Things we love – boots on a budget (Part 1)

I think we can all agree that boots are wonderful,  magical, glorious things and we would all like to own as many of them as possible. But boots are also expensive. Although at least they’re expensive in a way that makes sense – more shoe + better materials = more money. As opposed to say, swimsuits where universal materials + less fabric = more money. I will never understand swimsuit pricing.

So by request, here is Part 1 of my boots on a budget post. (This one’s going to be a long one kids so grab a snack and buckle up.)

Rule No. 1 –  there are three types of boots that are essentials in every woman’s wardrobe:

1. a brown, knee-high, flat riding boot.

2. a black, knee-high boot with a heel.

3. a brown, ankle-high boot/bootie with a heel that can be worn with pants and skirts/dresses.

Why no flat boot in black? Because anything you would wear them with will also match a dark-brown riding boot – trust me. Why no knee-high brown boots with a heel? Because the ankle-high brown boot will work instead. Why no black ankle boots? Because anything a black, ankle-high boot can do so can the black pumps you already own.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t own more boots than these – by all means, buy as many as you can afford. I’m just saying that if you can only afford a few, these are the three you need. Anything else is just boot icing on the shoe cake.

Rule No. 2 – cheap boots are cheap for a reason, and they usually look it, too.

While recently shopping with a friend at Nine West the salesgirl was trying to sell us a pair of boots by telling us that their $200 boots looked just like the $1,400 Chanel boots featured in a recent magazine.  No honey, I assure you they do not.

That’s not to say the $200 boots weren’t cute – they were. I’m just saying there’s a vast difference between the materials and craftsmanship in a $200 boot and a $1,400 boot. But good values can still be found in a bargain-priced boot if you know what to look for and what to avoid.

What to avoid:

– Shiny leather. Because it’s not leather, it’s pleather. And it makes weird sounds when you walk.

– Too many details. The more details, i.e. buckles, stitching, zippers, etc., the more opportunities for cheap materials and craftsmanship to show through. Less is more folks.

– Stiletto heels. If a boot has a really high stiletto heel it automatically looks cheap to me. Think Vivian from Pretty Woman and you’ll know what I mean.

Rule No. 3 – shop often and shop around.

Take advantage of this wonderful thing we call the internet. If you find boots that you love in a store or on a particular website, google them. You’d be surprised how much the price of the same boot can vary from site to site and store to store.

I make most of my boot purchases online because the selection is just so much better. Yes it does make it harder to determine the look and feel of a boot, and sometimes I am tragically disappointed when I see them in person,  but most sites have free shipping and returns these days so it’s really a no-risk, no-hassle practice. Reading the user reviews can also go a long way toward avoiding boots that sound great but stink (sometimes literally!) when you see them in person.

Also make sure to google coupon codes for the retailer from which you plan to purchase your boots. Sites like are a great source for additional discounts you may not have known about otherwise.

Another handy trick I use is to put all of the boots I like into the shopping cart or ‘save for later’ cart on the websites I use. This way all of the boots I like are in one place and I can check in quickly and often to see if any of them have gone on sale since my last visit.

Rule No. 4 – sometimes you just have to save up and spend the money.

For years I loved this Frye boot:

But I did not love its $348 price tag. So for years I ordered and tried on pair after pair of boots trying desperately to find a similar boot for a lower price. But alas, my search was in vain. Nothing I found ever seemed to quite measure up to this boot.

So last year I finally saved up my money and bit the bullet. I got them in a light tan color and they have been worth every penny.

When I opened the box for the first time the smell of real leather was intoxicating. And real leather means they have gotten softer and better-looking with each wear. And believe me – I have worn them A LOT. In fact, if you break down the cost per use, I’m going to estimate these boots have cost me approximately $.000001 per wear. And that’s a bargain on any budget.

So no matter what your budget, if there’s a pair of good quality, classic-style boots that you really love, save up the money and buy the boots. You won’t regret it.

Thus concludes Part 1 of my boots on a budget post. Part 2 to follow soon and will involve actual boots. So stay tuned!!

About Shea Brakefield

Lawyer for pay. Fashion crimefighter for free. View all posts by Shea Brakefield

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