Some of you guys may remember this older linen sweater...the material is a loose weave more suited for warm weather, but I love the color and wanted to winterize it for now. A simple long-sleeved tee layered underneath filled in the little holes and added warmth. I think I have almost all the texture bases covered here with wool, cable knit, suede, leather, chain...and can't forget the faux fur pouf!
After I did a review of my Stuart Weitzman Lowland flat boots earlier this season, several of you had questions in this post on the heeled Highland version. A few readers requested a comparison of the two popular styles, so here goes!
Shaft fit: The shaft construction of both boots appear to be exactly the same, made of Stuart Weitzman's signature lycra-backed stretchy suede which is lined in a satiny material. Both boots have laces at the back opening, which I secure by tying in a bow twice then tucking the ends into the shaft. I've also found the shaft measurements and fit of both styles in the same style to be exactly the same. The fit is wonderful for narrow calves and thighs, and I've heard the suede stretches nicely to accommodate curvier legs as well.
Measurements of sz 5 (please note these will vary for different shoe sizes) for both Highland and Lowlands: 4" across the ankles, 5.75" across the calves, 6.75" across the thigh opening, and 21" shaft height excluding heel. Please account for some thickness for the lined suede material. Highland has a 3.5" heel, and Lowland has a 1" heel.
Foot fit: At the foot, the Highlands feel narrower throughout than the Lowlands, which you can kinda see in the sole comparison above. The front toe area of the Highlands taper in just a bit more. The Lowlands measure 1/4" wider at the sole, but in the picture below you can see that may also be due to the thin edging detail along the foot, which I rather like. I'm clumsy and often stub my toe, rubbing off the material on the very tip of beloved shoes. I feel like it'd be easier to discreetly patch up the coloring on the edging compared to on the whole toe.
I was told by sales associates that both styles run half size big compared to other brands. I typically wear 5 to 5.5 in most brands, and found size 5 to be the most comfortable in both styles. I still have wiggle room in the Lowlands for thick socks and inserts, but the Highlands in the same size are more fitted on my feet.
Look and comfort: In the picture above, I put the heels of both shoes against a straight edge to show the difference at a glance. Not surprising for heels, the Highland looks notably smaller and more dainty relative to its flat sister. But compared to other flat boots, I think the Lowland is definitely one of the sleeker options out there. I can walk miles around the city in the Lowland with my "orthopedic" heel inserts, and find the Highlands to be comfortable for the 3.5" heels that they are. The thicker blocked heel helps a lot if you're not vigilant about sidewalk cracks!
Overall I think they're hard to compare since the two styles serve different styling purposes. I like flats for walking around the city, but prefer heels for going out and dressier occasions where I'll be taking a car. For those who mentioned you're debating between the two, it really depends on what would get more use in your own lifestyle - living in Boston, I'd pick the flats first! The price tag is not for the faint of heart, but was worth it to me given my frustrations with finding high quality tall boots that actually fit (and it doesn't hurt that they're very warm).
I also got more questions on color choice - these boots come in quite the range from dark to light. Classic black would be my first choice if I didn't already have tall boots in that color. I feel black is the easiest to "color in" or patch if the suede wears down, and also most versatile for matching with same-colored tights, leggings, and jeans. I love both gray and taupe so ended up with colors that are a little mix of both. My Lowlands are in "Londra" which is a medium gray with just hints of taupe brown, and my Highlands are in "Praline" which is lighter and more taupe. Praline is only left in the flats version at Zappos, however the similar "Taupe / Topo" is still available at most retailers in heels.
Highland sold at: Zappos, Stuart Weitzman, Nordstrom, Shopbop, Elyse Walker
Lowland sold at: Zappos, Stuart Weitzman, Nordstrom, Shopbop, Elyse Walker
All with free ship & returns in the US; Shopbop w/ free ship to several other countries
Here's my Lowland review again for photos of that style, and a tip for pulling these babies on/off with minimal struggle!
Storage and care: I'm working on a longer post about shoe care, but in the meantime, I always store my boots with wadded up paper inserted in the ankle and lower calf area, even my rubber rainboots. Most tall boots arrive with cardboard inserts or these paper wads, which I like to shape to best mimic my leg size. Boot shapers that are too big might stretch leather out; too small ones won't keep the ankle area filled, which may result in ankle sags and creases. I keep my most frequently-worn pairs ones out and like to keep others lying horizontally in their boxes or dustbags. Here's the leather & suede protectant again that I like using on shoes before wearing - 1 can is enough for 2 thorough coats on a pair of OTK boots, and can cover two pairs of shoes with less material.