Styled Out: Shoes that are cute to boot

My girlfriend, Rachel, went on a little bit of a shoe binge this week. She sent me links to boots via instant messenger, daydreaming about different versions of sneakers that were “murdered out” (i.e., entirely black). We eventually ended up at the Puma store after marching in the Prop. 8 protest all afternoon on Saturday. I suppose a new pair of sneakers is well deserved after walking through the Loop all day fighting for equal rights.

I am personally lusting after a new pair of Dansko shoes. They are so classic yet surprisingly versatile. I wasn’t really a believer that one of the top selling orthopedic brands could be both functional and fashionable, and I certainly didn’t want to be labeled as a stereotypical “comfortable shoe wearer,” if you catch my drift. My good friend Alicia, a Minnesota native and a queen of comfort, has rocked the Danskos in so many different ways that I am now fully convinced that they rule. They’re also surprisingly affordable for the caliber of quality.

My first love is boots. Oh my god, I love boots probably more than anything else that I wear. If I were playing that game where you get the question, “If you had to walk around naked all day with the exception of one article of clothing what would it be?” I would say — you guessed it — boots. Like a 3-year-old. I really, really want these:

The brand is called J Shoes, and they’re out of the UK. Unfortunately, you have to search for a distributor in the U.S. as their official website does not ship to the U.S., but they’re easy enough to find if you Google the brand name. They have lots of other great shoes in their autumn and winter collections by the by, so if you don’t share my enthusiasm for this particular knee-high pair of perfection, you should most definitely check out the rest of the J Shoes glory. My girlfriend actually wants the shorter, mid-calf version of said boots. (How gay are we?)

I bought my first pair of shoes with laces in years last spring when I played kickball. (I am dead serious about the boot thing — it’s sort of a problem.) Since then, I’ve branched out and have discovered my deep love for high-tops. I really loved the Schattenboxen that Puma put out and got a pair off eBay before they became totally obscure. Lately, I’m super into almost every pair of Technicolor high-top that I come across.

I discovered that Converse came out with an even higher version of their high-tops called “Knee-Hi,” including some with exclusive designs. Obviously, I’m a fan. While I was at the Puma store on Saturday, I found out that you can design your own pair of personalized Pumas at the Mongolian Shoe BBQ. It’s amazing: You can pick out everything from the interior of the shoes to the exterior to the laces. Pitter-patter goes my little gay heart.

Shoes are the easiest way to make your clothes feel new because the type of shoe you pair with an ensemble changes its entire look. You can dress down a nice pair of pants with a cool pair of sneakers and you can mimic Mary Kate by pairing a hot pair of boots with your best pair of shredded tights and be instantly hobo chic. High-tops matched with some striped socks can bring your ankle-length pants back from the dead. Are you hot to trot?