How to take care of your fall boots just like Kate Middleton
Calling Kate Middleton a mere trendsetter is like calling Beyoncé a run-of-the-mill singer. The Duchess of Cambridge—who is known for her thrifty real-girl finds—regularly sets off a shopping frenzy every time she steps out in a new ready-to-wear look. The future queen shops at Zara, too?! She's just like us.
Recently, she made even more "she's-so-relatable" news when many of her style devotees collectively noted that the most fashionable member of the royal family has been wearing the same pair of brown leather long-tassel riding boots by Penelope Chilvers (which retail for about $618—if you're feeling royally inspired) for 12 years. Not only does that kind of wardrobe have longevity, it's impressive as hell. No matter how much we love a particular pair of boots, time (and harsh winters) tend to do a number on them, and we'd be thrilled to get half that long of a wear out of our favorite pair.
Luckily, we snagged care tips (to keep your boots better-than-new through the decades) straight from Kate's famous boot designer. According to Chilvers, the designer behind the Duchess's favorite brand, longevity starts with the sole—specifically the Goodyear-welted rubber sole, which isn't easy to come by these days. "There are not many factories that still exist that offer this construction any longer, as it takes time and craftsmanship of an expert level to make," Chilvers tells Allure. The modern glued sole doesn't hold up as well over time. "The stitched welt of leather between the upper [of the boot] and the sole adds pliability with wear," she says. Regardless of which type of sole you choose, you can keep the boots good as new over a decade's worth of miles by simply having a cobbler replace the sole as often as needed.
Next, you have to take care of the leather—best done the old-fashioned way in Chilvers's book. "A good leather feed should be applied regularly to natural leather, keeping it water-resistant and pliable," says Chilvers. "We sell an equestrian saddle soap in the store for these boots."
Boot storage is also key. When you're not wearing them, lay boots flat or store with a boot tree in order to help them keep their shape and prevent that sag old boots tend to get right at the base of the ankle. "After wet weather, stuff them with newsprint until they are dry, so they return to their shape," says Chilvers. "Then apply leather feed and store in a dry place."
Finally, you should work with time, not against it. "Do not be too precious with these boots," says Chilvers. "They are natural and get better with age." Just like Kate's style.
More: See and shop Kate's favorite shoes: