Aging goth needs new stompy boots
September 28, 2019 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I live in New York and am almost 40, so it's increasingly important for me to have extremely comfortable, walkable footwear. But I also, like, emotionally need for my boots to be kinda tough-looking. I work in a creative field, but in an office, so I don't want them to be TOO casual (I do have a great pair with spikes all over but they won't do for work), but plain black Chelsea boots would make me die a little inside. Help me be extremely comfortable while still SLIGHTLY cool? Soooooo many snowflakes inside, I think about boots a lot.

Visually, I like styles that are notably tough—buckles, zips, low-key studs are great even though I think my aggressively spiky ones are Too Much for work, lug soles—but also a LITTLE understated. New Rocks, for example, are generally too ungapatchka for me. (They also have the large branding thing which I HATE, sorry to sound like a William Gibson character. This also rules out Harley Davidson motorcycle boots). I wore the MJUS Demaris for years, replacing the sole (with a lug sole) when it wore out, but those will eventually wear through in the upper which is harder to fix. (I'd still buy them again if I could find them in my size, but I think they've been phased out.) My current boots are kinda like this but lug sole and mid-calf, and they're GREAT looking but the almond toe isn't ideal and the stitching is coming undone. I do have a good shoe guy but I think there's going to be a limit to what he can do with these.

I lived in Corcoran field boots for most of my youth, and maybe I'll go back to that, but they're a smidge too casual now. Definitely willing to consider laced boots but I have mostly been wearing non-laced ones that close with a zipper. Not actually a huge fan of Docs, and while I do have a good pair of Gripfast combat boots they are not, for whatever reason, my ideal. It may be because I have fat calves so I have to loose-lace mid-calf combats in a way that a) is pretty casual b) looks extremely hot on skinny people but on me just looks like I have fat calves.

Comfort-wise, I need room in the toe and across the instep. I have a bit of a bunion on one foot and a tendency towards ingrown toenails. My feet are on the wide side but boots that run wide (versus being made in wide sizes) are fine. I will get plantar fasciitis if I don't have proper arch support. I can get by with a shoe that allows for Superfeet insoles, which is what I'm doing now and have been for the last several years, but my ultimate boot would be designed with extensive walking in mind. I only walk 3-4 miles on an average day but I would like to not have to consider my footwear if the opportunity/necessity to walk a few extra miles comes up—like, if the trains are fucked up and I decide to walk instead, I need the boots to encourage that decision, not discourage it.

I wear a women's size 9.5-10 or a men's 7.5-8 if that matters. I will balk at paying more than $200 but if you have a great pair that costs more I'll just look obsessively for it on Poshmark, which is a fun activity for me so have at it. I'm not looking for knee-high boots unless they're good for fat legs; ankle to mid-calf are all good, but the shaft needs to be at least 5 inches to cover the legging/sock transition.
posted by babelfish to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I may be entirely off base here, but I present the Fry men’s Murray Lace Up for your consideration. No spikes or harness or other metallic bits. But they might provide the combat boot air with a bit of office appropriate panache.
posted by bilabial at 12:19 PM on September 28, 2019

Also check out the Veronica Belted Short in the women’s section of Frye. With buckles and a 9” shaft it should handle leggings very well.
posted by bilabial at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

have you looked into fleuvogs? they are pricey, but really well made, always have room in the toebox, and funky as hell
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:26 PM on September 28, 2019 [12 favorites]

Maybe one of the Ariat Paddock boots? They're riding boots for competitors but not terrifically expensive and pretty comfortable as they're made for working.
posted by crush at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, Fluevog is my personal answer to this question. I have possibly too many of them.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:42 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I really like the quality, fit and comfort of Born shoes, and I think these boots fit your bill nicely.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:28 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Frye Veronica belted rec; I have them in the non-belted version and I have similar foot shape stuff going on and they’re great. “But they’re way more than $200,” you may be saying, and this is true, but they do go on sale/you can find coupons; I bought mine at Macy’s I sale with a coupon and I paid under $150.
posted by mskyle at 3:09 PM on September 28, 2019

These are anything but plain black Chelsea boots. Wow, wish I could afford them.
posted by Bella Donna at 4:02 PM on September 28, 2019

I like my Wolverine 1000 mile boots. They might be a bit subdued for your taste?
posted by Lawn Beaver at 4:38 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you looked at Ariat's Savannah waterproof boot? Shaft height is given as 7".

I'm wearing my Ariats (though western style) right now--durable, and comfortable from day one. Mine are definitely not made for narrow feet, the the toe box is sufficient. I can wear them all day long.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:16 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I used to wear docs, but have completely switched to 5.11s. They are cop boots, so super comfortable for being on your feet all day, and light enough to run in. I lean more goth than tactical myself, so was initially hesitant, but I think they are not too aggro looking. They have the side zip as well as laces, which is a requirement for me.
posted by Maxwell's demon at 7:37 PM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]

I too enjoy a moto edge to my boots, and I really love Born for comfort and quality. I wasn’t super thrilled with their boots this season, but keep checking back—they come out with new ones with reasonable frequency, and most of their boots last me 4-5 years while wearing them every other day. Almost all my shoes and boots are Born.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:43 PM on September 28, 2019

Thanks y'all, keep 'em coming (if you want to)!

For anyone else interested in this subject matter, I finally checked my current boots and they are the Naya Darryn. Very much out of print, but they show up occasionally on resale sites if you like this kind of shoe and don't mind an almond toe.
posted by babelfish at 10:06 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

My favorite boots are Palladium Pampas, which look like the offspring of Converses and DMs, but with anatomic insoles. In their web they also have zippered boots.
posted by sukeban at 11:54 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Love my Lowas; first world country of manufacture; probably a bit mild on flair and style, where at best I'd have to say they substitute hue tone and lighter colors.
posted by buzzman at 2:46 AM on September 29, 2019

I'm not sure on if they're exactly the right aesthetic but red wing iron rangers are solid looking and feel great to walk in. I've got some real goofed up feet and I've found my pair to be extremely comfortable for day to day use. I wore mine while on a trip in Italy where I walked roughly 6-10 miles a day across nobbly old Italian streets and never had any real foot pain. They also have a fairly wide toe box and middle.

Also the yearly redwing seconds sale is coming up soon (takes place in red wing mn so going is probably not an option) and while they tell people that they are not to be resold I'm sure that plenty of people do resell them so there might be a slight glut of stock soon. Otherwise they're a bit on the expensive side at MSRP.

I will mention they tend to size a bit strangely so trying some on in person would be a good choice beforehand.
posted by Ferreous at 4:52 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I (fortysomething NYC goth chick) have these Ash Razor buckle boots. Very comfy and my feet feel really protected against the unspeakable disgustingness of the city streets. I wear about the same size as you, and the Upper West Side DSW carried it.
posted by mirepoix at 5:15 AM on September 30, 2019

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