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Lace-up boots are the newest kick in footwear

Buff up the boots

InStyle magazine shares care tips from Carlos Mesquita of New York's famous Leather Spa:

Condition: Treat your new — yes, you read that right — boots to a dose of cream conditioner. “They're new to you, but they've been sitting in a warehouse for a long time drying out,” Mesquita says. Using a soft rag, apply Lexol leather conditioner ($5/8 oz.; It's rare that a conditioner would damage leather, but to be safe, do a quick spot-check in a discreet area.

Waterproof/resole: Choose a deep-penetrating spray like Wetbloc ($13; Ask your cobbler to cover soles with an ultra-thin rubber firm to keep moisture from seeping in and breaking down the leather; it's a sleeker alternative to the traditional rubber-heel replacement. Companies such as Leather Spa custom-match the rubber to the shoe. National brands like Topy and Vibram also offer quality options.

Rescue: Snowy, salted streets are your boots' worst enemy, but Mesquita has a secret weapon. “Salt will eat the leather,” he says, “but vinegar will eat the salt.” After exposure, use a clean sponge or paper towel to dab a white vinegar solution (70 percent water to 30 percent vinegar) onto leather or suede where it has come into contact with salt. Again, a spot test is advisable before diving in.

Dry right: If you step into a puddle, don't panic. “Stuff your boots with newspaper,” Mesquita says. The paper wicks away moisture and won't get mushy inside the boots. Never leave pairs to dry near a heater or the leather might crack.

Source: InStyle magazine

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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

Lace 'em up ladies.

This is the perfect time of year to put on a pair of lace-up boots. Whether the boots dress the ankle or venture above the knee, women are sporting styles to make a footwear statement.

“We are seeing all kinds of lace-up boots,” says Amber Herring, accessories editor for Self magazine. “Everything from a more rugged look to a clean and polished look. There are boots that have a military influence, and others that are in jewel tones with buckles as well as laces. We are seeing everything across the board, and at all price points.”

One of the most popular styles at Footloose in Shadyside is the hiker boot, owner Jill Rubinstein says. The store also features a rain boot with laces.

“They are fun boots for fall into winter, and look great with skinny jeans and a sweater or leggings and a sweater,” Rubinstein says. “Or, pair them with tights and a skirt or dress. Make it your own style by wearing what you are most comfortable in.”

From a few strings to the entire boot being laced — all options are on trend — experts say. What is best to pair with these boots is a feminine silhouette, Herring says. One nice detail to most of them is that you don't always have to tie them every time because they have an easy access zipper somewhere on the boot.

Whether you have one lace or a whole boot laced from top to bottom, it is a must-have for fall and winter, says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. Choose the lacing that suits you, he says. And, you can even buy extra laces to create a different look with the same pair of boots, Andrews says.

“It's a fun boot to try, and you probably have items that go with it in your closet so you don't have to go out and buy an entire outfit for these boots,” Herring says.

A woman can have an entire wardrobe of boots and the lace-up boot style is one to add to your closet, Andrews says.

“We are seeing so many elegant boot styles inspired by the past,” he says. “Some have a little bit of rugged ethnicity to them. From those that are military-inspired to some with a more edgy side, you will see many different styles. You will also see them in distressed leather, and going to back to an era when boots were considered work wear and they were made tough, because they were worn for safety.”

Andrews says to pair lace-ups with a floral dress or something more feminine so they look fresher and more up-to-date.

“The thing with boots is there are so many to choose from that a woman can express her personal style,” Andrews says. “She can create a look that is uniquely hers.”

Don't just grab the first black or brown pair you see. Go for a color you might not have in your closet, Andrews says. It makes sense to get something different than what you already own, because boots are worn nearly year-round anymore since there are so many options, even some choices for warmer weather, such as those in a peep-toe style.

“Boots look good with everything from a business suit to a pair of jeans and a sweater,” Andrews says.

A current way to wear the lace-up boot is to pair it with skinny jeans, says Marie Kojitani, style editor for She says cuffing or scrunching them over the boot will also help showcase the boot.

Another great option is pairing your ankle or knee-high lace-up boots with a printed dress and tights.

“There's just something so cool about juxtaposing a slightly tough ankle boot with something pretty and feminine,” Kojitani says. “If you're going to invest in just one boot this season, a lace-up flat ankle boot is the most versatile option. It's on trend, yet timeless. It can be worn with everything from your favorite jeans or dressed up for a night out. Pick a pair in a neutral color like black or a rich luggage brown hue for most versatility.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.




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