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How Do I Choose the Right Ankle Boots for Fall?

ankle boots for fallThere are four types of ankle boots every fashionista needs to have in her closet.

And each of these ankle boots has to be three things:

  • comfortable.
  • timeless, and
  • compliment your style.

One size does not fit all in fashion and what may work for one woman may be a total miss for another.  That’s why with the waning weather of summer comes the oh so fun task of choosing the perfect boots for fall.  The most versatile boot, and the one this post is about, is the ankle boot.

In a previous post I described very fashionable ways on how to wear leather for fall.  I got a lot of comments and e-mails from readers who wanted to know how to translate that information on how to choose the right boots for fall.  Check out the most important types of ankle boots I’ve discovered from building my clients the most wearable and versatile wardrobes.

1. The Staple Ankle Boot

Staple Ankle Boot

Think of the staple ankle boot as the “LBD” of your boot collection.  This is the go to boot that you can wear with almost anything and it’s style and structure are built to last for several seasons to come.  Of all the ankle boots in your quintessential shoe wardrobe, these are the pair I suggest spending the most money on.  Here are the most important characteristics of the staple ankle boot:

  • Choose proper fit & comfort.  Above all, these boots need to be comfortable!  Whether that means a 1/2″ heel or a 4″ heel, wedge or stiletto, the height of the heel and the fit of the ankle boot on your foot must allow you to be comfortable whenever you wear them.
    • Two-Hour Rule: A good rule of thumb I use when working with clients to determine if a a shoe is comfortable is they must be able to wear and stand in the shoe for around two hours (not continual standing) without their feet hurting.  If the ankle boot you try on doesn’t pass this test, then you want to pass on it for your staple ankle boot.
    • A chunkier heel it best (I know that’s surprising coming from a lover of all things stiletto:), but it’s true.  A chunkier heel allows for better weight distribution on your feet and will be more comfortable when worn for longer periods of time versus a skinnier heel.
  • Durable material is a MUST.  You can choose fancy fabrics for one of your other ankle boots, but for your staple ankle boot go for a durable material.  Leather, suede, and shearling are the best choices.  To ensure extra durability, treat your boots with a weatherproof spray before wearing in any bad or inclement weather.
  • Go for a basic color.  This is the boot you need to be able to wear with most items in your wardrobe, so stick with a color that shows up many times in your closet. Black, navy, dark brown, and tan are all good choices.


2. The Statement (or Fashion) Ankle Boot

Statement Ankle BootAs the title implies, this is the ankle boot in your collection that’s meant to make a statement! You still want this boot to be comfortable, but it doesn’t have to pass my “two hour rule”. When choosing a statement ankle boot, remember:

  • Slender is more feminine.  A slimmer (aka stiletto) heel is much more feminine than a chunky heel.  For the statement ankle boot, your goal is to make your foot look as sleek and stylish as possible all while being able to comfortably walk.
  • Pick timeless details.  You want to make a statement, but you also want to be able to wear this ankle boot next season as well.  Choose timeless details such as woven leather, stitching, metallic accents, fringes, etc. versus something too “trendy”.
  • No limits on color.  Pick a color that’s unexpected yet still keeps in alignment with the overall color scheme of your wardrobe.  For instance, I have a lot of blues and grays in my closet, so a great statement ankle boot for me might be in royal blue leather with gray suede fringe.  Though this isn’t a boot that would necessarily work in most wardrobes, it’s a color and style that coordinates with many pieces in my wardrobe.  Exotic pick, yes! Still wearable, yes!


3. The Flat Ankle Boot

Flat Ankle BootA flat ankle boot is meant to work with shorter skirts, looks good when paired with tights and leggings, and gives you a chance to wear slim cut an casual pants in a different way. Flat boots don’t have to have absolutely no heel, but the heel should be 2″ or less.

  • Play with details.  Since you don’t have a heel, at least not a high one, to make this boot look stylish, you can really play with detail when picking the perfect flat ankle boot.  Think studs, grommets, buckles, and laces.
  • Ensure proper arch support.  This may seem obvious with any of the ankle boots in your collection, but making sure your flat ankle boot has proper padding and arch support is really important.  It’s easy to think that because a shoe is low it will be comfortable, but that’s totally false!  Once again you want to make sure this boot also passes the “two hour rule” I discussed above.
  • Go for rubber soles.  You want as much grip as possible when it comes to your flat boots and rubber soles will give you that.  Improved traction, the ability to absorb greater amounts of shock, and weighing less than leather soles are all factors as to why rubber soles are the best choice when it comes to flat ankle boots.


4. The Evening Ankle Boot

Evening Ankle BootThis is the ankle boot you can wear to an “after 5” event.  This ankle boot looks good with a dress or gown and would compliment a lady’s tuxedo impeccably well!  Since this is a special occasion shoe, you shouldn’t be able to wear it with jeans and tee as that’s not it’s purpose.  If you aren’t a woman who goes out to evening events alot, you can skip this ankle boot.  However I do advise you get a pair when it’s “off season” (like spring or summer) when this type of footwear is on sale.  It will make a huge difference in your look whenever you do get a chance to wear it!

  • Not everyday material.  Like the strappy sandals you’d wear with your best dress, you don’t want the evening ankle boot to be wearable with all other items in your wardrobe.  The point is for it to be for special occasions only.  Possible materials your evening ankle boot could be made of include:
    • fur,
    • lace,
    • mesh,
    • pony,
    • rhinestones,
    • satin, and
    • silk.
  • Height is important.  No flats allowed!  Seriously you want this to be a very feminine and ladylike ankle boot and so saying you want it to be high.  Even if you can’t pull off a 5″ heel, try not to go lower than a 3″ heel.  The higher the heel the longer your legs and silhouette will look overall.
    • Also these are the only pair of ankle boots were I don’t take comfort into account as much.  If needed, purchase insoles and practice walking in these beauties at home to make them more comfortable, but the point is for them to look good with your evening attire.
  • Think outside the box.  Think outside the traditional boot box that is.  Great variations of the traditional ankle boot can be a peep-toe style, mule, or even sandal style ankle bootie.  Remember these aren’t shoes you’ll be wearing everyday, so you can be a little impractical on the style and design.

Still confused on how to choose the right ankle boots for your wardrobe?

Check out these fashion articles I found on the web:

Now you’re ready to shop for these four styles of ankle boots to add to your closet.

Shop my lookbook and find a few pairs that fit you today!

Ankle Boots for Fall_KR Lookbook

Which ankle boots do you already have in your closet?

What styles do you need to add?

Comment below!

photo credit: …love Maegan via photopin cc

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