Do you know your Chelsea from your chukka? Your monk boot from your brogue? Should you choose a Cuban or cowboy heel?
Men’s leather boots are surprisingly complex. With a wide choice of styles incorporating different heels, toes and soles, it can be a challenge to find the right pair. Here’s everything you need to know about men’s leather boots, and when it’s appropriate to wear them.
What are the main types of men’s boots?
Want to be suited and booted? Black leather dress boots are the perfect answer. Ideal for a wet walk to the office and a great way to keep the stiff breeze off your ankles, choose a timeless style with a Goodyear Welted sole and you’ll enjoy years of faithful service. The Kensington is a great example of a boot you’ll turn to year after year.
Are you looking for something smart but with a bit of a twist? If so, you’ll want a pair of stylish monk boots to stride out in. With a sleek design, refined leather lining and dapper side buckle fastening, what began life as an ecclesiastical boot for monks now has something of a swashbuckling edge! Ideal with your wool-rich trousers and a snazzy blazer.
Chelsea boots are incredibly versatile, complementing a wide range of smart or casual outfits. With an instantly recognisable slip-on design and elasticated side gusset, they rose to fame in the 1960s after receiving The Beatles’ celebrity seal of approval. Now available in a wide choice of colours and finishes, choose polished black leather Chelsea boots for more formal occasions and coloured suede for a fun, relaxed feel.
The heritage vibe of a brogue boot gives this popular style a timeless quality that’s hard to beat. Featuring non-slip rubber Goodyear Welted soles, full ankle support and a smart roper heel, your brogue boots look great with casual jeans, moleskin trousers, cords or even a three-piece tweed suit. Originally designed to allow the water to drain out of gamekeepers’ shoes as they patrolled the fields, these days brogue boots are equally at home in rural or urban environments.
Chukka boots are one of the most comfortable, stylish and practical boots you can own. With a low ankle, open vamp and three sets of eyelets, the simple silhouette of these casual boots makes them a real winner. Available in soft leather, chukka boots also come in lightweight suede. The suede version is more commonly known as a desert boot after British army officers had them handmade in the bazaars of Cairo during World War II.
Usually constructed from nubuck or soft leather, work boots feature a thick rubber sole, a high padded ankle collar and cushioned inner. Designed for all day comfort and performance, these practical, non-slip boots don’t compromise on style. Casual in appearance, they look fantastic with a pair of cords and a rugged fisherman’s sweater. Try the Chiltern boot for a hardworking partner to your wax jacket.
What is the best heel for men’s boots?
Why do men’s boots have heels? Men’s boots originally had heels to prevent the foot slipping out of the stirrups while riding a horse. The raised heel later became a fashion statement amongst the aristocracy, but these days men’s boots often have a thick rubber heel to protect the sole from wear. As most people walk by planting their heel on the ground first, a small heel block prolongs the life of your favourite boots. The four main types of heel are:
- The ‘roper’ heel is the most common – a small, straight heel, less than one inch high, shaped to the sole of the boot. You’ll find this style on most Samuel Windsor boots.
- The ‘walking’ heel is the next highest, at about 35mm. It has a slightly angled profile.
- The ‘cowboy’ heel is usually about 38mm high, with a slight angle and a ledge at the rear for spurs.
- The ‘Cuban’ heel is the highest, at two inches, and angled. It became popular after John Travolta wore it in Saturday Night Fever.
What is the best toe shape for men’s boots?
The shape of the toe on men’s boots began as a practical consideration. Gently tapered rounded toes were the easiest style to nudge into a stirrup. However in modern times it has also become a question of fashion, with various styles coming in and out of favour with the changing decades. The six main toe styles for men’s boots include:
- Rounded – common, comfortable, plain rounded design.
- Cap – featuring a straight seam across the the toe.
- Wingtip – featuring a ‘w’ shape seam over the toe, commonly found on brogues.
- Square – wide, tapered toe with a squared off end.
- Apron – featuring a raised seam around the top of the toe, commonly found on moccasins.
- Pointed – long, tapered toe ending in a sharp point.
What is the best sole for men’s boots?
Quality shoes and boots come with a Goodyear Welted Sole that can be replaced by a cobbler – extending the life of your footwear. As a rule, the thinner the sole, the more formal the boot. Casual boots feature the thickest soles. The four main types of sole are:
- Commando – chunky rubber sole designed for grip and durability, perfect for work and casual boots.
- Crepe – soft, crinkly textured sole used on Chukka or Desert boots to keep them lightweight. Made from natural coagulated latex and passed through rollers called ‘crepers’. Synthetic versions are common.
- Dainite – invented by British company Dainite. The rubber-studded soles maintain grip and comfort, but avoid dirt getting stuck in the tread.
- Leather – the original sole, used for thousands of years. Allows for a low profile, and usually only found on formal dress boots as it will lose grip and deteriorate in wet weather.
Whatever style you require, Samuel Windsor has a beautifully crafted pair of leather, nubuck or suede boots to keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable throughout the winter. Check out the full infographic below for a quick recap:
Know what boots you need? Go to the Samuel Windsor online store now, as we have great offers on a selection of men’s leather boots.
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