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Poppy Barley Boot Review: Luxury for the People & Planet

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You may recall that earlier this year, I invited a member of the Wardrobe Oxygen Community to do a Poppy Barley sandal review. I was intrigued by this family-owned sustainable shoe brand that offered stylish footwear in a range of sizes and widths. Community member Jackie provided a thorough review and several of you reached out saying the review inspired you to shop Poppy Barley and also love their sustainable leather footwear!

Poppy Barley Boot Review

Poppy Barley also loved the review and invited Wardrobe Oxygen to do a fall footwear review of their boot collection. I again crowdsourced the Wardrobe Oxygen Community for someone to write a Poppy Barley boot review and Kristin put her hat in the ring.

Kristin has worked her way up at her job from administrative assistant to C-suite. She lives in Chicago so she knows true winter and true weather. She wears a size 11W/12 shoe, and along with being a corporate rockstar, is also a parent with an active non-career life. I felt Kristin could offer a useful review to other Wardrobe Oxygen readers, especially those who need winter boots that are stylish while also practical and able to multitask for work and weekend.

I paid Kristin a fair rate for writing this review. To order her free boots from Poppy Barley, she was provided a discount code so her experience would match that of any other Poppy Barley customer. Kristin's review has only been edited for sentence structure to benefit a web audience; I didn't alter her thoughts on the brand or the shoe in any manner.

Thank you, Kristin, for the informative Poppy Barley boot review! If you liked this review, have personal experience with Poppy Barley shoes, or have any questions please share them in the comments below! And if you would like to have a chance to provide a future Wardrobe Oxygen product review, consider joining the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook!

Boots Made for Walking, and Toddler Chasing, and Board Meetings, and Negative Degree Weather

When I moved to Chicago a few years ago, I was told that one of the best parts of living in The Windy City is the excuse to build out your jacket and boot wardrobe.  I’ve found that to be true, and stylish, practical boots are a key part of my daily wardrobe from October to April.  

As a city dweller, public transit commuter, toddler mom, and non-profit executive, I need boots to stand up to a variety of fashion and practicality tests. When I saw Alison’s ask for a Wardrobe Oxygen reader to test and review a pair of Poppy Barley boots, I jumped at the chance.

The On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood by Poppy Barley
The On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood by Poppy Barley

Poppy Barley: Luxury for the People & Planet

Poppy Barley is a certified B corporation, which means it meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.  Poppy Barley promises luxury sustainable goods (shoes, accessories, and knitwear for both men and women) that are ethically made but skip the traditional mark-ups you’d find at mass market or luxury retailers. 

The company is headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and has a few brick-and-mortar retail stores throughout Canada, pop-up shops, and thankfully for those of us in other locations, a robust web presence with detailed fit information including videos and live chat to help make sure that the products you order will fit well upon delivery. And just in case they don’t, exchanges are free, even for international customers in the U.S.

The On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood by Poppy Barley as seen on Wardrobe Oxygen reviewer Kristin
The On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood by Poppy Barley as seen on Wardrobe Oxygen reviewer Kristin

The Poppy Barley On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood

As soon as I looked at Poppy Barley’s new ankle boot collection, my eyes were immediately drawn to the On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood, a classic pull-on Chelsea boot in a beautiful brown leather with red undertones.  The practical, black, rubber lug sole looked like it would weather icy Chicago sidewalks well – an added bonus.  

All Poppy Barley shoes are available in sizes 5-12, including half sizes, and many styles are also offered in a wide-width option.  As a size 11W or 12R shoe size wearer, I was really glad to see their inclusive-sizing options.  

While I almost opted for the On Tread Chelsea Boot in Black to take advantage of the water-resistant upper and the wide-width option, I was so drawn by the Redwood color that I decided to take the fit assistance advice and take a gamble on the boot in a size 12 with regular width, since that particular color is not offered in a wide width.  I placed my order and received a tracking number within 24 hours.

The On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood by Poppy Barley as seen on Wardrobe Oxygen reviewer Kristin
The On Tread Chelsea Boot in Redwood by Poppy Barley as seen on Wardrobe Oxygen reviewer Kristin

Out of the Box Fit

I’ll confess that I held my breath a little bit upon ordering, as I’ve had experiences with international shipping with other brands that led to issues with customs and long delays, but my Poppy Barley boots were delivered promptly with no problems.  

Upon opening the box, I found my boots nestled in their box along with a useful cotton dust bag.  Poppy Barley’s commitment to ethical materials extends even to their packaging materials – the shoeboxes are made with recycled cardboard and the dustbags are made from locally milled cotton.  

The Redwood color was just as rich and appealing in person as it had appeared online.  I slipped the boots right on and took them for a test wear on a long walk to the park with my toddler.  The boots fit my slightly wide foot perfectly with a regular athletic sock, and their memory foam insole made these boots a comfortable fit right out of the box.  

Woman in a tan blazer and printed shell over dark straight leg jeans styled with Poppy Barley Chelsea boots
Reviewer Kristin wearing her Poppy Barley On Tread Chelsea boots with a business casual outfit.

Styling Poppy Barley Boots

Once I knew the sizing and comfort were a match, I decided to style these boots for a typical day at the office, with dark jeans, a top, and a blazer.  With jean styles changing so much in recent years, I did a little searching on Poppy Barley’s website to see how they had styled the Chelsea boot with denim, and I ultimately decided to wear a straight-leg jean, uncuffed.  While this meant that the elastic gusset of the boot was mostly covered, it presented a more traditional look that matched well for my office environment and day of internal meetings.  

I’m also looking forward to pairing these boots with a sweater dress in a jewel tone for the holidays, and I think they would also look great with wide-leg jeans.

Woman in a tan blazer and printed shell over dark straight leg jeans styled with Poppy Barley Chelsea boots
Kristin wearing Poppy Barley Chelsea boots with a chic jeans and blazer outfit

Would I buy Poppy Barley Shoes Again?

I would absolutely buy Poppy Barley shoes again.  The boots were comfortable for playing with my son outside, my commute- a 15-minute walk to the subway station and a 15-minute standing subway ride – and throughout a day of office meetings.  After a week of consistent wear, there was no creasing in the leather and the leather patina still looked like it did coming out of the box.  

These boots are well-made, practical yet stylish, and fit my sometimes hard-to-shop-for feet well.  While definitely on the investment side of my shoe budget, I’m already looking at another pair (maybe the Done Up Daily Loafer in Evergreen!).

Poppy Barley Discount Code

The team at Poppy Barley has created a special discount code for readers, WARDOBEOXYGEN-10 that you can use to take 10% off your full-priced order now through December 31, 2023.

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9 Comments

  1. I ordered the zip front short boot. It’s true that they are gorgeous. However, they were too tight at the ankle and the zipper seemed less than adequate- had to return them.

  2. Putting a plug in for tall/knee length boot reviews / recommendations that can be worn with skirts and wide leg pants!

      1. DUO Boots is back, but the size selection is limited. They don’t offer as wide of calves nor ankles/shins. But I hear the quality is good. I have wanted to update that post but I have truly struggled to find quality wide calf boots. I have reached out to brands to collaborate so I can revbiew their quality and no response. I can’t in good faith update that post until I find boots that are truly wide calf (looking at you Naturalizer with your 16″ “wide” calf), and worth your money.

  3. Nice review. I have always avoided buying Chelsea boots since I saw a pair on a friend years ago. They were lovely boots, a few years old, and the elastic had stretched and was all frilled out at the top. I imagine that the elastic eventually always does that, as you push your feet in and pull them out. And so I have avoided the boots although I like the look and the idea of having a snug fit on the ankle. Any comments?

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