Building a carefully curated and varied cold weather wardrobe is an investment, both in time and money. But the good thing is that, like a perfect coat, a great pair of fall boots doesn’t have to be tied to only one season. In fact, explains Louise Dirks, the owner and CEO of Gravity Pope, “Trends in footwear last much longer than they do in clothing. You fall in love with your boots and then you wear them forever.”

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And if we’re investing in something that we plan on having forever, we want to make sure that we love it forever, too. We asked Dirks to share for her best shopping tips for how to buy boots this season, plus how to build a classic boots wardrobe.

1. Invest in the perfect pair
The first starting point for buying fall boots: save up and buy quality. “The good thing about saving up is that having those pieces in your wardrobe that you can continue to go to year after year after year, really adds value to your wardrobe,” says Dirks. Of course, value often equals investment.

“You may end up having to pay a little more for those boots but the quality that goes along with that, [means that] you can wear them for so many more seasons,” says Dirks. “And you feel much better about yourself because you’re wearing something that you’re proud to have saved up your money for and that you can wear with everything because it’s nice quality.”

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2. Choose a classic style

The more basic your style of fall boot, the easier it will be to wear them from season to season. “Look beyond trends and buy brands— and styles within those brands—that will last the test of time,” says Dirks. “I think probably one of the biggest tricks to doing that is with clean, simple styling—the trend of that boot doesn’t die quickly because there’s not a lot of trend to it.” As for the current styles for fall boots? Dirks cites mid-calf as an ever-popular height, and notes that ankle boots continue to go strong.

Read on to the next page for more boots shopping tips, plus how to take care of your ankle boots…


3. Have several pairs (and styles!) on hand each season

Having several pairs of boots to choose from — think ankle boots and knee-highs —on a daily basis is much easier than trying find one that will go with everything you already own. “It makes your boots last longer as well,” advocates Dirks. “And if you choose wisely, you can extend the life of your three to four styles.” This is a good way of building up a long-term boot wardrobe. “I’m still wearing the same boots I bought three to four years ago and I’m just rotating them in with new styles I’ve picked up for the season,” says Dirks.

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4. Have fun with on-trend styles
If you’re going to spend major money, chances are that you’ll want to invest in fall boots in classic black or brown. But when building your boot wardrobe, incorporate the season’s trends in fun and unexpected ways, like say, buying a pair of ankle boots in cobalt suede or one of the season’s super sexy over-the-knee boots. As Dirks says, “There’s going to be fast fashion that you just jump in and out of, and that’s okay.”

5. Take care of your boots
If you want your boots to last several seasons-especially during Canadian winters—you must commit to taking care of them. Always. To protect the leather outsole from salt and wear overtime, place a half rubber Topy on the outsole of the boot—which also helps to give more traction on icy roads.

READ MORE: How to take care of your winter coat

As for the actual leather on the boot, tailor your shoe care products accordingly. “If it’s a thick, oily leather, I like to put mink oil to protect it at least once a week,” says Dirks. “It’s just a quick process before heading out the door— give a quick wipe with mink oil to shine them up. It makes the leather soft and supple.” For a shiny, polished leather on your ankle boots, opt for hard black polish to protect the boots. Be wary of using all-protector sprays, which can damage the leather, depending on the finish. “Spray a small obscure piece to make sure there’s no bubbling, or that it reacts with the finish on the leather,” warns Dirks. “When you pay a lot of money for something, you tend to treat it differently.”

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