reformation remy boots and more knee-high boots
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I Put These Best-Selling Knee-High Boots to the Test

The only thing better than sweata weatha is fall boot season!

Few things bring more sartorial joy than a fresh pair of boots for fall. Maybe it’s the fact that crisp new footwear in the autumn months conjures feelings of back-to-school nostalgia, perhaps it’s how a killer pair of knee-high boots elevates most outfits, but damn it if it isn’t a fashion high I’ve been chasing since I slipped into my first pair of Cougars from Junior Booty in the second grade. (Yes, this was the name of my local mall’s kids shoe mecca growing up in Montreal.)

A lot older and a little wiser — and with a few more dollars to my name than my weekly allowance — boots remain one of my favourite things to purchase. But the boots I gravitate towards tend to be… on the ridiculously expensive side. We’re talking boots like the Toteme croc ones and the Khaite Davis. In a word: unattainable.

So what’s a girl to do if she has Caviar Kaspa taste on a charcuterie board budget? Peruse the offerings of mid-priced brands like Ganni, Staud and Reformation, the sustainably minded cool-girl label best known for doling out coquettish dresses covered in micro floral patterns, that’s what. When I tried Ref’s boots in 2019 shortly after they launched footwear — a stunnin’ pair of black croc mid-shaft babies with a square toe and stacked heel with slightly curved edges, thanks for asking — I knew it was over for me. More than four years later, they’re still in heavy rotation and estimating that I’ve worn them at least 30 times per year, that makes their initial $400 price tag more or less free. #GirlMath.

Now, budget-friendliness is completely subjective and upwards of $600 for footwear is undeniably pricey. But in the spirit of buying less and better, I’ve been attempting to dodge my usual fast-fashion spots in favour of well-made alternatives that cost more but will last longer. (After all, a pair of genuine leather Zara boots that costs $150 to $250 will last you two seasons while the right pair that’s $500 or more can last… a lifetime? With the right care, here’s hoping.)

I’m not the only one who’s into Ref’s boots — the Reformation Remy boots have been going viral on social media for their tantalizing square-ish toe, high shaft and array of lush quiet luxury-inspired colours. So, I set off to do the lord’s work and take a few of the brand’s most sought-after styles for a spin to rate them on sizing, comfort, versatility, and value. (And pssst: Almost everything at Ref is 25% off for Black Friday, so it’s a good time to pull the trigger on your wish list items — after you study our editor-approved shopping tips, of course.)

Remy knee boot

Fit: I sized up a half size to 8.5 from my usual 8 in order to have room for cozy socks and I’m so glad I did. I could have gotten away with my typical size but I’m glad to have a teeny bit more room.

Calf width: The appearance of a wider calf, for me, was the biggest appeal of the Reformation Remy boot when I drooled over them online. Naturally, I wondered if the models just had slender calves and I was right — I’d say the calf width on this style is normal. Not overly snug, but certainly not as spacious as, say, the aforementioned Totemes. To be fair, it’s noted right on the details that “Customers say this style hugs the calf” and it’s accurate.

Comfort: 9.5/10, easily. Truly excellent. The two-inch kitten heel is super walkable, the snip toe means no pinky pinching and the leather is structured enough that the boot stays up nicely while still supple so that they don’t feel stiff. I wore my moss green-coloured pair for an office day complete with round trip commute *and* an evening cocktail party and felt little more than fatigue.

Pairs well with: A silk slip skirt and cashmere sweater in earthy tones, accessorized with a Jennifer Lawrence-approved headband for a demure ensemble. Or give it your Scandi-girl best in leggings, a boxy oversized blazer and sculptural jewellery.

Value: These aren’t cheap but they are pretty spectacular when considering both aesthetics and comfort, not to mention overall quality which is decidedly luxe. While I adore my greenish brown Remys, my one regret with these boots is that I didn’t go for an even more classic colour. I’ve got a pair of black leather ones in my Black Friday shopping cart, just waiting to pull the trigger.

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Rosemary knee boot

Fit: Like the Remy, I tried a half size larger here and again, I was pleased I did. While I’d qualify the Rosemary as true to size, they feel slightly more narrow because of the pointed toe and I like to err on the side of having a bit more room rather than less.

Calf width: If a bit of a wider calf is what you’re after, these are a solid option as they hug the calf quite a bit less than the Remy. Plus, with the slightly higher shaft in the front offers a bit more space.

Comfort: 8/10. At about three inches high, the heel is still quite manageable, but it is more of a skinny stiletto shape, so I couldn’t pound the pavement with these all day without a little ache.

Pairs well with: A knit maxi-dress and long scarf coat with red accessories, or tucked-in straight-leg denim and a cropped jacket. Suede boots are so lush for fall, so marrying them with any multi-textured outfit iteration is an immediate chef’s kiss!

Value: Suede is quite trendy right now, as is latte dressing, but it’s worth considering that both suede and the colour brown are also classics. If a pointed-toe boot is something you’re missing in your wardrobe, these are a stylish choice.

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River knee boot

Fit: Again, I’d call these cherry-hued boots true to size while noting that I tried a half-size bigger than my usual shoe size and am delighted to have space for wooly tights or thick socks, should the conditions call for them.

Calf width: The calf room on this pair of boots is comparable to the Remy — it hugs slightly but isn’t tight. If anything, I’d say the River has sliiiiiiightly more room, as in you could squeeze a pair of skinny jeans into them.

Comfort: 8.5/10. Like the Rosemary, the River has a three-inch heel but since this baby is a sturdy block heel, they’re much more sidewalk-proof.

Pairs well with: A denim miniskirt and cozy cream cardigan. Just add a ruby red lip for a cheeky pop of colour.

Value: Of the bunch, a red boot probably feels like the most fleeting trend, but when iterated in a crisp knee-high boot with a chic nipped square toe and graduated block heel, the of-the-moment colour gets some serious mileage.

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Shop more knee-high boots we love below.

Mango patent leather-effect heeled boots

Somehow, at press time these marked-down shiny leather boots from Mango are fully stocked so I’d run to the cash register. Patent leather is so easy to clean (hello, wet cloth) and the slightly squared-off toe feels unxpected.

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By Anthropologie knee-high pointed-toe boots

Snakeskin boots are practically a neutral and this rusty pattern feels fresh. The low heel looks manageable, not to mention the style comes in five different colours/textures. Plus, these boots are available in standard or wide width which makes finding your perfect size easier.

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Ganni slouch high shaft boot

I’ve seen these boots IRL and can confirm the shaft is majorly roomy, if that exaggerated look the Scandi girlies rock so effortlessly is what you’re after. Bonus: They have a modest two-inch heel so you could justify the purchase by assuming you’ll be able to wear them 24/7.

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Everlane knee-high banana heel boot

The curved heel on these boots gives Khaite but at a more palatable price tag. They come in black and brown leather and if the website images are any guide, look super chic under a midi-skirt.

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By Far Stevie 42 boots

The slim shaft and slightly rounded pointy toe on these boots winks at the ’90s in the most fun way. Just add a going out top and you’ll be ready for New Year’s Eve.

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Staud Western Suede Wally Boots

The subtle Western detailing at the top of the shaft makes these suede boots a chic, streamlined alternative to a full-on cowboy boot, and the caramel colour will accessorize your rich fall knits beautifully.

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