Lovely lace-up leather boots and how to look after them

— by Alyson Walsh

The Dune Picante boot


For the last few winters I’d been drawn to the pull-on-‘n-go ease of Chelsea boots, but this year it’s a lovely lace-up that feels far more appealing. Over three decades after I said goodbye to my Doc Martens, stompy boots with laces are walking back into my wardrobe – and there is happiness in revisiting old favourites. I’ve always loved their tough vibe and silent communication of grounded-ness and strength. This time around ‘though, I’ll be swapping bovver boots for slightly more refined styles that don’t take so much wearing in.

The black boots I’m wearing (top) are the ‘Picante’ (£160) from Dune. They’re polished and have a lightweight track sole. I’ve worn quite a few pairs of Dune shoes and boots on recent photoshoots and have been impressed both by the construction and aesthetic of their footwear offering. There’s a similar style at &OtherStories (here, £135) which are slightly more classic looking and another alternative at Cos (here) with a thicker track sole and more military vibe (£240).


The Seasalt Far Fields boot


The older I get, the more important fit becomes. And a number of brands are taking it more seriously, too; M&S has a decent footwear range this season (we called quite a few different styles in for the recent shoot) and this wide-fit pair that looks the business (£69). For comfort, function and fit, I really like ‘Hoara’ from Geox (£115). Note the speed hooks, which facilitate a good fit on the ankle and faster dressing – especially if you have no patience for the faff of lacing up. Ahem.

Colour-wise, I’m gravitating towards the warm, earthy tones that are trending at the moment. I recently wore the chestnut-brown ‘Far Fields’ boots from Seasalt (£125) on a shoot and they were an excellent all-rounder. They also have a side zip – though personally I have a thing about the faux lace-up, plus side zip combination! Even though I know it makes life easier, I always wonder if good design needs both… There’s a lovely, brown suede pair at DUO boots (£175) featuring smart, brogue-ish details (and two widths). For US readers, the ‘Delaney’ boots at Madewell ($198) are a timeless, classic and will look superb with cargo pants and denim, or if you prefer a thicker sole, take a look at Sam Edelman‘s ‘Garrett’ bootie ($120).

Lace-up, hiking styles lend practical, sporty appeal to outfits. Grenson’s ‘Nanette’ continues to be a best-seller for the brand. I’m partial to the dark brown style with contrast laces and I’ve spotted a few pairs listed at half price (£144 – £178) on The Outnet. Every winter Whistles also brings back their hiking-style boot ‘Amber’ (£185) in seasonal colour-ways. This year it’s available in the classics: black, brown and tan. While, over at Jigsaw, there’s the robust-looking ‘Otley Leather Trek Boot’ (£185) with cozy shearling trim to balance the track sole.


Wearing the Grenson Nanette


When I asked Tim Little, Creative director at Grenson for some boot care tips he stressed the importance of avoiding water when cleaning. If leather or suede boots get wet in the rain he suggests using shoe (or boot) trees – newspaper is decent alternative – and leaving boots to dry at room temperature. Don’t ever place them by a radiator or boiler because this will dry out the leather making it brittle and prone to cracking. Tim advises we polish them at least once a week [something I confess I rarely do], leaving the polish on the shoe overnight before buffing them, then treating them with a weather protector (especially the suedes!). A little TLC will have you boots looking their best through to their next revival.

Shop Grenson’s shoe care products HERE. They also run a rebuild and repair service which helps to maintain the life of their shoes and boots.


Lots of lace-ups here:


That’s Not My Age is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Research: Helen Johnson



First outfit: The corduroy trousers are the Yarrel style from Finisterre. The boots are the ‘Picante’ from Dune – loaned for the shoot and then returned.

Second outfit: Is from my collaboration from Seasalt, and all items shown are from the brand. The Holly Blue Cardigan, the navy corduroy Porfell Trousers, the Trenwheal coat and the Far Fields’ boots.

Third outfit: Is from the TNMA archives. The trousers are from Toast (similar options HERE and HERE) and the jumper and coat were loaned from Precious Boutique. The boots are the Nanette from Grenson.

Keep Reading

Expert visible mending tips from artist Celia Pym

  For the last few winters I’d been drawn to the pull-on-‘n-go ease of Chelsea boots, but this year it’s a lovely lace-up that feels far more appealing. Over three decades after…