I have, let's say, an extensive boot collection—so vast that both of my parents told me off for bringing home more boots when I was in college. But now that I'm an adult, I need to take stock of everything I own and assess any gaps in my collection. And if there's any single type of boot that I need to pick up this season, it's a pair of knee-high boots.
Luckily for me (and unfortunately for my bank account), knee-high boots were everywhere on the runways for the Fall/Winter 2023 season. Some designers, like Acne Studios and Dion Lee, showed slender stiletto heels. Others, including Proenza Schouler, A.W.A.K.E Mode, and Celine, sent slouchier versions down their runways. Finally, SIMKHAI, Christian Dior, and Chloé showed flat, lug-sole, and combat boots. And while I love a heeled option from time to time, I am partial to a flat ankle boot that I can wear all season without risking my feet getting cold or aching by noon. And unlike over-the-knee boots, a classic knee-high pair works well for a multitude of occasions, from the office to a night out.
As with a great pair of loafers and the perfect pair of ballet flats, knee-high boots top my list of shoes I need to invest in this autumn. I consider them one of the building blocks of my forever wardrobe. And while my horse-girl roots are drawing me towards a classic flat riding boot, I have been inexplicably drawn to a boot not commonly found in my wardrobe—Western and cowboy-inspired styles are all over my Instagram saved folder.
No matter which iteration you're personally shopping this season, keep scrolling. All of these come editor-recommended—and we shop for a living.
Shop The Best Knee-High Boots
If you dress in all neutrals and are looking for accessories to boost the color in your wardrobe, the STAUD Wally boots are for you. This cult-favorite pair of boots is the ideal wear-everywhere option. The heel clocks in at just over two inches, and it comes in several colors, including this burgundy suede and an olive green, plus a classic black option.
Customer Review: "Just generally a gorgeous boot - simple, clean lines. Sexy without being over-the-top, can still wear to work. COMFORT, easy walking, stable heel, and well-balanced overall. I'm always a 9 in shoes and went with a 39.5. I could have done a 40, but I figured they'd stretch a bit. As shoes go, this one is slightly narrow, and the toe area is narrow/long, but that's excellent for my feet. The mahogany was the color I ordered - on some sites, it seems almost purple, but it is a true brown, a really nice color. Goes with everything. Highly recommend." — Saks Fifth Avenue
Wearing white after Labor Day is wonderful—especially when wearing these white croc-printed stiletto boots from Coconuts by Matisse. These boots are available to shop in sizes 5.5 through 11—yes, they come in half sizes! While I think these would look great with an all-black outfit—I love the contrast—you could also wear them with a lighter-toned outfit that comes in winter-white shades like cream or slate gray. Reviews do say they run small, though.
Customer Review: I just got these in, and they are gorgeous! The quality is fantastic, but sadly too small. I have narrow feet, and they barely fit width-wise, but the shoe size was off by maybe a whole size… tiny! I usually wear a 7.5 and will re-order an 8.5 to be safe, especially when wearing socks.
If you're reading this between August and April, there's a 95 percent chance I'm wearing a pair of boots from La Canadienne. I have a version of this lug-soled pair that doesn't come with shearling on the inside, and they are, hands down, the most comfortable pair of boots I own. These have lasted me through 18-hour days of running around during New York Fashion Week and show virtually zero signs of wear. The leather has never left a blister in the year I've had them. This shearling pair comes in two colors (brown and black,) and I think I may need to splurge on them for even more comfort.
The Celebrity Favorite Knee-High Boot
Taylor Swfit recently wore this pair of knee-high boots from Larroude to a football game, but she's hardly the first A-lister to be spotted in them over the years. Vanessa Hudgens, Alicia Keys, Olivia Munn, Selena Gomez, and more have all been spotted in various colors over the years. Swift was spotted in the black leather iteration (which is somehow still in stock in most sizes on the brand's website) but you can also shop them in black croc-print, a suede version, an on-trend brown colorway, and more.
Another Swift favorite is this pair of Loeffler Randall knee-high boots, which come in three neutral colors. Swift is partial to the dark brown shade (she's worn them a few times now while out and about), but they also come in black and a light tan colorway. The stacked heel measures 85mm high(three-and-a-half inches). The shaft measures 16 and-and-a-half inches around with a pull-on style. The leather and rubberized footbed offers maximum comfort, too.
Meet the ideal riding boot from Frye. Available in three colors (this black version and two brown shades) and retailing for shy of $300, these are the timeless staple your wardrobe is missing—and you can shop them in sizes 5.5 through 11 now. The shaft measures 15.5 inches high and is wider through the calf with an oblong design. I would go full boho and style these with knee-high socks peeking out from underneath.
Yeehaw! These suede boots from ParisTexas are, in my opinion, the adult-ified way to master the Western boot trend. These sit just under your knee and have a divot at the front, making your legs look even longer. Plus, the small heel is ideal for all-day wear. I would personally tuck a pair of skinny or straight-leg jeans into the jeans for a cool-girl look that doesn't look too styled. Or, lean into the cowgirl aesthetic and wear it with a prairie-inspired white skirt or flouncy dress.
These boots from Jeffrey Campbell scream '70s fashion. The enlarged buckle detail and thick, sturdy heels are begging to be paired with a boho-inspired frock or a supremely cozy sweater dress and tights. While I am partial to the black pair, they also come in an equally cool white suede colorway. They're available in sizes 5 through 11, including most half-sizes, and have an effortless pull-on style—no zippers required! The soft leather looks like it will show signs of wear with time, which is truly one of my favorite things about it.
Follow Acne Studios' footsteps and pick up a pair of snake-print boots from brands like Schutz. This pair has been a fashion and influencer favorite and comes in tons of colors and prints, some of which are currently on sale. The heel measures 3.5 inches, so it's a good option for those of us who are not constantly heel-wearers. The shaft of this boot is also shorter than others on this list, clocking in at 14.5 inches, so it's also great if you're on the shorter side.
Customer Review: "These boots are even better in person. Great quality. The boots stand up well, and don't slouch while wearing. The block heel is also very comfortable. I am normally between a 7.5 and 8, and the 8 fits me perfectly (the 7.5 was too tight on my toes). I didn't think the shaft of the boot was particularly narrow— I can wear these with jeans no problem." — Nordstrom
Not many things can be dubbed timeless, but I've wanted these boots for nearly a decade and a half. And, after all these years of pining and saving all my pennies, I might actually make the splurge this fall. They're made from buttery-soft leather panels for added comfort and have a low enough heel for long-haul wear. They fit close to the leg, making them perfect for wearing under almost anything. The silhouette is the epitome of trendless shopping, so it's no wonder they’ve been on my to-buy list for so long.
If you're over wearing the same black and warm-toned brown boots, consider this mushroom-hued pair from Franco Sarto. They're well-priced at $215, are practically flat, and fit close to the leg, so they're great for wearing with just about every skirt or dress. They're also available in a wide range of colors—six to be exact—including a plum brown so dark it reads as black in the right light. It also maintains its shape and won't slip down your leg as you move throughout the day.
These under-$300 cowboy-adjacent boots from Marc Fisher LTD are the perfect medium between a cowboy boot and a regular riding boot. Available in two colors, they have the pointed toe and stacked heel of a Western boot without the bells and whistles that they normally come adorned with. The only hint of drama comes from the ever-so-slight ruffling at the sides. These are officially the quiet luxury version of the Western boot trend.
Platform boots will always be fun, especially when they fall in the heel, which is only a tad higher than the platform itself. Such is the case with this pair from ALDO, which retails for under $150. They come in half sizes (a major plus in my book) and have a cushioned footbed for style and comfort. The heel measures three and a quarter inches, and the platform clocks in at one inch, making the slightly higher heel all the more wearable.
I love French brand Sezane for their sustainably-made knitwear selection, but do not overlook their range of boots and shoes. For instance, the brand's Amandine Boots are made from soft cowhide leather with a sole made from half leather with rubber. The heel is slightly higher on this pair than others on this list, clocking in at 3.9 inches. You can shop them in sizes five through 11 and in three colors: a classic black, a rich denim blue shade, and this burgundy version.
Best White Knee-HIgh Boots
White boots work in the summer, of course, but they also work great in winter. This pair from BY FAR is low-profile enough to wear daily thanks to the 30mm heel. Made for layering underneath midi skirts or mid-length dresses, it would work just as well with a mini dress or skirt because of how closely they fit the leg. They mold to the foot and leg and are made from a buttery soft leather material. Shop them in European sizes 35 through 41.
Ask any fashion girl, and you'll know that this pair of Ganni boots is *the* knee-high boot of the last few seasons. Easy to style and comfortable to wear all day thanks to the rubberized lugged sole, this pair is the end-all-be-all if you want to incorporate rugged pieces into your wardrobe this fall and winter. Plus, they work just as well when worn with white summer dresses or sheer pieces for a bit of edge. They're available in sizes 36 through 41 without have sizes.
Rain boots can be trendy! Hunter is known for their famous rubber knee-high boots, but this high-gloss take is a welcome high-fashion twist on the style. They're available in sizes 5 through 11 with no half-sizes, and the brand recommends sizing up if you're in between sizes. They're lightweight and sturdy, just like the classic matte pair (I've had mine for nearly a decade without fail), but the updated finish on this pair also adds an easy-to-clean layer. Where the original Hunter knee-high boot can run big, this pair's reviewers say it's best to pick your true size.
Snake print reads as neutral nowadays, especially when paired with other neutral tones like camel, black, or brown. This pair of low-heeled boots from fashion-girl-favorite brand AEYDE is the perfect way to spice up your shoe wardrobe this season. Available to shop in sizes 36 through 41 (but no half-sizes, sadly), the heel measures three inches, making them the ideal walking height that works for day or night. The rubberized sole also adds comfort and support for all-day wear.
How to Style Knee-High Boots
Like the rest of the basics in your shoe wardrobe, there are nearly endless ways to style knee-high boots. But, I turned to trend forecaster and founder of JMR Trend + Creative Jessica Richards for insight on making them feel fresh for the new season ahead. "As a huge fan of the "no-pants" look, wearing knee-high or over-the-knee boots this fall creates the illusion of coverage—and maybe even a little extra warmth in later fall—while still allowing for the look of bareness," she says, alluding to the fact that micro shorts and mini skirts have continued their reign over the fashion set in 2023. "This styling trend has been around, but it continues to work because of the role it has in 2023's love of silhouette play of layering extremes: an oversized blazer or oxford shirt over an exposed bralette, a mini skirt or short with an oversized belt, and a chic pair of knee-high boots."
Meet The Expert
Jessica Richards is a trend forecaster, style storyteller, and founder of JMR Trend + Creative, whose synergistic focus inspires what is now and next. With an extensive background in forecasting, concepts, and design for major North American retailers, she brings a forward-thinking yet commercial and brand-right viability to projects across the fashion and wellness
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