Kirsten is passionate about finding stylish, comfortable shoes for women. In her 17 year journey with rheumatoid arthritis, she has developed pretty picky feet. Join her as she reviews and recommends stylish footwear for your "barking dogs." You can read more from Kirsten on Google+ and on Twitter.
Hold it, tiger. Before you fill up your virtual shopping cart with Uggs, hear me out. I understand that your niece convinced you that Uggs are the way to go, but she's 17, remember? You're not. Your arches aren't perky anymore.
The FitFlop Mukluk bootie features double-faced deluxe sheepskin upper and that fabulous, foot-friendly Microwobbleboard™ insole that supported your arches and cushioned your picky, picky heels and toes all summer.
Because warm and cozy just won't cut it this winter, the FitFlop Mukluk offers all-day comfort and relief from aching feet, knees and back. If I've piqued your interest, read the reviews from Amazon customers (many long-winded but helpful reviews on fit, feel, sizing). The chief complaint is that the sole isn't lined with shearling, but is remedied by wearing warm socks.
The FitFlop Mukluk is available in black, chestnut and chocolate sheepskin, whole sizes at Amazon on sale for $108-149 with free shipping and returns. Fits a medium to wide foot well. Narrow feet might find the boot too roomy.
A new version of the boot, the FitFlop Mukluk Moc 2 is available for $229 at Shoebuy and Nordstrom with free shipping and returns.
2. Giesswein Horn: Give a pair as a gift or treat your own feet. Austrian-made boiled wool slippers, Giessweins have a removable footbed to accommodate an orthotic, but the support is good even as it is. $98 at Zappos, $91.95 at Shoebuy, free shipping and returns. $84.99 at Amazon, free shipping.
3. Alegria Taylor: A newer style by Alegria, the Taylor loafer offers a more refined profile than their original Classic, or even the Paloma. Yet the cork-latex footbed offers the same cushioned support, plus it's totally removable. $129.95 at Zappos.$130 at PlanetShoes.com, free shipping and returns.
4. Naya Valerie: The mullet of booties, the Naya Valerie is business in the front, party in the back with its studded detailing. Great reviews for comfort. Available in sizes 4-12, medium and wide widths. Seems to run a little large, so order accordingly. $142.99 at Zappos, free shipping and returns. $129.99 at 6pm.com, free shipping.
5. Miz Mooz Owen: Eye-catching for sure, the Miz Mooz Owen mid-calf boot features a 2" crepe wedge heel, roomy toe box and cushioned footbed. The calf circumference comes in around 13" and a faux fur lining provides warmth. The Owen runs small! $139.95 at Zappos, $139 at PlanetShoes.com, $104-139 at Amazon. See it in action here, unless you've reached your Blurred Lines capacity.
6. Josef Seibel Sandra: Gorgeous leather, faux-fur lining for warmth and a removable cushioned footbed that should accommodate an orthotic. $195 at Zappos,.
I ran out of daylight to photograph this stylish ankle boot by Taos, and our home was disheveled from a week off with wild boys run amok. So my eldest son, age almost 12, suggested we kill two birds with one stone: take photos at the new grocery store in town while picking up milk, fruit, cereal and pie (because my Thanksgiving pies were nothing to be thankful for).
The Taos Alto is refined yet practical and made in my favorite shoe-making country, Portugal! The Portuguese know how to fish AND craft some beautiful footwear. The Alto is made from soft full-grain leather with a faux-fur lining for added warmth.
Isn't it lovely in burnished cognac leather? The two "buckle" straps actually close with velcro for a good fit around a skinny ankle or sturdy cankle. I keep mine fastened and use the side zipper for easier on and off. The stacked heel comes in at a very manageable two inches.
I usually wear a 10 and needed the 41 in the Taos Alto. Because I have moderate bunions and a dang hammertoe on my left foot, I found the toe box to be a little snug upon wearing the first two times (I wear mine with thin socks). Due to the soft leather, I do feel them conforming to my wider forefoot over multiple wearings. If you have a wide foot with bunions, you'll most likely find the Alto too tight.
While normal feet will find the insole cushioned enough, my picky feet need more. No problem--it's removable. I inserted the insoles from my Abeo sneakers giving me just the right amount of cushion. You can insert your favorite arch supports or insoles--perhaps even custom orthotics.
I'm wearing mine with winter white skinny cords, but this ankle boot is so versatile. Wear with jeans, a pencil skirt and tights, a dress and tights...
The Taos Alto is available in four leather colors, Euro sizes 36-42: