Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Flat vs. High Heel Boots

Hi Belle,

You posted today and sometime last week about knee high heeled boots with pencil skirts. Yet, you frequently extol the benefits of knee highflat boots on your site.  Can flat boots be worn with pencil skirts? With skirts at all? To work on non-casual days?  If we can only afford one pair of boots this season, should we opt for the flats or the heels?

Frankly, I like both flat and high heel boots.  I own both.  I wear both.  I wear them with skirts, with pants and with jeans.  Which pair I wear just depends on the day and how much walking I have to do.  
If you can only buy one pair, you need to buy the pair that you will wear most often.  So think about what kind of shoes you regularly wear (high or low?) and decide for yourself.  Now, if you’re trying to find black boots that are flat and work appropriate, try these:

Boutique 9 Zanny Boots ($225) // Enzo Anglioni Zemi Boot ($80) // Steve Madden Inspirre Boot ($140) // Nine West Subscribe Boot ($150)

When you’re looking for a boot to wear with pencil skirts (or just knee-length skirts in general), you need to look for a boot with no adornments and sleek style. This is not the time for buckles, bows or texture.  You should also look for something with a sleeker profile, no chunky riding boots.  A pointier toe or a slight wedge help with the sleek look.

Flat boots with skirts is not a look that is for everyone.  Shorter ladies or ladies with shorter legs may find this too big of a reach.  Women who work in very professional offices may also find the look to be too casual for their regular dress code.  But I think a sleek pair of black boots with black tights and a black skirt is a great way to wear business separates in a more relaxed way.

If you need a boot with wider calves, there are some brands you can try.  Gabrielle Rochas, Audrey Brooke, Ros Hommerson, Franco Sarto and J.CREW all make boots with extended calves.  But before you order a pair, you need to grab a measuring tape and find out what kind of circumference you need.  Just make sure to measure the widest part of the calf.  



  1. Kate says:

    As someone with ridiculously wide calves (19in, thanks genetics and stairs at college), I highly suggest DuoBoots ( out of England. You can order them custom to shoe size and calf width. They're not inexpensive: the pair I just bought was $280, but they're high-quality, comfortable, and fit me perfectly. They also have more style variety than other wide width sites I've looked at and ordered from.

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  2. W says:

    I just bought the DSW Audrey Brooke Wynne suede heeled boot and they are GORGEOUS! They look like a million bucks but are only around $100 with online coupons. I highly recommend them!

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  3. A says:

    Any suggestions for brands for someone with really skinny calves?

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  4. Sarah says:

    The Nine West subscribe boots are no good. I bought a pair last week, wore them once, and noticed that the “leather” around the heel was peeling off. They're cute but apparently very poorly made!

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  5. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for answering my question so thoroughly!

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  6. Lauren says:

    In case any of your other readers have the problem of wide feet AND wide calves, I wanted to share this pair that I recently ordered, and love:

    Beautiful worn-in leather, comfortable insoles, plenty of room for my calves in jeans. So happy with this find, and I literally tried on a dozen pairs to find these. Not dressy like the ones you recommend in this post, but still, a perfect boot find.

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  7. SLG says:

    A: I have skinny calves, and I love Duo Boots ( You order by shoe size & calf size. They may set you back $300+ but they are totally worth it–I expect to wear mine for years. And they sometimes run specials with free shipping to the U.S.

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  8. saramel says:

    Many boots can be taken in by a good shoe cobbler. If you find a pair you love it might be worth the investment to have them tailored to you. (But keep your receipt in case the shop recommends against it for a particular pair!)

    October 12, 2012/Reply