I love the idea of tall boots that come up above the knee, but it’s a tricky look to pull off unless your legs are long and slim, which mine sadly are not. Long boots, often made of soft suede, tend to concertina down on shorter legs, and several wrinkled pairs languish in my wardrobe to prove it. So when I fell for yet another pair of long suede boots last year, it was slightly against my better judgement that I bought them. But I’ve been putting them through their paces ever since; I’ve walked long distances in them and even played football with a three-year-old, all without any hint of a blister or sag – indeed the tops remain proudly above the knee.
I discovered these brilliant boots at a rather unlikely location – Burghley Horse Trials, held at stately Burghley House in Lincolnshire in September and hosting an entertaining cocktail bar in conjunction with boutique gin distiller Twelve Keys. It was with my gin goggles on that I came across the stand of Norfolk-based leather goods label Fairfax & Favor and its fetching navy suede cavalier-style Amira boots (£415). I was won over by their bravura style, raised above the knee at the front and curved down to the back, where a long metal zip runs up to a punched-scallop detail and flaunts a long tassel in the style of traditional Spanish riding boots. Mine have a 7cm heel but they also come in a flat style (£395) – both are elegant and practical, and very good value.
Fairfax and Favor are the middle names of the brand’s two young founders, Marcus Fountaine and Felix Parker – childhood friends whose business began with leather gun slips and graduated to boots and shoes made in a traditional factory they sought out in southern Spain. While their initial naivety led to a consignment of snaffle-front loafers being confiscated by a luxury brand on the grounds of plagiarism, they now work with several factories in Portugal, have recently added handbags to their range, run regular city pop-ups as well as selling online and at their expanding by-appointment showroom in a historic Norfolk stable.
The first boot design was the knee-high Regina (from £325), also in suede with the signature tassel, while the leather Imperial Explorer (£395) has a more country feel to it, with a water-resistant finish and a chunky sole. There are also Chelsea boots (£215) for men and women, all with carefully considered design details and quality materials. I love the cheery orange leather lining of my boots, which is not just a great contrast with the dark exterior but helps maintain the structure with the addition of a sturdy elasticated back panel. Best of all, the boots have brought me compliments on my legs. And that’s a first.