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Just like you can never own too many white tees, you can never own enough boots. While you lean towards Chelsea boots (opens in new tab), waterproof boots (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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.
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.
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.
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.
This classic boot comes in all heel heights and toe shapes, but the most distinguishable feature of a Chelsea boot (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).
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."
Speaking of functional shoes, you'll always need a pair of waterproof boots, from snow boots (opens in new tab) 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.
Unlike ankle boots, which sometimes leave parts of your skin exposed to nippy winter elements, thigh-high boots (opens in new tab) 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
A stiletto boot (opens in new tab) 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.
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, (opens in new tab) 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.