Boots always seem to get more done than shoes. While shoes are busy arguing semantics in a boardroom, boots are out in the garage actually doing work. Shoes spend their weekend shanking golf balls while boots are going over, around and through every surface on Earth. Boots have long belonged to the movers and shakers of history, and dammit if they’re not going to keep going. Here are the 50 best pairs you can buy right now.
Chelsea boots began life in England in the mid-19th century and didn’t stray far from home until recently. The elasticized wonders were a staple of the mid-’60s mod scene and protected the feet of seemingly every British invader from John to Ringo. Recently they’ve seen a revival on many of menswear’s best dressed. The silhouette is very slim and features elastic side panels and heel pull-tabs.
Best Overall Chelsea Boots: These boots combine a super flexible and resoleable Blake stitch construction with premium calfskin uppers and made-in-Portugal craftsmanship. They're more chiseled than the Blundstones, giving them a sleeker aesthetic that pairs well with a dressier outfit. They're also more comfortable than other boots from the getgo thanks to the cushioned Texon® insole.
Best Upgrade Chelsea Boots: R.M. Williams’ Craftsman Boot is its best-selling boot, braving the Australian outback on the feet of its hardest-working cowboys. The single, one-piece leather upper is supple yet durable and the Goodyear-welted construction extends the life of the boot several factors over. If it’s tough enough for Aussie cowboys, it’s tough enough for you.
Best Affordable Chelsea Boots: Technically part of the Australian bush boot lineage of boots, Blundstone’s 550 boot is one of the best values you can get. It’s a top choice for people in every industry thanks to the tough leather upper, shock-absorption and classic design.
An instant classic since it was introduced into the lineup of luxury footwear brand Common Projects, this Chelsea boot features supple suede and a comfortable crepe rubber sole. Kanye’s been known to rock this version, but it’s not limited to hip-hop royalty.
The French Toe Chelsea Boots from Unmarked are handcrafted in Léon, Mexico, a town known as the shoemaking capital of the world. The shoes use a smooth "Mysterious" black Mexican cowhide for the upper and incorporate vegetable-tanned leather for the lining, insole, midsole and outsole. It's constructed with a Goodyear welt, brass nails and wooden pegs.
Ankle boots might be the coolest footwear ever made — which makes them that much more difficult to pull off than their closest cousins, the Chelsea boot. They’ve graced the feet of rock stars and, in doing so, complemented the tightest pants mankind has had to offer for decades. The silhouette is similar to the Chelsea boot, but the Ankle boot utilizes zippers or straps, instead of elastic panels, to ensure a secure fit around the ankle.
Best Overall Ankle Boots: Thursday Boots offers some of the best value for money with quality details like Goodyear-welt construction cork beds for comfort and weather-resistant leather uppers. Its Rogue Boot is perhaps the brand’s most stylish boot thanks to the Jodhpur design and Cuban heel.
Thursday Boot Co.
The wingtip, whose brogued details bring a touch of formal embellishment to casual footwear, is dressed up enough to be worn with a suit and laid back enough to end up under denim or a pair of cords. But they’re not a mullet shoe: they’ve been around long enough to look equally good in either context.
Best Overall Wingtip Boots: One of the most popular shoes from Northampton, England-based brand Tricker’s is certainly its Stow Boot. It’s a quality boot with details like a wooden shank and cork footbed for comfort and support, as well as a Goodyear-welt construction. It comes in many leathers, but this one is a standout thanks to its reverse kudu suede upper.
Division Road Inc.
Best Upgrade Wingtip Boots: These wingtip boots from famed American designer Thom Browne are a staple in his eponymous collection and feature a beautiful pebble grain leather upper rendered in a shortwing semi-brogue design atop a rubber sole. The red-white-and-blue stripe motif is a calling card for the luxury brand and is featured here in a grosgrain heel tab.
Best Affordable Wingtip Boots: Milan-based brand Velasca has been noted by footwear enthusiasts for its surprising price-to-quality ratio and its entry into the wingtip boot world is of particular appeal. The pebble grain kudu leather upper, classic wingtip brogue embellishments and tough Vibram lug sole make this boot worthy of the English countryside.
About as casual as all-leather boots get, the chukka (or desert) boot was first worn by British soldiers in Africa during World War II. Afterward, they made their way across the Atlantic, becoming a casual staple for the second half of the 20th century and still gracing the feet of stylish men in the cooler months. Clarks made the originals, but upmarket offerings only improved on the formula. They lace up just above the ankle and traditionally feature a soft crepe sole.
Best Overall Chukka Boot: Astorflex has a variety of desert boots in its collection, but the Greenflex is notable for being made with sustainability front of mind. It features natural crepe rubber for the sole, premium suede uppers, natural ingredient-tanned leather lining and insole, and it's made in Italy.
Best Upgrade Chukka Boots: Next to Clarks, Alden's Unlined Chukka Boots are the most prototypical chukka boots out there. Made in America, these come with supple, unlined suede uppers for superior comfort and breathability. They're built with Goodyear storm welt construction and feature a cork footbed, stacked leather heel and leather outsole.
The Shoe Mart
One of the most popular models for English shoemaker Sanders is its Chukka, which nearly blends the profile of a traditional chukka with the sole of a sneaker. The crepe sole wraps around the upper similar to a sneaker while providing superior grip and comfort.
These desert boots offer a slightly lighter construction than Clarks’ iconic version and feature suede uppers as well as rubber soles. The profile of J.Crew’s version is a tad lower profile that makes this one well-suited for dressing up.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ve kept a respectful distance from the more technical versions of this style, but the best pairs of old-school hiking boots boast the same alpine prowess that made them popular in the first place. Sturdy soles, heel support and lace-to-toe closures mean these boots are as hardworking as they are good-looking.
Best Overall Hiking Boots: Combining premium full-grain leather uppers with a lightweight 1000 denier nylon, Danner’s classic Light Revival boot is lighter than most hiking boots without sacrificing performance. Its Gore-tex lining keeps water out while the Vibram Kletterlift sole handles all kinds of tough terrain.
Best Upgrade Hiking Boots: Canada-based brand Viberg’s Hiker takes after the iconic designs of Danner as the two founders have had a friendly history together. This boot features a gorgeous natural Chromexcel leather that will patina and darken with wear, charming red shoelaces, leather insoles and midsole, and a commando leather sole.
Best Affordable Hiking Boot: Fracap’s Scarponcino Boot is made for the Italian alps and looks completely intimidating thanks to the chunky ripple sole. Fully-leather lined, the badass boot features stitchdown construction for long-lasting wear.
The French-made Avoriaz boot is unique because its soles are all made in-house by Paraboot. The vertical production allows the brand greater quality control which is evident here. Classic hiker styling with a padded collar, leather lining, speed hooks and chunky contrast laces bring everything together.
Diemme's pair are part of a burgeoning wave of style-conscious hiking boots. Cut from black suede and leather, with contrasting laces and a rubber lug sole, these are the city-minded-folk who know their way around the great outdoors.
For actual hunting, you may want something more technically advanced, but the hunting boot is a staple in the Northeast and has ensconced the feet of everyone from frat boys to Nobel prize winners. The traditional style features a hand-sewn moc-toe, a lace-up closure and a durable grippy outsole.
Best Overall Hunting Boots: Rancourt’s Sherman Boot is not only appealing for its brass eyelets, natural lactae hevea crepe soles and true-moccasin construction. It’s also water resistant thanks to the Horween Chromexcel Leather upper, which gives the boot a smooth and super low maintenance exterior.
Rancourt & Co.
Best Upgrade Hunting Boots: These boots are some of the best that Yuketen has to offer, deftly mixing smooth leather with flesh-out suede. It features genuine double-lined moccasin construction attached to a thick Vibram Christy sole, combining waterproofness with supreme durability. Plus, if you don't see your size you can place a custom order.
Russell Moccasin’s hunting boot is unique in that it combines a handsome bison leather with tough cotton duck, shedding some weight in the process while providing comfort and durability. The brand offers it in a variety of options with soles of your choice.
Russell Moccasin Co.
Best Affordable Hunting Boots: L.L.Bean is known most for its famous Bean Boot, the original ‘duck boot.’ First introduced in 1912, the waterproof boot combines a rubber outsole and quarters with a full-grain leather upper for maximum waterproofness and comfort.
Filson's Rangeland Boots combine the brand's legendary 14-ounce tin cloth fabric with full-grain leather for uppers that are both tough and lightweight. It's built with a cork footbed and PU insole and attached to a hardy lugged sole via Goodyear storm welt construction.
Strong, long-lasting and just stylish enough to stay on your feet for most of the colder months: that’s all a work boot really needs to be. Little wonder that the design was more or less perfected half a century ago. The no-frills lace-up style protects the lower legs and feet and usually features a durable lug sole.
Best Overall Work Boots: Red Wing is known for its long-lasting work boots and its Iron Ranger Boot is iconic. It features a protective cap toe, cork misdole for comfort, speed hooks and Goodyear-welt construction. The tough pull-up leather is tanned by the brand’s own tannery and certainly requires a break-in, but many fans are adamant that it’s well worth it.
Best Upgrade Work Boots: White’s Farmer/Rancher boot is a classic workwear design that both fashion enthusiasts and the workforce prize. The Cuban heel complements the silhouette of the boot while the stitchdown construction, leather midsole and shank ensure its quality.
Best Affordable Work Boots: Taylor Sitch's Moto Boot may be marketed toward the hog riders, but it also makes for a great all-around work boot. Crafted in Léon, Mexico, it uses triple-needle stitching and Goodyear storm welt construction for longevity. It's made with durable yet soft weatherproof snuff suede for the uppers and vegetable-tanned leather for the insole, midsole and welt, and comes with a tough Vibram lugged sole.
Wesco’s Jobmaster gets the job done with full-grain leather uppers and a beefy Vibram lug sole, standing tall at 10 inches. It features nearly-indestructible construction with full-leather insoles and midsoles and brass eyelets that get better with age.
Baker's Boots + Clothing
Nick’s Handmade Boots is another one of the famed bootmakers out of the Northwest and its Robert boot is as pretty as it is durable. This pair features stitchdown construction with a leather midsole, Vibram outsole and a sculpted stacked leather heel, as well as brass eyelets and leather laces.
Nick's Handmade Boots
Worn since World War I, the trench boot (sometimes called an army or officer boot) is a handsome staple that’s shaken its military roots and manages to look a bit more cleaned up these days than it did stomping into Flanders. Similar to the work boot, this silhouette has a lower profile that is easier to incorporate into a variety of wardrobes.
Best Overall Trench Boots: Oak Street Bootmakers built its brand on its WWII-inspired trench boot and has remained a tentpole for the brand to this day. This pair is made in the USA and features Chromexcel leather uppers from Chicago’s Horween Leather Co, brass eyelets, rawhide laces and a leather sole.
Oak Street Bootmakers
Best Upgrade Trench Boots: Viberg’s Service Boot differs from most other trench boots due to its signature stitchdown construction. The silhouette is as sleek as it is tough and the Dainite rubber soles make it a surefooted boot in times of rain and snow.
Best Affordable Trench Boots: There aren’t many brands that offer as much for your dollar as Grant Stone and its Diesel boot gets great mileage. The full-grain leather upper, the cork filling, steel shank and Goodyear-welted construction are all details you’d normally find on pricier pairs.
Premier English shoemaker Crockett & Jones are lauded for its heritage and quality. Its Conston boot is one of its more rugged offerings, featuring a beautiful scotch grain leather upper, storm welt and Dainite soles, but is equally dressy thanks to its cap toe and blind eyelets.
John Lofgren is well-versed and well-respected in the boot world and the M-43 Service Boots are as close as you can get to a real deal vintage pair of WWII service boots. These are built in Japan around the historically accurate Munson last and feature a natural Chromexcel roughout upper with an unstructured toe, all attached via Goodyear welt to a Vibram 705 sole and Vibram 700 heel.
Like many Americana wardrobe staples, cowboy boots are rooted in function. Pull them on, wear them hard and use them for years. There are two mains styles: traditional cowboy boots that feature a riding heel (taller and angled) and roper boots that have a shorter heel, designed to handle a day of walking. The pointed toe and tall shaft make this boot instantly recognizable.
Best Overall Cowboy Boots: Direct-to-consumer brand Tecovas has been on the radar of many a cowboy boot fan thanks to its balance of quality details and affordable prices. Its Johnny boot comes with a water-resistant suede, a leather stacked heel, and 3/4 goodyear welt construction.
Best Upgrade Cowboy Boots: Lucchese multi-generational boot tradition is revered the world over and its roper-style Tanner Boot is a standout. Featuring a premium goat leather upper that’s full of patina and character off the bat, the Tanner is a shorter cowboy boot that’s built in Texas using a resolable welted construction
Rios of Mercedes has been crafting cowboy boots for over 160 years and its Sand Elk Bottom is a favorite. It features elegant french binding, western stitching at the shaft, a leather-rubber combination sole and a Cuban heel.
Heritage Boot Co. has a vast array of cowboy offerings from the basic entry-level styles to boots with the exotic leather and hand-tooled designs. The Ranch Hand features a luscious brown suede for the upper which is then decorated with western stitching. The combination of the Cuban heel and the chiseled toe make it one of the most covetable boots on this list.
Heritage Boot Co.
The original engineer boots were designed to protect the feet of men who fed coals into steam engines. It melded the tall pull-on style of horse riding boots with the supportive arch and sole of a work boot. A buckled ankle strap distinguishes this style from other pull-on boots.
Best Upgrade Engineer Boots: Built by one single craftsman, Role Club's Engineer Boots are legendary for its unparalleled quality. Each boot is made-to-order and handmade, featuring a range of top-tier leathers including Horween chromexcel horsehide. They come with Goodyear welted construction and solid brass hardware atop leather midsoles, custom-rubber outsoles, and a '40s-style woodsman heel.
Best Affordable Engineer Boots: It’s hard to resist multiple entries from Red Wing on an all-encompassing boot list, especially with the brand’s signature Engineer Boot. It features premium Goodyear welt construction, a cork-filled insole for comfort and a price that’s hard to beat.
Straight from Japan, these boots from The Flat Head are some of the rarest on the market. Made in small batches, the boots feature natural Chromexcel pull-up leather, storm welt construction, steel shanks and custom-made brass hardware.