Clothing > Footwear

The Best Boots for Men in 2024: Types to Own & Brands to Know

By Beau Hayhoe  |  Updated February 14, 2024

The Best Boots for Men in 2024: Types to Own & Brands to Know
Courtesy of Helm Boots

Some days, I stand in front of my wardrobe and know it in my gut: Boots are the only way to go today. Perhaps that’s the case most days – in matters of both style and functionality – which is why it’s vital to know (and shop!) the best brands for boots.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • The more, the merrier: Boot styles run the gamut from slip-on Chelsea boots to lace-up wingtip boots to ankle-length chukka boots, each with a little something for everyone.
  • A boot for all seasons: Some boots, like the rugged moc toe boot, are well-suited for both work and casually dependable style, while others, like the Chelsea boot, work best with dressy ensembles.
  • Material matters: The best boot brands tend to use materials like rich Horween leather or soft, supple suede uppers, along with details like crepe rubber outsoles (commonly found on chukka boots) or treaded Vibram outsoles (as seen on styles of lace-up and moc toe boots).
  • Built to last: While there are plenty of brands making boots that sell for $200 or under, the best boot brands are also a category you can invest in, since you might end up wearing ‘em every single day.

In my experience, there’s little that the best boot brands can’t take head-on: That could be meeting the demands of the office or a job site, it could mean lacing up a sleek pair in a dressy situation, or it could mean finding a casually rugged pair to wear to a concert or a festival. Wherever I go, I’m nearly always wearing a pair of boots – allow me to argue that you should do the same.

Boot style takes on many different forms, from sleek, dressy Chelsea boots favored by The Beatles to tough-as-nails Western boots favored by real-life cowboys. Personally, I love Chelsea boots in both dressier designs and durable, rugged silhouettes (like Blundstone boots, which I tend to wear day and night).

There’s plenty to be said for the long-lasting utility of the great boot brands of today, many of which have been in the game for years. And once you find a brand you love, the world becomes your oyster – at least, that’s what I’ve found when shopping for stylish, functional boots.

There’s plenty of room for newcomers, too: If you’re anything like me, the best boot brands are an obsession and a passion.

Now, you might prefer a pair of rugged leather boots for simple reasons, like their sturdy design or their wearability with classic blue jeans and other timeless men’s style staples. I know I find my favorite pairs of boots are endlessly versatile. Yet, you also might opt for dress boots instead of Oxford dress shoes as a matter of preference or distinct style. Or, a pair of casual chukka boots could be your everyday choice.

No matter your preference, I can guarantee you’re bound to find a pair that works for you from one of the best men’s boot brands. To help you start your search on the right foot, I present iconic brands new and old that’ll round out your wardrobe properly.




FRYE Company



Best Known For: Richly crafted heritage leather boots, from Chelsea boots to lace-up boots and dress boots. The company dates back well over a century, some of its boots are notably made in America and nearly all feature hand-burnished detailing and Goodyear welting.

Longevity is very often a marker of quality among the best boot brands for men, but adapting with the changing times is all the more impressive.

FRYE’s been making boots since the 1860s, but they’ve evolved into a premium footwear brand that’s both on-trend and timeless. Some styles look straight out of the 1800s, in a good way (note the FRYE Prison Boots). But they offer plenty of USA-made men’s boots beyond that.

Styles range from durable captoe boots to sleek Chelsea boots and roper boots. FRYE boots often boast hand-burnished details and a sleek, dressy profile, and prices will run you somewhere between $300 and $400.






Grenson



Best Known For: Iconic boots made in Britain, which fuse modern details with old-world appeal. Many of its boots feature extra-chunky, sturdy soles for field-ready performance, and the brand symbolizes a mix of old-world luxury and 21st-century style.

Head across the pond to check out styles from revered British bootmaker Grenson, which boasts nearly 160 years of reverent bootmaking experience.

Accordingly, the brand delivers styles that run the gamut from distinctive wingtip boots to modern high-lace hikers and handsome suede chukka boots with a stacked sole.

You might say the brand is the perfect blend of old and new, with styles that look right at home in the country (as with its Fred Wingtip Boots) or the city (as with the hybrid hiker style of the Brady).

Grenson boots boast shades of rich tan and burgundy as well as sleek black and tan suede – there’s hardly a stylistic preference they don’t cover. Not to fear, though: There’s a true difference you can feel on your feet that falls right in line with the $500-plus price tag.






HELM Boots



Best Known For: A relatively affordable, Austin-approved take on leather boots, be it classic chukka boots or sturdy lace-up boots. The company strays away from Western-style boots in favor of styles like its famed captoe boots, which can be dressed up or down with jeans or chinos. Pay attention to distinctive leathers from companies like Krumenauer.

What is it about boots that’s so appealing? Is it the hard-working, no-fuss nature of the right pair of lace-up boots? Is it the wear-with-nearly-anything style that works well with so many business casual or laidback looks? Or is it a combination of craftsmanship and long-lasting quality compared to most other footwear styles?

With HELM Boots, it’s a bit of all three and then some. The brand crafts its shoes with care and sells them out of Austin, Texas, with styles that reflect a well-balanced lifestyle: There are low-profile, dressy chukka boots, hard-working lace-up ankle boots and even handsome sneaker boots to pair with jeans and an Oxford shirt at the office.






Timberland



Best Known For: Its world-famous Six-Inch “Yellow Boot,” a work boot made from rich nubuck leather that’s gained the approval of stylish celebrities and urban streetwear fans over the years. The company now makes springy sneaker-boots, hiking boots and a line of complementary, rugged apparel.

Few of the best men’s brands hold as much sway in modern culture as Timberland boots.

Take its iconic 6-Inch Waterproof Boots, for example. As a New Yorker, I’ve been known to rock a pair from time to time, since the Northeast brand makes so many different varieties of its famed lace-up boot.

They’re a lauded part of New York City hip-hop history, yet the boots themselves are also trusty and dependable from coast to coast in snowy weather, on job sites and with durable work pants. That particular style has gotten some technical upgrades and a more sustainable design over the years, as has the rest of Timberland’s casually cool lineup.

You can also find rich leather moc toe boots, lightweight hiking boots and sporty sneaker boots, all in a wide array of colors. I’ve tried boots from its made-in-America line and worn them with business casual looks, and I’ve also found that Heritage styles from Timberland (including a brown Heritage leather version of its 6-Inch Boot) deliver just as much bang for your buck.

You could say Timberland makes a boot for just about everyone, but if you want a sturdy work boot with classic roots, a set of trusted “yellow Timbs” is a great place to start.






Clarks



Best Known For: Bringing the desert boot to the masses, after the style was famously worn by British soldiers in, well, the desert. The British footwear giant’s endlessly versatile chukka boot still comes in instantly recognizable colors and materials like beeswax leather and casual suede atop a crepe rubber sole.

If ever there were a brand up for the competition as one of the best boot brands for men, it’d be Clarks. They were the first pair of classic boots I bought as I looked to ramp up my personal style, and I trust the brand just as much today.

The company helped bring the desert boot to the masses after Nathan Clark discovered British soldiers wearing crepe-soled boots in, well, the desert, and the style has retained its utterly timeless design in the days since.

Clarks boots now come in a wide range of suede colorways, but the original Desert Boot in Beeswax Leather – which will break in with every step – is your best bet to pair up with just about any pair of jeans or chinos you own.

I’ve tried out pairs in both soft, supple suede and that iconic Beeswax Leather, and I’ve loved how they’ve broken in over time while delivering consistent comfort.

Of course, the brand also offers other styles of ankle boots, moc toe boots and Chelsea boots, but it’s tough to top a certified style essential in the desert boot.






Red Wing Shoes



Best Known For: Making some of the best work boots on the planet, styles which have since gained a major thumbs-up from style aficionados who love the company’s made-in-America production. Top styles include the classic captoe Iron Ranger and its durable moc toe boots.

The idea that brands are cutting corners and simply not making things like they used to doesn’t hold as much water with Red Wing Heritage. I’ve found that the brand approaches things much the same way as they did in years past, delivering absurdly rugged and durable boots fit for work and play.

The company’s Minnesota roots originally helped power rough-and-tumble industries like logging and mining, and Red Wing still makes exceptionally tough work boots today.

Yet over the past 15 years or so, they’ve become famous for other reasons: Namely, its commitment to quality and premium materials impressed a new generation of menswear aficionados, who turned styles like the Red Wing Iron Ranger into modern classics.

Personally, I can’t get enough of the Iron Ranger in its many forms, and I rest easy knowing I’ll have these boots for years on end.

Let’s keep it simple: If you want to dip your toes into the world of durable boots made to be paired with, say, blue jeans and a casual henley any day or night of the week, look for the Red Wing Iron Ranger or a pair of trusty moc toe Red Wing boots.






Grant Stone



Best Known For: Blending the sleek profile of lace-up dress boots with the long-lasting dependability of rich leather like Chromexcel. The brand also offers its boots at a relatively affordable price, and its designs are sleek enough to dress up with a wool suit.

Finding the best pair of boots for your style rotation and your life is about striking the right balance – neither too rugged nor too dressy seems to be just the ticket for most daily style needs.

With its well-made Goodyear welted boots in a relatively sleek profile, Grant Stone hits the mark quite nicely.

Its boots, made from rich materials like handsome Chromexcel leather, are neither too splurge-worthy nor too cheaply made.

Many of its boots can dress up dark blue jeans or add a rugged edge to chinos, which is the exact kind of versatility your wardrobe needs.

The brand is also committed to helping customers find their perfect fit, an educational touch that elevates them above the rest.






Wolverine



Best Known For: Making some of the finest work boots on the planet, all the while producing pairs built for harsh Michigan winters in its home state. The long-running bootmaker has also gained notoriety for its 1000 Mile collection of rugged lace-up “lifestyle” boots in eye-catching leathers.

There’s surely competition when it comes to the best boot brands, and Wolverine is a worthy alternative if you want to explore brands that make boots fit for job sites and post-work beers.

As a Michigan native and longtime menswear fan, I’ve grown to love the brand and its remarkably hard-wearing boots. In fact, Wolverine was a closet staple growing up, particularly for frigid Michigan days, and they’ve got an enduring appeal that’s hard to beat.

These days, Wolverine is perhaps best known for its 1000 Mile lineup (boots that are so ridiculously well-made, the name seems fitting).

You’ll find a run of plain toe boots with incredibly well-built last and sole designs, often made from rich materials like Horween leather for increased longevity.

The company also introduced a more streamlined rotation of dressier, low-profile boots dubbed the BLVD Collection: With just two pairs of Wolverine boots, you could be set for situations from day to night. In my own collection, I’ve tried out both lace-up boots and sneakers from the BLVD offering.

I’ve found that the comfort is top-notch, the leather quality is exceptional and the overall design breaks in handsomely over time.






Rhodes Footwear



Best Known For: Being the brainchild of retailer Huckberry, which designed the brand to pair perfectly with its exceptional Flint and Tinder jeans, trucker jackets and chambray shirts. The result is a line of boots made for all occasions, from refined Chelsea boots to hard-wearing moc-toe work boots.

Oftentimes, sorting through the best boot brands is a bit like finding a missing puzzle piece. If you frequently wear tailoring, the perfect dress boots should be a go-to. If you prefer rugged looks on the daily, like selvedge denim, traditional lace-up boots get the job done. And if you land somewhere in the middle, a sort of “smart casual” style, then Rhodes Footwear from Huckberry could check all the right boxes.

The brand does quite a few things very well, a sort of jack-of-all-trades among the best boots for men, be it classic Chelsea boots, hard-wearing roper boots or crepe sole chukka boots.

The great thing about Rhodes Footwear is that it seems like these stylish boots were made to be worn with plenty other Huckberry styles: Talk about finding a missing puzzle piece.






Taylor Stitch



Best Known For: Perfectly complementing the entire lineup of modern-meets-old-school Taylor Stitch menswear, from selvedge denim to buttery-soft chinos, Oxford shirts, shawl cardigans and more. The company keeps it simple, offering styles like a tough-as-nails moto boot and a badass pair of rancher boots.

It seems that for as long as Taylor Stitch has been in business, people have been asking the San Francisco company to make footwear. They came through on that promise a few years back. And I must say, I was certainly excited to see this news, and made my way over to the site to grab a pair of the Ranch Boots.

The leather was supple right out of the box, the construction was noticeably strong and well-made, and they’ve only gotten better with age.

Although they round out your wardrobe in plenty of other categories (from fisherman sweaters to blazers and Oxford shirts), its lineup of stylish boots for men is equally impressive.






Viberg Boots



Best Known For: Making some of the best small-batch boots on the market, and doing so north of the border in Canada. The company uses its own distinctive last system for boot styles unlike any other, and its leather is the stuff of legend in terms of diversity and durability.

There comes a time in every man’s search for the best boots when he wants to level up a bit, to invest in a pair that goes the extra mile in every possible sense. Sure, that includes price, but Viberg is a brand made to invest in, and they (perhaps rightfully) call themselves makers of “the world’s most beautiful and durable boots.”

They’ve got nearly a century of heritage to back that up, and they make remarkably handsome, timeless boots from a wide array of thick, sturdy leathers. These are made to be broken in, made to be worn with everything from selvedge denim to hearty wool winter suiting, and designed to last far longer than you might even expect.






Astorflex Boots



Best Known For: Sustainably producing some of the best-value boots on the market, especially crepe-sole chukka boots and low-profile, wear-with-nearly-anything Chelsea boots (also set on a crepe sole). These are a Huckberry fan favorite for a reason.

Head back over to Huckberry to get your next pair of ultra-casual, ultra-cool chukka boots, this time done up on a springy yet reliable crepe rubber sole and made using sustainable leather-aging processes.

Take it from me: These boots are light-as-air thanks to the brand’s characteristic crepe rubber sole, but it’s the eco-friendly leather that might win you over. They’re the right mix of sustainable and stylish, no doubt.

Astorflex shoes are the brainchild of a family-owned Italian company, and they toe the line between laidback and refined quite nicely.

Its crepe-rubber boots are likely too casual to wear with a suit, but for business casual situations or for daily wear with slim blue jeans and a timeless pocket tee, you’ve hit the mark quite nicely.






Danner



Best Known For: Producing some of the finest USA-made boots on the market, with a distinct sense of Pacific Northwest style and performance. That extends from its richly crafted hiking boots to its work boots and lifestyle boot options like a hard-working pair of moto boots.

The great thing about the vast market for the best boot brands for men has to be the variety and versatility on offer. Remember what we said about technical hiking boots? Portland-based Danner makes those, sure, but they also have the market cornered when it comes to heritage-worthy, beautifully crafted leather hiking boots and lace-up boots that fall somewhere in the middle of “town” and “trail.”

Its boots are USA-made and designed to get better with age, and they use remarkably comfortable materials like Vibram outsoles for added traction and astounding comfort on the daily.






Tecovas



Best Known For: Taking the market by storm in terms of high-quality Western boots (and apparel) across the past decade. There’s a good chance that if you’re just getting into Western boots and want to ease into the style, Tecovas is your very best bet.

If you’ve been wanting to try out a pair of Western boots but don’t quite know where to start, allow Tecovas to lead the way.

Admittedly, I was a touch skeptical about Western boots – how would they work with my wardrobe, and how might I style them? Well, in my experience since trying them out, I’ve found they pair up with staple pieces, like tan chinos or slim blue jeans, quite easily.

Consider them an ideal way to step into the world of Western attire.

The upstart brand has only been in business about a decade, but they’ve shown they’ve got plenty of know-how when it comes to introducing guys to the world of stylish Western boots.

From cowboy boots made from exotic leather to streamlined, rock n’roll-ready side zip boots and even a pair of crisply designed Chelsea boots, the brand does much more than you might expect.

As a bonus, you can even score a Western shirt, a waxed trucker jacket and a new belt to round out your new-look pair of handcrafted Western boots.




Types of Boots

Chukka Boots: The earliest version of this ankle boot was worn by British soldiers and is also referred to as the desert boot; it commonly features a two-eyelet design and can be made from suede or leather atop a rubber crepe sole.
Chelsea Boots: This style is probably my go-to style of choice, and you very well might soon find out for yourself. These slip-on boots feature two elastic side inserts for easy-on, easy-off access. They often feature a slimmer toe and overall shape, and can be made from suede or leather, although some types of Chelsea boots are more like work boots (for example, boots from the Australian brand Blundstone).
Wingtip Boots: Based off brogue shoes worn in the Scottish Highlands, the wingtip originally allowed water to pass through without dampening your feet underneath. They were first known as a country boot, but today’s wingtip boots often feature a dressy profile and sleek leather that pairs well with tailoring.
Captoe Boots: Famous examples of captoe boots exist (like the Red Wing Iron Ranger), with the extra toe stitching providing added durability and toughness. Captoe boots tend to be more casual in their profile and in their leather selection, which makes for a fascinating break-in process.
Hiking Boots: While most hiking boots are highly technical and made with sneaker-like designs and lightweight uppers, some hiking boots (like those from Danner – more on them in a second) are made from rich leather and can easily be worn in casually rugged style situations around town.
Work Boots: Work boots come in all shapes and sizes, from steel-toe boots to styles like the Red Wing Iron Ranger, which is sturdy enough to wear for real-life outdoor work situations. When I’m not wearing Blundstone boots, for instance, I’ve found that the Red Wing Iron Ranger is durable and useful as can be. Work boots are built to be shock-proof and waterproof, and often are much more functional than fashionable.
Sneaker Boots: Let the debate begin. Sneaker boots are the most modern style of boot on the market today (arguably), blending the height of an ankle boot or dress boot with the sole and toe shape of a sneaker. When in doubt, stick with classic leather or suede boots if you want a truly timeless look, although I’ve found that some boots brands, like Cole Haan, make an eye-catching sneaker boot, too.
Western Boots: This name is given to both traditional Cowboy boots and boots traditionally worn out West – other styles of Western boots include roper or rancher boots. Cowboy boots feature ornate designs, exotic leathers in some styles, and a stacked heel, plus a shoe shaft height of 10 inches or more. Roper boots are more akin to work boots and often feature a wedge sole.




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