...my boots were my divorce present to myself. never had warm feet in my marriage, but single life is a WHOLE NEW STORY!! ;o) i am from new england so i have had my life's share of "best boots around" claims...these really are the best i have EVER had! what you really can't know until you see them is that the actual overall finish (color) on the of the boot is more of a distressed/variagated grain. rather like a flight pilot's bomber jacket. it has a very nice vintage look out of the box. what i like best is that the actual boot is light, but thick where it needs to be--in the walls of the ankle and calf. there is more than enough bootlace to accommodate very large calves, so there are no worries there. lastly, my only advice when trying to decide what size to order is to go one size larger. i got the 9 and though i tend to run 9.5 because i have the foot of a duck--the boots tend to run smaller because they are more tapered to the foot; toe box is very snug. fashion isn't a huge priority for me normally, but they do work with everything.