For as long as I can remember, the struggle to find a pair of boots that met my three simple requirements (quality, fit and style) has been *so* real. My tootsies are a size 11 EE, or double wide, which means it’s nearly impossible to find boots in my size. And when I do find options that seem like the might work, the looks are either far too basic and boring, or the shaft won’t zip up over my calves.
The closest-to-perfect pair I’ve come across was in a small shop in Toronto’s Greektown years ago. The espresso-coloured knee-high boots actually fit because they were made from fabric with Lycra. But as much as I loved rocking them to work on crisp fall mornings, my soles suffered—the construction was seriously lacking and my feet slid around inside without any support.
That’s why I’m so impressed with Universal Standard’s first two boot styles. Crafted in Portugal, both the Lisbon and Porto boots are made from 100% leather and soft knit fabric. Founders Polina Veksler and Alexandra Waldman legit thought of everything: The boots are water-resistant (a huge bonus for rainy autumn days) and the antimicrobial insoles have extra-dense padding.
Veksler and Waldman spent a year researching, developing and designing the footwear. “Boots were one of the things that we wanted to create from the start because I could never find a pair of boots that were both cool and everyday,” Waldman said in a press release. “I wanted to make sure that everyone had access to this wardrobe essential.” That means the boots are available in sizes 6 to 13, which is a big deal—most fashion brands’ shoe sizes stop at 11.
Both boots feature a 3-inch stacked block heel and metal trim. The knit shaft (made from polyester, nylon and polyamide) will accommodate any and all ankles and calves. Plus, you can style them for any occasion: a relaxed slouchy look, folded down or up.
Lisbon boots, $373; Porto boots, $333, universalstandard.com.