With a great selection. And free shipping and free returns. And so far the prices are better than other places online.
Esp. considering the beauties I have discovered!
This post is going to feature just the adorable and oh-so-steampunky boots I found by Caterpillar:
Stella Boot in brown
Are these not fabulous?! And they are full grain leather, made to last by the highly-reputable Caterpillar company. If their boots are as good of quality as the ones my husband used to own, they will last for years of daily use.
I was admiring how they created that cute wrap-around effect just with the laces--and then realized they actually constructed the boot so you could do this if you want, with that little leather loop in the back for the laces to run through. Such a nice subtle design element! The only way I would improve this boot for Steampunk would be swapping out the classic Caterpillar construction-boot yellow laces for dark brown. But really, even if you didn't do that, the effect is so steamy.
Bajan boot in bronze
On the post-apocalyptic end of the Steampunk spectrum. And so tough and sophisticated at the same time!
Bridgetown boot in saffron/tyre
Same boot in "sunburst." Somehow you can adjust the front leather piece--it unsnaps, I imagine--which is very cool. And look at how the brass and buckles pop against the red! The classic Caterpillar boot heel is putting me off a little--definitely tips the boot over into Maine woodsman--but overall the boot is so cute that one could easily choose to ignore it. Oh, and those not-quite-red laces are off-putting as well--but again, not a big deal. Nothing could be easier than swapping out for a pair of dark brown laces.
This is a very cute boot, although the grey is the only color option available on amazon--must be last year's style. But I do really like the grey--and look at that sweet stitching on the heel, and subtle "patching." The only flaw is the cheerful lining--great if this was a boot for a tween, but so not ok for a steampunk. It looks like the purple would show the tiniest hint there on the edges of the boot flaps, which would be great if it was a desirable color, but as it is. . . sigh.
On the other hand, you could not get any more steamy than the colors in this boot. Rich ruddy and chocolate tones, with brass hardware. Slightly military, slightly equestrian--a nice practical tall boot.
Now this is a versatile boot--would work with jeans, leggings, and likely even some skirts. This is the nicest black/brown combination I have seen in a steampunky boot--the contrast stitching ties in the black/brown perfectly, and the bronze hardware is just lovely. And somehow that color combination is always dressier than either black or brown is on its own.
I can't decide which color combination I like better--the black/brown or the "chili" brown, pictured above.
Oooooooh, and take a look:
Marin boot in "coffee" found here
It looks like the Marin boot comes in the same lovely two-tone camel and brown variation as the beautiful Stella boot--the same lovely Steampunk touch without the heel! This one is not available on Amazon, but directly from the Caterpillar website. Again, I would definitely swap out the classic woodsman laces for brown. Other than that, a fabulous boot. One I am finding myself very tempted to try. . . .
Continued two weeks later. . .
I gave into temptation. I ordered the dark brown version of the Marin from Zappos, since I wanted to try the boot without paying for shipping or returns if I did not like it. For the sake of comparison, I also gave into my wildest foot fantasies and ordered the Vintage Shoe Company Molly Jump Boot:
Oooooooh, I have drooled over this boot. When the box from Zappos arrived, I so eagerly tore into it--the first to be opened was the Marin. I gotta tell you, it is a pretty ugly boot. I mean, you can sorta tell from the photos of the three different Marin versions above that the brown is the plainest, but this was more than that--the leather is thinner than I expected, and rough and dull. I guess I can see that in the photos now, but it was more so in person, and was disappointing.
The Molly Jump Boot was such a gorgeous beauty in comparison. Oh, the thick but supple leather! The velvety sheen, the antique construction, even the smell of the boot was heavenly. I wanted to love that boot so so badly. Even my husband was smitten and would not have batted an eye at the price tag. Well-made, gorgeous, even made in the USA--nothing not to love.
Until I tried them on. Oh, the sorrow! Oh, the gnashing of teeth! Alas, the boots just weren't comfortable. I tried. It seems my left foot is slightly larger than my right, and unfortunately just at the exact point where these boots are most heavily reinforced, which means they are not likely to ever stretch as much as I would need for them to be not painful.
So then I tried on the Caterpillar Marins--and while I wanted to cry, handling the poorer quality leather after the decadence of the Molly Jump boot, I slipped my feet in. . . and they felt great. I doubt I would have to break them in much at all. But the look of them just did not make me happy.
My husband tried to convince me to keep the Molly Jump boots, and pray I could break them in, which totally cracked me up. But I completely understand--something so beautiful, that so fits our desires for the kinds of things we would like to have in our home, on our bodies, is hard to let go. However, love of beauty could not override common sense, so I sent both pairs of boots back to Zappos--free of cost and even hassle, since the UPS Store drop-off is five minutes from me and on my way through town in the direction of most of my weekly errands--exactly why this company has my loyalty for now. But the Marin is still in my mind. . .
I really dig the design of the boot, and now I know it feels great on my feet. And the two-tone "Coffee" boot is sooooooo wonderfully Steampunk--the only reason I did not try it was because I would have to pay for shipping (and the potential return).
I might yet.