Finding a great pair of black boots is, in my opinion, the most crucial fall/winter footwear decision. While trendier silhouettes crop up season after season, the humble black boot has constantly been reimagined and refashioned to keep up with the times. Search my closet at any point in the last two decades, and you'll find not one but several different types of boots on hand—all of which are kept in my constant rotation, worn until the soles fall off and the heels are so run-down that they are beyond repair.
Shopping for such an essential piece of your shoe wardrobe should not be taken lightly. In the best-case scenario, these are boots that you'll rely on year-round and for a multitude of occasions. Ankle boots, heeled or otherwise, are perfect for wearing to the office or daily life. Combat boots add edge to any look. Knee-high boots pair seamlessly with dresses and skirts no matter the length, a sentiment that Norstrom's Women's Fashion Director, Rickie De Sole, echoes: "Whether worn with a dress or jeans, knee-high boots are an essential shape that I live in. Flat knee-high boots are best paired with a mini or jeans, while a heeled version is perfect for adding polish to any outfit." Even a Western-style boot has surprising versatility these days.
Searching for black boots online can bring back hundreds, if not thousands, of results. The playing field is crowded, and with so many options, it's time to break down exactly what you should look for when shopping for a pair based on the expertise of women who wear and buy them the most. Here's your official guide to the essential styles for this year and the most essential silhouettes to keep in your rotation.
Deals on The Best Black Boots
Marc Fisher LTD Hydria 55MM Leather Tall Boot,
$259 $181 at Saks Fifth Avenue
Knee-high boots like this pair from Marc Fisher LTD are iconic for a wardrobe classic for a reason: they can be easily worn with just about any dress or skirt in your closet and the rounded toe is a forever classic. Shop them now for less than $200 for Cyber Monday.
3.1 Philip Lim Black Verona Tall Boots,
$895 $537 at 3.1 Phillip Lim
Beauty Editor Samantha Holender loves these knee-high boots because “the leather is soft as butter, and the design hugs my leg in the most flattering way.” Better yet, they’re on sale for $537 right now for Cyber Monday (down from almost $900).
How to Shop for Black Boots
You should approach shopping for black boots like any other essential part of your wardrobe—by trying pairs on and seeing how you feel. “Black boots are like the jeans of footwear,” says Lakyn Carlton, a virtual personal stylist from Los Angeles, California. “They match pretty much anything, and once you have them on, half the work of coming up with a great look is pretty much done.” You may go into your boots shopping experience with an exact pair in mind, but testing out a variety of brands is the way to go.
Start by examining your closet. See where you have gaps. Are your ankle boots on their last leg? Do you keep wishing that you had a funkier pair of boots to add a spark to your workwear ensembles? Do you need something with a heel? Would thigh-high boots take your going-out outfits to the next level? Going into a store (or browsing online) with a plan helps you discern what you like from what you don’t and will stop you from making a hasty purchase that you might regret. Ahead, Carlton lays out a few key details to consider:
- Shaft Height: The boot shaft is essentially how much of the leg the boot is covering. This is "especially key when styling boots with skirts,” says Carlton. “With longer skirts, you want the boot to extend above the hem of the skirt or “disappear” up into it both for warmth and a harmonious, sleek look,” she says.
- The Material of the Boot: Leather and faux leather are not created equally. ”Real leather is more breathable than fake, which is why you can get away with a leather boot in the summer without overheating,” she says.
- The Material of the Sole: This might sound self-explanatory, but think about where you walk most. Soles are most commonly made from either leather or rubber. “Leather soles are easiest to get repaired and replaced, but a rubber sole is often more comfortable for those that do a lot of city walking,” says Carlton.
- The Sturdiness of the Boot: Aside from shaft height, consider the sturdiness of your preferred boots. As their name suggests, slouchy boots will sit lower on your leg and fall throughout the day. Boots that hold their shape are made from stiffer leather material and might be more prone to rubbing where they hit the leg, so wearing thicker socks or tights will be helpful for your first few wears.
- How You Get Them On: Some styles, slouchier ones, in particular, don’t come with zippers. Carlton recommends, "If you have wider calves, especially, you may want to avoid pull-on styles.”
With that in mind, keep scrolling to shop all of the best black boots as hand-selected by our team of experts and editors alike. This list is the perfect place to find your favorite pair, from under-$500 winners from brands like Franco Sarto and Sam Edelman to splurges from Prada.
- Best Overall Black Boots: Sam Edelman Winnie Bootie
- Best Affordable Black Boots: DV DOLCE VITA Women's Villa Chelsea Lug Sole Booties
- Best Designer Black Boots: Prada Tronchetti Block Heel Knee High Boot
- Best Black Ankle Boots: Rothy's The Lug Boot Onyx Black
The Best Black Boots
Best Overall Black Boots
"I'm certain these Sam Edelman boots may be the perfect, all-around black ankle boots you can find. They have a chic, simple design that isn't overtly trendy, which makes them the ideal boot to wear year after year. They're also great if you're anything like me and can't stand a heel bigger than three inches. These come in at 2 3/4" so you can comfortably walk in these for miles." — Brooke Knappenberger, Associate E-Commerce Editor
Best Ankle Black Boots
"Did you know that Rothy's makes lug boots now?? (The scream I screamed when I found out!) I am a long-time Rothy's devotee, but their boots are a special level of comfort. The water-resistant knit stretches to fit my flat feet but doesn't stretch out over time. The classic almond-toe shape here means I can wear this with virtually anything, from a maxi denim skirt to my cigarette-style jeans. They also come in a tall version, currently on my wishlist as the knit riding boots of my dreams." — Katherine J. Igoe, Contributing Editor
Best Affordable Black Boot
"Another black boot I love to have in my arsenal (and I have many) is this cowboy-esque ankle boot. They're a bit trendier, but you can't deny they look seriously cool. The pointy toe and Western stitching are my favorite details, but I also appreciate the modest heel so I can walk comfortably. In short, these are the boots I throw on when I want to spruce up a basic outfit." — Brooke Knappenberger, Associate E-Commerce Editor
Best Black Ankle Boots
"The kickstand boot has got to be one of my favorite trends of all time: What a cool way to take a standard stiletto and give it a new shape. I also love Ref's kitten-heel options—they really understand girls like me who cannot handle heels that are too high. So this is really the Hannah Montana boot: the best of both worlds, obv. It's also a glove boot style, which means it fits under any trouser or jeans, and the pointed toe somehow does not pinch my toes." — Katherine J. Igoe, Contributing Editor
Best Over-The-Knee Black Boots
"I used to dream about these boots in high school, so to be able to own them is the definition of a dream come true. While they also come in suede, I opted for the leather option because I figured they would last better in the wet winters that New York normally brings. They're lightweight and sturdy with an elasticated fabric at the back to make getting them on a breeze. I'm five-foot-two, and I was worried they would be too long on me, but I am happy to report that they sit right at my knee. The sole is sturdy but lightweight. I wear them every week, and they have shown no signs of wear." — Julia Marzovilla, E-Commerce Editor
Best Designer Black Boots
"As soon as fall rolls around, I find myself hunting for a great black boot. Thankfully, I found mine early this year in this Prada block heel style. The narrow toe has the perfect round meets square shape that feels timeless and clean, and the 2 1/2 inch heel is just high enough that I can run around the city all day long without any pain, and the knee-high shaft sits just right with my endless rotation of midi length dresses and skirts." — Rickie De Sole, Nordstrom Women's Fashion Director