Winter: the only season that can dampen your style from a stride to a squelch. But no man should suffer a perpetual snail trail. Ditch the trainers, stash away the brogues and lay off the loafers – here are the five essential boots you need in your wardrobe.
Black Chelsea Boots
Although popularised in the Swinging Sixties, Chelsea boots had more regal beginnings – way back with Queen Victoria. Or more specifically, her shoemaker: J. Sparkes-Hall patented the design in 1851, and ma’am was said to wear them on the regular – be it horse-riding or strolling through the palace grounds.
Though you might be more likely to traipse around beer gardens than Buckingham Palace, the core message still stands: these really are as tough as old boots. Not to mention stylish.
“Try a real leather [style] in dark brown or black,” says Giles Farnham, head of personal shopping at River Island. “And, as with any skinned footwear, maintenance is essential. Regular conditioning will ensure your boots age well.”
- John Lobb Lawry Polished-leather Chelsea Boots
- Cheaney Godfrey Leather Chelsea Boots
- R.m.williams Craftsman Leather Chelsea Boots
- Grenson Nolan Chelsea Boot
- Common Projects Chelsea Boot Leather
- Acne Studios Zack Chelsea Boot
- ALDO Croaven
- River Island Black Tough Chelsea Boots
- Reiss Tenor Chelsea Boots
Suede Desert Boots
Like so many menswear classics, desert boots began in the military. While stationed in Burma during WWII, British officer Nathan Clark (note the surname) noticed officers wearing basic suede boots with crepe soles. Turned out they’d had them specially made in an Egyptian bazaar to withstand the tough desert climate, and clever Nathan, sensing a good idea, brought the idea home to the family business – British shoe giant Clarks.
The suede variation of the chukka boot is now a menswear staple, and while this material requires treatment with a weatherproof coating, they can power through most of what autumn and winter throws at them. Aside from rain. Farnham advises avoiding wet weather at all costs as this can damage even the best quality suede.
“Try your desert boots with a smart denim,” says Farnham. “Perhaps an indigo or raw selvedge, and complete with a crisp inch and a half turn up.”
- Grenson Marcus Desert Boot
- Clarks Originals Desert Boot
- Clarks Originals Gore-tex Desert Boot
- Next Suede Desert Boot
- Churchs Ryder Suede Desert Boots
- Suitsupply Brown Boot
- Red Wing Weekender Chukka Boot
- Selected Homme Royce Suede Desert Boots
- ALDO Alaessi
No longer just standard issue for naturists, hiking boots have found a place in the fashion mainstream. But it was a rocky route. Outdoors wear was considered niche apparel until Carhartt WIP popularised the hunter-gatherer trend. From there, the likes of Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Bally followed, showcasing luxury takes on hiking boots for AW14 that skyrocketed what was once a functional piece to the heights of high fashion.
That said, they’re far more than a mere fad. Hiking boots were designed specifically to face the elements and as such, make mush of commuter slush.
When your kicks take a workwear edge, it’s advisable to steer your entire look into tougher territory, says Farnham. “Hardy footwear is best worn with equally hardy clothing, so try styling your boots with a rugged, heavy denim jacket and a chunky knitted cardigan.”
- Moncler Peak Ankle Boots
- Merrell Eagle Monument
- Timberland Westmore Hiker Boots
- Fracap M120 Ripple Sole Scarponcino Boot
- Diemme Roccia Vet Boot
- Fracap M120 Natural Vibram Sole Scarponcino Boot
- Suitsupply Brown Boot Jort
- He By Mango Leather Hiker Boots
- Gandini Light Brown
Brown Leather Brogue Boots
The brogue has been a menswear fixture since the dawn of time (well, the 1900s at least). And while brogue boots may be the less traditional footwear option, they’re by no means less versatile. The addition of brogue detailing to a sturdy boot base guarantees a durable anchor that will still chime well with tailoring.
That’s where their strength lies. Brogue boots are a smart and versatile option for those that prefer a sartorial streak to what they put on their feet – no technical features, no metal accents, no Dales-ready design.
“The traditional punch hole detailing means brogue boots look great with heritage pieces, like heavier wool blazers,” says Farnham. “And for extra points, take your trousers to a local tailor and have them slightly cropped and tapered to highlight the boots.”
- Trickers Stow Leather Brogue Boots
- George Cleverley Bryan Leather Brogue Boots
- Grenson Fred Brogue Boot
- River Island Brown Leather Brogue Boots
- He By Mango Leather High-leg Boots
- Ted Baker Sealls Brogue Boots
- Cheaney Tweed C Lace-up Brogue Boots
- River Island Brown Leather Brogue Boots
- Kurt Geiger Hove In Tan
If brogue boots champion Savile Row, then work boots skew more building site. Which, in 2016, isn’t all brick dust, arse cracks and well-thumbed issues of Nuts magazine.
Thanks to the likes of Timberland, your dad’s work boots are hot property, with the brand having blown up thanks to hip-hop’s finest (Diddy, Kanye and Biggie have all sported their own pair in the past).
True, they may not sit pretty with suiting, but worker boots are the perfect foundation to a jeans-tee combo. (Same can’t be said for that hi-vis jacket, though.)
“As with hiking boots, keep your look rugged,” says Farnham. “A pair of work boots are your statement, so a white tee, bomber jacket and grey marl sweatshirt will balance your look.”
- Thorogood Oil-tanned Leather Boots
- Red Wing Shoes Blacksmith Oil-tanned Leather Boots
- Red Wing Shoes 875 Moc Leather Boots
- Asos Lace Up Boots In Grey Leather
- Asos Work Boots In Brown Leather
- Jack & Jones Stoke Warm Lining Nubuck Boots
- Aldo Waovia
- He By Mango Lace-up Leather Boots
- Timberland Britton Heel Lace Up Boots