If you’re diving into the world of high quality footwear, it can be hard to get a sense of what your options are.
So I’m putting together a list of every good and reputable boot brand that’s worth knowing about.
And because the list is pretty huge, I broke down my personal favorite brands in four different price ranges so you can focus on just a few, depending on what your budget is.
37 Boot Brands You Need to Know
This list isn’t in any particular order, other than what comes to mind first. Note that I haven’t tried all these brands, but I own a great deal of these brands and I can at least say that all these brands are worth looking at.
If you want to know what my favorite boot brands are, scroll down a bit and I’ll break down my favorite brands in different pricing categories.
Last note: this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are likely thousands of boot brands out there, and although I am the BootSpy, it’s impossible to know them all.
Plus I left off some turd brands that aren’t worth knowing.
Casual Boot Brands
Ranging from dressy to rugged, the vast majority of boots fit into the “casual” category. Here are the ones you need to know:
Thursday Boot Company
Thursday Boot Company offers a huge range of styles, and they have an impressive variety of sizing options, too. This is one of my favorite brands to recommend because you’re going to find something you like when looking through Thursday’s lineup.
Plus, their leathers are awesome and the majority of their boots are Goodyear welted.
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.
Beckett Simonon makes their boots to order. Expect a 6-8 week wait time when buying from them.
The benefit is that you get exceptional quality leather and construction at an amazing price. The downside is that it feels like it takes forever to show up. Patience is key.
Made with buttery smooth full grain Italian leather, the Elliot Balmoral boot offers a restrained brogue pattern and a formal closed lace construction.
Red Wing Shoes
Red Wing boots have been around since 1905, and they’re still one of the most iconic brands in the space.
For the past few years, shopping online with Red Wing has been a total pain—they never have anything in stock. See if there’s a local store you can visit.
If you survive the break-in period, the Iron Ranger will reward you with a rugged, manly boot that can last for decades with minimal care.
Grant Stone has been building a cult following because their boots are uncompromising in quality of materials and construction. And they’re relatively inexpensive given how well they’re made.
While you can find iconic leather options like Horween Chromexcel, Grant Stone also offers uncommon leathers like waxed kudu and kangaroo.
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.
Nick’s Handmade Boots
Nick’s Handmade Boots out of Spokane, Washington are known as some of the toughest boots you can possibly buy.
Sure, they’re expensive. But they’re built insanely well. After all, they were originally made for wildland firefighters, so the durability here is beyond just being good—I’d call it intense.
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.
Wesco Boots, otherwise known as the West Coast Shoe Company, makes high end boots with old-school methods like stitchdown construction. They’re up in the top ranks in terms of durability with other Pacific Northwest brands like Nick’s, White’s, and Viberg.
Their website looks like it was made in the 1920’s (I’m joking…sort of), and when you order, they’ll actually reach out to you personally and get some details. They’re old-school through and through. And it’s awesome.
Wesco's Mr. Lou engineer boots are slimmer and more style-driven than the Wesco Boss. Sewn up with vintage details including a narrow shaft, triple-needle stitching throughout, a half-sole, and that coveted V-stitch on the backstay.
Viberg is the undisputed king of Canadian boots. They’re regularly in the conversation for best boot brand in terms of pure build quality and materials. Just like all the other Pacific Northwest bootmakers.
I haven’t tried Viberg yet, but I’ve been eyeing a pair for over a year now.
The Service Boot has been a Viberg icon since the 1930s. It's versatile, rugged, and Viberg makes one of the best versions of this boot you can find. But you gotta be willing to pay the price.
Oak Street Bootmakers
Oak Street Bootmakers do their best to source all their materials from the USA. They’re a Chicago-based brand, so it only makes sense that they use Horween leather (a Chicago tannery) in most of their lineup.
Built with thick 3mm Horween leather, the Oak Street Trench is rugged---even for a service boot.
Wolverine and Red Wing are like those two old guys in the YMCA locker room who look very similar at first glance, but they can’t stop arguing and you think they might get into fisticuffs over who gets the best seat in the sauna.
Like Red Wing, Wolverine makes a bunch of work boots overseas that are decent, but nothing special. But they keep their heritage line 100% USA made, and their 1000 Mile boot is still the same quality as it was back when they first launched it in the 1910s.
The Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot is like an all-star team of America’s best boot-making materials. The Horween Chromexcel leather and Vibram heel cap offer rugged durability that can easily go for 1000 miles---or a decade, whichever comes first.
Taft makes those wool boots you probably started seeing about 5 years ago. Well, I never really liked those, but now they offer a ton of other super interesting and unique boots.
There’s no other brand quite like Taft, and when you see one of their boots, you immediately know it’s them.
Either the Taft Jack Boot speaks to you, or it doesn’t. The material quality is excellent, and the construction is on par with what you’d find in any high-quality dress boot. But with such a distinctive boot, it’s awesome as part of a collection, though it’s not quite your “everyday” stomper.
G’day mate, R.M. Williams is basically part of the Australian national uniform. Their Chelsea boots are stunning, and while the brand is a bit pricey, I can confirm they’re worth it.
The R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman is one of the most comfortable boots I own, period. And it’s a wholecut Chelsea made with Yearling leather, so it's classy and sophisticated.
Dr. Martens was a real guy. He was a foot doctor who developed a new kind of sole back in the 1930s and 40s, and while his brand struggled through his lifetime, it exploded in popularity in the 80s when British punks picked up the combat boot style.
They fell out of favor in the early 2000s, but they’re absolutely huge again. Not many boot brands are beloved both by GenX dudes and GenZ girls, but Dr. Martens is.
Honestly, I don’t think Dr. Martens are that great. But they’re super popular, so they make my list.
The Dr. Martens 1460 is consistently popular and instantly recognizable. Though it’s a combat-style boot, it lacks a lot of practical and rugged qualities including strong leather, quality stitching, and a steel shank. Nonetheless, its shiny upper, yellow sole stitching, and transparent outsole have made it an iconic fashion staple.
Allen Edmonds just celebrated their 100 year anniversary. They’re a staple in American style history, and still a go-to choice for guys who want great quality Goodyear welted shoes and boots for the office.
I’ve tried the Allen Edmonds Higgins Mill boot, which was decent, but a little overpriced. I think where Allen Edmonds really excels is with their dress shoes.
Speaking of OG’s, Alden dates back to 1884. Alden is a step above Allen Edmonds, both in price and in quality.
Their most popular boot is the Indy, named as such because it was the boot of choice for Indiana Jones.
Again, like Allen Edmonds, I think Alden is a better choice for dress shoes rather than their boots. While the Indy is unique looking and very comfortable, it’s a bit overpriced compared to what you can get from younger brands.
The Alden Indy boot is an absolute icon. The 405 is made with exquisite calf leather, and the 403 is made with Horween Chromexcel. You can't go wrong with either. And just wait until they age a bit.
Palladium is a French company and their history goes back to when they supplied boots for the French Foreign Legion.
Their boots are actually made of canvas, rather than leather, and they have heavy lugs outsoles that work well with a streetwear aesthetic.
They look a little like Converse that powered up.
I'm digging the heavy tread of these canvas boots, and the slightly off-white color is my jam.
Velasca is a hidden gem in my opinion. They’re popular in Europe (they’re based in Italy), though not many people know about them in the US.
I think that’s going to change pretty soon, because Velasca makes really high quality boots and shoes at a reasonable price. Plus, shopping with them is a fantastic experience.
Their style is more mature and refined, so be prepared for people to shout mama, mia as you pass.
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.
You know Clarks. They basically made chukka boots popular. The Clarks Desert Boot is well known, and there’s a good chance you actually owned a pair at some point in your life.
Clarks are ok. I like the Wallabee because it’s so unusual looking and it’s very comfortable, but I wouldn’t go for a long walk in it. It’s more of a back-yard BBQ type boot.
Despite how popular Clarks are, you can probably skip them. Unless you’re after that Wallabee look, which is so dorky it’s actually cool (in my humble opinion).
The Clarks Wallabee is an iconic style. Like the Clarks Desert Boot, it's a very simple construction---and in this case, comfortable, too.
Nisolo offers everyone in their manufacturing ecosystem a full living wage, and they’re also 100% carbon neutral.
But they’re not just eco-conscious: their shoes and boots are good quality. I love their leather options, which have a rich color and are smooth and creamy.
Nisolo gets outstanding marks for their social mission, though the Javier Chelsea boot is a total beauty---especially in the Brandy leather option. The construction is solid for the price, but it’s the leather quality that really stands out on this everyday boot.
Frye is the go-to boot for stylish motorcycle guys. They’re a bit western, a bit biker, and a bit rock and roll. How can you lose with that combo?
If you’re going to go with Frye, pick one of their more unique looking boots. While their standard lace-up boots are good quality, I think other brands pull off lace ups better. But certain styles like the Harness and the 14-inch Campus Boot are what Frye does best.
Frye is one of the biggest names in the boot-business. And for good reason, too. From western-style boots to classic lace-ups, Frye has a huge selection of stylish boots that are actually built to last.
HELM is an Austin, Texas based brand and their claim to fame is their white midsole. Their styles are on the slimmer and more fashionable side, and unlike many boot brands, they fully embrace the comfort of man-made material insoles.
HELM’s are seriously comfortable, and while some guys only want leather and cork for their insoles, there’s no denying that it’s nice to slip on a boot that feels more like a sneaker every once in a while.
Sorel is well known for their hefty winter boots. We’re talking those big honkin’ chunkers that you’d want to wear in a blizzard.
They also make a full range of other “style” boots, but you can disregard those. Sorel crushes it for winter boots, but I wouldn’t shop them for style.
The Sorel Caribou is like an L.L. Bean duck boot on steroids. It’s decked out with insulation, a heavy sole, and fur around the collar.
The Caribou is a favorite for everyday cold weather activities. This ultra comfortable boot features seam-sealed waterproof construction, with a suede and ballistic nylon upper. Iconic Caribou lug design provides proven traction on various terrain.
Native to the mecca of American boots, White’s is a classic Spokane, Washington boot brand that’s on par with other legends like Nick’s and Viberg.
White’s also got their start as a wildland firefighting boot brand and have since branched into more “toned-down” boots meant for work and style.
Even their “lightweight and stylish” boots are absolute tanks. The brand spares nothing to get the best quality materials and construction.
I have the White’s Packer, and admittedly, it’s too much boot for me. As a work boot, they’re like 5-pounds each and I just don’t need all that weight. For that reason, I prefer their MP-Sherman boot.
Modeled after American infantry boots during WWII, this boot supplies the durability of its light armored namesake with a modified White’s upper and a cap-toe design found on traditional field boots.
You’ve probably owned a pair of Timberlands in your life—they’re hard to avoid. The most popular Timbs are those wheat yellow lace ups. They started as a work boot, then became hip hop legends.
I don’t know if they’ll ever go out of style. And they’re pretty great winter boots for their price, too.
As a gigantic multi-national company, Timberland cuts some corners in quality, especially with their leather sourcing and their construction. But they keep the prices low and the value for money is solid.
Plus, they do look cool—no denying that.
The Timberland Premium 6-Inch Waterproof Boot is a handsome and iconic design and it’s built well. The quadruple stitching, Primaloft insulation, thick rubber heel, and padded leather collar are all designed to go the distance, whether for work or for style. The biggest drawback is the cemented sole construction, which simply isn’t as strong as a Goodyear welt.
M.Gemi is mainly a women’s boot and shoe brand, but there are some excellent boots for guys thrown in there.
And because guys are a bit of an afterthought for M.Gemi, you can often find incredible Italian-made boots at a nicely discounted price.
I wouldn’t choose anything chunky or “sturdy” from M.Gemi. But for their more “dressy” and slim styles, I’ve had nothing but good luck with them.
M.Gemi's Italian-inspired designs are luxury quality at factory prices.
Lems makes what’s called “zero-drop” boots, which are basically boots with absolutely no heel on them at all.
In fact, they’re designed so that your heel and forefoot sit at the same level. This is meant to mimic what it’s like when you stand barefoot. Except you get the protection of a rubber outsole.
A lot of people with back and knee pain enjoy zero drop boots. In any case, I can definitely say the Lems Boulder boot is extremely comfortable.
The Lems Boulder Boot is a fantastic introduction to the world of zero-drop footwear. If you want a good looking everyday zero-drop boot and don’t plan on any difficult hikes with these boots, you’ll enjoy your experience with Lems.
Work Boot Brands
Brunt Workwear is a relatively new brand and they have an interesting take on their work boots.
I’d say Brunt is a decent brand to shop with if you’re looking for an inexpensive work boot and you’re not sure what you like to have in a work boot.
Brunt work boots have two removable insoles so you can adjust the sizing and width by inserting or removing different layers. And their speed hooks double as eyelets as well.
I think of Brunt boots as a “beginners” work boot. They’ll give you a chance to find out what you like and don’t like on work boots, and they don’t cost much. But don’t expect them to last much longer than a year.
The Brunt Marin is an excellent boot for you if you need a solid work boot and you’re on a budget. And if you’re not entirely sure on what kind of fit you should get for your boots, the Marin has some customizable features (like the second removable insole) that ensure you’ll have comfort in your boots.
These work boots are made in the USA, baby. The Thorogood Moc Toe is my favorite moc toe work boot for a few reasons.
They’re relatively inexpensive, but still are able to hold up to a few years of hard labor. The wedge sole performed the best for slip-resistance when I tested Thorogoods against Red Wing, Thursday, and Danner Moc toes in the video below:
While Thorogood’s leave a lot to be desired (they have a plastic welt, which is questionable), but all-in-all, they’re a solid boot you won’t mind beating up. Plus they’re comfortable.
The Thorogood Moc Toe is an excellent value buy work boot. While I don’t think it’s as stylish as other alternatives, lightweight features like a fiberglass shank and Poron insole boost the rugged durability while cutting cost and weight. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive moc toe work boot, the Thorogood Moc Toe is my top choice.
You’ve probably heard of Danner boots—they’re quite popular and they make a massive range of boots from hiking, to work, to military boots.
I’ve only had one experience with Danner, and that was with their Bull Run moc toe boot. I wasn’t all that impressed, and I don’t think I’ve worn it once since I reviewed it.
But I’ve heard amazing things about Danner’s hiking boots and their military boots. So while Danner may not be the best work boot brand, it doesn’t mean you should count them out. In fact, my next set of hiking boots will be Danner’s because I know they make good stuff.
Danner Mountain Light hiking boots have a reputation for dependability, and that’s exactly what you need when you’re out on the trail---especially if you’re on an overnight. You may feel a bit of sticker shock, but these USA-made hiking boots will be a faithful companion for you during a lot of epic mountain tours.
Carolina boots remind me a bit of Thorogoods (though they’re not USA-made). They’re solid work boots you won’t mind beating up because they’re relatively inexpensive.
Carolina is part of Berkshire Hathaway, meaning that Warren Buffet and the Geico Gecko probably wear these boots when they’re out on the town.
Carolina boots, and every other brand under the same umbrella (including Tony Llama, Justin, Double H, and Chippewa) fit in the decent-to-low-quality category. They’re nothing to write home about, but they’re not terrible either.
The Carolina Pitstop Logger Boots are serious work boots to wear on the job.
Muck Boot Company
You know exactly what you’re getting with a name like Muck Boot Company. They make the best muck boots.
What are muck boots? They’re the kind of boots you’d want to wear when walking through a pit of mud and manure. If your work is anywhere close to what a farmer does all day, then you’ll need a pair of muck boots, and no one does this style better than Muck Boot Company.
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.
I’m not sure if rain boots fit under the “work” category, but in any case, Hunter boots are my favorite rain boots.
They look cool and they’re actually comfortable. If you’ve worn many rain boots in your life, you know that the full rubber construction can be tough on your heels.
But that’s not the case with Hunter’s. They may be a bit pricey for rain boots, but you’ll probably own your pair for life.
Sure, there are waterproof leather boots, but if you want a truly waterproof boot, rubber is the way to go. But don’t just get any rubber Chelsea boot---go with the best. That’s the Hunter Original Chelsea boot.
Cowboy Boot Brands
Tecovas is relatively new to the cowboy boot scene, and in my opinion, they’re offering the best value for money cowboy boots if you’re into a sleeker style.
I see a lot of guys wear those big broad square toe cowboy boots, which aren’t really my style. If I’m putting on cowboy boots, it’s almost always a rounded toe, r-toe, or a tapered square toe. I just prefer the slimmer style.
And I think Tecovas does a fantastic job with the more rounded styles. If you want a classic western boot without spending too much, Tecovas is the way to go.
Made with beautiful full grain leather, this boot is a stunner. And it's built with classic boot-making techniques so it'll last you many, many years.
Chisos actually reminds me of a “high-end” Tecovas. I’m sure the founder, Will Roman, would hate to hear me say that, but it’s what I think.
Their designs are more unique and detailed, and many guys say they’re the most comfortable western boots they’ve ever worn.
In general, the styles are still classic, but there’s a lot more nuance in the stitching details and the few options they have feature really cool leathers. Chisos cost around double (a little less than that) of what Tecovas do, so you’re spending more, but I think the value for money is also exceptional for this brand.
This roughout leather boot pays tribute to the Texas Longhorn with its white decorative stitching in the shaft and is dang comfortable.
Capitan boots are a new men’s brand from the legendary ladies western bootmaker, Lane Boots.
Capitan has a certain style—broad square toe, distressed leathers, brightly colored stitching. I tried a few pairs myself and they were comfortable. I noticed some issues with the finishing—they weren’t really thoroughly examined before shipping out, but the issues were all cosmetic.
The boots are decent for the price, and they’re a good brand to know if you like the broad square toe look. I’m personally not into that style, so I gave them to a friend and he absolutely loves them.
Cheyenne features a distressed cowhide leather upper, and while I'm not crazy about the look, some people absolutely love it, and I don't hold it against them.
Ariat might be the most popular western brand on the market—with a wide range of cowboy boots, work boots, and even some casual boots, Ariat’s catalog is absolutely massive. And also a bit confusing.
I’ve rocked three or four pairs of Ariat’s in my day, and while I like the brand, I think other brands that are more focused are more appealing to me.
Still, if you want to go western head to toe, Ariat has everything you’d ever need.
Ranch Road seemed like they were a bit “on the fence” about their cowboy boots when they first launched, but they’ve fully embraced them now. And they have some really cool designs.
I’d say Ranch Road is a great brand to know for the younger crowd who wants some more bold shapes in their cowboy boots.
If you're looking for a luxe cowboy boot, the Ranch Road Maverick has all the traditional aspects of an incredible boot like lemonwood pegs and full grain leather and detailed stitching and design.
Lucchese are the boots of choice for John Wayne. How’s that for credentials?
The brand goes back to 1883, so they’re American icons along with Alden and Red Wing. Like most older brands, they’re not quite as nimble as the young guys. The quality is there, no doubt, but you can expect to pay a pretty penny.
I think other brands like Chisos deliver better value for your money. But of course, Lucchese’s been around long enough to have a massive selection of styles, which you can only find with long-established brands.
If they're good enough for John Wayne, they're good enough for us!
Which Brands are the Best?
I don’t expect anyone to go out and try all 37 brands I just mentioned. In the years I’ve been running BootSpy, I’ve owned boots from 30 of those brands (plus several other brands I left off).
To make things easier for you, I’m narrowing down the list to my favorite brands, and I’m breaking the categories by price so you can pick a budget and roll with the best brands.
Entry Level ($150-$250)
If I could only pick a few brands for an entry level boot, I’d pick:
- Thursday Boot Company
- Beckett Simonon
Each has their pros and cons, but I’ll wrap it up neatly for you. Thursday Boot Company has a ton of different styles, so if you want to expand your wardrobe and get some unique looks, you can easily pick up two or three boots from Thursday and upgrade your personal style.
Thursday boots are great quality for their price, and they have a huge variety in leathers and sizes.
Beckett Simonon has dressier boots, and the leather quality is phenomenal. They make their boots to order, so you have to wait 2 months or more to actually get them, which is how they keep their costs so low. If you’re willing to wait that long, you get what feels like a $300-$400 boot for more like $200.
Mid Level ($250-$400)
I can’t pick just two mid-level boots. I need at least three recommendations:
- Grant Stone
- Red Wing
Grant Stone is one of the best value for money brands there is. In the mid-$300 range, you can get boots that are comparable in quality to $600 brands I’ve tried. Quality doesn’t get much better than Grant Stone, no matter how much you pay. So they’re definitely worth looking at.
Tecovas is on the lower end of the price spectrum, and I add them here if you’re looking to get into cowboy boots. Their boots are great quality and look fantastic. As a brand (shopping experience, customer service, etc) they’re unstoppable.
I have a love/hate relationship with Red Wing. I wear the Iron Ranger all the time. They’re fantastic boots, American-made, and classic looking. The boots themselves are incredible. But I think the company is ridiculous—they seem willing to do anything except make their boots available for people. Including operating a restaurant.
Upper Level ($500+)
If you’re ready to ball-out and get the top of the line, there are a few brands that hit the top of the quality scale:
White’s should probably also be on this list, but they remind me a lot of Nicks and I slightly prefer Nick’s range of boots.
All of these brands are from the Pacific Northwest, and they’re all heavy-hitters. If you want to get into the high-end of bootmaking, you’d do well with any of these brands.
Which Boot Brand Are You Going With?
This list doesn’t cover every boot brand in the world—and I’m sure I’m leaving off some great brands that deserve to be here too.
If there’s a brand I missed, DM me on the BootSpy Instagram and I’ll add it on.
If you’re new to the world of boots, I’m excited for you—there are so many amazing brands and boots to try. I recommend starting slow, and trying one brand at a time. Move up the quality scale as your budget allows, and you’ll start to get a feel for what you like and dislike.