The 10 Types of Boots for Women to Invest In

You'll have these pairs for life.

two women with two different types of boots: gold chunky boots and silver heeled boots
(Image credit: Melodie Jeng)

Just like you can never own too many white tees, you can never own enough boots. While you lean towards Chelsea bootswaterproof boots, or a shiny new designer ankle boot, there's probably at least one must-own type of boot you don't already have in your rotation.

We spoke with LA-based wardrobe stylist and fashion consultant Sarah Nearis about the types of boots every women should invest in and keep on rotation. Keep scrolling for a concise, digestible list of the boot types to try out (no peer pressure here)—or you can take the plunge and buy our favorites from the boots brands we love, below.

Ankle Boots

Sue Giers is seen wearing a brown Gucci bag, Celine brown boots, a SoSue beige long dress, vintage Saint Laurent shades on August 15, 2022 in Hamburg, Germany

(Image credit: Getty/Jeremy Moeller)

Stylist Sarah Nearis defines an ankle boot as "a boot that covers the whole foot and cuts off at the ankle or a little above." This style is a great option for the fall and spring when the weather is just beginning to cool down but may not be cool enough to warrant knee or thigh-high boots. I especially like wearing these with a pair of flared jeans―particularly when the boots have a bit of a heel.

Knee-High Boots

Sonia Lyson wearing Liu Jo x Leonie Hanne sparkling shiny baby blue boots, Louis Vuitton tie dye mini Speedy leather handbag and Essential Antwerp green puffer mini dress on August 18, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.

(Image credit: Getty/Jeremy Moeller)

Nearis defines knee-highs as "boots that go to the knee or right below." This style might be my personal favorite, particularly when the weather gets cold and they add a much-needed extra layer of warmth. Aside from their functionality, knee-high boots can also make an outfit effortlessly chic.

Not sure what to pair with them? Nearis suggests wearing knee-high boots with dresses and skirts. 

Platform Boots

types of boots

(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Are you looking to add some inches to your everyday outfit? Platform boots should be your go-to. The trendy silhouette adored in the '80s and '90s is everywhere, so you should have no issue finding a pair you love. Choose from super-chunky options and subtler platform styles to customize your look. Plus, a reliable pair of platform boots can effectively replace the pair of uncomfortable heels you usually wear on a night out. Say goodbye to unwanted ankle and foot pain at the end of your evening. 

You're most likely going to find that platform ankle boots are the most popular iteration available right now, and they come in every color you could imagine.

Chelsea Boots

Street Style - Paris - January 2017

(Image credit: Edward Berthelot)

This classic boot comes in all heel heights and toe shapes, but the most distinguishable feature of a Chelsea boot is its side panels. "A Chelsea boot is a great ankle boot that tends to have a more casual design," says Nearis." These are great everyday boots and usually have elastic panels, which make them easy to take on and off." 

Fun fact: The first of this style was made by J. Sparkes-Hall for Queen Victoria in 1851 because she wanted a pair of non-lace-up boots, though the Chelsea boots as we know them today didn't become popular until the '50s and '60s. Now, they're a timeless wardrobe staple for both men and women, and there are many fun ways to style them.

Combat Boots

Street Style - Berlin Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 - July 5, 2018

(Image credit: Christian Vierig)

As the name suggests, army combat boots were initially designed for combat soldiers. While military members today still wear the style, civilians tend to look for fashion over function.

But how do you identify the classic combat boot? "These boots tend to go to the mid/high calf and add a little edge to an outfit," says Nearis. "I've styled them with leather leggings and an oversized sweater to give an effortlessly cool vibe. I suggest wearing cropped jeans with them or tighter jeans to tuck under the boot."

Waterproof Boots

Street Style - Berlin Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019

(Image credit: Christian Vierig)

Speaking of functional shoes, you'll always need a pair of waterproof boots, from snow boots to rain boots, to carry you through winter storms. Waterproof footwear, thankfully, has come a long way in terms of stylish designs, with many companies like Hunter giving the shoe a more FASH-UN look. (Just check out the Chanel rain boots in the street style photo above.) You no longer need to choose between an ugly rain boot that leaves your feet dry or a boot that leaves you with soaked socks—you can cover all your bases with the weather-appropriate options below.

Thigh-High Boots

types of boots

(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Unlike ankle boots, which sometimes leave parts of your skin exposed to nippy winter elements, thigh-high boots have you covered— quite literally. The classic style features a shaft that hits mid-thigh, often fitted to your legs, without leaving weird ripples and bumps. Nearis calls the style "a sexy and fun option," suggesting they work "with a little dress to show off the legs." Pair them with tights, jeans, skirts, dresses, and more. 

Stiletto Heel Boots

Street Style : Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019 : Day Nine

(Image credit: Christian Vierig)

stiletto boot will never be outdated, even though the kitten heel style has made a comeback in recent seasons. The skinny heel can be featured on any shoe style, from the Chelsea boot to thigh-high options, and look best when worn with tailored pieces. Think of the stiletto boot as an alternative to pumps at the office for fall/winter. You still retain that confidence you get from your regular heels in addition to the height boost. Be right back, trading in my slingback pumps for one of these picks below.

Cowboy Boots

New York Fashion Week - Street Style - Day 1

(Image credit: Christian Vierig)

The more we move forward, the more designers look back to the archives for shoe silhouette inspiration—one of those silhouettes being the cowboy boot, which has been revamped seasonally. There's now a wide range of prints, colors, and textures outside of cowhide leather. For this season, you'll find everything from a kitten heel option to a pointy-toe shape metallic design. Here's to channeling the Wild Wild West the 2022 way with these Western-inspired footwear picks ahead.

Cutout Boots

I'll be honest: I'm not much of a sandals person. Once the weather warms up, I tend to swap my winter boots for a pair that shows a little skin. They're like the best of both worlds: your feet don't get as sweaty as they would in a pair of sneakers, but you feel a little more covered up compared to the onslaught of uber-strappy options that flood the market every spring. Whether you opt for a pair made entirely from mesh or a pair with a slit at the ankle, the possibilities are endless.

Meet the Expert

Sarah Nearis
Sarah Nearis

Sarah Nearis is a fashion stylist and creative director. She is based in Los Angeles and Nashville.

Julia Marzovilla
E-Commerce Editor

Julia Marzovilla is the E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers everything from the latest beauty and fashion launches and sales to celebrity outfits and news. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and STYLECASTER. In her spare time, Julia can be found creating shopping guides for all of her friends, spending too much money on yet another pair of black boots, and cooking in her far-too-small kitchen.