For this fashion brat, there's nothing more frustrating than trying to find the perfect pair of boots - especially for one used to shopping in fashion capitals like New York, LA and London.
The quality of fabric and craftsmanship is always in question in a country that doesn't always have the customer's best interests in mind, and it's often difficult to even know where to begin looking.
There are, thankfully, a couple of reliable brands I recognized from malls abroad, but there are some native options worth giving a chance as well.
The first order of business is to determine what type of boot you want: sophisticated work boots, comfortable sheepskin, sexy leather stilettos, a combination of leather and sheepskin, platforms, slouchy, cowboy, suede, rain, snow, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, sporty, hiking and the list goes on.
The next task is to be certain of the purpose of the boots. If you're going to wear them to work, they have to be comfortable, but in most professional environments, uber-comfy Ugg-style boots wouldn't be appropriate. The heel shouldn't be too high or too thin if you're meant to walk around in it nine hours a day, and if a flat boot is most comfortable, make sure it's leather or suede.
Aldo and Kenneth Cole offer nice boots appropriate for business and pleasure at prices only a tad bit higher than what you would pay back in the States, but Marko shoes, a local company with branches across the country (and a new branch in Jerusalem), has dozens of different styles of all types of boots at extremely affordable prices.
For a few hundred shekels, you can find quality leather imported boots that are actually comfortable and come with a three-month warranty, and if your budget is tight, there are numerous synthetic options that look just as stylish. From wild, colorful beading to plain black suede, the variety and competitive prices make this shop worth a visit.
This year, it's important to be aware that boot legs have been designed wider than in the past to accommodate the popular trend of tucking your pants inside your boots. This has no effect on ankle or calf boots, but if you're not a fan of the look, make sure to ask for a narrower fit. It's also a good idea to consider whether you'll wear the boots mostly with pants - which allows you to experiment more with ankle and calf boots - or with skirts, in which case knee-length is usually preferred, especially on cold days.
Outside the workplace, the sky's the limit when it comes to shape, style and heel height, but two of this season's favorite features are ultra-feminine cowboy boots and gorgeous takes on the high-heeled ankle boot. Emanuel, a high-end local shoe chain, offers a large selection of every kind of cowboy boot imaginable, with elements like buckles, chains, beading and suede fringes. Made of high-quality leather, they are long-lasting and original, but the price tag may make you think twice before you splurge.
Couple Of, a smaller chain owned by husband and wife team Shelly and Elon Satat-Kumbor, also provides a smaller but more intimate collection of high quality leather boots, whose design is based on unique techniques of gathering and folding the natural leathers. A bit more affordable than Emanuel, this is the place to find one-of-a-kind shoes you won't see on anyone else's feet.
But if you feel you must stick with the brands you already know and love, Nine West, DKNY and Timberland have branches here where you can find classy and sophisticated boots for everything from nights out on the town to walking your dog in the rain.
Though you can also find cute and fashionable boots at the little stores in bus stations, on major streets and in some local malls, the shoes are mostly made from low quality synthetic materials and aren't very durable. But if you can get a good deal and don't mind buying another pair next winter, it might be worth your while.
Once you've found the perfect pair of boots, make sure to keep them in good condition (I always save the boxes) and wear them every chance you get - because there's nothing sexier than a great pair of legs in a great pair of boots.