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No Small Feat: Buying Ladies Boots

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If you’ve been hunting for the perfect pair of ladies boots, this is no small feat to accomplish. (Pun intended). We asked our footwear buyer, Kayla, to point us in the right direction. Kayla suggests when searching for the perfect pair of boots here's what you should consider.

1.) What Will you Primarily be Using these Boots for?

First and most importantly, Kayla recommends that you should consider how you are planning to use the boots. Kayla asked, “Are you looking for a concert boot? Or, do you need something for riding or work?” In more candid terms she was asking, “How hardcore do you need these boots to be?” Since, North 40 carries everything from basic price point fashion boots to performance riding boots with the true rodeo competitor in mind there is a lot to choose from.

From fashion boots to performance riding boots check out these styles.

2.) An equally important factor is Price.

An equally important factor to consider when buying boots is determining how much you are comfortable spending. Kayla offers that if you are new to boots, there is a tendency to maybe lean towards less expensive boots, but that there is a “quality threshold” to consider if any performance or longevity is expected out of the boot.

Kayla puts it this way, “if you are using boots to go to a concert and maybe sit on a horse while attending branding once a year, then you can possibly get by with something less expensive, but keep in mind that for the most part you do get what you pay for so, if you plan to do any riding at all, you should consider paying for at least the bare minimum to keep you comfortable and safe.” These bare minimums include real leather, a smooth quality outsole made of either rubber or leather, higher shaft to protect your leg, and at least a one inch heel if you plan to ride.

3.) How do you choose the right Fit?

It goes without saying that everyone’s feet are different and while one boot feels great to one person, it can also feel very uncomfortable to the next. Kayla noted that for newbies many boots can feel right in the store only for the customer to find out later they are not the right fit because they are unfamiliar with how a correctly fitting boot should feel in the store.

Kayla offers the following tips to help determine the right fit in the store:

  • There should be a thumb’s width between the end of your toes and the end of the boot.
  • The width should be snug, but you should still be able to see the stitching on the outsole of either side of the boot. If you can’t, then you should consider a bigger width. Stretching is an option if it feels a little snug, but generally if you can wear the next width it’s better to do that as it undermines the integrity of the leather to have it stretched out that much. For us ladies, there often isn’t another width option, but Kayla offers that some brands fit bigger or smaller than others so, it’s helpful to try on multiple brands.

To learn more on how to stretch new leather boots watch this.

  • Instep is the most common fitting problem in western boots. It should be tight, but not so tight that it is painful or pinches your foot. People with a high instep may have trouble finding boots that they are able to get their foot into. The key is to try multiple brands. Once again, stretching is an option as long as you can actually get your foot into it and can verify that everything else fits correctly. If you cannot get your foot into a boot, Kayla does not recommend relying on stretching to get a correct fit. Conversely, the instep should not feel sloppy and you should feel a “pop” as you get your foot through the instep and into the main part of the boot.
  • Heel slippage or lack thereof is the most common mistake new boot buyers make when choosing a boot. Heel slippage is good and necessary - up to a ¼ inch. Slight heel slippage just means the boots aren’t broken in yet and it will stop once the leather has softened up.

So, if you are searching for the perfect pair of boots remember to consider; how you will be planning to use your boots, how much you are comfortable spending, and how to choose the right fit for your foot.

Once you’ve found the perfect pair of boots, check this out to learn how to clean them.

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#AskNorth40 is our weekly show where customers bring us their toughest questions, and we go find the answer from experts in the field here in the Northwest. Why do you feed flax seed to horses? If you learn your frost lines, can you grow more food? Where can we fly fish in the dead of winter? If you’ve got a question, use any social media platform and ask us with #asknorth40—we’ll be putting a new one out every week, so keep the questions coming. Click the #AskNorth40 name in this profile for a list of our latest episodes!

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