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17 Best Boots for Men in 2023: The No BS Guide

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Best Boots for Men Various Boots Around a King Hat

We’re not trying to overwhelm you with 100+ picks. We’re getting straight to the point and recommending the best value-for-money boots a man can buy today.

After 100+ boot reviews, you can trust that we’ll cut the flaky stuff and only suggest the best.

Best Under $200
  • Goodyear welted with 10+ leather color options
  • Available in D and EE widths
  • Rugged, but modern and slim
Best Casual
  • Made with Horween Chromexcel leather
  • Superb construction for the cost
  • Excellent everyday boot
Best Dress
  • Slim rubber sole that looks like leather from a distance, but has much more traction and comfort
  • Beautiful Italian full grain leather
  • Oxford styling with minimal broguing details
Most Durable
  • 3mm 6.5 oz leather upper and a 5mm leather insole
  • Handmade stitchdown construction
  • Fully customizable
Best Chelsea
  • Exquisite Italian full grain leather
  • Blake stitch construction
  • Classic refined European contemporary styling
Best Chukka
  • Stitchdown construction
  • Leather stacked heel and contour that gives this boot much more shape than other chukkas
  • Comfortable insole and midsoles
Best Moc Toe
  • All natural material insole and midsole for longevity
  • Tough leather that ages beautifully
  • Recraftable with a Goodyear welt
Best Combat
  • Vibram All Terrain sole
  • Boot of choice for the US Marines
  • Fully waterproof
Best Hiking
  • Italian alpine style hiking boot
  • Waxed suede leather and double stitchdown construction is virtually waterproof
  • Fully gusseted tongue keeps dirt and water out
Best Work
  • Relatively inexpensive given how tough it is
  • Available with or without a steel toe
  • Available in six or eight inch, depending on how much ankle support you like
Best Hunting
  • Full grain leather with a waterproof membrane
  • Easy to clean outsoles so you don’t get mud and debris stuck in lugs
  • Available in narrow, standard, wide, and extra wide widths
Best Winter
  • Thick 2.5mm Horween Chromexcel leather with leather lining
  • Heavy rubber lug soles for great traction
  • Stylish moc toe design
Best Pull-On Work
  • ATS Comfort insole makes standing for hours easy
  • Easier to slip on than most western-style boots
  • Fully waterproof
Most Comfortable
  • Slips on with ease
  • Synthetic insoles make for an extremely comfortable experience
  • Materials and construction quality means this boot will last much longer than other boots built for comfort
Best Waterproof
  • Rubber work boot style that doesn’t cause blisters
  • 100% waterproof with tall shaft for dirty work
  • Steel shank and mesh lining add a lot of comfort
Best Cowboy
  • Excellent leather for the price
  • Classic styling with a modern twist
  • Comfortable with no break in
Best Under $100
  • Chelsea boot style that mimics Common Projects
  • Decent suede and modern, slim style
  • Wide variety of sizing available

After years of reviewing boots, I can’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. 

Just when I break one pair in, another pair comes along. It’s a story of perpetually sore feet.

There are a lot of guides out there that recommend the most popular brands, but I want to set the record straight. 

If you’re looking for a pair of boots that shocks you with its quality and construction, you can check out any one of these 17 amazing boots. After over 100 boot reviews, I can say confidently that these are the best boots for men. 

How Did I Come Up With My List?

Thursday Boots Captain
Wearing my Thursday Captain

I’ve reviewed over 100 boots here (plus on the BootSpy YouTube channel). I’ve spoken with the founders of several boot brands, and I’ve been a part of the boot community for years. 

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I’ve tested duds, and I’ve tested gems. 

This list is the culmination of those countless hours. 

Unlike other “best of” lists, I’ve worn every single one of these boots and tested them out. And I’ve tested their competitors, too, so I know how they compare. 

My video ranking 50 of my boots from worst to best

17 Best Mens Boots: The Cream of the Crop

Best Under $200: Thursday Boot Company Captain

Thursday Boots Captain arizona adobe rugged and resilient leather
Thursday Captains and denim are like peanut butter and jelly

The Thursday Captain is where I started my boot obsession. For under $200, you’re getting a Goodyear welted construction, great quality leather, and a comfortable boot you can walk for miles in. 

I love the slim, modern styling, but it’s not really a dress boot—the cap toe gives it a rugged edge that fits nicely with my style. I’m sure it’d fit your style, too. 

Thursday Boots Captain outfit

With 16 different leather options at the time of writing, plus standard and wide widths available, it’s pretty easy to find the right fit and style. 

You can see what my Thursday Captains look like after four years here.

The boot that started the obsession

What I Like

  • Goodyear welt construction is durable and water resistant.

  • The variety of leather options and sizing is excellent, plus they ship quickly and customer service is solid. 

  • The style: they’re rugged but still slim and modern.

What I Don’t Like

  • The Poron insoles are super comfortable, but less durable than leather (but also less expensive)

What Other Reviewers Say

The Thursday Captain has a lot of love online—it’s Thursday Boot Company’s most popular boot and it has over 18,000 reviews at the time of writing that average to a 4.9 out of 5 star rating. In reading through dozens of those reviews, this boot really speaks to the guy who always tried to cheap out on shoes and boots, but was disappointed that their footwear only lasted a year (that sounds a lot like me several years ago). 

If you’re getting your first pair of high quality boots, the Thursday Captain is a fantastic place to start.

The Verdict

The Thursday Captain is the first boot that launched my obsession, and I know I’m not alone. And I still wear mine often, even though I have over 40 pairs, and many of them cost more. In fact, I resoled and still wear my first pair I bought over five years ago. 

The Thursday Captain, with its Goodyear welted construction and wide variety of tough and stylish leather options, is a fantastic boot. And the fact that it’s under $200 makes it a no-brainer if you’re looking to invest in high quality boots you can wear every day.

Best Under $200
Thursday Captain

The Thursday Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Thursday's Chrome leather from Le Farc tannery (often compared to Horween Chromexcel), these boots are still holding up well after five years of wear. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be getting them again.

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Best Casual: Grant Stone Diesel

My go-to boots are either the Grant Stone Diesel or the Thursday Captain. I think of it this way: if Thursday is disrupting the $300 and $400 boot brands, then Grant Stone is disrupting the $500 and $600 boot brands. 

Grant Stone Diesel packaging with bag on white background 1

The Grant Stone Diesel features a 360-degree Goodyear split welt, Horween Chromexcel leather, and is made with an entirely leather and cork insole and midsole. 

I doubt the Diesel would have any difficulty lasting 10+ years with a little love and care. They’re comfortable, have very little break in, and the construction quality is outstanding. 

My Grant Stone Diesel review on YouTube

What I Like

  • Subtle details like stitching density show that Grant Stone doesn’t cut any corners.

  • The insole is a 3mm piece of vegetable tanned steer hide—it’s durable. 

  • Available in legendary Horween Chromexcel leather.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because it’s a plain toe boot, you need to add cedar shoe trees to help it keep its shape.

What Other Reviewers Say

Grant Stone gets compared often to Allen Edmonds, and many say the quality is better, even though Grant Stone costs about 30% less. In my experience, the same is true. 

The superb craftsmanship comes up a lot in reviews of the Diesel.

The Verdict

If you’re looking to dive into the deep end of boots, the Grant Stone Diesel is one of the best value-for-money picks I can recommend. 

While the Diesel runs between $300 and $400 (depends on what leather and sole combination you get), the quality surpasses many well known brands that cost much more than that (*cough, Allen Edmonds, *cough). 

I prefer the Diesel in Horween Chromexcel, which is a legendary leather from Chicago—I think the classy shine and rugged durability pair well with the style and construction of the Diesel. 

Best Casual
Grant Stone Diesel

The Grant Stone Diesel is a no-frills mid-weight boot built with superb attention to detail and materials. The quality is comparable to other boot makers who retail for $450-600, but the Diesel is much less expensive. It’s one of the better price for value buys you’ll find.

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Best Dress: Beckett Simonon Elliot

Beckett Simonon Elliot laces detail
Lacing up my dressy Beckett Simonon Elliots

Here’s Beckett Simonon again…

I love the Elliot for many of the same reasons I love the Bolton Chelsea. The Elliot is a unique boot—technically a balmoral boot, the Elliot has the construction of an Oxford dress shoe, but with a full shaft for ankle support. 

I wore these to the last wedding I went to and absolutely crushed it on the dance floor:

How to Dance at a Wedding

While you might want to keep it more classy than me, I can assure you that the Beckett Simonon Elliot will earn compliments and the elegant styling will help you keep your dignity, even if your best dance move is running around in a circle on the floor.

What I Like

  • Beckett Simonon leather is phenomenal.

  • Blake stitch construction is classic with dress boots, plus its recraftable.

  • It has speed hooks which make the lacing process much faster. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I wish these had a leather sole, or at least an option for a leather sole. While the rubber sole offers better traction and comfort (i.e. is pretty much better in every way), leather soles are classic. 

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t many reviews for the Elliot specifically, but like I said, many reviewers picked up a second pair of Beckett Simonon boots within the hour they opened their first package. I’d bet the leather will blow you away immediately.

The Verdict

If you want the elegance and sophistication of an Oxford shoe, but in boot form, the Beckett Simonon Elliot is the way to go. It’s my go-to for any fancy situation. While there are five different leather color options to choose from, I’d opt for either the Brown, Bordeaux (what I have), or Black. Those are the classiest options and best in a dress-formal situation.

Best Dress
Beckett Simonon Elliot Balmoral Boot
(Get 15% OFF with code Spy15)

Made with buttery smooth full grain Italian leather, the Elliot Balmoral boot offers a restrained brogue pattern and a formal closed lace construction.

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Most Durable: Nicks Americana

nicks americana flat lay 1
The (boot-world) famous Nicks Americana

I’ll be honest: these are painful to wear new out of the box. But once you break them in, they’re practically indestructible.

Nicks Handmade Boots are mostly made for the wildland firefighters in the Pacific Northwest, so they’re designed to be worn while trekking, chainsawing trees, and literally battling massive fires. 

They’re seriously tough. The toughest boots you can get. 

nicks americana in waxed flesh roughout 1

The Americana isn’t Nick’s most durable boot, but it’s one of the more “style-forward” options. Their wildland firefighting boots are technically more durable than the Americana, but I’m guessing you’re looking for a casual boot. 

I could easily also add White’s boots in here, and even Wesco: these are all Pacific Northwest boot brands that make some of the most durable boots on the planet.

What I Like

  • The upper leather is at least 3mm thick, with the toe cap and heel adding even more leather.

  • The insole and midsole are entirely made with natural materials: thick, sturdy leather and cork. 

  • The toplift (or rubber heel cap) is an inch thick, which means it’ll last several years before that part needs to be replaced (which is relatively cheap and easy). 

What I Don’t Like

  • The break in is rough. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Nick’s Handmade Boots have a devoted following because they don’t cut any corners. Every single piece of material used in a Nick’s boot is chosen for its ability to take an absolute beating. Many people consider Nick’s a “grail boot,” meaning they don’t own them yet, but they hope one day they can get a pair. You can think of them like the Rolex of boots, if a Rolex was built like a tank.

The Verdict

If you think you know tough boots, but you’ve never worn a boot from one of the Pacific Northwest boot companies (Nick’s, Whites, Wesco), you’re just kidding yourself. 

For durability’s sake, I like Nick’s Handmade Boots the most. The Americana isn’t their toughest boot, but it blends durability with style the best in my opinion. 

I’ve been wearing mine for several months and the leather is still barely even bending. 

Most Durable
Nicks Americana

If price is a secondary consideration and you’re looking to get a pair of boots that will last you the rest of your life, check out Nicks. Yes, they cost a pretty penny and your order can take up to six months to get to you if you get a customized boot, but the quality is unmatched.

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Best Chelsea: Beckett Simonon Bolton

Beckett Simonon is one of my favorite brands, and I usually look to them first for dressier styles because of their leather. The brand was founded by two leather specialists, and that’s really what sets this brand apart: I haven’t found another brand that offers this quality of leather for the price. 

They’re very reasonably priced (usually around $220-260), but the quality is more comparable to the $350-$450 boots I own. 

There’s one downside, though: getting your new boots can take anywhere between 6-8 weeks because they craft your boots to order. It’s a huge reason they’re able to keep costs low. 

The Bolton wins my pick as the top Chelsea boot because it has a classic and refined European shape to it that doesn’t look so trendy. Plus it’s comfortable, and the leather quality sets the Bolton apart.

What I Like

  • Beckett Simonon leather is the best at their price point. 

  • Blake stitch construction is a classic dress boot method that’s slim and stylish.

  • They’re comfortable and easy to wear all day in an office or at an event. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Because they’re crafted to order, your boots may take 6-8 weeks to arrive. 

What Other Reviewers Say

You’d be surprised how many reviewers report going back and buying a second or third pair of Beckett Simonon boots immediately after opening their first pair. 

And compared to other boot brands with a wait time, Beckett Simonon does a solid job keeping in contact and updating you on your boots while you wait for them to arrive.

The Verdict

If you’re patient and can wait the 6-8 weeks for a new pair of boots, I think you’ll be shocked at just how soft and luxurious the leather feels. 

The Beckett Simonon Bolton earns my top pick for Chelsea boots because its style is more refined and classic than trendy: it’s a boot that makes you look rich without having to spend more than $300.

Best Chelsea
Beckett Simonon Bolton
(Get 15% OFF with code Spy15)

While the multi-month wait time is a bummer, the Beckett Simonon Bolton is the best Chelsea boot on the market. You won’t find a full grain Italian calfskin Chelsea for under $300 elsewhere, and certainly not with this leather thickness.

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Best Chukka: Thursday Boot Company Scout

I have to be up front here: I’m not a huge fan of chukka boots in general. And I’ve tried dozens. 

The only chukka I actually wear with any regularity is the Thursday Boot Company Scout. Why is that?

Well, the Thursday Scout has a leather stacked heel, and the leather upper has contour through the waist of the foot and through the toe. It’s versatile, and it doesn’t end up looking like a leather slipper like so many other chukkas do over time (looking at you, Clarks Desert Boot). 

model wearing Thursday Boots Scout chukka in mocha

While many chukkas come with a crepe sole, which gets dirty quickly, the Thursday Scout has a custom rubber studded sole that looks classy and lasts much longer. When I wear a chukka, it’s always the Thursday Scout. 

If it’s not already obvious…yes, it’s the best chukka (in my opinion)

What I Like

  • It has more shape and style than most other chukkas on the market. 

  • It’s available in casual suede options or classier full grain leathers.

  • The rubber studded sole makes this much more durable than other chukkas, plus it offers more support through the arch because of the steel shank

  • Like many chukkas, the Scout has two eyelets, and I think three eyelets would be better for more ankle support. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Like many chukkas, the Scout has two eyelets, and I think three eyelets would be better for more ankle support.

What Other Reviewers Say

Because the Scout fits a little looser (due to the two eyelets and general chukka construction), you may want to order a full size lower than your standard sneaker size. Most boots are a half-size larger than sneakers, but the Scout has so much extra wiggle room around the ankle that you may want to order even smaller. The good news is that even if you do have to return your Thursdays (which I doubt you will if you read my Thursday sizing guide), the brand has excellent customer service.

The Verdict

I like a chukka that can transition between classy and casual situations. Most chukkas just don’t cut it. 

But the Thursday Scout has what it takes. To me, it’s the best chukka boot because it offers arch support, has a durable sole, there are some really cool leather options, it looks stylish, and it’s well under $200. It’s a no-brainer in my opinion. Especially if your only experience with chukkas has been the Clarks Desert Boot.

Best Chukka
Thursday Scout

The Thursday Scout is one of the best bang-for-buck chukkas on the market. With Thursday's proprietary leather and a stitchdown construction, this boot is hard to beat for value.

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Best Moc Toe: Red Wing Classic Moc Toe

Red Wing Moc Toe
Wearing my Red Wing Moc Toe

The Red Wing Classic Moc Toe is a legend, an icon. And for good reason. 

This boot made the style popular and has been a staple in workwear for nearly 70 years. There’s been a resurgence of more traditional bootmaking throughout the world in the past twenty years, but for a while, Red Wing was one of the only brands holding it down with all natural materials in the insole and midsole of their boots. 

lifestyle image of Red Wing Moc Toe

The Classic Moc Toe is tough. Each leather option can handle a beating, but also cleans up well should you decide to wear your moc toe boots in a hang-out situation. 

Made with a wedge sole, these offer a lot of grip on concrete and can help a ton if you’ve struggled with knee or back pain in the past.

My Red Wing Classic Moc review on YouTube

What I Like

  • The leather options from Red Wing are unique, rugged, and age beautifully. 

  • The full grain leather and tightly textured cork in the midsole are durable and break in to feel like a custom fit. 

  • It’s made in the USA

What I Don’t Like

  • I wish the Moc Toe had speed hooks like on the Iron Ranger. 

What Other Reviewers Say

From blue collar workers to fashion enthusiasts, the Red Wing Classic Moc Toe is popular with a huge range of people. Getting the right size can be a bit tricky, so make sure you read up on how to find the correct size Red Wings, as they’re not all built the same.

The Verdict

The Red Wing Classic Moc is the original moc toe, and it’s been extremely popular since the 1950s for a reason. 

I have mine in Slate Muleskinner leather, which I love, but the Oro Legacy leather is more iconic and ages so well. 

If you work on your feet a lot and you’ve ever struggled with back or knee pain, the wedge soles should help you a lot as they offer more consistent support throughout your entire foot.

Best Moc Toe
Red Wing Classic Moc

The Red Wing Classic Moc Toe boot has quite a large toe box, which can be off-putting for some, though it’s an ideal match for American Heritage workwear aesthetic. The Puritan Triple stitching, 360-degree Goodyear welt, and thick full grain leather footbed all make for a beast of a boot that will easily last years.

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Best Combat: Danner Reckoning

This is simple: the Danner Reckoning is the boot of choice for the US Marines. If a boot is good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. 

This beast is breathable, lightweight, rugged, and has excellent traction in a variety of terrains. If you’re looking for a true combat boot, the Danner Reckoning is the way to go.

What I Like

  • It features the most up-to-date materials for comfort and durability.

  • It’s made in the USA and is fully compliant with US Marine standards. 

  • Available in Desert Tan, Olive, and Black. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s not recraftable because the sole isn’t Goodyear welted—it’s a cemented sole construction. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers for this boot justifiably have high standards: they need to run, ruck, and train in these boots and put them through tough treatment right out of the box. But they have high marks. Many reviewers claim these are the best military-compliant boots on the market, so if you want the real deal, the Danner Reckoning is it.

The Verdict

If Marines claim this is the best combat boot, well, I’m inclined to agree. While I’ve only used mine for hikes and yard work, the reviews from folks who’ve run on rocky terrain for several miles and still say they love the boots are enough to convince me that the Danner Reckoning is the best combat boot out there.

Best Combat
Danner Reckoning

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning. The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot.

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Best Hiking: Velasca Resegott

velasca resegott profile view in nature
Wearing my Velasca Resegott out in the wild

The Velasca Resegott is a traditional Italian Alpine style hiking boot, so it’s not loaded with modern features like Gore-Tex or extra lightweight soles. Instead, it’s an old-school tank of a boot and my hiking boot of choice.

With 3mm waxed and oiled suede uppers and a Vibram sole that was designed for scaling Everest, the Resegott is stylish, tough as can be, and offers plenty of support. 

velasca resegott vibram rubber lug sole closeup

The Velasca Resegott is a hiking boot for boot enthusiasts, rather than hiking enthusiasts.

What I Like

  • The leather is thick and incredibly durable.

  • The Italian Alpine hiker style makes it a fashionable choice for casual outings as well. 

  • The tongue is gusseted all the way to the top of the boot, so it’s functionally waterproof. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s a heavyweight boot, which I personally like, but passionate hikers might not prefer the added weight. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Velasca Resegott often is compared to the Danner Mountain Light, which is a legendary hiking boot. But many folks prefer the traditional craftsmanship of the Resegott—with a double-row stitchdown construction and oiled leather, plus the gusseted tongue, this boot is virtually waterproof the old-school way. 

The Verdict

If you’re a boot enthusiast and you’re looking for a heavy-duty hiking boot, my top choice is the Velasca Resegott

Again, it’s a heavy boot, so backpackers and folks who take their hiking very seriously could probably find something a little more technically advanced. 

But the Resegott is extremely well built with double row stitchdown construction, and I love that the tongue is gusseted all the way to the top of the shaft, which means that there’s little chance of water creeping in. 

While many brands rely on some type of waterproof plastic membrane to keep their boots sealed, Velasca relies on hefty construction and oiled leather, which is plenty enough to get the job done.

Best Hiking
Velasca Resegott

The Velasca Resegott is an outstanding boot and the price is very fair for the quality. The double-stitched stitchdown construction, heavy Vibram lug sole, oiled suede, and fully gusseted tongue make for a virtually waterproof boot that looks great and can tackle tough terrain.

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Best Work: Thorogood Steel Toe Moc Toe

Thorogood broken in moc toe detail
The Thorogood Steel Toe Moc in all its glory

Some jobs tear through new boots in months, not years. I’m talking about construction, plumbing, electrical: the tough jobs. 

Of all the work boots I’ve tested, the Thorogood Steel Toe Moc Toe wins my vote as the best, and it might be for a reason you wouldn’t expect. 

First, I like wedge soles for most working conditions. They have a lot of contact with the ground, and the arch support is often critical for guys who experience knee or back pain. 

model putting on camel city mill lightweight work sock with thorogood moc toe work boot
Rocking my Camel City Mill socks with my Thorogood Steel Toe Moc

Thorogood is a sturdy boot with good quality leather—where they get me is the price. 

Thorogood Moc Toes are affordable, and they have excellent value for money. Even the toughest boots wither under extreme conditions, so if you find that your boots regularly last only a year of work, then spending a fortune each time isn’t manageable. 

That’s why I like the Thorogood Steel Toe. It’s a tough boot, it’s comfortable, and it’s not so expensive that you can’t invest in a new pair every year if you need to.

What I Like

  • Also available in soft toe, six inch, and eight inch versions. 

  • It’s a low maintenance boot, even if you work in rugged conditions. 

  • The sole offers the best slip resistance compared to other brands like Danner and Red Wing. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The fit is a touch narrow at the ball of my foot—could be just my sizing though.

What Other Reviewers Say

Most reviewers leave comments like war stories discussing how tough these boots are. The common complaints I see scattered around are that the fit is a bit narrow at the front of the boot. It’s certainly more narrow than the Red Wing Classic Moc, so if you have wide feet, order a size EE or check out the Red Wing..

The Verdict

For work boots, I’m of the opinion that you want something that’s tough and durable, offers protection, but isn’t so expensive that you avoid actually working in it. 

That’s where the Thorogood Moc Toe comes in (especially with the steel toe). 

If you want to see how the Thorogood Moc Toe stacks up against the Red Wing Classic Moc, Danner Bull Run, and the Thursday Diplomat, check out my moc toe comparison video below. 

Best Work
Thorogood Steel Toe Moc

The Thorogood Steel Toe Moc can take a beating and keep your feet well protected. They’re not the most stylish boots, but they’re a fantastic value buy considering the quality.

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Best Hunting: Irish Setter Wingshooter

Irish Setter is an offshoot brand from the legendary Red Wing company, and their Wingshooter goes back to the company’s roots in woodland hunting. 

The Irish Setter Wingshooter is a classic moc toe with a few beefed up bonuses that make it a great choice for early morning trudges to the blind. 

irish setter wingshooter outdoors city 3

It’s made with full grain leather and has an UltraDry waterproof membrane between the upper and the lining. And the sole is designed so it has excellent traction, but the lugs aren’t so deep that it’ll pick up mud and debris, which can cause unwanted noise when walking.

What I Like

  • The upper is waterproof and the full grain leather can take a beating. 

  • The steel shank and shape of the outsole offer a lot of arch support. 

  • It comes in narrow, standard, and wide widths. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The pull on tab is quite large and has the tendency to catch on twigs when out in brush. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Some reviewers claim that the outsole stiffens up a bit in cold weather. I’m in North Carolina, so I don’t think it gets cold enough for that to be an issue for me. I’m guessing those reviewers are discussing sub-zero temperatures: I haven’t had the same problem in 20-degree weather.

The Verdict

A great hunting boot should feel comfortable for 12 or more hours and it should keep your feet dry throughout the day, no matter the conditions. 

The Irish Setter Wingshooter wins on both accounts.

It’s made for hunters, and subtle details like the tread of the sole help keep you light on your feet and keeps the noise you make to a minimum.

Best Hunting
Irish Setter Wingshooter

The Wingshooter boasts all of the necessary features that make a good hunting boot. Once broken in, they’re comfortable enough to stomp around different kinds of terrain for hours at a time.

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Best Winter: Grant Stone Brass

Grant Stone Brass boot leaned against wall
Leaning into my Grant Stone Brass Boots

There are two kinds of boots: winter boots, and boots you wear in winter. If you’re looking for a true winter boot that can take sub-zero temperatures—like something you’d wear on a snow-mobile, then my recommendation here isn’t going to be the best choice.

But if you’re looking for an amazing boot that performs well when the temperature is below freezing, but not below zero, then I recommend the Grant Stone Brass boot

model wearing Grant Stone Brass boot in horween chromexcel leather black

It’s a moc toe style boot with a 2.5mm Horween Chromexcel leather upper and a 1mm vegetable-tanned natural leather lining. What does all that mean? 

You’re getting a thick hunk of superb quality leather protecting you from the elements. 

Grant Stone Brass boot rubber lug sole

Plus, with the Brass, you get a heavy rubber lug sole that can dig into snow and ice and give you plenty of traction on frozen mud or icy sidewalks. 

Because there’s no insulation in the Grant Stone Brass, I recommend wearing a thicker pair of Merino wool socks if the temperature is below freezing. Otherwise, the thick leather will give you plenty of natural insulation on its own.

My Grant Stone Brass Boot review on YouTube

What I Like

  • I love the style of the Brass boot: it’s a rugged moc toe, but stays fairly slim through the toe.

  • The heavy rubber lug soles give this boot a unique look and also have excellent performance in snow and on icy streets. 

  • Horween Chromexcel leather is rugged and durable and can handle being soaked and dried many times over. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It’s a heavy boot—one of the heaviest I own. I like that in slippery conditions, but it can be burdensome for some folks. 

What Other Reviewers Say

When searching through Grant Stone reviews, I’ve found that reviewers are typically on their second or third boot from the brand: Grant Stone gets a lot of repeat customers. And that’s a great sign.

The Brass tends to fit a little larger because it’s built on Grant Stone’s Floyd last. It’s longer, so if you have a more narrow foot, you can order up to a full size smaller than your usual sneaker size.

The Verdict

The Grant Stone Brass is my personal favorite boot to wear in winter. I do have to make this disclaimer though: I live in North Carolina and it never gets really cold. 

With a pair of thick Merino wool socks, the Brass offers plenty of cold-weather protection because of its 3.5mm of leather throughout the upper (when combined with the lining). 

If you’re in need of a boot that can handle sub-zero temperatures, then you’ll need an insulated boot. But unless you’re living in a northern state, then the Grant Stone Brass is a stylish and rugged option for those chilly months.

Best Winter
Grant Stone Brass Boot

The Grant Stone Brass boot is a total beast. The construction and stitching is meticulous and the build quality is the best I’ve experienced. While I personally prefer a slightly slimmer style, there’s no denying that the Grant Stone Brass Boot is one of the best value-offers in boots today.

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Best Pull-On Work: Ariat WorkHog

Ariat workhog work boot western on wood work bench
Down and dirty with the Ariat WorkHog Boots

The Ariat WorkHog is an awesome waterproof pull-on work boot. It’s western-style, but built with a ton of modern materials and features. 

I chose this boot as my top pull-on work boot because it’s so comfortable. Ariat uses their ATS insole system, which is basically like stepping on a memory foam mattress. 

ariat workhog work boot with sawdust

These boots are also relatively easy to slip on and off, which isn’t always the case for western-style boots (notoriously difficult to pull off). This is great if you have a stiff lower back and need to keep your bending to a minimum.

You can actually see what the WorkHog looks like cut in half in my video below:

They were some of my favorites…then I cut them in half

What I Like

  • They’re heavy-duty, but still lightweight: a nylon shank offers arch support but doesn’t add the weight a steel shank would. 

  • These feature a waterproof membrane, so you can stand in water without getting your socks wet.

  • They feature a breathable lining so they’re also a great choice for hot-weather work. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The cemented sole construction isn’t the greatest—I’d prefer a Goodyear welt for extra sole stability. That said, this does keep the cost down. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Ariat WorkHog has a loyal fanbase of blue collar workers who seem to get a new pair every year. That’s an important thing to note on this boot: it’s not built to last forever.

It’s a great choice if your work is really tough and you tend to absolutely destroy boots within a year. 

The Verdict

The Ariat WorkHog isn’t the most durable boot, but if your work is the kind of labor that tends to destroy a pair of boots, you’ll get good use from the WorkHog. 

It’s waterproof, lightweight, breathable, and easy to slip on and off. And even better, the price is much more budget friendly than other boot brands.

Best Pull-On Work
Ariat WorkHog

Ariat gave these an apt name. These waterproof work boots are tough. Combine that with Ariat's ATS comfort system, and suddenly working on your feet for 10-12 hours straight is much easier.

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Most Comfortable: Red Wing Classic Chelsea

The Red Wing Classic Chelsea wins my vote for the most comfortable boot for a few reasons (one which you might not expect). 

First, it has a leather midsole which is awesome for durability, but the insole is made with high-grade Poron. This is unusual for Red Wing, as they normally use all-natural materials. But Poron isn’t a bad thing: it’s way more comfortable and easier to break in than leather. 

model wearing Red Wing Classic Chelsea boots

And the Red Wing Classic Chelsea has a wedge sole. If you struggle with low back pain or knee pain, you should definitely try a wedge sole. Many people I know who have pain from previous injuries (or a lot of bending) love wedge sole boots and swear by them. 

Wedge soles have a lot of support through the arch (they’re in contact with the ground throughout the entire boot).

What I Like

  • The leather Red Wing uses from the S.B Tanning Company (Red Wing owned) is phenomenal. I have the Ebony Harness leather and it ages so well. 

  • Because it’s a Chelsea, it slips on and off easily: another bonus for guys with stiff backs. 

  • It’s a durable boot and an excellent choice for working applications. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I think it’s ugly. I like the bump toe last (same as on the Iron Ranger), but I just don’t think wedge soles look good. Obviously, this is completely subjective. 

What Other Reviewers Say

When Red Wing first released this boot, Red Wing fans were very upset because it has a Poron insole rather than leather. But more and more reviews have been pouring in discussing how comfortable they are.After trying it for myself, I love the comfort. And just because they’re comfy doesn’t mean they’re not tough little beasts.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a comfortable boot, get a pair of Uggs. If you’re looking for a comfortable boot you can work in and that will last several years, get a pair of the Red Wing Classic Chelsea

I’m not crazy about how the wedge sole looks, but I know plenty of guys who love the style. But style aside, the wedge sole can be a game-changer if you struggle with low-back pain or knee pain. Because the sole is in complete contact with the ground, your arch gets more support, which can help with your posture.

Best Waterproof: Muck Boot Company Chore

Muck Boots Chore model on dirt 3
Gettin’ it done in my Muck Boot Chores

If you need a waterproof boot, you can’t beat rubber. 

Most of the boots on this list are very water resistant (usually any boot with a Goodyear welt is). But if you’re working outside and standing in puddles a lot throughout your day, getting a rubber boot is the best way to go: it’ll last longer and you won’t have to worry about a seam breaking in the middle of a workday and flooding your socks. 

Muck Boots Chore model on dirt 2

For a true waterproof boot, I like the Muck Boot Company Chore. It’s their classic offering and it’s a work-powerhouse.

What I Like

  • The heavy lugged sole gives you a lot of traction in the mud. 

  • It has a moisture-wicking lining so your feet won’t get all sweaty. 

  • The Chore Boot has a reinforced toe and a steel shank, which is rare for a rubber boot.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because the lugs are so thick, they can pick up mud easily. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers use the Muck Chore for some of the dirtiest work imaginable. Comfort comes up a lot throughout the reviews, which isn’t something I’d normally think of when it comes to rubber boots. These are truly waterproof, so if you’re facing a lot of moisture in your day to day, a rubber boot is the only way to go.

The Verdict

If you want a waterproof boot that’s going to actually last a long time and will fit comfortably and securely, the Muck Boot Company Chore boot is your best option.

If you’re looking for a more stylish boot, note that pretty much every boot on this list will keep your feet dry in a rainstorm. Anything with a goodyear welt is quite water-resistant. But if it’s real waterproofing you’re after, don’t mess around: choose rubber boots. 

Best Waterproof
Muck Boot Chore Classic

The Muck Boot Chore Classic scores high on every category thanks to its perfect balance of features. The upper protects from cold, yet the mesh lining tempers heat. The shank and triple toe offer safeguards from falling objects, but the contoured and flexible neoprene provide comfort and chafe-resistance. If you’re looking for an all-year round boot for every job on the farm, go for the Classic Chore.

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Best Cowboy: Tecovas Cartwright

Tecovas Cartwright
Wearing my Tecovas Cartwright

A good pair of cowboy boots can make a man stand taller. Of course, I mean that literally, but also in the figurative sense. 

The longer I’ve been in the boot-world, the more I’ve come to appreciate a fine pair of western-style boots. 

And for my money, I like the Tecovas Cartwright the most. 

Tecovas Cartwright cowboy boots on model

Tecovas builds their cowboy boots in Leon, Mexico, which is the cowboy boot capital of the world. The leather they use is soft and buttery, and there’s plenty of support through the arch. 

The Cartwright is built in the traditional way: lemonwood pegs through the arch, steel shank, leather stacked heel, and leather sole. It’s a beautiful boot, and it’s an excellent value for the price.

What I Like

  • Tecovas uses traditional boot-making methods like driving in lemonwood pegs into the arch area.

  • The leather stacked heel gives a great feeling of authority with every step. 

  • The upper leather is buttery smooth and there’s no break in

What I Don’t Like

  • There aren’t many leather options available.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reading through the reviews online, some folks felt the Cartwright fits a little large (though the majority agree they’re true to size). I picked up my Tecovas Cartwrights in my sneaker size and feel the fit is perfect. Whenever I wear my cowboy boots, I tend to wear them all day, and when my feet start swelling, I like the bit of extra room.

The Verdict

A great pair of cowboy boots usually costs a small fortune. Sure, there are more nuanced and fancy cowboy boots on the market, but if you’re looking for a fantastic value cowboy boot that looks as good on the ranch as it does in the office, then the Tecovas Cartwright is the boot for you.

Best Under $100: New Republic Sonoma

New Republic Sonoma suede chelsea boot against wall
Casual days in my New Republic Sonomas

There aren’t many good boots under $100, and if you’re looking for a truly budget boot, then you’re not going to have a ton of rugged, durable options. 

But there is a gem hiding in the bargain basement: the New Republic Sonoma. It’s a light sandy suede Chelsea boot, and it’s pretty solid. 

model walking in tan New Republic Sonoma chelsea boots

Obviously, it’s a certain style, and you have to be down with that. But considering that a pair of very similar looking Common Projects Chelsea boots sell for $500+, and you can get the New Republic instead, which is nearly identical, for under $100, I think it’s a winner.

Why I think the New Republic Sonoma is better than the $500 Common Projects

What I Like

  • The suede is nice—it’s not mind-blowing, but it’s decent, especially for the price. 

  • They’re comfortable due to the high density foam insoles and the crepe rubber sole. 

  • New Republic offers a few different suede color options which are all stylish. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Crepe rubber soles can get dirty quickly, which is the main reason I’d never get the Common Projects, but is also a drawback here.

What Other Reviewers Say

Many reviewers naturally compare these to the Common Projects Chelsea, which makes sense because the New Republic Sonoma is what one might generously call an homage to the CPs. The Sonoma doesn’t last as long as Common Projects—many reviews I read give the Sonoma about 24 months of life, whereas many Common Projects wearers get about double that. But the New Republic Sonoma also costs about a fifth of the amount of a CP Chelsea.

The Verdict

There aren’t many boots worth getting below $100. In fact, the New Republic Sonoma is the only boot I recommend that costs under a bill, and there’s a big reason for it: I think it’s a way better alternative to the super expensive Common Projects Chelsea. Why?Well, any boot with a crepe sole is going to start looking dirty after a month or two of wear: it’s what crepe soles do. You can clean them up a bit, but they’re high maintenance. So I wouldn’t spend $500 on a boot that’s just going to look dirty and last 3-4 years. But for under $100 I would.

Best Under $100
New Republic Sonoma

The New Republic Sonoma Suede Chelsea boot is the best Chelsea I’ve found for under $100. 

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5 Best Boot Brands for Men

The boots above are a few of my personal favorites for different situations. But whenever I’m looking for a new boot, I always seem to go back to the following five companies to see what they have in stock. 

Thursday Boot Company

closeup Thursday Boots Captain in arizona adobe against concrete 1
Wearing my Thursday Captains

Thursday Boot Company is my go-to if I’m looking for a more fashionable boot in an interesting style. 

Thursday has service boots like the Captain, moc toes like the Diplomat, and even lesser-known styles like Jodhpur boots (the Rogue). 

Thursday Rogue

The Rogue boot seamlessly blends form and function with accented leather paneling, ultra-comfy insoles, and Goodyear welted outsoles. 

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Image source: Thursday Boots

But just because Thursday is a more fashion-forward brand doesn’t mean they skimp on quality.

Nearly all Thursday boots use a 360-degree Goodyear welt (the Scout is the lone exception, as it uses stitchdown construction), which is known for its weather resistance and recraftability.

When I recrafted my Thursday Captains, I had a chance to look at the inside of the boot and was impressed with the quality of materials used inside and out. That’s not something you find in other fashion-forward boots. You can watch me tear apart my old Captain’s here and rebuild them:

My favorite Thursday boot is the Captain. For me, that’s the boot that originally got me interested in high-end Goodyear welted footwear. 

Thursday Captain

The Thursday Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Thursday's Chrome leather from Le Farc tannery (often compared to Horween Chromexcel), these boots are still holding up well after five years of wear. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be getting them again.

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Beckett Simonon

Beckett Simonon makes my favorite dress boots. And it’s because the leather they use is phenomenal, especially at the price. 

In my opinion, they sell $300-$400 boots for around $200. They’re an incredible deal. 

But there’s one big issue: they handmake their boots to order, so there can be a 8-12 week delay between when you order your boots and when you get them.

On the positive side, because they don’t have to create extra unneeded stock, they don’t need to charge more for their boots. On the downside, you can’t really get these boots in a rush. 

So if you have some patience and you’re willing to wait a little, Beckett Simonon offers some of the best value for money in the boot game. 

My favorite boot from Beckett Simonon is the Elliot. It’s slim and stylish, but has more presence and sophistication to it; plus the leather is buttery soft and rich. They’re perfect for the boardroom or a wedding. 

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Beckett Simonon Elliot Balmoral Boot
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Made with buttery smooth full grain Italian leather, the Elliot Balmoral boot offers a restrained brogue pattern and a formal closed lace construction.

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Grant Stone

Grant Stone does next-level bootmaking. If you’re a boot fanatic, you’ll enjoy subtle details like stitching density, clicking, and the feel of the leather. 

Grant Stone uses the absolute best materials like vegetable tanned leather for their insoles. 

Their boots use all natural materials, which can take a little longer to break in, but are much more durable in the long run. 

My favorite boot from Grant Stone is the Diesel, which is a casual plain toe boot that looks sophisticated, but should still last for a decade or longer. 

Grant Stone Diesel

The Grant Stone Diesel is a no-frills mid-weight boot built with superb attention to detail and materials. The quality is comparable to other boot makers who retail for $450-600, but the Diesel is much less expensive. It’s one of the better price for value buys you’ll find.

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Red Wing

Red Wing is an icon. And it’s because they make amazing boots. 

I love that Red Wing uses their own leather from the S.B. Foot Tanning Company (Red Wing owned). They’ve been developing special and unique leathers for over 100 years, and their knowledge shows. 

Ranking my Red Wing boots from least favorite to most favorite

I spoke to a cobbler not too long ago about his favorite brands, and he said that Red Wing is still the gold-standard. 

My favorite boot from Red Wing is the Iron Ranger. It’s just awesome. 

Nick’s Handmade Boots

author william barton wearing nicks americana us made boots 1

Nick’s boots are special. You can tell they’re built differently the moment you see them. 

These are classic old-school boots, built specifically for durability with the best possible materials. 

Nick’s doesn’t care if you have a tough break in. People who wear Nick’s talk about their blistered, battered feet like it’s an old war-medal. 

But it’s totally worth it. The construction on a pair of Nick’s is next-level: they use the double-row stitch down method and you can completely customize the boot to your taste. The insoles and midsoles are all thick veg-tanned leather. Yes, it takes a while to break in. But they’re basically indestructible, and they’re pretty comfortable once they’re broken in. 

Oh, and because Nick’s boots are handmade, and they have such a huge waiting list, you can expect a 4-6 month wait time for your new boots. 

I only own one pair of Nick’s (they’re pretty pricey, but worth it in my opinion). It’s the Americana. Nick’s makes a lot of wildland firefighting boots, but the Americana is more of a heritage-style fashionable boot. 

Nicks Americana

If price is a secondary consideration and you’re looking to get a pair of boots that will last you the rest of your life, check out Nicks. Yes, they cost a pretty penny and your order can take up to six months to get to you if you get a customized boot, but the quality is unmatched.

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Parting Boot Wisdom

Thursday Scout mocha weathersafe suede burnishing leather detail
Walking in my Thursday Scout

As you can tell, I’ve bought a ton of boots. 

What I’ve learned is this: you usually get what you pay for, and there are a few brands out there that offer exceptional value for your money. 

There are still some brands out there I haven’t tried. But I’ve bought and worn boots from nearly all the big-name brands.

This list is made with love and with years of research. And not just my own experience, but also the experience of the tens of thousands of readers and viewers in the BootSpy community.


Which boot brand is best?

My favorite boot brands are (in no particular order):
1. Thursday Boot Company
2. Beckett Simonon
3. Grant Stone
4. Red Wing Shoe Company (Heritage Line)
5. Nick’s Handmade Boots

Are boots fashionable for men?

Every man should own at least one pair of boots. Even if your style is sleek and modern, a great pair of boots will help you stand out from other guys.

How many boots should a man own?

A man should have at least one pair. I recommend three pairs: one for casual wear, one for more formal (think wedding or important meeting), and one for work and chores.

What kind of jeans do you wear with boots?

For slimmer, low profile boots, I like slim-tapered jeans. For bulkier boots, wear either slim-straight or straight leg jeans. Get darker washes, and stay away from distressed jeans (do the distressing yourself). A lot of guys love raw denim jeans with boots. My favorite is a slim-straight raw denim.

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Our Favorite Boot Sock
Camel City Mill Lightweight Wool Work Sock

Made in the USA from Merino wool, these work socks really are something else in terms of quality. They feature compression through the arch and calf which helps your feet recover after a long day. Plus, because they're Merino wool, they're breathable and help reduce foot sweat.

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