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The Best Men’s Boots for Every Occasion

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It goes without saying that boots are one of the mainstays of men’s style. Without them, we’d be stuck wearing distasteful urban sneakers, slides, and sandals. That’s a reality that we never want to see. Luckily, the heritage of our favorite boot brands runs deep within the world of footwear, providing us with plentiful styles, an ever-expanding catalog of offerings, and proprietors that have a penchant for the reproduction of history’s most lauded designs. But we’ve narrowed it down to the best men’s boots, and broken it down into eight different categories.

Best Men’s Boots Breakdown

How We Selected Our Favorite Boots

The boot world is undeniably vast. If you’re new to the genre, or you have a hard time keeping up with the endless torrent of models, it can seem daunting to find the perfect brand, style, and model for you. That’s where we come in. Below, we’ve outlined eight different genres of boots— including Chelsea, chukka, combat, duck, hiking, rain, work, and dress — in an effort to make your search a bit more intuitive. Each section will break down into an editor’s pick and a runner-up, and give you a sub-surface look at what it is that makes the models so special. Whether you’re looking for fashionable fatigues that have been built for a night on the town, a more informal model that would work well on the job site, or an outdoor essential that’ll take you far, far away from the concrete jungle, our guide has you covered. Especially since our picks are backed by tons of collective experience from our team in the style scene.

What Makes A Good Pair Of Boots?

Upper: The right upper depends on the style of shoe you end up picking. Dress shoes, Chelseas, and Chukkas will likely have a leather upper, and if you want the highest quality, go for full-grain. Something like combat boots, on the other hand, may use canvas instead. 

Outsole: This is a similar situation to the upper, in that you want an outsole that’s in line with the style you’re getting. But more often than not, you’ll be getting a rubber outsole. If you need more traction, look for deep lugs and/or a non-slip treatment.

Resistance: Again, this is largely dependent on style – dressier boots naturally won’t offer the same resistance as hiking boots, but you can waterproof your leather if you want extra protection. 

Style: As we stated above, this guide will break out into eight different style categories, and we’ll get into a bit of history and design in the breakdowns below.

Boot Breakdown: Different Types Of BOots

Chelsea Boots

Kicking us off, Chelsea boots may have seen their initial rise to fame in the UK during the ‘60s, but quickly became icons around the world. They’re made of leather and have a classic silhouette that’s low to the ground, above the ankle, and completed with unmistakable pull tabs. 

Common Projects Suede Chelsea Boots

  • Made in Italy
  • Cushioned soles
  • Only comes in full sizes

Editor’s Pick: The duo of Chelsea boots that we’ve included revel in their minimalist dialogue. And Common Projects’ Ankle-Length suede models are a perfect study in simplicity. In order to make their statement, each boot is built with premium suede, chunky rubber soles, and elasticated side panels. Embossed lettering accents the side of each model, working hand in hand with the Chelsea’s trademark pull-tab to provide more utilitarian poise than its refined counterparts.

Upper: Suede
Outsole: Rubber

Blundstone Classic Chelsea Boots

  • Stylish pick
  • Oil, acid, and organic fat-resistant
  • Removable EVA footbed
  • Takes time to break in

Runner-Up: Blundstone’s Classic Chelseas might look like a more robust Chelsea, but you’d be wrong to write it off as just another stylish footwear accessory. Instead, this well-equipped model takes on a life of its own, thanks to its rugged, premium leather upper, removable EVA footbed, and Poron XRD inserts, which reduce wearer fatigue, thanks to their ergonomic design. Dive a bit deeper, and you’ll find that the boot is made with both a polyurethane midsole and thermoplastic urethane outsole, which fight against hydrolysis and microbial attack. To round things out, an integrated steel shank assists with torsional stability.

Upper: Leather
Outsole: Thermoplastic polyurethane

Chukka Boots

Starting out as the go-to shoe for British soldiers during the Second World War, Chukka boots would go on to be a worldwide casual wear success and continue to be a versatile and stylish pick (much like Chelsea boots). They’re made of leather and feature either rubber or leather soles, finished with open lacing strung through two to four eyelets. 

Red Wing Shoes Weekender Chukka

Red Wing Heritage Weekender Chukka Shoe
  • Made in the USA
  • Legendary heritage brand
  • Water-resistant
  • N/A

Editor’s Pick: Red Wing’s Heritage Weekender Chukka brings the proprietor’s legendary construction principles to a more stylish, inner-city boot. Calling upon over 100 years of experience within the bootmaking realm, this unique chukka features a full-grain oil-tanned leather upper from S.B. Foot Tanning in Minnesota, as well as a dependable stitch-down conduction, Comfortforce footbed, and water/stain-resistances to keep it looking as good as new throughout the majority of its life.

Upper: Nubuck leather
Outsole: Rubber

Nisolo Everyday Chukka Boot

  • Comes with built-in arch support
  • Antimicrobial insole
  • On the chunkier side

Runner-Up: Nisolo’s Everyday Chukka is a versatile boot that you can wear almost anywhere, save for the trail. It features a full-length, five-layer antimicrobial insole, built-in arch support, and a slip-free rubber heel cap, as well as an added layer of stitching for a more vintage appeal. Style these with a pair of cuffed pants for a truly iconic look.

Upper: Leather
Outsole: Leather

Combat Boots

Most modern combat boots exist in this middle ground between hiking boots and work boots, offering the mobility and protection of hiking boots combined with the rugged durability and protection of work boots. They’re usually made of leather, nylon, or canvas, and should ride up the ankles to keep them protected. 

Danner Reckoning

Danner Reckoning
  • DWR finish
  • Modern look with a sleek all-black option
  • Not bad in hot weather
  • May be too lightweight for some

Editor’s Pick: Danner’s Reckoning is a modern departure from the more traditional combat offerings that we see, but after one look at the boot, we could tell that it was from the fabled Oregon-based footwear provider. Like many of the manufacturer’s models, each 100% leather offering is made in the USA and features a water-repellent full-grain leather and textile upper for increased durability. Below, a Danner Vibram All Terrain sole gives the Reckoning a great-looking base for its many components that are both modern and useful.

Upper: Leather, textile
Outsole: Danner Vibram All Terrain
Waterproof?: Water-repellent

Nike SFB B1

Nike SFB B1.png
  • Comes with an internal rock shield
  • Hybrid style that borrows from sneakers
  • Removable sock liner
  • Could use an internal membrane

Runner-Up: Part of Nike’s SFB Collection (which honors the Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman and his WWII service), the Nike SFB B1 gives traditional combat boots a modern makeover. These boots have a tough yet breathable full-grain leather and nylon canvas upper, a removable sock liner, an inner rock shield, handy side vents, extra-strong stitching, comfy foam midsoles, and a dual-zone lacing system. Plus, they follow DA PAM 670-1 rules and sport a rubber outsole inspired by Nike Free tech. To keep your feet happy, they’ve got Nike Air cushioning in the heel and a tread pattern with shallow flex grooves at just the right spots.

Upper Construction: Leather & Nylon Canvas
Outsole: Rubber
Waterproof?: No

Duck Boots

As one of the most legendary outdoor and hunting boots of all time, it’s hard to go wrong with these rugged waterproof boots. L.L.Bean dropped the original Bean Boots dropped in 1911, and they’ve maintained a status as one of the premier outdoor boots all these years. The waterproof leather upper and rubber sole haven’t changed much over the years, but a chain pattern was added in the ‘40s. 

L.L.Bean Bean Boots

  • Made in USA
  • GORE-TEX construction
  • Truly iconic design
  • None

Editor’s Pick: Much has been said about the legendary boots you see above, and they were originally released all the way back in 1911 by Leon Leonwood Bean (the founder of L.L.Bean). They’ve maintained their style and material construction of waterproof leather up top and rubber on the bottom for most of that time. This offering is made with full-grain leather uppers and waterproof GORE-TEX lining, with insulation on the inside to keep your feet warm. The rubber bottom is also waterproof, with the iconic chain tread outsole to keep you steady.

Upper: Full-grain leather
Outsole: Rubber (chain-tread)
Insulation: Yes

Nike Lunar Force 1

Nike Lunar Force 1
  • Modern style with callbacks to the OG silhouette
  • Style of a sneaker with the utility of a boot
  • Takes a little time to break in

Runner-Up: These unique kicks right here are a unique blend of the Air Force 1 and the Bean Boot, and if the OG Bean Boot style isn’t city-friendly enough for you, then this take from Nike might be right up your alley. Like the classics, you get a water-repellent leather upper, and a rubber outsole with a tread pattern to maximize traction. And in classic Nike fashion, there are Air Units in the soles to give you that unmistakable cushioning.

Upper: Leather
Outsole: Rubber
Insulation: Synthetic

Hiking Boots

Hiking variants are often lauded for their technical materials and focus on performance. As such, it’s difficult for contemporary hiking boots to break away from the complex silhouettes that they’ve garnered over the past few decades. Regardless, aesthetics don’t mean much when you’re out on the trail. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the genre’s more advanced offerings, including waterproof, reinforced, and cushioned models that’ll allow you to take on the environment with ease.

Arc’Teryx Arcrux TR GTX

  • Abrasion-resistant uppers
  • Waterproofed with GORE-TEX
  • Takes a little time to break in

Editor’s Pick: Arc’teryx continues to enamor with its technical designs, and they aren’t confined to utility-approved outerwear. The brand’s Acrux TR GTX boot features a beautifully-realized SuperFabric upper that calls upon micro-plate technology to keep them as light as possible, while still promoting above-average abrasion resistance. Injected EVA midsoles provide ample cushioning over long distances, while a 3D-molded OrthoLite insert has been incorporated to keep your feet free of fatigue. A grippy Vibram MegaGrip rubber sole and GORE-TEX waterproofing tie the Acrux together.

Upper: SuperFabric
Outsole: Vibram MegaGrip
Waterproof?: Yes

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Shoe

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Shoe
  • Great for trail running
  • Moisture-wicking lining on the inside
  • Lightweight
  • Some prefer a full-height ankle

Runner-Up: Salomon’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is a perfect hiking model for those who are indebted to the trail. Each boot features a dependable GORE-TEX waterproof bootie, an advanced, foam-cushioned chassis, and a soft textile lining for enhanced moisture control. Pair that with the shoe’s protective tongue gussets, injection-molded EVA midsole, and Ortholite sock liner, and you’re in for one of the most comfortable hikes that you’ve had in a while.

Upper: PU-coated leather, textile
Outsole: Rubber (All Terrain Contragrip)
Waterproof?: Yes

Rain Boots

Rain boots come in all shapes and sizes, but as long as they’re waterproof and keep your feet dry, then they’re built for the job. Generally speaking, a boot that rises up your ankle at least a bit is advised to give you more coverage, but if rain is light where you live, then you can go for a low or mid boot.

Bogs Men’s Workman Boot

Bogs Mens Workman Boot
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Waterproof insulation
  • Classic rain boot style
  • May be too bulky for some

Editor’s Pick: Bogs comes through with a classic yet modern-looking rain boot in all black, with a waterproof and seamless neoprene construction up top, and a slip-resistant outsole to make sure you never take a spill. To keep your feet warm, it’s insulated with 5mm of waterproof fiber, and temperature rated for -72ºF. So whether it be dirt, rain, or a mixture of both, these boots will keep you clean and dry.

Upper: Neoprene
Outsole: BioGrip slip-resistant outsole
Insulation: 5mm Neo-Tech waterproof insulation

Filson x XTRATUF Legacy Lace Boots

  • More modern rain boot look
  • Chemical and acid resistant
  • Whole sizes only

Runner-Up: The Filson x XTRATUF Legacy Lace Boots is yet another model that calls upon the brand’s iconic outdoor heritage for its well-informed persona. Each boot is crafted from waterproof leather and features cushioned insoles for extra support. On its exterior, a durable chevron sole has been added for increased traction on a number of surfaces, complementing its water-repellent sealed seams and stitch-down construction.

Upper: Waterproof leather
Outsole: Rubber (chevron)
Insulation: None

Work Boots

Work boots sit in a niche all their own. Oftentimes, they’re seen as tools — accessories that are built solely to achieve a task or complement a job. However, that doesn’t always take precedence. A number of the genre’s boots are informed in both lineage and style, helping wearers to take on the job site without looking like they’re wearing a generic, cookie-cutter brand.

Wolverine McKay Waterproof Steel-Toe Work Boot

  • Steel toe reinforcement
  • Waterproof mesh lining
  • Made of high-quality full-grain leather
  • Can be narrow on those with wide feet

Editor’s Pick: Wolverine has already made an appearance on this list with one of the genre’s most fashionable style boots, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t roll with the best that the workwear world has to offer. Its McKay Steel Toe is a perfect example of its utilitarian dedication, thanks to its high-performance full-grain leather exterior, waterproof mesh lining, and fully cushioned footbed. It also boasts improved foot protection due to its internal metatarsal guard, as well as a slip-resistant rubber and PU outsole for sure footing.

Primary Construction: Full-grain leather
Waterproof: Yes
Toe: Steel
Outsole: TPU

White’s MP-M1 Half-Lug

  • Heritage brand
  • Comes in ten different leather color options
  • Inspired by old-school military gear
  • N/A

Runner-Up: Unlike its counterparts in our work-focused section, White’s MP-M1 boot is a militaristic model that takes on a different role in the world of workwear. Inspired by the footwear that was adorned by American infantry during WWII, these rugged models feature a sleek one-piece backstay, a six-inch, full-grain, water-resistant leather upper, and a utilitarian half-lug sole, making them perfect for field use.

Primary Construction: Full-grain leather
Waterproof: Water-resistant
Toe: N/A
Outsole: Half-lug commando sole (rubber)

Dress Boots

Dress shoes are rooted in their iconic lineage. They’re the basis for any authentic outfit, providing one of the most important foundations for stylish expression. If you’re a fashionable gentleman who’s looking to amplify his aesthetic, this is the section for you.

Frye Bowery Lace Up

Frye Bowery LAce up
  • Goodyear welted
  • Antique brass hardware
  • Runs a bit large

Editor’s Pick: When it comes to stylish footwear, it’s hard to hold a candle to FRYE. The legendary boot brand has made a name for itself through the consistency of its heritage designs, and the Bowery Lace Up is a perfect example of its artisanal capacity. Each boot features a suite of interesting traits, including waxed laces, antiqued brass hardware, textured welting, and vintage, vegetable-tanned leather, pairing seamlessly with its enhanced rubber lugs and PORON footbed for increased traction.

Upper: Leather
Outsole: Rubber

Rancourt & Co. Brighton Boot

  • Constructed in Maine
  • Antique brass detials
  • N/A

Runner-Up: Rancourt & Co.’s Brighton is a subtly-brogued boot with leagues of character. It features finely-finished Mimosa calfskin leather, a full tan cowhide lining, and a natural leather midsole/welt, pairing seamlessly with its dependable Vibram 430 mini-lug outsole. Throw in some antique eyelets, flat-waxed laces, and a Black welt for easy resoling; you’ve got yet another contemporary offering with its eyes to the past.

Upper: Calfskin leather
Outsole: Vibram 430 mini-lug

The Best Men’s Wardrobe Essentials

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Now that you’ve found the perfect pair of boots, it’s time to tackle the rest of your closet. Head over to our guide on the best men’s wardrobe essentials to dial in your arsenal.