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Get On Your Boots

Get Your Boots On Get Your Boots On

When it comes to shoe shopping, men and women are different players. They’re not even in the same ballpark. Guys want to get in and get out as quickly and cheaply as possible. We women can dedicate an entire weekend to finding the right pair of strappy sandals. Money is no object for gals—that’s why God created credit. Now hear this, men: You may not be looking at our feet, but we’re sure as hell looking at yours.

Given these recessionary times, we also realize that the gas bill is going to trump fashion. Boots, however, are a whole different game. The right pair is a solid investment that can help you establish a signature look around which to build the rest of your wardrobe.

“It’s important to invest in a quality pair of boots because a good pair can last you a lifetime,” explains Shane Johnston, product manager for Ariat’s Western division. “Just as with any attire, it’s best to invest in a few basics that will never go out of style—and that’s what boots are: wardrobe staples.” Note that Shane is a woman, and a pretty hot one at that.

Whether it was the first time we watched our father zip up a pair of Beatles boots or admired John Travolta for hanging up his disco dancers for honky-tonkin’ two-steppers, there is just something about a good pair of boots that can set you in the right direction. The following is a roundup of some of our favorite styles priced for the ramen noodle masses as well as the caviar crowd.

Sendra Boots - (www.sendra.com)Sendra Boots - (www.sendra.com)

Sendra Boots


Bob Dylan warbled about boots of Spanish leather, but we’re not sure if he was referring to Sendra boots, which are made from just that. What we do know is that if you’re looking to catch the eye of that cute girl with the nose ring and Phish bumper sticker, forget the Prius. Simply sidle up to a pair of these cowboys. They have a distinctive biker flare, making them hip enough for you to wear just about anywhere without looking like a rodeo clown. She’ll not only find the wraparound harness sexy and unique but will be impressed that Sendra uses only leathers from breeding stations approved by the International Trade Agreement of Threatened Wild Species, making the brand—and you—environmentally sensitive. Personally, we think it’s a lot easier than pretending to like tofu. Expect to pay about $400.


Ariat International (www.ariat.com)Ariat International (www.ariat.com)Ariat Intenational


San Francisco Bay Area–based Ariat espouses one straightforward objective: to provide the most technologically advanced riding boots for the world’s top equestrian athletes—the kind of guys who don’t depend on a case of Band-Aids to help them break in their shoes. These babies are designed to fit and function straight from the box to the barn (or bar). Fillies of both the four- and two-legged variety will  take notice of the Legend full-quill ostrich style. These boots are leather lined, utilize a patented Duratread outer sole, have six rows of stitching, and come in a variety of colors and styles. Priced at around $399, you’ll still be able to afford that tequila and the worm.


Billy Martin (www.billymartin.com)Billy Martin (www.billymartin.com)Billy Martin


If you happen to find yourself on a Sunset Boulevard shopping spree (or even window shopping, like the rest of us), stop in at Billy Martin’s boutique. Maybe you can’t afford anything, but you’ll be following in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and the Dixie Chicks. Martin’s boots are custom-made from exotics such as stingray and Norwegian ox. Barry Sonnenfeld, director of Get Shorty and Men in Black—and obviously not in the running for PETA man of the year— owns three pair of the stingrays. Company vice president Gary Van der Meer designs the boots and takes care of custom orders. “They are an expression of nostalgia for an era when it was every man for himself,” says Van der Meer. “They’re wearable art, and they make you look taller.” Prices start at what you’d expect Madonna could spend. Mel’s Diner is on the same block, and we’re sure you can afford a milkshake there if you can’t handle the boots’ $5,000 sticker shock.


Mark Nason (www.marknason.com)Mark Nason (www.marknason.com)

Mark Nason


Mark Nason shoes are handcrafted in Italy and designed to complement just about any pair of trousers. They give classic styles a modern, broken-in finish that looks incredible with denim. The Starman boot is a multihued sensation. “Well-worn boots look good on a man. New  and shiny are not my cup of tea, unless [they’re] on somebody like Porter Wagoner,” says Shannon Turner, owner of the eclectic boutique  Cherry Bomb in Atlanta; she’s also wife to drummer Brit Turner of the Southern-fried combo Blackberry Smoke, a Nason habitué. Mark  Nason boots are also favored by one of our favorite shitkickers: Billy Bob Thornton. ’Nuf said. Get ready to spend around $450.


Clarks (www.clarks.com)Clarks (www.clarks.com)Clarks


Forget the images of the stringy-haired kid who sat across from you in homeroom with his feathered roach clip, denim-covered three-ring binders, and Wallabees. Remember, instead, the coolest cat to ever strut his stuff in a pair of Clarks Desert Boots (below). Yes, that’s what Steve McQueen wore in The Great Escape. Back in 1950, cobbler Nathan Clark found inspiration in the crepe-soled footwear that his  World War II military pals acquired on the sandy streets of Cairo, Egypt. The result was a shoe that, ironically, was adopted by pony-tailed  pacifists and your favorite high school English teacher. Shoes that were meant to endure miles of hot sands realized miles of protest lines  in Berkeley. The Desert Boot turns 60 this year. It’s not as old as the Dalai Lama but is older than our current Noble Peace prize–winning commander in chief—and its consistency, durability, and versatility almost guarantee that the style will outlast both. A pair will set you back a mere $95.

Alden Shoe Company (www.aldenshoe.com)Alden Shoe Company (www.aldenshoe.com)

Alden Shoe Company


Alden, a shoe manufacturer out of New England, has been helping guys kick up their heels old-school-style since 1884. This stalwart of the shoe industry recently teamed up with the tragically hip Seattle based haberdashery Blackbird. Their Foss Tugger Workboot (above) was inspired by tugboat life, but you won’t be embarrassed hitting the deck of a Carnival Cruise ship in a pair. This footwear sends an intentionally mixed message: a casual boot in most respects—pattern, laces, last, outsole—but in a beautiful dress calf with all the features of a highquality work boot. To us, they look like high-end Doc Martens, but they will last a lot longer than a year following Pearl Jam. Built to last, you’ll surely have these boots when the angels sing. Be prepared to plunk down $465.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 01 June 2011 22:23

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