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The Black Leather Boot

“They went into my closets looking for skeletons, but thank God, all they found were shoes. Beautiful shoes.” – Imelda Marcos

I recently threw away a pair of my girlfriend’s shoes (that is, if four-year-old rain and coffee-stained Uggs qualify as shoes). Yes, she reluctantly agreed to toss them. But it was only with my prodding she let them go.

The answer to your next question is yes, she is sad. We’re now in the future, living in a world in which her feet are without their favorite wintertime comfort. A pair of boots that were always there for her. Cold or warm. Rain or shine. Couch or coffee shop.

Because that’s the thing about shoes. Whether you favor boots or plimsolls or wingtips — whether she (or he) likes strappy heels or ballet flats or cushy, suede-wrapped marshmallows — shoes are one of the few items that are ubiquitously favorable to just about everyone. They help you walk with confidence, both literally and figuratively. They can make or break an entire look (I’m looking at you, Jordans-with-trousers guy). And because of this, when it comes to this time of year, they’re the perfect gift.

So if, like me, you threw away your special someone’s slippers, then do both of yourselves a favor and replace them. Otherwise, our recommendation for the seasonal gift of choice is a pair of leather Chelsea boots.

We’re already in favor of wearing Chelseas every day. They’re easy on and off, and are as wearable to the office Christmas party as they are for hanging lights on the back deck. But for that special someone—and as a gift this time of year—think black leather instead of caramel suede, like the Jensen Ankle Boot from Acne Studios.

Like a shorter, sleeker version of their iconic Pistol boot, Acne’s Jensen is an ankle-height Chelsea that pretty much any woman with a pair of feet will love. First off, they look amazing. The silhouette is poised. The heel is high enough (but not too high). And they’re made of richly pebbled goes-with-everything grained black leather. Tonal stitching keeps everything subdued, while a gunmetal accent at the slightly pointed toe keeps things interesting. Elastic gussets at the sides and pull-tabs at the heel collar make for easy on-off wear, and rubber soles mean they’re worthy of winter-weather jaunts about town.

Yes, they’re on the spendier side (retailing for $560). But you’re paying for Italian craftsmanship, as well as the minimal-and-pragmatic-but-full-of-sex-appeal thing the Swedes do so well. You’re also paying for an ongoing answer to the age-old question: “what shoes should I wear with this?” These boots will go from work or daytime play to a night out with ease. And that’s worth its weight in gold.

So if you’re trying to think of just the right gift for your significant other this season, add a pair of perfect, black leather boots to their closet. And if you need to make room on the shoe shelf, pass over her well-worn slippers and throw away a pair of yours instead.