Monday 19th February 2018
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Taking requests: Lace-up boots

“So for whatever reason (midlife crisis?) I’ve been painfully missing my 90s Doc Martens 8-eye boots,” writes a reader named Sara. She wonders if she should buy herself a black pair, or “is there a more grown-up, chic alternative?” I love the idea of the GOACA army decked out in Docs (and I know that quite a few of you still wear and love them) but the notion of a more polished version also appeals. This suede pair from Vince would look so great with skinny trousers.

Here is a very splurgetastic but also quite chic pair from Ann Demeulemeester that I have lusted after for ages (pretty much every season she does a slightly different version).

The lug soles on this pair would make them great for trekkingin the snow. Also, they’re kind of tough-chick-looking.

A pre-worn option, for those of you who enjoy such things.

I’d love to have the nerve to wear a to-the-kneee lace-up.

This just looks eminently cozy.

The most feminine choice of the bunch, with a nice wedge heel.

I like the ever-so-slightly platform sole here.

These brogue-style boots are actually Doc Martens and I think they’re wonderful.



Posted on October 24th, 2017 59 Comments

59 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    This is such a fitting post as I just ordered a pair of Doc boots. I’ve been itching for a pair for awhile. Instead of going subtle I went with dark green – they came in the mail yesterday and they made me smile. I was instantly transported back to the 90’s.

  2. jodie says:

    Two years ago while visiting my son at University of Michigan,I discovered Wolverine 1000 Mile boots. They are fantastically comfortable. I wear them all the time September through April. I’m considering a second pair to have a less worn in pair.

  3. mrv says:

    Ha, Sara is not alone. I’ve been having the very same pangs but at 45 can’t quite go back there.

  4. Michele says:

    Earth makes comfortable and supportive boots without the heaviness of the Docs.

  5. y.k. says:

    these are all tempting. I still wear my lace up boots. with leg warmers.

  6. HC says:

    I just bought the Doc Marten brogues a few weeks ago and I LOVE them. They’re polished enough to wear to work but satisfy my inner riot grrrl. And they’re super comfy!

    • Anne says:

      I have been side-eyeing the Doc Brogues for a couple of months now, I really want them even though I so don’t need them!

  7. scone says:

    I just bought the Timberland “Earthkeepers” version of this. More construction worker than Army. Really comfortable for a heel, which appears to be rubber or some such material. Not much moolah.

  8. Dana D says:

    I love all of these!

    I just put the leather oil on my lace-up Frye engineer boots. But mine are brown…want a black pair. And of course, I lust after the Ann D. ones…

  9. DeDe says:

    So typically I’m with MRV and am not so into revisiting Doc’s-style footwear, but these are all so good, and I need things with a super low or non-existent heel, so…HMM. PS, I actually really love those busted up-looking Fryes, maybe even more so because they’re described as featuring “primeval style”. Isn’t this what every GOACA is after, really? Don’t eff with me or I’m gonna get all primeval on your ass (and look classically cool doing it)!

  10. SharShar says:

    My daughter wears APC Francis lace ups as a dress alternative to Docs which she also wears and the Francis has worn so well we will be buying another pair in a different color.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      I love those! I used to have a [much cheaper] pair that looked just like them! (Worn with my prairie skirts, etc)

    • CC says:

      SharShar, did your daughter pre-treat them? I want a pair for myself, but they are $500….

      Related: I am kind of swooning over the pictures of the Erdem x H&M collaboration, in particular a pair of lace-up black leather floral (!!) combat boots. But they will retail for $250 which seems slightly crazy…

      • SharShar says:

        Nope – never even polished them and two years later they look brand new. Just the other day when she got them out for the winter season I was saying we need to polish and condition those just because we should. She is not easy on shoes either. Last even better and longer than Rick Owens. She gets compliments every time she wears them so they were a great purchase and she was 15 when she got them so not an age where one is easy on shoes.

        • SharShar says:

          The Erdem ones are darling and usually their collab boots are pretty nice – I got a pair a number of years ago and they also wore well.

          If you like DM’s which are the subject of the thread try the soft ones – we both like them much better and they wear well again – three year old pair look great and she wears them even in bad weather.

  11. Debra says:

    Turning 57 next month. These perfectly encapsulate my aesthetic sensibility right now.

  12. Comic Sansa says:

    The Doc brogues are beautiful, and I might have to get those.

    I also just acquired–with the help of a friend who lives in London–a pair of Beavis and Butthead Docs. They bring me joy. And they also remind me why I’m very happy not to work in a corporate environment where they would not fly.

  13. Rachel says:

    I about fell over when I saw this. My daughter just got a pair of black combat boots to wear for Halloween (as Katniss) and throughout the fall and winter months in her everyday life. I’ve been struggling with shoe envy since they arrived, and it’s glorious to know I am not the only one with a hankering for such things. Thank you for such brilliant, grown-up options!

  14. Elisa says:

    I loved the brogues until I realized they have a zipper on the inner side. This bugs me because they aren’t real lace ups.

  15. Mary Alice says:

    ARE YOU READING MY MIND??? I have spent the last few days searching for, ordering and returning numerous pairs of lace up boots. These are the frontrunners now:

    I wear a size 10 so i am careful about boots being too clunky.
    Also, Kim, I have a pair of Frye lace up to the knee boots sitting in my closet that I bought a few years ago and cannot figure out how to wear. It heartens me that even you find styling them a challenge.

  16. eliza says:

    I went on a MAJOR combat boot survey this fall, and it was tough to find a pair that felt ok for me to wear at 46. Not too heavy, not too girly — I finally settled on these:

    They’re comfortable, light and I love the silver hook thingys on the top.

  17. Mimi says:

    I am also a lace up purist. No side or back zippers allowed. I’ve been wearing and collecting lace up boots in different colors for years, but never wore Doc Martens. I tried one on once and found them too heavy and clunky. Would die for the Ann D. pair. On sale, maybe? My besties are Robert Clergerie, found on sale. A taller shaft is better for wearing with dresses and skirts and I think they’re feminine on a skinny ankled person, I have a pair with a 2” heel that work well with long, wide-leg trousers. Lace ups are worth investing in cause they never go out of style.

  18. Shannan says:

    I am 48, and have NEVER had a pair of Doc’s, but recently ordered these to take on a trip to Ireland:

    I LOVE them, and wore them every single day for the 2 weeks that we were there. Loving all the options above, too!!

  19. Mae says:

    I. Want. Them. All.

  20. Lynn in Tucson says:

    Oh…those Docs are grand. I was in their San Francisco store a few months ago and I was really impressed by what I saw. I just wish they fit me better. (My teenager has appropriated at least two pairs of mine and has one of his own.)

  21. RebeccaNYC says:

    oh I MISS my lace up boots! I love the Schutz, but they have a zip on the side. why do the new lace up boots need to have that feature? I’m not a fan. Still searching for the perfect pair.

  22. DebS says:

    Crazy timing–I just bought those Vince boots and I LOVE them! My current quandary is about exactly how to style them. Would love to see a post with suggestions about how to style this type of boot. Thank you!

  23. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    Which style do you all think goes best with jeans…Boyfriend or semi-skinny? I have ankles, not cankles, but not skinny calves either!

    • y.k. says:

      i think either of those would be very nice. the only style that seems wrong to me w/ lace up boots- flared/ bell bottoms. IMHO.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Most Doc boots don’t fit my wide, high-arched feet and substantial calves all that well but I just bought the 1460 8-eye ones in black and they are perfect ( ! Docs must use a variety of lasts and I guess I finally found the one that works for me. Comfy and no break-in period (also don’t seem to feel as heavy as the older style Docs?). I have 3 or 4 pairs of Docs shoes, too (couple Mary Janes, lace-ups, etc.).

  25. Katie says:

    I bought a pair of oxblood Doc’s for my 41st birthday a few years ago. It was something of a midlife crisis/impulse purchase. I hadn’t owned a pair since the late 90’s and I felt alone given that I wore the same three pairs for all of the 90’s. Ladies, they hurt my feet. So much pain. Instead of admitting defeat and taking them back, I put them in my closet. I’ve recently lost some weight and started feeling more like the old me (a newer, wiser version of the old me) so I pulled them out of the closet and I’ve started wearing them around the house to break them in. Wish me luck.

    • Viajera says:

      Are those the only shoes that make your feet hurt? If not, you might want to ask around. Maybe your Docs just need an insole, and one could even go so far as to consult a podiatrist.

      I don’t mean to sound lecture-y – I just am against needless suffering. I think there is usually a way. Feet are important!

  26. mrv says:

    This thread makes me so happy. While I couldn’t pull the trigger on the Docs this year, I did get these – which I am loving!

  27. Kit says:

    Boots are my downfall. I just bought my third Dune London pair, and they’re great! I always wait for a sale, and anyway they’re not that expensive to start. Love ’em, and wish they still had that SoHo store.

  28. AML says:

    love this post, i’ve been looking for a new pair of combat boots. i do have a pair of veronica frye’s that have reached that worn-in condition quite naturally! maybe it’s time to bring them out of retirement.

  29. Allie says:

    Hi Kim!

    I love the Frye boots…you mentioned styling w/ a pair of skinny trousers…suggestions? I’m stumped.

    Thank you so much!

  30. Robin says:

    Although these boots say I’m heading to the Alps more than they say I’m heading to combat. I do love them. I wear them with black lases and they do look great with a skinny jean and leather jacket.

  31. Darenna says:

    I have my original pair of Doc Marten’s from when grunge was still cool. Sentimentally, I kept them over the years despite rarely wearing. I can’t seem to part with them although for the past four years I shun them entirely for Fluevog Derby Swirls. I think I’d wear them at least once per week if I didn’t live in the desert where sandals are what we wear most of the year. Derby Swirls are the most perfect travel shoe ever. Mine are the plain (if any pair of ‘Vogs can ever be said to be plain) black men’s ankle boot lace-up style. I could not love them more.