Here, we'll highlight 20 boots for men, women, and kids, across work, show, and dress categories. Any of these would be a sure win for your closet.
Check out these trend tips to help you find the right pair.
- Depending on where you'll wear your work boots, look for designs with steel toes, water-resistance, insulation for use when doing electrical work, and slip-resistance in wet or icy areas.
- If you have ankle problems, consider a lace-up work boot that you can tighten or let out as needed for support or swelling.
- Shaft circumference matters in dress boots, because you'll wear them with dresses and outside your jeans. Order up a size to compensate for athletic calves, or consider having the shafts stretched. (But note that heavily stitched and ornately overlayed boots can't be stretched much, if at all.)
- Look for a shaft height of at least 13 inches for tall boots to wear with skirts and dresses. Shorter shafts can hit the calf at an unflattering point, the widest portion of the calf.
- Look for specific retailers that work with boot manufacturers for exclusive designs. And if you're looking for a bargain, find those retailers at shows and events to see what they have on special.
- Feel for no more than 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch for growing room in kids' boots; any more can be a tripping hazard. Some kids' styles offer insoles that can accommodate growth over a longer period of time.
- Kids outgrow boots quickly, which can get expensive. If you're considering a hand-me-down pair, be sure to check for excessive wear on the heel and sole, which could negatively affect your child's walking pattern.
- Know your hides. More delicate skins like caiman and alligator require higher maintenance; elephant, hippo, ostrich (especially the belly), American bison, and buffalo are more durable. Whatever the hide, clean your boots of debris and treat them with a cream-based conditioner.