With temperatures cooling down, it's time to put the sandals and sneakers away an opt for something better suited for the season: boots. A quality pair of boots should be a staple in anyone's closet. They can be dressed up, dressed down, worn inside and outside, keep your feet warm, provide ankle and insole support, and most importanly, help you look sharp and manly at the same time.
A quality pair of boots are a worthwhile investment. Provided you take care of them, they can last for more than fifty years, and be worn in any kind of weather. For how many items in your closet can that be said? None in mine.
While none of these are cheap (which is a good thing), each of these pairs are a great value for the money. As with most things, you get what you pay for, so if you're serious, consider saving up and getting the ones that'll last. Your feet, your wardrobe, and your cool points will all be better for it.
Men's Bean Boots by L.L.Bean®, 8" - $99.00
Designed by Leon Bean himself, these timeless boots combine the waterproof protection of rubber bottom boots with the support and comfort of leather. Each pair in still sewn in Maine, U.S.A., from full grain leather, and come in a variety of widths. Get them from L.L.Bean.
Timberland Earthkeepers Rugged Boot - $142
What's not to love about a pair of shoes that let's you say, "Going on a hike and mushroom hunt. Better take my Earthkeepers." Featuring a big rounded toe, these might not work with a wool suit, but could easily be dressed up with a jacket and dark jeans. Timberland dubs these "eco-concious," using leather from a tannery rated for its water and energy use, and incorporating recycled materials in the outsole, lining, and laces. Avaliable in various colors from Amazon.
Frye Locke Lace-Up - $228
I bought a pair of Frye boots for my sweetheart, and the salesperson told me he's had the same two pairs that he bought in 1971, and they look even better than they did forty years ago. The Locke's are made from ultra-soft hand-oiled suede, which is flipped to the internal of the tongue, so you get to rub your feet on it all day long. Looks great with the included ivory laces, but you could switch them out for a bold red or blue to really make a statement. Available in tan, camel, and dark brown from The Frye Company.
Red Wing Heritage No. 8111 6" Iron Ranger - $290
The Iron Ranger is named for the miners for whom the boot was designed for, and it can still stand up to such demanding conditions. This one is a bit more versatile than Red Wing's classic 875, lacking that style's white sole, allowing it to blend in just enough that it could be worn with nearly anything. Plus, that back pocket is killer. In three colors from Amazon.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Collection $345-440
(Also pictured at top) Inspired by designs from the early 1900s, Wolverine's 1000 Mile boots are made in Michigan in a 300-step process, executing every detail with perfection. My favorite of the bunch by far, and if I don't find any under my Christmas tree this year, I'm starting a special bank account. Blending a perfect mix of dress and work-styling, these are just what leather boots should look like. A masterpiece of craftsmanship.
Which are your favorite boots? Do you know of any well-made, affordable options? Please post them in the comments below.