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The Best Boots for Men

Informed by hands-on testing, our guide to the best boots for men covers nearly every category, from work boots to Chelseas, chukkas and more.

the 50 best boots gear patrol full lead
Henry Phillips

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 I'll be damned if that isn't about everyone. No matter whether you're wandering out into the woods to do "real" work or simply walking yourself around the corner for a coffee, boots guarantee you'll get there.

Below you'll find links to shop all of our favorite boots. There are Chelsea boots, rain boots, snow boots, cowboy and desert boots, too, but also a dozen more. Be warned, this guide not only delves into the best picks from each of these pillar categories but also serves as a broader breakdown of the best brands. These are the places you should be buying your boots from. Why? Because we've tested enough boots to know there's a serious gap between good and bad, what will do the trick and what won't survive a wet-season hike.

Types of Boots to Know

Ankle Boots

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.

Chelsea Boots

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.

Chukka Boots

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.

Cowboy Boots

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 main 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.

Duck Boots

Popularized by L.L. Bean, the Duck boot style features a waterproof bottom with a high shaft. The collar usually ties pretty tight to create a similar seal and the toe harks back to a duck's bill.

Engineer Boots

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.

Hiking Boots

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.

Hunting Boots

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.

Rain Boots

While you could wear whatever boots you want in the rain, a dedicated rain boot will keep your feet dry — and you on your feet, too. Rain boots feature waterproof uppers, better tread and a quick-drying inside in case you do get wet. They're usually pretty tall, too.

Snow Boots

Sure, certain Duck or Chelsea boots work in the snow, but, like rain boots, a dedicated design built for snowfall is smarter. Snow boots feature waterproof uppers, chunky soles, better tread and some sort of membrane to keep your toes dry (and warm), which means there's usually insulation within.

Trench 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.

Waterproof Work Boots

Work boots are meant to be tough but not all work boots are waterproof. The boots in this category can both withstand dirty jobs and keep a seal in puddles and ponds. (Just don't go into waters taller than the boots are.)

Wingtip Boots

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.

Work Boots

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.

Boot Brands to Know

We've highlighted the brands we recommend and the models from there we like, leaving you with the tools to make an informed purchase. But remember, always check the sizing standards for your chosen brand before ordering.

For a guide to how most major brands' shoes fit, follow our guide to men's shoe sizes.


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          How We Tested
          boots how we tested
          Evan Malachosky

          After compiling a list of the best widely available boot brands, we picked the most quintessential model from each label. Using this shortlist as a guide, we began testing as many models as we could reasonably wear in the fall and winter months. We considered how and where the boots were made, how they looked and felt on, as well as how they looked and felt after their fair share of wears.

          The below products not only represent the best styles from each brand but a number of boot categories, too — from duck to work boots to cowboy boots, and back again. This list will continue to grow as brands emerge and old ones debut new designs.

          Rhodes
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          Founded: 2018

          From: USA

          Rhodes is a brand owned and stocked exclusively by Huckberry. All of the boots are made in Léon, Mexico, the country's boot capital, from leather uppers and lightweight Meramec PU outsoles, which prove slip resistant and ultra-soft. Albeit new, the brand's establishing itself as a go-to purveyor of polished, long-lasting boots.

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          Rhodes Tyler Chukka
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          Astorflex
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          Astorflex

          Founded: 19th century

          From: Italy

          Although the company's true timeline proves vague, Astorflex has been around since the 19th century. Maybe it's one of those mysteries brands within the spirits industry typically upholds: "oh, well, we were founded first in 18xx, stopped making product in 1903, and then were relaunched by investors in 2021. we're 200-years-old!" The brand started out making wooden clogs but its online catalog now includes everything from Chukka boots and mules to sneakers and Chelseas.

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          Astorflex Greenflex Boot
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          Taylor Stitch
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          Founded: 2007

          From: USA

          Boots aren't all menswear brand Taylor Stitch makes. They have everything from jackets and shirts to trousers and sunglasses are up for grabs on its site. Each of Taylor Stitch's products is united by a shared concern for craftsmanship, evident by high-quality construction at a transparent cost. The boots, made by hand in Léon, Mexico, the country's shoemaking capital, are meant to last.

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          Taylor Stitch The Moto Boot
          Rancourt & Co.
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          Founded: 1967

          From: USA

          Rancourt had a father-son ownership structure in place from 1970 until the mid-1990s, when it traded hands. The son, Michael Rancourt, stayed on board. By 2008, the new owners decided it'd be best for the business to cease operations. Michael and his son, Kyle, reclaimed Rancourt in 2009. The brand's been on the uptick ever since, stocking everything from moccasins to derbies to durable work boots.

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          Rancourt & Co. Porter Boot
          Alden
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          Founded: 1884

          From: USA

          There's a little tidbit of footwear history I always get wrong: where was Alden founded? I want to say England. Makes sense, right? It's New England, for those wondering what the right answer is. The family-owned company's footwear has been made in Middleborough, Massachusetts since 1970, in a factory they relocated to after sharing one with Old Colony Footwear for decades.

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          Alden Indy Boot
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          Filson
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          Founded: 1897

          From: USA

          Filson was founded in 1897 in Seattle as C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers, an outfitter for those on their way toward claiming their stake of the Alaskan gold rush. The tradition carried through the '80s, when Filson was acquired by a former distributor. He expanded the line using traditional manufacturing techniques and materials, rendering it reminiscent to the brand we know today. In 2012, the same holdings company that owns Shinola bought Filson.

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          Filson Service Boots
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          Frye
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          Founded: 1863

          From: USA

          Frye's outfitted everyone from U.S. army men in WWII, college kids in the '70s, and cowboys. Their long lineage and expansive line make them an easy option for anyone, whether they're new to boots or a nit-picky collector.

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          Frye Bowery Lace Up
          Taft
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          Founded: 2013

          From: USA

          Taft specializes in interesting textures and hard-to-find combinations. Founded in 2013 by husband-wife duo, Kory and Mal, they've since made strides in the industry by emphasizing quality and individuality. You'll know a Taft boot when you see it, sometimes for better or worse. The brand's subtler styles are the best bet, we'd argue, while the louder options will garner plenty of attention.

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          Taft The Dragon Boot 3.0
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          Blundstone
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          Founded: 1870

          From: Australia

          Fresh off its 151st anniversary, Blundstone's been representing Australian bush boot lineage for nearly two centuries (well, close enough). Nearly everyone can wear and pull off Blundstones, which explains why they remain so popular. Plus, they're plenty durable and stylish in their own unique way.

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          Blundstone BL558 550 Boot
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          Common Projects
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          Founded: 2004

          From: Italy

          Common Projects became increasingly commonplace with the rise of menswear blogs. Sites ogled at the brand's sneakers, which were simple and utilitarian yet unique. Every pair came — and still come — with a one-of-a-kind sequence on the side representing the style, color, and size of the shoe. CP's boots exploded when celebs like Kanye West rocked them. They've been staples ever since.

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          Common Projects Sand Suede Chelsea Boots
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          Danner
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          Founded: 1932

          From: USA

          Charles Danner, the brand's founder, forged west in the early 20th century to supply loggers with the best possible footwear for their job. The mission resulted in the brand we know today, a manufacturer rich with heritage yet eager to innovate.

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          Danner Mountain Pass
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          Season Three
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          Founded: 2018

          From: USA

          Founded by New Yorkers Jared Ray Johnson and Adam Klein, Season Three’s first shoe (and first-ever product) debuted on the Paris runway in Reese Cooper's FW20 show. Its flagship boot, The Ansel, is made in Northern Italy in a region known for its traditional shoemaking. But, they bring plenty of new energy to these fabled factories. Their boots broke one of our editor’s addiction to sneakers. They’re that comfortable. The combination of a wool liner and a cushioned Vibram Morflex Christy sole help these achieve peak softness.

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          Season Three The Ultralight Hiking Boot
          J.Crew
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          Founded: 1947

          From: USA

          Wah, wah, wah, it’s just J. Crew. I can hear every one of you boot aficionados whining now. The big mall brand may not be a shining example of generational craftsmanship, but its boots are affordable, accessible, and an incredible value considering the cost. They task factories in shoemaking regions with replicating icon styles: Chukkas, hikers, Chelseas, you name it. Give ‘em a chance. Even if just when you’re in a pinch or abiding by a stricter spending limit.

          J.Crew's new men's creative director just dropped his first collection, but can it bring the brand back from the brink?

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          J. Crew 1990 MacAlister Boot
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          Viberg
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          Founded: 1931

          From: Canada

          Canada's crown jewel of bootmaking is Viberg — but they make more than just boots nowadays. (See the photo above for proof.) The company's now in its third generation, remaining entirely family-owned from inception until now. Crafted using traditional techniques, their footwear is constructed from only the finest materials: "brass tacks from England, heavyweight insoles from Spain, Vibram outsoles, Swiss hobnails and the finest upper leathers from renowned tanneries in the USA and Italy."

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          Viberg Service Boot 1035
          Clarks
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          Founded: 1825

          From: England

          Founded by a pair of rug-making brothers in England, Clarks first sold slippers cut from textile scraps. Two styles have become synonymous with the brand, both the Wallabee and the Desert Boot. The latter, founded in 1950, set off a storm of nearly identical iterations from other brands.

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          Clarks Desert Boot
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          Red Wing
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          Founded: 1905

          From: USA

          At one point, Vasque and Red Wing were one. They separated in 1997, but both clearly influence the other to this day. Red Wing's most popular styles date back to the 1950s, when the Moc toe took the boot scene by storm. All of the brand's heritage styles are made in the US still, including Style 875 (aka the Classic Moc).

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          Red Wing Classic Moc
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          L.L. Bean
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          Founded: 1912

          From: USA

          Founded by a guy named Leon Leonwood Bean, L.L. Bean's timeline begins with the Bean Boot, aka a leather upper attached to rubber bottoms. They flopped at first, though, and few held up to any kind of wear, let alone tear. But by 1924 Bean outfitted Arctic explorers, and only a few years later its catalog was crowned best in the business. The rest is history, folks. And clearly with more than a few successes along the way.

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          L.L. Bean 8" Duck Boots
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          Fracap
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          Founded: 1908

          From: Italy

          Fracap is a true Italian company. In true Italian fashion, orders are processed more slowly when the brand's on its staff-wide seasonal holiday — for most of August. But, it's boot season! Fracap doesn't care. Not in a bad way, but with a we've-been-here-and-we're-never-leaving kind of flair. Their boots have been made in Puglia since 1908, first for farmers and now for fans of handcrafted luxury.

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          Fracap M120 Scarponcino Boot
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          Aether Apparel
          someone in boots walking on a muddy and wet trail
          Aether Apparel

          Founded: 2009
          From: US

          Aether entered the market by catering to motorcyclists, skiers and other high-demand wearers. Now, they make a bunch more for everyday men, but every piece is built to withstand extreme conditions, courtesy of serious tech and interesting innovations.

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          Aether Apparel x Fracap Dolomite Boot
          R.M. Williams
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          Founded: 1932
          From: Australia

          A decade shy of its centennial, R.M. Williams has been making brush boots for the rugged, unforgiving Australian outback since 1932. And they've largely been crafted the same way the whole time: one piece of yearling leather attached to a rubber sole. Durable enough for trekking rough terrain and yet dressy enough for date night, you're unlikely to find a more versatile boot.

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          R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Boot
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          Oak Street Bootmakers
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          Founded: 2010

          From: USA

          Founded by the son of a cobbler, Oak Street Bootmakers "was created to help preserve the tradition of American shoemaking. We are the latest chapter in a very old story," George Vlagos, the aforementioned son, says. The company focuses on high-quality construction and refined source material, ensuring longevity and durability.

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          Oak Street Bootmakers Cap-Toe Lakeshore Boot
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          Belstaff
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          Founded: 1924

          From: England

          Belstaff owes its success to the military and motorcycles. Both industries saw serious surges in demand for durable, hard-wearing gear and weatherproof finishes, both of which Belstaff's founders specialized in. But it wasn't until 1927 that the brand made anything other than standard issue textiles for soldiers and track jackets for racers. Belstaff remained rooted in adventure, though, albeit while outfitting Steve McQueen and other stylish men, too.

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          Belstaff Marshall Boot
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          Thursday Boot Company
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          Founded: 2014

          From: USA

          Thursday isn't rooted in rich, working class history. Rather, it's a newer brand built with city folks front of mind. Big, heavy boots weren't practical for everyone, especially those commuting in places like New York. Sure, they're hefty and can withstand someone stepping on your toes on the subway, but they're too much. As such, Thursday found a middle ground between affordable, office-oriented footwear and full-on work boots. Think: timeless styles with comprehendible prices.

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          Thursday Boot Company Captain Lace-Up Boot
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          Tecovas
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          Founded: 2014

          From: USA

          Tecovas was born with a singular mission: to make high-quality cowboy boots at an affordable price. Over 200 steps comprise each boot's construction, which is done by a team of artisans in Léon, Mexico. There, high-quality leather meets genuine craftsmanship, resulting in boots with hand-done cording, stitching and assembling.

          You can learn all about Tecovas in our dedicated brand breakdown, which recaps its history spotlights its most popular styles.

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          Tecovas The Dean
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          Velasca
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          Founded: 1959

          From: Italy

          Velasca posits itself as the pinnacle of Italian craftsmanship. The company makes lace-ups, monk straps, sneakers, moccasins, summer shoes, and, of course, boots. Why else would they be mentioned here?

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          Velasca Bergamin Boots
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          Grenson
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          Founded: 1866

          From: England

          Grenson has been around since 1866. However, their meteoric rise is rather recent. Tim Little bought the company in 2010 and expanded its distribution to stores like Harrods and Selfridges, kickstarting serious growth. Grenson moved into New York in 2015 and celebrated its 150th anniversary the year after. They sell lots now, but the boots remain their bread and butter.

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          Grenson Brady Boot
          Unmarked
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          Founded: 2011

          From: Mexico

          Hugo Fonce, designer for Unmarked, wants to spotlight craftsmanship found in Léon, Mexico, the country's footwear capital. For Unmarked, lemon-wood pegs, invisible channels, leather-lining and intricate embroidery are details inherent to the brand. Emphasizing quality and aesthetics, every release is timeless in two ways: most are resoleable, thus prolonging their lifespan, and most are classic men's styles with little chance of ever falling from favor. It's hard to overstate how incredible Unmarked's boots look and feel. Plus, their prices are incredibly fair given what they could charge.

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          Unmarked Archie-01 GRM Boots
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          Diemme
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          Founded: 1992

          From: Italy

          Diemme's been doing things its own since 1992. Founded on a combination of performance-oriented innovations and heritage craftsmanship, the brand orients itself to city folks, and those seeking modern twists on rugged wardrobe essentials. See: Chelsea boots with high, rubberized soles and hiking boots cut from Cordura.

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          Diemme Everest Boots
          Paraboot
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          Founded: 1908

          From: France

          Paraboot united all of its factories under one new roof in 2017, situated in the scenic Saint Jean de Moirans. The French brand has been making footwear for over 100 years, first for workers, then for skiers and folks in snowy settings and then mountaineers.

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          Paraboot Mucy Gringo in Brown
          Yuketen
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          Founded: 1989

          From: USA

          Founded in 1989 by Hermosa Beach designer Yuki Matsuda, Yuketen embraces traditional, American styles with an emphasis on quality raw materials: "oiled leathers tanned in America, flesh-out leather and suede tanned in Toscana, Italy, vegetable-tanned leathers tanned in Mexico using only natural energy," for example. The offerings are split between Ready to Wear and Made to Order, both of which promise quality pairs.

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          Yuketen Angler boots
          White's
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          Founded: 1902 (or 1853)

          From: USA

          White's was a generational operation until it sold to LaCrosse footwear, the owner of Danner, in 2014. But the Washington-made boot brand didn't diminish with its acquisition. In fact, the brand was bought because of its commitment to American craftsmanship, a pillar of the company since its inception in 1902 (or 1853) depending on how you read into its history.

          White's, in collaboration with Baker's Shoes, offers custom boots built through the former's online store.

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          White's 350 Cutter
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          Wesco
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          Founded: 1918

          From: USA

          Wesco, a name born from combining West and Coast, is another feather in the cap for Oregon-based footwear brands. (Hey, Nike. Hey, Danner.) Every pair is made according to a 155 step process, which ensures quality and a promises longevity. They're all still made in a singular Oregon workshop, too.

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          Wesco Mister Lou
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          Nicks Boots
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          Founded: 1964

          From: USA

          Nicks has always been about work boots first and foremost, but now their collection includes heritage pairs (a signifier earned by being in business for 50+ years), firework-focused styles. They're still made in Spokane, by the way.

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          Nick's Boots Falcon
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          Grant Stone
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          Founded: 2016

          From: USA

          Headquartered Michigan and made in Xiamen, China, Grant Stone is a Goodyear Welt-focused footwear brand. They thread US-based consumers and Chinese craftspeople, showcasing the quality — and creativity — that comes from true partnership.

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          Grant Stone Brass Boot
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          Crockett & Jones
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          Founded: 1879

          From: England

          Crockett & Jones was founded in 1879 in England by a pair of guys with the last names... any guesses? Yes, Crockett and Jones. In fact, the once-family-owned brand in fact still is. Great-grandson, Charles Jones, sits at the helm today. His company's selections skew traditional yet are nothing short of serious luxury.

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          Crockett & Jones Tetbury Calf Boot
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          Ariat
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          Founded: 1993

          From: USA

          Ariat's name pays homage to Kentucky Derby winning race horse, Secretariat. The brand became the first to integrate performance tech into boots made for equestrian. Its since been the official outfitter for the Olympic team, and, as of late, a surprising, innovative entrant to other boot categories.

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          Ariat Wexford Waterproof Boot
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          Lucchese
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          Founded: 1883

          From: USA

          Lucchese, founded by Salvatore "Sam" Lucchese in San Antonio, Texas in 1883, makes luxury cowboy boots, sometimes from exotic leathers, in Texas to this day. Go here for your $2,000 western wear.

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          Lucchese Tanner Boot
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          The Flat Head
          the flat head boots on a wooden bench
          The Flat Head

          Founded: 1996

          From: Japan

          The Flat Head is an enigmatic, small-batch bootmaker based in Japan. When they are made, they're manufactured by a tiny shop typically responsible for THF's boots alone. Oftentimes, they undergo interesting treatments to develop pre-planned patinas and other markers of distress.

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          The Flat Head Goodyear Welted Engineer Boots
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          Tricker's
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          Founded: 1829

          From: England

          Dating back to 1829, Tricker's proudly proclaims it's the oldest established shoemaker in England. The company's boots and shoes are still made in their Northampton factory, a commitment to their country when they certainly could've been making them elsewhere — and for cheaper. They've endured for nearly 200 years, courtesy of a broad fan base comprising creatives, dads, beatniks, lawyers, bankers and beyond.

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          Tricker's Gigio Chelsea Boots
          Officine Creative
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          Founded: 1968

          From: Italy

          "A wrinkle on the face, a scar, all evocative characteristics conveying a source of experience and life which are skillfully captured and recreated using our specialized ‘Leather Time Machine’ that gives evidence of a human, handmade experience channeled into each finished product that needs to be touched to be fully appreciated," the brand's about page reads. Damn! Dramatic! No, passionate. That's it. Officine Creative, founded in the late '60s, represents eccentric, elegant Italian craftsmanship to the fullest.

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          Officine Creative Artik Burnished-Leather Lace-Up Boots
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          J.M. Weston
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          Founded: 1891

          From: France

          J.M. Weston orbits in what I call "otherworldly luxury." The 19th century era footwear manufacturer has endured through what has to be about a dozen wars, and millions of trend cycles, those both minutes-long and overstaying. All of its products are still made in the same small factory using select leathers and ancient techniques. Trust the process, I guess.

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          J.M. Weston Golf Montant Lace-Up Boot
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          John Lofgren
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          Founded: 2012

          From: Japan

          Footwear designer John Lofgren uses boots and shoes to showcase Japanese craftsmanship, which he argues sets itself apart because of an "attention to detail and pride of craftsmanship. It’s simply part of the culture," he says. His footwear can prove hard to find, often since it's limited, and he's stateside now, but it's well worth the search.

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          LEARN MORE

          John Lofgren Chelsea Boots
          John Lobb
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          Founded: 1849

          From: England

          Hérmes owns John Lobb, by way of a sale back in 1976. The brand's first ready-to-wear collection came in 1982. So, how's it technically 100 years older? Well, the namesake founder apprenticed in London, made contraband-carrying boots for Australian Gold Rush miners, made boots for the Prince of Wales, and took custom orders from brick-and-mortar shops in both London and Paris. Nowadays, a limited inventory of lifestyles silhouettes make up most of its efforts.

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          John Lobb Lace Up Ankle Boots
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          Edward Green
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          Founded: 1890

          From: England

          It's estimated that Edward Green only makes about 250 pairs of leather boots or shoes a week. That's 50 a day, if they're working five days. Wouldn't blame them if it's only four. Making boots is hard, but Green has been doing it since 1890 — when Queen Victoria held the crown. They've upheld a reputation for tradition and timeless designs.

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          Edward Green Newmarket Suede Chelsea Boots
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          Nocona
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          Founded: 1925

          From: USA

          It was Enid Justin that founded Nocona all the way back in 1925. She was the daughter of a famous bootmaker destined to further her family's tradition through designs that stay true to Texas. Hell, the brand's slogan is "Let's Rodeo," and there isn't an item on their site that isn't a cowboy boot.

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          Nocona Jackpot Western Boots
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          Rios of Mercedes
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          Founded: 1853

          From: Texas

          Rios of Mercedes was originally native to Mexico until the company moved to Texas just after 1900. In 1969 it was sold by the original family to two new investors, who have since steered the brand into the modern era. But, the product's remained largely the same: two collections of cowboy boots, Original and Stock, representing bespoke options and ready-to-wear pairs.

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          Rios of Mercedes Sahara Suede Cowboy Boots
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          Dr. Martens
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          Founded: 1947

          From: Germany

          Who even is Dr. Martens anyway? A made up doctor with a specialization in footwear? Well, contrary to what I expected, I suppose, he, Dr. Klaus Maertens, was a 25-year-old doctor mending a broken foot in post-war Munich. He made his own boot using salvaged cobbler parts and an air cushioned sole. He showed the idea to another doctor, Dr. Herbert Funk, and the two went into the footwear business together. Another business noticed their aids for the proprietary boot and bought an exclusive licensing agreement from the two. The parent brand made a few tweaks, albeit signatures now, and rebranded the name and logo. It went on to be a massive success, as seen on everyone from Peter Townshend and punk rockers to e-girls and emo kids.

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          Dr. Martens 1460 Boot
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          Wolverine
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          Founded: 1883

          From: USA

          “We’re not good because we’re old. We’re old because we’re good,” Wolverine’s website reads. Cocky? Not quite. Confident? Certainly. The company began when founder G.A. Krause bought a tannery. It was the 1910’s by the time its first signature boot debuted. The 1000 Mile Boot, named after how many miles you could put on a pair, were comfortable, soft, and long-lasting. They remain largely the same to this day.

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          Wolverine Original 1000 Mile Boot
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          Hunter
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          Founded: 1856

          From: England

          Hunter Boots was originally branded as the North British Rubber Company, a manufacturer of tires, belts, golf balls, rubber flooring, and beyond. The brand’s popular Wellington Boot didn’t arrive until 1956, when it was deemed no longer exclusive to the Royal Family. The brand was revered for its waterproofing abilities, and their functionality was the primary draw at first. They became stylish, though, for sure, but it was always the trust you had that you wouldn’t get wet that compelled wearers to buy pairs of Wellies (as they’re affectionately called).

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          Hunter Original Moc Toe Chelsea Boots
          Ugg
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          Founded: 1978

          From: USA

          Ugg was founded in 1978 by an Australian surfer living in Southern California. He was captivated by a material frequently used in his home country but few and far between in the states: sheepskin. He crafted shoes from the material and knew they’d catch on. And they did. They’ve since been adopted by everyone from soccer moms to snobby teens to Justin Bieber and Tom Brady. They’re popular and for plenty of reasons: comfortability, cushioning, and a cool, California kind of laid back look.

          Learn all about Ugg's history in our dedicated brand breakdown, including where the name comes from, where the first styles were worn and which are most popular today.

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          Ugg Harkley Chukka Boot
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          Timberland
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          Founded: 1973

          From: USA

          The Timberland boot was so successful at launch that the brand that made them changed its name to Timberland. This was 1973, and that brand was Abington Shoe Company. Located in New Hampshire, they made Timbs to withstand the areas four defined seasons and the weather that came with them. Rain, snow, summer's heat, and biting cold winds all were no match for the Timberland boot, which quickly spread from suburban New Hampshire to cities all over the US.

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          Timberland 6 Inch Waterproof Boot
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          Sorel
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          Sorel

          Founded: 1962

          From: Canada

          Sorel lived as a line under Kaufman Footwear from 1962 until 2000, when the company went bankrupt. It was undoubtedly the Canadian brand’s biggest hit. Columbia quickly scooped it up before it went belly up, and brought it back with a renewed focus on luxury, snow-focused footwear. You shouldn’t expect a ton of performance specs, but rather practical footwear you can wear through a few feet of the powdery stuff.

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          Sorel 1964 LTR Tall Boot
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          Le Majordome
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          Le Majordome, mere months removed from opening its first-ever US store, is exceeding expectations, and its top executive says its customer-centric approach is to thank.

          "I think what makes us different as a brand is that we find ourselves at the intersection of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary fashion — something only a few do," the brand's co-owner and president, Daniel Bucheli, says. "There are brands that do Goodyear welted shoes with a more modern approach, yet they mainly rely on very classic styles — like cap-toe oxfords or plain-toe derbies. Our goal is to make future classics: shoes that are well made, inspired by traditional craftsmanship, yet have an updated, modern look to them."

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          Le Majordome M11 Chelsea Boot
          Sanders
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          Founded: 1873

          From: England

          Sanders, founded in 1873, specializes in mundane luxury. I don’t intend for that to sound mean, by the way. They just make boots and shoes that are so basic they’re brilliant. Each pair is made in the same small English town as they were two centuries ago, from luxury materials and without overt branding of any kind. Trust them for fairly priced footwear with stoic flair.

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          Sanders
          Chelsea Boot
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          How to Clean Every Kind of Boot
          someone cleaning a boot
          Henry Phillips

          Boots are asked to brave tougher terrain than sneakers — and, as such, they surface with deeper scars. From the remnants of wet and slippery snow (or better yet the salt we use to melt it) and mud stains and to dust and dirt, everything, it seems, leaves a mark. Look to our guide to cleaning boots of all kinds for practical play-by-play and plenty of must-buys.

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