When is it not boots-shopping season? Only when it's saving-for-boots-shopping season. But we've reached early fall, which is the cool-weather point of no return. The time to pick out this year's boots is now.

When is it not boots-shopping season?

Only when it's saving-for-boots-shopping season. But we've reached early fall, which is the cool-weather point of no return. The time to pick out this year's boots is now.

And we're in luck, because there's lots to choose from this time around. One note: Cut-out boots are big this year. We've excluded them because we know from experience - cold feet are not happy feet.


Sky-high

If you're going to go over the knee, go over the top. This suede number ought to add a hefty dose of sultry to a skirt or dress. There's never been a better time than now to get away with almost thigh-high black stiletto boots.

Betsey Johnson, $395 at piperlime.com


Ankle angel

Start wearing these immediately with skinny jeans that taper to the ankle and some colorful socks. Come late fall and winter, pair them with sweater-like knit tights, which are bound to be huge.

BCBG Paris, $70 at DSW


Serious hardware

These boots aren't messing around. Not only do the straps, buckles and grommets make it clear these aren't some sissy shoes, they also boast kick-butt cone heels and enough Western details - pointy toe, decorative stitching, arched edging - to give them some serious country cred.

Dufrene, $150 at Aldo


Lace-up love

The menswear theme continues with oxford-influenced shapes (and, in plenty of cases, oxfords themselves). But we're talking boots, and it doesn't get much cuter than a lace-up, stacked-heel little boot in a fall-ready neutral hue.

MIA, $50 at DSW


Casual classic

A classic (translation: can be carried from one winter through to the next) take on the boot, these look equally as polished pulled over jeans as with a casual dress. Horseback-riding experience not required. We love the sharp-looking loops decorating the sides.

Civico 10, $100 at DSW