Monday, December 12, 2011

Hiro Ankle Boots Too Tough To Dismiss

Ankle boots aren't new by a long shot. For the last three years, they've been among the most popular women's boots for fall and winter. In reality, most ankle boots are a retread of the 1980s (and 1900s before that).

That's fine, but not everyone knows how to find the right fit. If they are worn too high on the calf, they can make some legs look bigger. If they are worn with the wrong skirt, they can shorten your proportions from the waist down. And if the fit isn't streamlined, everything looks out of proportion. And if what you're wearing is streamlined (like a pencil dress), everything will look too messy.

Along with finding the right fit, there is always function. Having to buy two pairs of boots (one pair for baggy pants and one pair to tuck in) seems like too much. Or maybe you enjoy wearing boots outside, but don't want to be riding high once you walk inside.

Miz Mooz makes an ankle boot too tough to criticize. 

The Miz Mooz Hiro Ankle Boot is a better ankle boot for fall and winter. Two inches optional top cuff means more versatility for your wardrobe because they work well enough as a tuck-in or pant legs cover up. Infinity Shoes says they also work well with tights (but that really depends on who is wearing them). 

The best thing about these boots is the look. With a distressed leather look plus four rivets and five eyeholes, they have a no nonsense roughness about them. This is one of the things that Miz Mooz has done exceptionally well over the years, making something more appealing for tough women. (The kind I like.)

Yet, Miz Mooz has always been careful about overdoing it too.  Shearing, which is also warm, adds some femininity around the ankle, where men tend to look the most. The color choices — camel, grey, khaki, and brown — also help dress the boot up. About the only thing you can't wear them with are cropped pants, which are pretty ridiculous in the winter anyway. 

If you don't like the distressed look, Miz Mooz did design some Hiro Ankle Boots that look more polished. While the colors are confined to brown and black, they are the same boot with a more straightforward design. And, if you're looking for something even more interesting than the Hiro, the Sasha Ankle Boots might be worth a look.  

They are dramatically different in appearance, with more sass than roughness. A large part of the difference is the 1-1/2 inch stacked heel and detachable leather spat that you can wear over the laces. It also covers the 6-inch shaft (with 8-inch opening). They come in khaki and grey. 

An alternative boot for men that beats the usual styles and designs. 

Miz Mooz doesn't make shoes and boot for men. That doesn't mean there aren't options for men over the holidays, but there aren't many because I've been pretty disappointed in the options (in boots, not shoes). I did find one pair that caught my eye, and they aren't the most affordable (but they feel great). 

Although they are better known for sports luxury shoes, Hogan added a hiking boot that fits. It's pretty straightforward in terms of design for the Hogan Hiking Boots, with a rounded toe, five eyelets, and three rivets you can lace up or not. But the look works because they fashioned it with suede.

Hogan has been around as a leather shoe designer for about three decades. About ten years ago, they also began hand crafting other leather goods, with a special attention to quality materials and detail. With these shoes, the quality can be easily seen in the stitches.

Another couple of graphs about Miz Mooz handcrafted shoes. 

Ever since a friend of mine introduced me to Miz Mooz, I've been fascinated by their East Coast sensibilities. All three designers — Cheryl Matson, Jeffery Bart, and Ron Kenigsberg — are serious about shoes. And even if they don't understand music (two of them consider Journey their favorite 80s band), they do know something about fashion. 

In some ways, the Hiro reminds me of some of their previous designs I thought worked incredibly well. It's as if they blended some of their older designs — the Marquis and Sabrina — to make a tougher, but somewhat feminine shoe. The results speak for themselves. 

The Miz Mooz Hiro Ankle Boot Warms 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Miz Mooz is always an easy favorite for anyone looking for high-quality handcrafted shoes that have everything except over-the-top prices. Sometimes when you look closely enough, you'll see some of their designs are picked up by other designers in the following season. And I think that says something. 

Their shoes have even inspired some divergent thinking in me. When most guys don't really know what to buy someone for the holidays, they usually look for jewelry. Cool enough, but it might even be cooler to think about shoes.

You can find the distressed leather Hiro Ankle Boots by Miz Mooz at Infinity Shoes. If you want something a little more classic in brown or black, they carry those Hiros too. Both are about $130. The Sasha Ankle Boots are a bit more, at about $170. For men, the sticker price might be a little less exciting. The Hogan Hiking Boot runs $340 at Tessabit. But you know, it's worth it.
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