only
concern I have (and it's a big one) is that they are a pull-on boot. 

The Frye Melissa Button Back Zip.  Shaft circumference = 15.5" BUT that zipper down the entire length gives me hope that I'll be able to stretch them as I did my Anthro boots.  

The J.Crew Billy Buckle Boot.  Normally not even an economy sized tub of Vaseline could get me into a pair of J.Crew boots BUT they are now offering most of their riding boots with an "extended calf" option.  BRILLIANT!  $20 more for an extra inch is a bit steep but I'm desperate.  

Stay tuned!  I'll be test driving all of them as they arrive later this week and hopefully something will work.  Do you have a pair of riding boots you love?!  Do tell!  I feel like I've looked at every pair on the planet at this point but I love to hear first hand accounts of how things fit.