Men’s boots have changed—and for the better! Gone are the days when the choices were between work boots or something that looked dressy but provided little warmth or practicality. Today, men have an array of options concerning boots. Let’s look at how to choose a sleek fall or winter boot.
When you think about a sleek boot, focus on the silhouette. You will want to choose a boot that has smooth lines and doesn’t make your foot look big and bulky. A boot shank that hugs your ankle and lower leg is one cue. This will create a slimmer overall look, as will a tapered toe. All boots are larger than your foot, but some boots look like the footwear version of a men’s winter parka—great for a casual look or when you need the best insulation, but not as great for a high-end business meeting or dinner at that chic restaurant. For a sleek look, think more of the footwear version of a wool coat that fits well. Both should have a valued place in your wardrobe.
“Casual” is one of our most used and poorly defined words these days. In boots, it could mean anything from ski boots to cowboy boots to hiking boots to boots that you could wear into a white tablecloth type restaurant. When choosing a pair of sleek boots, think about what casual means to you and the types of work and social occasions at which you would like to wear them. If a boot looks more western with stitching and that pointed toe and slanted cowboy boot heel, they may be great for many occasions, but they won’t look sleek.
To choose a sleek pair of boots, you will typically want to go with smooth leather that does not have a lot of detail. Insets, topstitching, visible laces, and multiple colors will all make your boots look more casual and less sleek. Also, pay attention to the soles. Sleek boots typically have either smooth leather soles or non-slip soles without many visible grooves (at least unless you turn the boot upside down). The chunkier a pair of boots looks, the less sleek it looks.
Although you are less likely to wear a pair of sleek boots to go hiking in the snow or skiing, make sure to think about the weather when you choose them. How cold is the climate where you live? Will you be traveling to colder climates for either business or pleasure? Make sure that your sleek boots will still provide the insulation you'll need to be comfortable. Most leather boots that come up past your ankles will keep you much warmer than a regular pair of shoes, but if you are likely to be wearing them in true subzero weather, look closely at both the materials the boots are made of and how thick they are.
For a warm and casual option with sleek boots, consider corduroy. Either corduroy pants for men or corduroy shirts for men can look casual, but not “too casual,” and the texture of corduroy just says warmth.
If there were a continuum of sleekness when it comes to boots, the sleekest boots would be a dark neutral color with no ornamentation, smooth leather bottoms, and not meant for working or playing hard outdoors. The most rugged boots would be on the other end of the continuum, often with contrasting colors, chunky-looking soles that look like they would be great for walking on ice, thick leather, big round toes, and laces that look like they are made to withstand the elements. The great part about men’s boots today is that no matter your lifestyle or fashion preferences, you can find a pair of boots to match them. It's not the limited only dress boots or only work boots choice that your father or grandfather had.
The most important part of choosing a pair of men’s sleek boots is picking out a pair that you like. Make sure to try them on, model them in front of a full-length mirror (feel free to do this in the comfort of your own home if it makes you feel silly) and try them on with an outfit or two for which you would like a pair of men’s sleek boots. Are they comfortable? Do they fit both your feet and your lifestyle? When you wear them, will you know that you look good and simply forget about your boots and enjoy the company, food, drink, and conversation that is in front of you? If you can say “yes” to these questions, you have chosen a great pair of sleek men’s boots.
Now get out there and have fun in your new boots!