Boot Reviews

Shopping for boots can be a painful, expensive, time consuming process. You’re not just looking for some cheap kicks to wear to the gym. You need a pair of workhorse boots that can stand up to a snowstorm and still look good. Or you’re looking for something dressy that can work with your office slacks. Maybe you’re after a combination of the two, or something completely different.

In any case you’re going to be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on these shoes and you need to know you’re making the right buy for your own individual needs. Having grown up in subtropical Australia before moving to Manhattan, I had no idea what to wear when I was facing my first New York blizzard. I needed more than just sneakers and dress shoes. Finding the right pair of boots for me took a ton of research and outreach because just I couldn’t’ find anything like Stridewise.

Want to know how I rate boots? Click here to jump down to the Stridewise review process.

Find Your Perfect Boot

Choosing the right boot shouldn’t be hard. Below are some of the most popular boots I’ve reviewed, broken down by category. And you better believe I’ll keep expanding this page.

best boots narrow

The 5 Best Boots for 2019

Arranged by best value, toughest, most distinctive, and more.

Plain Toe Service Boots

Oak Street Bootmakers – Trench Boot

Wolverine – 1000 Mile

Allen Edmonds – Higgins Mill

Grant Stone – Diesel Boot

Chippewa – Service Boot

Dayton – Service Boot

American Classics

Red Wing – Iron Ranger

Red Wing – Blacksmith

Red Wing – Moc Toe

Wolverine – 1000 Mile

Thorogood – Moc Toe

Thursday Captain Boot with joggers

Newer American Brands

Thursday Boot Company – Captain

Thursday Boot Company – Vanguard

Jack Erwin – Chester

Taft – Jack Boot

Helm – Muller Boot

Wolf & Shepherd – Chelsea Blitz

Boots Over $500

White’s – MP Service Boot

Viberg – Service Boot

Alden – 403 Indy

Truman – Java Waxed Flesh

Dayton Service Boot cobblestones

Boots from Abroad

Dayton – Service Boot (Canada)

Viberg – Service Boot (Canada)

Tricker’s – Stow Boot (Great Britain)

Sagara – Legacy IX (Indonesia)

Santalum – Mile 85 (Indonesia)

R.M. Williams – Comfort Craftsman (Australia)

Doc Martens – 1460 (Great Britain)

Meermin – Chestnut Country Calf (Spain)

Comparisons

Red Wing Vs. Wolverine

Viberg Vs. Alden

Alden Vs. Allen Edmonds Vs. Grant Stone

Wolverine Vs. Thursday

Thorogood Vs. Red Wing Vs. Chippewa

Jack Erwin Chester Boot

The Jack Erwin Chester

Dressier Boots

Frye – Jones Lace Up

To Boot New York – Astoria 

Jack Erwin – Chester

Meermin – Chestnut Country Calf

Taft – Jack Boot

Danner – Jack II

RM Williams Comfort Craftsman

The R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman

Chelsea Boots

R.M. Williams – Comfort Craftsman

Wolf & Shepherd – Chelsea Blitz

Suede Boots

Clark’s – Desert Boot

Taft – Dragon Boot

Boot Conditioners

Saphir Renovateur

Venetian Shoe Cream

Stridewise bio pic Frye Jones

The Frye Jones Lace Up

MY BOOT REVIEW PROCESS

I’ve had the pleasure of wearing in dozens of different brands of boots, and unlike a lot of guys online I don’t just slip them on and walk around my carpet. I put these boots through the paces, stomping around Manhattan, running up and down subway stairs, sloshing through storms, the lot.

This results in a lot of the boots on my site looking, well, not quite as pristine and beautiful as the company’s marketing images may suggest. But I don’t just want you to know how a boot looks and feels out of the box, I want you to know how they break in, how the leather holds up to daily wear, and if they quickly develop signs of aging. (Many do.)

Every one of my reviews takes the following aspects into account.

FIRST GLANCE

Here is where I describe what comes to mind when the boots are fresh out of the box. What’s the aesthetic like? How versatile is it? What’s eye catching? What kind of quality control issues are present?

LEATHER

Through phone calls, e-mails, and online research, I try to learn as much about the leather as I can. Where did it come from, which tannery? Is it full grain? Corrected? What kind of tanning process has been used? What sort of oils and waxes were implemented? Does the color change in different lights? I can’t always get every one of my questions answered, but you’ll learn more than you will on a product’s description page.

LEATHER CARE

Here I cover how the leather will hold up to daily wear. Did it get scratches and dents as I was wearing them in? How will it manage a rainy day or a snowstorm? What does the cleaning, conditioning, and waterproofing process look like and how often does it need to be performed? I always try to get specific product recommendations from the boot companies, whether it’s your trusty Venetian Shoe Cream or some decidedly less vegetarian-friendly products like mink or neatsfoot oil.

SOLE

“Leather or rubber” doesn’t cut it. If it’s leather, how quickly does it scratch? How flexible is it? How’s the groundfeel, how does the grip change over time? If it’s rubber, are we talking about Dainite, Vibram, or something else? I also find out about the other layers in the sole — some have one, some have five or more — and I investigate the pros and cons of how the upper is attached to the sole. Is it a resolable Goodyear welt, a dressy Blake, or something else? I’ll search your sole.

FIT & SIZING

Let’s be honest: you never really know how a shoe is going to fit until you try it. A shoe size seems like something that should be universal, but as someone who has comfortably fit into everything from a 12 to a 10, I know that boot lovers need more context to a brand’s sizing than just a number. Here is also where I discuss break in, the arch support, the instep, heel slip, and everything else that has to do with what may be the most important component of your boot: comfort.

PRICE

Just because I like your boot doesn’t mean I think I should pay $700 for it. Materials and construction are the most important aspects to weigh here but you also need to take into account comfort, durability, and place of origin — I’m not saying “Made in China” is bad, but it shouldn’t cost the same as a similar shoe made in the U.S.

I live and breathe boots and I want you to get the best one for your individual needs. Your feet are in good hands.

Disclaimer: To keep the lights on, some (not all) of my reviews contain affiliate links. That simply means that if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission for sending you there. This does not cost you any extra money whatsoever, it just means the origin of the sale is tracked back to Stridewise.