Most men don't think about their footwear, but the truth is what you put on your feet impacts the look, feel, and function of your entire outfit. You probably know better than to wear flip-flops to a wedding; the truth is that there are clear rules regarding footwear and different social and professional settings.
If you are looking to expand your footwear wardrobe, you need to learn about the most important types of boots.
There are at least 15 styles of men’s boots, each with its own style and function, and knowing the details of these different types of boots will help you determine which ones you need in your closet.
Ankle-high and close-fitting, Chelsea boots are special thanks to an elastic panel that makes them easy to slide on and off.
Like the Chelsea boot, ankle boots rise only ankle-high and hug the foot and ankle tightly, but they are secured with a zipper or a strap that will not stretch out over time, making them a more durable footwear option.
Also called a desert boot, a Chukka comes to the low ankle and is made of leather uppers and rubber soles. Thanks to their open laces, they are easily dressed up and down.
Wingtip shoes are characterized by a leather overlay on the toe that forms a W, or wing, shape. Wingtip boots provide slightly more visual flair than other boots so that they can straddle the line between casual and dressy.
Rising just above the ankle, dress boots feature closed lacing all the way up and decorative toe caps. These are ideal for wearing with formalwear in circumstances when boots are needed over shoes.
Jodhpur boots, named for the large Indian city where they debuted, were originally designed for horseback riding. They have a rounded toe, a low heel, and a strap that wraps around the ankle.
An exceedingly broad category of men’s boots, hiking boots can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors — but all are intended to keep a man’s foot and ankle secure on trails. Only plain leather hiking boots should double as casual footwear off the mountain.
Hunting boots are waterproof, feature heavy-traction soles and are laced and lined for outdoor use. Like a winter version of a leather hiking boot, hunting boots are best worn with casual winter outfits.
Work boots are intensely designed and constructed to provide safety and security to men on the job site. These boots tend to offer heavy-duty features like steel toe caps and chemical-resistant soles.
Rain boots are a must for men in wet climates who want to keep their regular footwear clean and dry. These rubber and plastic boots should rise up the calf and be insulated for warmth.
The function of a snow boot is much more important than its look. Men who live in icy and snowy climes need a fully insulated and waterproof boot, not to mention easy to keep clean.
Inspired by military shoes of yore, trench boots look like a mix between a classic hiking boot and a desert boot. Thanks to their slightly taller heel, it is easy to dress up a trench boot, but casual outfits also work well with this footwear style.
Initially, the footwear issued to the enlisted military in the late 20th century, combat boots have become the footwear of choice for many counter-culture groups who prefer alternative fashion aesthetics.
More accurately called Laredo boots, cowboy boots have high heels, pointed toes, no lacing or straps, and often intense decoration. Cowboy boots are some of the most distinctive ones in a man’s closet, and specific events demand this shoe style.
In addition to cowboy boots, engineer boots are one of the few men’s boot styles to come from America. Motorcyclists often wear tall, thick, and laceless engineer boots.
An adult man needs boots in his wardrobe — but the boots that are right for you depend on your style, your culture, and your climate. One should think critically about the types of events you attend and the aesthetic that dominates the rest of your clothing as you begin to explore the wide world of men’s boots.