The (S)Tory of the Boots From Hell

We all have that one item in our wardrobe.  The item from Hell.  It’s akin to the lemon of a car that you may have had years ago before the lemon law went into effect.

It’s true. Cars aren’t the only lemons.  We all have that one item of clothing that is the bane of our existence.

It could be an expensive coat that, for some reason is always ripping in a certain spot at the seam or has buttons that continually fall off. It could be a pair of pants that you love but for some reason, the hem keeps getting undone.

You get the picture—right?

Well, for me, it’s a certain pair of boots. A pair of Tory Burch boots.  And if I hadn’t spent a good amount of money on them, I would have tossed them in the trash a long time ago.

These are the boots.  And they have been nothing short of a headache since I purchased them back in 2012!  But they’re just so beautiful!

But—I spent a lot of money on these horrific excuse of designer boots.  And they are, hands down, the worst pair of garbage that I ever overspent on—even when I made the purchase at Nordstrom Anniversary Sale six years ago.


I’m not kidding. These boots are like that old boyfriend  you know is so bad but you just can’t get rid of….

Let me explain.  I wanted a nice rich Cognac brown pair of riding boots that would lend itself well to my beloved Kooba Sloane Bag.  Now mind you, I absolutely love my Kooba Sloane.  I’ve had her for about eleven years—possibly twelve.  This bag is not only pleasing to the eye, but it is well-constructed, strong as all get-out and fits a good amount of my “stuff”.    I had seen this bag but it was just way out of my affordability radar at the time.  Retailing for $645, and me, being a divorced mother with one child away in college and two children home at school, it was out of reach.

However, I got lucky.  The bag ended up on sale at Neiman Marcus and I had a gift card.  I ended up paying $200 for it—a treat for my birthday.  This is the bag that survived a child throwing up all over it on a flight back from France.  She’s survived storms and house moves.  Kooba was over my shoulder as I went through menopause and my divorce.  She was also with me for my first Colonoscopy—of which the doctor said “Nice bag—my wife was eyeing that”.

And the more she ages, the better the leather looks.  And  years later, the bag still receives compliments.

She’s been puked on, thrown around in cars, gone through so much with me, yet, she gets better with age. My Kooba Sloane has been aging gracefully!

Anyway, I wanted a pair of boots that would best match the color of my Sloane bag simply because I have a “thing” for matching my footwear to my bags. And after  years of searching in vain, that special pair of boots was found during a Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2012.

What other boots?  My crossed eyes only saw the Nadine boots from Tory Burch.  They were so stunning and the perfect color!

The Tory Burch “Nadine” boots, which, I believe were inclusive to Nordies.  (Read this review from the blog To Brighten My Day )

It was a perfect time to make the purchase.  I had a job at a healthcare company and was making a decent salary.  The retail price was $495 USD and with the deep discount of the infamous Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I purchased the boots for $300.  Mind you, I had never made such an expensive boot purchase before in my life and since then, never have.

My circle of boot friends!  And none of the boots were as expensive as the Tory Burch Nadine boots.  And none ever needed as much repair!

I’ll spend more on my leather Longchamp bags but not boots.  And so, this was a big deal for me.

The boots were a bit snug with heavier jeans, but since the majority of my jeans are skinny ones, it was no big deal.  The foot of the boot looked really clumsy too.  The way it was constructed just made my foot look three sizes larger, and at an 8 ½, I don’t want bigger feet. But it didn’t matter.  The color was perfect and I liked the hardware.

And so, the saga of the Boots from Hell began.

During the fall into winter of 2012, I finally got to wear the boots.  Since purchasing the boots in August, I hadn’t been able to wear them due to the warm weather.  The first time I wore these really pricey boots, they were the most uncomfortable footwear, next to the Tory Burch Reva flats, I had ever put  my narrow feet into.  Now—I was able to accept the uncomfortable factor simply because after breaking my Reva flats in, they were extremely comfortable. I figured it would be the same thing for the boots.

I should have earned my lesson after breaking in Tory Burch Reva flats. It took forever to break these shoes in–but years later, they are comfortable.  Might I mention the tunic in this photo? It’s also Tory Burch and the stitching on the bottom is already becoming undone.  Never again, Tory. Never again!


My narrow foot was swimming within the  width of the boot.  To drive my car, I had to take the right boot off—it was like having my foot and leg in a thick cardboard box.  But the boots were the perfect color.  Walking in the boots was just as bad.  Being clumsy by nature, walking in these was turning my clumsiness into a fine art.

After two wears, I placed these boots back into the box and didn’t take them out until 2014. I just could not bring myself to return them.

Now it’s 2014. I gained a bit of weight.  Like—everywhere.  But—the cooler weather was great for wearing boots.  The boots wouldn’t zip up.  Even with skinny jeans.  I had no idea that with a weight gain, the boots wouldn’t fit.  But they were the perfect color—and that hardware.  Since I paid $300 for the boots, there was no way I was going to try to zip these beauties up and risk breaking the zipper.

Image result for atypical 60 boots

Honest to God, with the weight gain, this was as far that I could zip the boots up. And I didn’t even try because I didn’t want to ruin the boots. Into the closet they went. Unworn for almost two years.

Now it’s 2016. Fall.  I lost weight and was continuing to lose weight. On a whim, I took out the boots.  They fit again.  They zipped up beautifully while wearing skinny jeans and even more beautifully with Pixie Pants and dresses.  With my Kooba Sloane bag eagerly anticipating her booty buddies, I made them a perfect match.  Then I forgot that these boots were a bitch to break in.

At this point, I didn’t care how long it would take to break these in.  Finally, in late winter, the leather in these incredibly stiff leather boots wore in, and the boots were more comfortable. The foot part still looked ridiculously big but it didn’t matter. The color was perfect.

Late winter, the boots are finally broken in and are looking good with my Longchamp bag while Sloane takes a break in bag rotation.

Winter left, Spring came around and as I was getting ready to zip up my boots, I noticed that the zipper pull had a crack in it.  And when I pulled up the zipper, the pull broke.  WTF?  How cheaply made was the hardware on these boots?  You need to understand, I take very good care of my shoes and my boots.  I’ve had shoes for over ten years that still look like new.  I’m very particular.


I couldn’t believe it.  How could a piece of hardware break when the boots have been in the closet longer than on my feet?

The zipper pull also had the “Tory Burch” logo cut into it.  I took the boots to the Tory Burch boutique at the King of Prussia Mall.  I thought that perhaps since the pull was a TB logo perhaps they could repair the boot gratis. This was such a difficult thing for me to do because I was emotionally scarred from a previous trip to the Tory Burch Boutique at KOP Mall.  (Read my review of this horrific store:  My Review of Tory Burch store on Google). True to Tory Burch Corporate Culture, I was treated as though I was a dried up, bloodied human sized scab that was now oozing pus.  When I finally approached Miss Mainline Sales Assistant and explained my conundrum.  She ever-so-smugly smirked and said. “We don’t do repairs”.

How I looked going into the Tory Burch Boutique

How the snotty Tory Burch sales assistant saw me.

Off to Nordstrom I went.  Luckily, Nordstrom was able to send the boots out to be repaired. I was told that it would take some time for the boot to be repaired. But at this point my reaction was “Fine.”

Did I mention that it took three months to get the boots back?  Thankfully, I had them repaired during the summer months.

Fall 2017.  The boots are repaired, the zipper is beautiful and the match is perfect.  It was well-worth the $15 I had to pay for the repair, but the aggravation was priceless. The color of the boots has also darkened somewhat over the years, making them an even better match for my Kooba Sloane.

Happily in my Tory Burch boots again–and my Kooba Sloane is thrilled!

I’ve been happy wearing these boots.  Yes. The foot part still looks too big but I no longer have to take the boots off when I drive and they are broken in to perfection with the exception of the clumsy looking foot.

And then it happened.  Two weeks ago.  I went to zip up the left boot and it wouldn’t budge after being zipped up halfway.  Now—I know I put on holiday weight, but not enough that these friggin’ boots would no longer fit. Besides—the leather stretched a bit over the years.  I tugged again. Nothing.

I took the boot off and noticed it.  You know the fabric part of the zipper?  Where it meets the actually zipper?  It was torn.  Big time.

At this point, I wanted to throw the boots in the trash.  But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I had a moral dilemma here.  Thousands of customers take advantage of the Nordstrom return policy.  Why couldn’t I?  Regardless of my past gig selling handbags, I was still a customer.  Regardless of the fact the boots were purchased in 2012 and I had worn them on and off.  Regardless of the fact they were sent out by Nordstrom to get repaired.  My dilemma was—do I return, or send back out for repair.

What will happen?  Will I return the boots only to be denied?  Will I be able to have these boots from Hell repaired–or will the repair request be denied?

And off I went to Nordstrom. I’ll tell you, I felt bad. I’m not a returner. But what happened was very interesting.  The shoe department at Nordstrom is always fully-staffed. It wasn’t when I took the boots in.  Sitting in a chair was a salesman (I’m being sexist), he looked bored so I decided to brighten up his day.  I explained that I used to work at Nordies and that I wasn’t a serial returner because I couldn’t stand serial returners and then I explained about the boots.  Let me tell you something right now.  Nordstrom prides itself on great customer service.  This guy was a real tool.  Apparently, the only person who could have helped me was the manager who was on an hour break.  I was offered no assistance and no help, which was pissing me off because I know Nordstrom’s stellar customer policies very well. Yes!  This less-than-stellar service was now at Nordstrom!

With a sigh I went over to the handbag department.  The assistant manager, Jamie, that I used to work for is now the manager. And I love her. So together we set out to find the original sales transaction.  But the problem was that we couldn’t find it.  Nordstrom overhauled their credit cards  and policies last year and everyone was given a new number. Add to that, I don’t think I used a Nordstrom card. I think I used my bank debit card.  No problem, after some laughs and good conversation, not only did I realize that I missed Jamie, but I decided to just get the damned boots repaired.  Again.

Back to the boot department.   I was directed to the designer area because Tory Burch’s cheaply made boots are “designer”.   Why couldn’t “tool man” tell me that in the first place? This time around I got lucky. Jasmine, the designer sales assistant was a doll.  She took down all the needed information about the boots, assured me that there was a chance that the boots could not be repaired because Nordstrom changed their repair policy but they would be sent out for assessment.  She gave me my receipt and I was miserably on my way.

In addition, when I handed the boots over, I noticed a little hardware screw was missing from the back of the boot.  When I pointed it out, I was told that couldn’t be replaced.

If Nordstrom cannot repair the Boots from Hell, I will bring them to a local shoe repair to see if they can do the job.  If Nordstrom can repair the boots, I’m sure the cost will be about $50 to $60 as the entire zipper will have to be repaired.  This will bring the price of the $300 plus $15 for the zipper pull repair up to almost $400.  Some big sale item.

Lesson learned?  Don’t buy Tory Burch boots. Not now. Not ever. Never.  And stick to the less expensive brands.  Today I’m wearing a pair of boots that I also purchased at Nordstrom. The boots are the Ellerby Riding Boots from Enzo Angiolini and I paid around a hundred bucks for them back in 2014.  They are comfortable.  They have never needed a repair. They are beautifully constructed. And the brown trim on the top makes for a great match to my Kooba Sloane Bag.

These Ellerby boots from Enzo Angiolini are some of the best boots I own.  They are Bonaparte’s favorites!  Always looking sharp, I can wear them with my Kooba Sloane or any black bag.  And they were far less expensive that the Tory Burch boots!

What about you?  Do you have that item from Hell in your possession?  Do you have that overpriced item that you can’t part with or realize was a mistake from the get-go?  Tell me. Please! I gotta know! We all need to know!!!

It’s a shame that one pair of boots could cause such stress—and I’m singing “Shame, Shame Shame” today. Remember this from Shirley and Company?


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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29 Responses to The (S)Tory of the Boots From Hell

  1. Keri says:

    Oh my gosh! FINALLY there’s someone else who thinks Tory Burch is overpriced cheap crap! I can’t speak to her clothing because the line doesn’t make a size that will come close to fitting me. I lusted after a pair of Revas and when I finally got them, they were so uncomfortable that I gave them to my daughter. Her tiny skinny feet couldn’t break them in either. I bought a pair of adorable TB black heels-there’s zero padding on the ball of the shoe, and no support in the heel. Unwearable.

    On the flip side, I just got my first leather Longchamp for Christmas and I think it’s sparked a new obsession for me 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hey. Keri. Right????!!!! In my efforts to ponder ethical shopping, what about ethical designer brands? I’ve given the Burch brand three chances. The Reva’s did break in after a year. The boots–forget about my trials and tribulations that still continue, and that adorable tunic I have–as much as I love it, the shoddy workmanship has the stitching on the bottom unraveling way too quickly. I’ve had fast fashion that wore better! Congratulations on the leather Longchamp. I can attest that it will NOT be your first. Those bags are fantastic and wear better with age!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!!

  2. Fiona says:

    Sorry to hear about your bothersome boots, I’d be pissed off too that they’ve had to be repaired twice after spending that kind of money. I have one pair of long leather boots made by Ugg, I paid about £150 about five years ago but have worn them constantly and no repairs…so far.
    I now have bag envy! Both of your bags are gorgeous. Btw I bought my first Longchamp Le Pliage before Xmas. I only paid £37 at the airport Harrods as I had a £25 off voucher. Xx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Fiona! Right??? Had the boots been a cheap forty dollar pair, I wouldn’t have been so upset. It proves designer is not necessarily the better choice. Oh. Oona has had her Uggs for years!!! I am so in love with Longchamp as a brand but that Kooba Sloane bag is my baby!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. Juliet says:

    Oh – those boots sound like they are possessed! I find certain brands just don’t work for me – Marks and Spencer (don’t start me on the underwear)… but pretty much all the clothing, it is badly made, too many of the cheap man made fibres and just odd shapes – or at least on me and the frilly bits or the cheap buttons etc etc. Another brand that looks dreadful on me – Monsoon, a UK brand that looks adorable on a colleague, she looks so darned cute, me – I get static shocks left right and centre and look frowsy. Then of course there is own brand John Lewis – I love John Lewis, but their own tee shirts twist and go all lop sided and wonky and their jeans – saggy bum every time. Now my Navy Le Pliage – bought at Edinburgh airport, wonderful!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. Isn’t it funny how certain brands just don’t work? That’s why I am so loyal to J. Crew. The clothing just fits me and the styles are mine. Monsoon made its way here but as a children’s brand. I’m guessing the adult clothing won’t be far behind!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  4. Susan says:

    I have NEVER liked Tory Burch – I thought I was the only one who didn’t like their shoes. Their shoes are not only uncomfortable, but they tear up my feet horribly!!!! Definitely over priced!!!! Their clothes leave a lot to be desired as well.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan! I’m telling you, this boot saga has left me thinking at how Tory Burch, as a brand, came to be so popular. The workmanship and craftmanship is sub par. The sandals that are mass produced are $195!! Come on. I get custom-made sandals in France for less money!! But these boots. I’m almost hoping that Nordstrom loses them so I can get a credit to my account. That’s how much I can’t stand them…LOL!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. Franco Sarto. That is literally the only legitimate response I can think of when someone tells me their shoes aren’t great for what they paid. I will never abandon my Franco Sarto riding boots, and they come in wide calf for iron legged ladies like myself!

    I swear up and down, you will never regret a pair of Franco Sarto boots.

    • Catherine says:

      Fashionhous–You will never get a complaint out of me for Franco Sarto! I have a pair of his boots that have lasted me for years and I got them at Marshall’s for next to nothing!!!! You are spot on with that brand!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • I also agree that Tory Burch is so not worth its salt. We hosted a foreign exchange student a few years ago (she was also a crappy person), and she had a Tory Burch purse that she was obsessed with. I remember always thinking it looked dirty and unkempt, and I realized later on that not only was it her not taking care of her items, but also the actual quality and build of the bag. She had shared with me how she’d only had it a few years at that point, and I could already notice the incredible wear and tear.

        I’ll stick with Kate Spade bags personally, but I’m almost certain Target brand would hold up better than that bag did.

  6. Deb M. says:

    Your boot saga reminds me of a similar situation in my family—-when my daughter was in her last year of college, I encouraged her to “up her game”, look beyond Payless Shoes and consider asking for a decent pair of boots for Christmas…she must have stewed on this for another year or two and FINALLY settled on a pair of Frye boots (with my encouragement!). Well, I have been SO disappointed in those boots! We live in southern California and they do not get a LOT of use but they have been repaired a couple of times and are due again (I think they can’t be 4 or 5 years old!) They are ADORABLE and look amazing on her but have NOT been worth all the trouble! So, boy, can I relate!!!!!!!!! She has business coming up in Boston now and should have a nice pair of boots for work but I sure don’t want to advise her as to where to begin looking for a quality pair!

    • Catherine says:

      Deb. It’s incredible–isn’t it? I like Frye in general, and Oona has two pair of their boots. One she took with her when she moved and one is in the garage and is in awful shape. Granted, she’s hard on shoes/boots but the Frye boots should have worn much better. I agree with you!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

    • Vava says:

      Interesting! I’m a huge Frye fan, haven’t ever had any trouble with them other than the fact that the sizing isn’t always consistent. I’m wearing a pair right now that I have had about 20 years. But, I have a large shoe collection (eeek – the truth is out now) and so I’m not very hard on my footgear since they are on a regular rotation. 🙂

    • Nancy says:

      Hi middleagedwarrior…just checked out your blog and would like to get notice of new posts but don’t see an option for that…am I missing it somewhere on the home page?

      • I think you can either follow through word press or you can add your email and then they come to you? Usually it comes up if you hover your mouse in the bottom corner of the page. I also put all my new posts up on Twitter @MiddleageWar and Facebook – Middle Aged Warrior. Thanks so much for the contact and let me know if you are still having trouble

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks so much Warrior!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. Nancy says:

    What a pain in the you know where those boots have been. As a former Nordstroms employee…maybe you know the answer to this…are some items…maybe your T. Burch boots…specially made for the sale and thus not of the same quality and thats how they sell for a lower price? The reason I ask is I purchased something as a shower gift and then several days later, the anniv. sale began and it appeared to be the exact same item…called for a price adjustment and was told altho they look alike they were diff….mine was an Anniv. sale item so no price matching. Not to say this excuses the poor quality as even at the Anniv. sale TB is pricey but if we are still paying a lot of money for designer items like this and not getting the quality the brand should offer…good to know next time the Nord. Anniv. sale rolls around.

    • Catherine says:

      Yes. There are items that brands produce specifically for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Some brands keep their integrity (such as Longchamp) and produce stellar goods. Those boots were below standards. And I think Nordstrom gets the short end of the deal–the goods are still sold but the returns are high due to poor workmanship and the sales people have that taken against their commission. And in the end, the only winner is the brand.
      So let it be said, designer brands can be just as “unethical” as fast fashion!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • Nancy says:

        I KNEW it…thanks for confirming. I had actually purchased and returned some Tory Boots from the Anniversary Sale because they didn’t seem as nice as the other ones being sold and I remembered it was the very same style as the boots from the previous year by TB. Well will be done looking at those ever again. Would be interested if anyone has experiences with lower quality items and which brands so we can steer clear of them during future Nordstrom Anniversary Sales. BTW I did notice same issue with the TB handbags during Anniversary Sale…ordered and returned (had to be shipped as I am not by a Nordstroms) when I saw quality.

  8. doodletllc says:

    Actually, I have a recent complaint directly with Nordstrom…two sale items that I purchased on line – cashmere sweaters…truthfully, the only sweaters that I can wear without feeling like I am going to pass out from the heat…anyway, sweaters on sale for $33 regularly $250…I jumped and bought both…but what a disaster…pilling, stretching and thin, almost see-through…what a joke but for the cheap price I’m wearing them for housecleaning and even painting and staining jobs. In fact, now that I think of it…maybe I need to thank Nordstrom…I feel like royalty wearing fancy cashmere doing household chores…but then again, maybe not. Nordstrom…$250 for this stuff…really? No wonder American Retail is dying a not so slow, painful death.

    • Catherine says:

      Jeanne. Oh where to begin. Cashmere is one difficult wool to understand. There are so many grade levels. If I had ever seen a sweater advertised as being on sale for $33 from $250, that would be an automatic red flag. Many lower-quality cashmeres pill, lose shape and just aren’t worth it. That’s one item I would actually spend money on if I had it! I’m surprised Nordstrom did that. I don’t know–lately Nordstrom, which is a department store I really love, has been going downhill in the quality of the goods. That’s why I’ll stick to J. Crew. You’re correct–retail in America is dying a slow, painful death and we have nobody else to blame but the manufacturers and the retail establishments!! XOXOXOXO

  9. calensariel says:

    What an adventure! I get very attached to purses. Went to Dillards once and picked out a new one. The clerk asked me if I wanted to switch bags because of the problem with mine. I said okay. What I didn’t expect was her to take my old one and chuck it in the garbage. I thought well what the heck. It’s torn anyway. But halfway out too the car I turned around and went back and got it out of the trash. Still have it. Dumb, eh? But as to clothes, not me. I’m a jeans, t-shirt, and tennies person.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Lady Calen. No. I’m with you on that! I cannot imagine ever trashing my Kooba Sloane or my Longchamp or any bags. I’m very attached as well!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  10. vavashagwell says:

    I’m a bit of a shoe collector and have one pair of gold leather Tory Burch boots. Haven’t worn them all that much and they seem ok (sale item from Nordies). But from the sound of it, this brand might be POISON! I’ve had great luck with Frye, Stuart Weizman, Aquatalia, Via Spiga, Sam Edelman, Franco Sarto, Uggs. I have quite a few J Crew shoes, but I sort of treat them with kid gloves. I also like Jeffrey Campbell and Fluevogs, but the Fluevogs sometimes aren’t as well made as I would think they should be at the prices they charge.

    I’m sorry to hear these boots of yours have been such a hassle!!! Zippers shouldn’t be disintegrating like that!!!!

  11. Ah, your posts always make me smile 😊 Just sending a bit of appreciation your way… Although I don’t have a problem with expensive boots because I’m too skint to buy them haha ❤️

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Courtney! LOL! I’m glad to always put a smile on your face! Oh…I’m very much done with expensive boots. Remember–barefoot is free!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  12. ChintzyBetch says:

    lol so many things I never wear but can’t get rid of cause it cost a lot of 💰

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