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The Ultimate Men's Boots Guide - Find the Best Boots for You

Ultimate men's boots guide - find the best boots for you

Introduction

Boots are simultaneously one of the most common and most diverse styles of footwear available. Originally worn as a practical, more sturdy and durable alternative to classic shoes, boots have become synonymous with numerous styles of dress.

Nowadays, it’s possible to construct a versatile, multi-purpose wardrobe almost solely with boots in rotation. However, with such a variety of choice, it’s easy to suffer from decision paralysis and struggle to work out what styles will work best for you, what brands offer the best value for money and generally where to begin.

That’s where Cloggs come in. Our men’s formal shoe guide has helped over 10,000 sartorially savvy readers tell the difference between their brogues and their bluchers and find the perfect dress shoes for any occasion. Our walking boots guide has helped countless more readers to choose, break in and care for their hiking footwear.

Now, we’re here to guide you through the labyrinthine world of boots and help you decide between a pair of timeless Chelseas or some sturdy work boots. The only caveat to bear in mind is that after reading our guide, we can’t promise that you won’t want every style!

We’ll be using some technical terms throughout this guide, so if you’re ever stumped by something we’ve said, check out our footwear glossary for a full explanation.

men's boot styles

Ankle Boots

Although many of the styles we’ll subsequently cover are forms of ankle boots, the term "ankle boot" itself is still used to define those that don’t quite fit into any of the narrower sub-categories. As the name suggests, ankle boots are defined by the height of their upper. As an overall style, every fashionable man needs at least one pair of ankle boots in his wardrobe.

Formality

With their extremely broad range of styles, the formality of the ankle boot varies vastly. On average, they tend to fall somewhere around the smart-casual point on the formality spectrum.

Work with

As an overall style, ankle boots work with just about everything you could name in your wardrobe. The sub-style they adhere to, the material they’re made from and their colour are far more important determiners of what works and what doesn’t.

Don't work with

In general, it’s quite tough to pull off ankle boots with summery outfits, particularly shorts. However, it’s not impossible by any means as long as the boots are suitably casual.

Brands to look for

Brogue Boots

Combining dress shoes and the more utilitarian qualities of the boot, brogue boots are typically realised in high quality, natural coloured leathers with similar features to dress shoes, such as broguing, blind eyelets and leather soles.

Formality

Probably the most formal boot option, brogue boots are designed to emulate the look of their regular dress shoe counterparts and, as such, can be worn with formal attire. The boot silhouette still generally prohibits their use in black tie ensembles; however they can add some utilitarian charm to a cotton or patterned suit.

Work with

From giving a formal outfit a touch of personality to dressing up a button down and jeans combination, brogue boots can work in a variety of different situations. As with formal shoes, brown leather tends to be more versatile than black.

Don't work with

Anything more informal that smart-casual is likely to look mismatched. While slightly more versatile than classic formal shoes, brogue boots still have their limits.

Brands to look for

Chelsea Boots

One of the most iconic boot styles, Chelsea boots first rocketed to fashion fame on the feet of the Beatles, who added Cuban heels to the style and created what was known as Beatle boots. Chelsea boots are defined by their use of two elasticated gussets either side of the vamp which negates the need for laces. This minimalist aesthetic continues through the traditional use of a smooth leather upper. In recent times, suede has also been used to give the boots a more bohemian, freewheeling aura.

Formality

An incredibly versatile style, classic Chelseas can be worn with everything from jeans and a t-shirt all the way up to a suit, with tan coloured boots erring toward the more casual end of the spectrum and black slightly more formal. RM Williams’ Chelsea boots have been the footwear of choice for numerous Australian Prime Ministers and were what Bill Clinton wore when he was inaugurated as President of the United States, which speaks volumes about their formal credentials.

Work with

(Just about) everything. From smart suits to relaxed casual looks, the Chelsea boot’s simple, timeless design and sleek silhouette means it’s ready to be paired with almost any outfit. For a more casual twist, swap the traditional leather for a fine nap suede.

Don't work with

The only places a Chelsea would potentially look out of place are with a black tie ensemble or with a very casual and loose fitting outfit, due to their slim, structured design.

Brands to look for

Chukka Boots

Another form of ankle boot, the chukka boot typically features a Derby construction - with the quarters overlapping the vamp in order to form the eye stays - with a small number of eyelets and an unstructured design. Highly versatile, chukka boots are one of the most popular boot styles, and have had a considerable influence on modern high-top sneaker styles.

Formality

The use of leather in the uppers makes chukka boots somewhat more formal than desert boots, however their lack of structure (particularly noticeable in the toe box) means they aren’t appropriate for formal wear.

Work with

Best when paired with a smart-casual outfit such as jeans or chinos and a smart button down Oxford shirt. They can also be worked into informal suit outfits.

Don't work with

Very laidback outfits and full formal situations.

Brands to look for

Combat Boots

Distinguished by the use of bulky hardware such as zips and straps and an overall rugged appearance, combat boots are another style that has transcended their (in this case military) origins to become a fashion staple.

Formality

The tough, rough and tumble nature and history of the combat boot means it's only appropriate for relatively casual situations.

Work with

Unsurprisingly, the combat boots works best when combined with other items that take cues from military styling. Green or sandy coloured field jackets, thick fabrics and a general emphasis on hard-wearing items are great accompaniments for combat boots.

Don't work with

Unless you’re pursuing a combat or workwear-inspired look, combat boots are likely to overpower the other aspects of your outfit and look out of place.

Brands to look for

Cowboy Boots

One of the few tall boot options for men that are relatively common, cowboy boots are typically made from leather, boast a pointed toe and leather sole, and have an upper decorated with ornate patterns.

Formality

As a highly specialist boot, cowboy boots are largely restricted to a single type of smart-casual outfit (see below), meaning formality is largely irrelevant. The more ornate and elaborate the designs upon them, the more they are confined to the one style.

Work with

Classic Americana inspired outfits - plaid shirts, jeans and a detailed belt buckle can do wonders for your chances of carrying the look off.

Don't work with

Not much else. Unless you’ve got a handlebar moustache and a Texan drawl, it’s very hard to pull off the iconic white suit and boots look.

Brands to look for

Derby Boots

A hybrid of the brogue boot and the work boot, the Derby boot features a similar silhouette while combining the smart styling of the brogue boot with the more hard-wearing aesthetic of the work boot. Although an overall style like ankle boots, we've included Derby boots in this guide in acknowledgment of the style's skyrocketing popularity.

Formality

Equidistant between brogue boots and work boots, Derby boots are one of the most versatile boot styles around. Depending on elements such as the toe cap and lacing, they can be worn with the classic jeans and t-shirt look all the way up to tweed or cotton suits.

Work with

Just about anything. The beauty of the Derby boot is that it combines the ruggedness of a work boot with the sleek, timeless styling of the brogue boot, making it extremely versatile.

Don't work with

With such versatility, there’s almost nothing that Derby boots don’t work with. However, there are certain outfits where a more specialised style of boot works better, such as brogue boots with a suit. However, if diversity and an ability to mix and match your wardrobe is high on your list of priorities, Derby boots are arguably the ultimate choice.

Brands to look for

Desert Boots

Although the phrase “desert boot” has become so ubiquitous that it’s now often used to refer to chukka boots as well, desert boots are actually a specific type of chukka, not the other way around. They feature the same unstructured Derby construction, but are defined by their suede upper and crepe rubber sole, first used to aid British troops walking on the sand dunes of Northern Africa in WWII.

Formality

The desert boot follows most of the same rules as its parent style, the chukka. If your informal get ups tend to still feature Oxford shirts and chinos then it’s hard to go wrong with desert boots.

Work with

Just about any relatively dressy casual outfit you could care to mention.

Don't work with

The use of suede means desert boots are harder to blend with dark suits, although charcoal and navy coloured ensembles can still work with darker brown boots.

Brands to look for

Hunting Boots

Also known as a duck boot, the hunting boot has recently become extremely popular in fashion. They typically feature a dual material upper, with the lower half made from vulcanised rubber for a waterproof seal and the top half made from leather to ensure warmth and a comfy fit.

Formality

Although duck boots have been co-opted and incorporated within the preppy look in recent times, they’re still yet to make the leap to being a fully-fledged smart-casual option.

Work with

For such a specialist boot, hunting boots are surprisingly versatile. As well as working with hunting and Americana-inspired looks, they’ve been synonymous on Ivy League campuses in the United States with the preppy style, giving them another (slightly unexpected) string to their bow.

Don't work with

Although more formal outfits are off the table, their waterproof nature and the fact they’re slightly smarter than wellies means duck boots are probably your best option for a bad weather boot.

Brands to look for

Walking Boots

Walking boots are designed with practicality in mind, and so typically feature sturdy, deep lugged rubber soles, treated leather uppers for endurance and various other features, such as metal eyelets and a distinct heel break, to enhance support and comfort on long walks or hikes. You can read more about picking and choosing the best walking boots for you here.

Formality

As a specialist style, walking boots' formality is dictated by their practical use, making them largely ineligible for anything other than casual outfits.

Work with

As well as the obvious hiking outfits, walking boots often take cues from work wear, meaning they can also offer a practical finish to an Americana-inspired outfit.

Don't work with

Generally, the more “technical” the boot, the less likely it is to work with everyday outfits. Boots with predominantly leather uppers can pass as work boots or Derby boots, but the more features - such as GORE-TEX - present, the more specialised they are.

Brands to look for

Work Boots

Like combat boots, work boots have transcended their original purpose to become a men’s wardrobe staple regardless of occupation. Characterised by a simple upper usually made from tough leather, work boots offer a versatile, rugged look that can be worked into numerous different outfits. They range for fully-fledged work boots with steel toe caps, corrosion-resistant outsoles and metal eyelets to more simple, fashionable boots designed to ape the look and feel of work boots.

Formality

Similar to Derby boots but slightly less formal, work boots are best kept with casual outfits, although they can be dressed up provided they're not too rugged. Additions such as toe caps and darker colour palettes help aid versatility.

Work with

Everything from Americana and work wear-inspired looks to the classic jeans and t-shirt combination. Depending on design features such as toe box, they can also be incorporated into more preppy-style outfits in the same manner as hunting boots.

Don't work with

More formal outfits and work boots don’t generally mix, although if they’re verging on Derby boot territory, they can be worked into smart-casual outfits relatively easily.

Brands to look for

Wellington Boots

Wellies are a practical choice for poor weather and although they’ve not reached the same level of stylish adoption as they have in women’s fashion, they’re still more versatile than they’re often given credit for.

Formality

Although a practical style, wellingtons have transcended this purpose somewhat and have become a staple part of certain smart-casual outfits detailed below.

Work with

Although we wouldn’t advocate wearing wellies unless the weather calls for it, for such a practical style they’re surprisingly versatile, capable of being teamed with preppy outfits and the waxed coat and khaki colours of a country ensemble equally easily.

Don't work with

Wellies, like hunting boots, tend to not work so well when they’re not worn out of practical necessity. That being said, with the famous British weather, there’s not many times when it’s not a good idea to keep a pair handy!

Brands to look for

men's boot pricing guide

Pricing Guide

Just as with formal shoes, there is a definite middle point between price and lifespan. Buying an inexpensive pair of boots may save your wallet in the short-term, but if you have to replace them every year, they could end up costing you more than if you had paid a bit more initially (not to mention you’ll miss out on the gorgeous worn effect on your boots and the broken in fit that can take multiple wears to achieve).

At the other end of the spectrum are boots that cost so much that you’re afraid to wear them. Although boots come in a huge variety of styles, as you’ve seen above, in general they’re designed to offer a more sturdy alternative to classic shoe designs. You should be happy to put them through their paces!

Another thing to bear in mind is how many pieces of footwear you’re wearing on a regular basis. If you’re rotating between 10 different pairs of boots and shoes, you can perhaps afford to spread the cost more as their lifespans will naturally be extended through relatively sparse use. If, however, you plan on simply wearing two or three pairs, then their quality will be put to the test more quickly.

The brands we’ve covered in this guide - and all of those stocked at Cloggs - are carefully selected to ensure that no matter what price point you opt for, you’ll be getting no less than excellent quality.

men's boot care guide

Care guide

Boots are made to be worn, and worn well. Some styles - such as work boots and combat boots - are designed to be tough enough to withstand a few scrapes, and generally look more natural once they've been broken in and bear a few marks here and there.

However, even though boots are often tougher than a lot of other types of footwear, they still need to be taken care of. We've got a huge guide on shoe care that covers all the information you could possibly need on cleaning your boots no matter if they're suede, leather, nubuck or otherwise.

Here are some quick rules of thumb to help get you started.

  • Rotate your boots. Although the temptation to wear a new pair of boots repeatedly is always great, letting your boots rest for a day between wears gives them time to breathe and to recover their shape, as well as dry out if they've been worn in damp conditions.
  • Use shoe trees. In addition to letting your boots rest, using shoe trees helps maintain their shape for longer. Wooden trees also do a good job of absorbing moisture that naturally occurs during wears.
  • If shoe trees aren't available, use newspaper. Scrunched up newspaper inside boots does a good job of absorbing moisture and preventing water damaging the boot's structure.
  • Remove debris quickly. Using either a soft brush or a damp cloth, remove mud and dust from boots as quickly as possible. It's much harder to remove when dried, and may require more drastic cleaning techniques that can damage the material in other ways.
men's boots fit guide

Fit guide

With boots intended to be worn hard and to last longer than many other types of footwear, picking a pair that fit perfectly is absolutely vital, particularly if you're purchasing a true investment pair.

Here are some tips to ensure that you get the fit exactly right:

  • Find sizing information. Although it sounds like common sense, it's remarkable how widely sizing can differ from brand to brand. As a general rule of thumb, boot sizes tend to run large, meaning you'll typically need to buy a size smaller than you normally would with shoes or trainers. It's also important to understand the differences between UK, US and European sizes - if you are buying from abroad, be sure to consult our comprehensive size converter.
  • Keep the context in mind. If you're planning on wearing the boots during winter, factor in the likelihood of needing to wear thicker socks; equally, if you're buying a suede pair that is unlikely to stand up well to cold, wet weather, try them with thinner socks.
  • Remember the breaking in period. Many boot styles, particularly heavier leather boots, will take some time to break in. During this process, they'll not only mold to your feet, but will also expand somewhat, particularly in terms of width. However, bear in mind that this expansion tends to be relatively minimal; if boots are tight and rubbing on all sides, don't attempt to break them in in the hope they will eventually fit.
  • Try boots on later in the day. Over the course of a day, the size of your feet can increase by up to an entire shoe size as a result of naturally swelling. Any boots that feel tight first thing in the morning are almost certain to be too tight come the end of the day.

Boots are simultaneously one of the most common and most diverse styles of footwear available. Originally worn as a practical, more sturdy and durable alternative to classic shoes, boots have become synonymous with numerous styles of dress.

Nowadays, it’s possible to construct a versatile, multi-purpose wardrobe almost solely with boots in rotation. However, with such a variety of choice, it’s easy to suffer from decision paralysis and struggle to work out what styles will work best for you, what brands offer the best value for money and generally where to begin.

That’s where Cloggs come in. Our men’s formal shoe guide has helped over 10,000 sartorially savvy readers tell the difference between their brogues and their bluchers and find the perfect dress shoes for any occasion. Our walking boots guide has helped countless more readers to choose, break in and care for their hiking footwear.

Now, we’re here to guide you through the labyrinthine world of boots and help you decide between a pair of timeless Chelseas or some sturdy work boots. The only caveat to bear in mind is that after reading our guide, we can’t promise that you won’t want every style!

We’ll be using some technical terms throughout this guide, so if you’re ever stumped by something we’ve said, check out our footwear glossary for a full explanation.

Boot styles

men's boot styles

Ankle Boots

Although many of the styles we’ll subsequently cover are forms of ankle boots, the term "ankle boot" itself is still used to define those that don’t quite fit into any of the narrower sub-categories. As the name suggests, ankle boots are defined by the height of their upper. As an overall style, every fashionable man needs at least one pair of ankle boots in his wardrobe.

Formality

With their extremely broad range of styles, the formality of the ankle boot varies vastly. On average, they tend to fall somewhere around the smart-casual point on the formality spectrum.

Work with

As an overall style, ankle boots work with just about everything you could name in your wardrobe. The sub-style they adhere to, the material they’re made from and their colour are far more important determiners of what works and what doesn’t.

Don't work with

In general, it’s quite tough to pull off ankle boots with summery outfits, particularly shorts. However, it’s not impossible by any means as long as the boots are suitably casual.

Brands to look for

Brogue Boots

Combining dress shoes and the more utilitarian qualities of the boot, brogue boots are typically realised in high quality, natural coloured leathers with similar features to dress shoes, such as broguing, blind eyelets and leather soles.

Formality

Probably the most formal boot option, brogue boots are designed to emulate the look of their regular dress shoe counterparts and, as such, can be worn with formal attire. The boot silhouette still generally prohibits their use in black tie ensembles; however they can add some utilitarian charm to a cotton or patterned suit.

Work with

From giving a formal outfit a touch of personality to dressing up a button down and jeans combination, brogue boots can work in a variety of different situations. As with formal shoes, brown leather tends to be more versatile than black.

Don't work with

Anything more informal that smart-casual is likely to look mismatched. While slightly more versatile than classic formal shoes, brogue boots still have their limits.

Brands to look for

Chelsea Boots

One of the most iconic boot styles, Chelsea boots first rocketed to fashion fame on the feet of the Beatles, who added Cuban heels to the style and created what was known as Beatle boots. Chelsea boots are defined by their use of two elasticated gussets either side of the vamp which negates the need for laces. This minimalist aesthetic continues through the traditional use of a smooth leather upper. In recent times, suede has also been used to give the boots a more bohemian, freewheeling aura.

Formality

An incredibly versatile style, classic Chelseas can be worn with everything from jeans and a t-shirt all the way up to a suit, with tan coloured boots erring toward the more casual end of the spectrum and black slightly more formal. RM Williams’ Chelsea boots have been the footwear of choice for numerous Australian Prime Ministers and were what Bill Clinton wore when he was inaugurated as President of the United States, which speaks volumes about their formal credentials.

Work with

(Just about) everything. From smart suits to relaxed casual looks, the Chelsea boot’s simple, timeless design and sleek silhouette means it’s ready to be paired with almost any outfit. For a more casual twist, swap the traditional leather for a fine nap suede.

Don't work with

The only places a Chelsea would potentially look out of place are with a black tie ensemble or with a very casual and loose fitting outfit, due to their slim, structured design.

Brands to look for

Chukka Boots

Another form of ankle boot, the chukka boot typically features a Derby construction - with the quarters overlapping the vamp in order to form the eye stays - with a small number of eyelets and an unstructured design. Highly versatile, chukka boots are one of the most popular boot styles, and have had a considerable influence on modern high-top sneaker styles.

Formality

The use of leather in the uppers makes chukka boots somewhat more formal than desert boots, however their lack of structure (particularly noticeable in the toe box) means they aren’t appropriate for formal wear.

Work with

Best when paired with a smart-casual outfit such as jeans or chinos and a smart button down Oxford shirt. They can also be worked into informal suit outfits.

Don't work with

Very laidback outfits and full formal situations.

Brands to look for

Combat Boots

Distinguished by the use of bulky hardware such as zips and straps and an overall rugged appearance, combat boots are another style that has transcended their (in this case military) origins to become a fashion staple.

Formality

The tough, rough and tumble nature and history of the combat boot means it's only appropriate for relatively casual situations.

Work with

Unsurprisingly, the combat boots works best when combined with other items that take cues from military styling. Green or sandy coloured field jackets, thick fabrics and a general emphasis on hard-wearing items are great accompaniments for combat boots.

Don't work with

Unless you’re pursuing a combat or workwear-inspired look, combat boots are likely to overpower the other aspects of your outfit and look out of place.

Brands to look for

Cowboy Boots

One of the few tall boot options for men that are relatively common, cowboy boots are typically made from leather, boast a pointed toe and leather sole, and have an upper decorated with ornate patterns.

Formality

As a highly specialist boot, cowboy boots are largely restricted to a single type of smart-casual outfit (see below), meaning formality is largely irrelevant. The more ornate and elaborate the designs upon them, the more they are confined to the one style.

Work with

Classic Americana inspired outfits - plaid shirts, jeans and a detailed belt buckle can do wonders for your chances of carrying the look off.

Don't work with

Not much else. Unless you’ve got a handlebar moustache and a Texan drawl, it’s very hard to pull off the iconic white suit and boots look.

Brands to look for

Derby Boots

A hybrid of the brogue boot and the work boot, the Derby boot features a similar silhouette while combining the smart styling of the brogue boot with the more hard-wearing aesthetic of the work boot. Although an overall style like ankle boots, we've included Derby boots in this guide in acknowledgment of the style's skyrocketing popularity.

Formality

Equidistant between brogue boots and work boots, Derby boots are one of the most versatile boot styles around. Depending on elements such as the toe cap and lacing, they can be worn with the classic jeans and t-shirt look all the way up to tweed or cotton suits.

Work with

Just about anything. The beauty of the Derby boot is that it combines the ruggedness of a work boot with the sleek, timeless styling of the brogue boot, making it extremely versatile.

Don't work with

With such versatility, there’s almost nothing that Derby boots don’t work with. However, there are certain outfits where a more specialised style of boot works better, such as brogue boots with a suit. However, if diversity and an ability to mix and match your wardrobe is high on your list of priorities, Derby boots are arguably the ultimate choice.

Brands to look for

Desert Boots

Although the phrase “desert boot” has become so ubiquitous that it’s now often used to refer to chukka boots as well, desert boots are actually a specific type of chukka, not the other way around. They feature the same unstructured Derby construction, but are defined by their suede upper and crepe rubber sole, first used to aid British troops walking on the sand dunes of Northern Africa in WWII.

Formality

The desert boot follows most of the same rules as its parent style, the chukka. If your informal get ups tend to still feature Oxford shirts and chinos then it’s hard to go wrong with desert boots.

Work with

Just about any relatively dressy casual outfit you could care to mention.

Don't work with

The use of suede means desert boots are harder to blend with dark suits, although charcoal and navy coloured ensembles can still work with darker brown boots.

Brands to look for

Hunting Boots

Also known as a duck boot, the hunting boot has recently become extremely popular in fashion. They typically feature a dual material upper, with the lower half made from vulcanised rubber for a waterproof seal and the top half made from leather to ensure warmth and a comfy fit.

Formality

Although duck boots have been co-opted and incorporated within the preppy look in recent times, they’re still yet to make the leap to being a fully-fledged smart-casual option.

Work with

For such a specialist boot, hunting boots are surprisingly versatile. As well as working with hunting and Americana-inspired looks, they’ve been synonymous on Ivy League campuses in the United States with the preppy style, giving them another (slightly unexpected) string to their bow.

Don't work with

Although more formal outfits are off the table, their waterproof nature and the fact they’re slightly smarter than wellies means duck boots are probably your best option for a bad weather boot.

Brands to look for

Walking Boots

Walking boots are designed with practicality in mind, and so typically feature sturdy, deep lugged rubber soles, treated leather uppers for endurance and various other features, such as metal eyelets and a distinct heel break, to enhance support and comfort on long walks or hikes. You can read more about picking and choosing the best walking boots for you here.

Formality

As a specialist style, walking boots' formality is dictated by their practical use, making them largely ineligible for anything other than casual outfits.

Work with

As well as the obvious hiking outfits, walking boots often take cues from work wear, meaning they can also offer a practical finish to an Americana-inspired outfit.

Don't work with

Generally, the more “technical” the boot, the less likely it is to work with everyday outfits. Boots with predominantly leather uppers can pass as work boots or Derby boots, but the more features - such as GORE-TEX - present, the more specialised they are.

Brands to look for

Work Boots

Like combat boots, work boots have transcended their original purpose to become a men’s wardrobe staple regardless of occupation. Characterised by a simple upper usually made from tough leather, work boots offer a versatile, rugged look that can be worked into numerous different outfits. They range for fully-fledged work boots with steel toe caps, corrosion-resistant outsoles and metal eyelets to more simple, fashionable boots designed to ape the look and feel of work boots.

Formality

Similar to Derby boots but slightly less formal, work boots are best kept with casual outfits, although they can be dressed up provided they're not too rugged. Additions such as toe caps and darker colour palettes help aid versatility.

Work with

Everything from Americana and work wear-inspired looks to the classic jeans and t-shirt combination. Depending on design features such as toe box, they can also be incorporated into more preppy-style outfits in the same manner as hunting boots.

Don't work with

More formal outfits and work boots don’t generally mix, although if they’re verging on Derby boot territory, they can be worked into smart-casual outfits relatively easily.

Brands to look for

Wellington Boots

Wellies are a practical choice for poor weather and although they’ve not reached the same level of stylish adoption as they have in women’s fashion, they’re still more versatile than they’re often given credit for.

Formality

Although a practical style, wellingtons have transcended this purpose somewhat and have become a staple part of certain smart-casual outfits detailed below.

Work with

Although we wouldn’t advocate wearing wellies unless the weather calls for it, for such a practical style they’re surprisingly versatile, capable of being teamed with preppy outfits and the waxed coat and khaki colours of a country ensemble equally easily.

Don't work with

Wellies, like hunting boots, tend to not work so well when they’re not worn out of practical necessity. That being said, with the famous British weather, there’s not many times when it’s not a good idea to keep a pair handy!

Brands to look for

Pricing Guide

men's boot pricing guide

Just as with formal shoes, there is a definite middle point between price and lifespan. Buying an inexpensive pair of boots may save your wallet in the short-term, but if you have to replace them every year, they could end up costing you more than if you had paid a bit more initially (not to mention you’ll miss out on the gorgeous worn effect on your boots and the broken in fit that can take multiple wears to achieve).

At the other end of the spectrum are boots that cost so much that you’re afraid to wear them. Although boots come in a huge variety of styles, as you’ve seen above, in general they’re designed to offer a more sturdy alternative to classic shoe designs. You should be happy to put them through their paces!

Another thing to bear in mind is how many pieces of footwear you’re wearing on a regular basis. If you’re rotating between 10 different pairs of boots and shoes, you can perhaps afford to spread the cost more as their lifespans will naturally be extended through relatively sparse use. If, however, you plan on simply wearing two or three pairs, then their quality will be put to the test more quickly.

The brands we’ve covered in this guide - and all of those stocked at Cloggs - are carefully selected to ensure that no matter what price point you opt for, you’ll be getting no less than excellent quality.

Care guide

men's boot care guide

Boots are made to be worn, and worn well. Some styles - such as work boots and combat boots - are designed to be tough enough to withstand a few scrapes, and generally look more natural once they've been broken in and bear a few marks here and there.

However, even though boots are often tougher than a lot of other types of footwear, they still need to be taken care of. We've got a huge guide on shoe care that covers all the information you could possibly need on cleaning your boots no matter if they're suede, leather, nubuck or otherwise.

Here are some quick rules of thumb to help get you started.

  • Rotate your boots. Although the temptation to wear a new pair of boots repeatedly is always great, letting your boots rest for a day between wears gives them time to breathe and to recover their shape, as well as dry out if they've been worn in damp conditions.
  • Use shoe trees. In addition to letting your boots rest, using shoe trees helps maintain their shape for longer. Wooden trees also do a good job of absorbing moisture that naturally occurs during wears.
  • If shoe trees aren't available, use newspaper. Scrunched up newspaper inside boots does a good job of absorbing moisture and preventing water damaging the boot's structure.
  • Remove debris quickly. Using either a soft brush or a damp cloth, remove mud and dust from boots as quickly as possible. It's much harder to remove when dried, and may require more drastic cleaning techniques that can damage the material in other ways.

Fit guide

men's boots fit guide

With boots intended to be worn hard and to last longer than many other types of footwear, picking a pair that fit perfectly is absolutely vital, particularly if you're purchasing a true investment pair.

Here are some tips to ensure that you get the fit exactly right:

  • Find sizing information. Although it sounds like common sense, it's remarkable how widely different brand's can size their shoes. As a general rule of thumb, boot sizes tend to run large, meaning you'll typically need to buy a size smaller than you normally would with shoes or trainers. It's also important to understand the differences between UK, US and European sizes - if you are buying from abroad, be sure to consult our comprehensive size converter.
  • Keep the context in mind. If you're planning on wearing the boots during winter, factor in the likelihood of needing to wear thicker socks; equally, if you're buying a suede pair that is unlikely to stand up well to cold, wet weather, try them with thinner socks.
  • Remember the breaking in period. Many boot styles, particularly heavier leather boots, will take some time to break in. During this process, they'll not only mold to your feet, but will also expand somewhat, particularly in terms of width. However, bear in mind that this expansion tends to be realtively minimal; if boots are tight and rubbing on all sides, don't attempt to break them in in the hope they will eventually fit.
  • Try boots on later in the day. Over the course of a day, the size of your feet can increase by up to an entire shoe size as a result of naturally swelling. Any boots that feel tight first thing in the morning are almost certain to be too tight come the end of the day.

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