Besides being stylish, one of the greatest things about high-quality leather boots is that you can truly put them through the wringer. Sometimes the name alone indicates the type of work that your boots had to stand up to; combat boots were for combat, cowboy boots were for cowboys. Enduringly popular shoes like Doc Martens and Red Wings were built with laborers in mind. Even shoes that are seen as dressier today, like brogues, were designed with function in mind. The signature perforations of a brogue shoe were made to let out water when walking through a bog or marsh, and many brogue boots produced today still have that quality.
One boot style that’s made an unexpectedly strong showing both on the runways and in the streets is the hiking boot. Whether mashed up with a sneaker or done in classic leather, hiking boots have gotten a toehold among the type of fashion-forward subset who is more likely to go hiking up a flight of stairs at their Brooklyn creative office than do any actual hiking. We’ve rounded up a couple of hiking boots for anyone who’s looking to get in on this trend (or anyone who wants to actually take them hiking). Plus, we’ve picked out a classic dress boot that can be worn out on the weekend or in a business casual setting.
1. Danner Men’s Mountain Light II Hiking Boot
No, Danner boots are not cheap. But they’re hard-wearing and manufactured in the US, and they’re the perfect blend of form and function. These boots are made from top of the line materials; a Gore-TEX liner keeps your feet dry but lets them breathe, and the Vibram sole is about as tough as they come. They’re among a few hiking boots that you could call beautiful.
Pros: Stylish and functional, Vibram sole, Made-in-the-USA.
Cons: Several reviewers were displeased with the included insoles.
2. Thursday Boot Company Captain Men’s Lace-up Boot
This simple cap-toe boot has a Goodyear-welted sole (that means the sole is durable but easily replaceable by a cobbler) and the upper is made from high-quality leather. Thursday Boot Company has only been around for a few years, but in the same vein of a Warby Parker or Everlane, the brand has managed to produce high quality but reasonably priced shoes.
Pros: Reasonably-priced Goodyear-welted boots. The classic look goes with dressier or more casual outfits.
Cons: Some found that the insides lacked cushioning.
3. Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Hiking Boot
Columbia doesn’t necessarily have the cool cred of Patagonia, but they don’t need it either. They make reliable and reasonably-priced outdoor gear that’s been trusted by adventurers for over 80 years. These hiking boots have a distinctly outdoorsy look to them and come in a range of muted colors.
Pros: Reasonably priced hiking boots, breathable, comfortable.
Cons: Some noted that they weren’t totally waterproof.