Boots: Everything You Need to Know

Boots come in many shapes and sizes, from hiking, to work to fashion. No matter which one category your boot of choice fits in, there’s lots to know about them.

Before you go to the shoe store or while you’re waiting on a shipment, why not learn everything you need to know about boots?

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What to look for when buying boots.
  • How to know when boots fit right.
  • What you should pay for a sturdy pair of boots.

Know Your Boots

What Should I Look for When Buying Boots?

From Dr. Martens to Timberland Pro, their uses are universal. You can get into the more niche needs when buying a specific boot—for example, work boots for mechanics. Here are four things to look out for:

  • Leather.
  • Grip.
  • Shank.


I’ll keep this simple. You want full-grain leather.

They produce full-grain leather from the animal hide’s top layer. It’s the toughest as it’s used to dealing with the elements.

Bonded leather isn’t so tough as they make it with assorted leathers, and genuine leather is cheap and not durable.

Suede is also an iffy material for boots. It’s not very water-resistant, so it’s for fashion, not for function.

If you see a boot you like with no leather type on the packaging or boot, send a message to the company’s email address to ask them.


Whether it’s a woman’s boot, a man’s boot, or even a kid’s boot, the grip is one of the essential elements.

It’s shocking how many boots for outdoor activities have almost no grip, and a slick leather sole. A leather sole has no place in the rugged outdoors. Rubber is far more durable, has better traction, and usually has more of a tread pattern.

Sometimes boots will have synthetic soles, too. In this case, do more research on the material—send the manufacturers an email. They’ve probably got their email address online for such things.


The shank is the hard material between the sole and midsole of the boot. It’s there for protection, stability and arch support. It also helps with longevity.

Steel shanks are the tradition but will start alarms going in an airport. If you travel in your boots often, look for fiberglass or leather shanks. They should hold up just as well.

How Do You Know If Boots Fit Right?

A huge part of getting the right boots is the fit. Here’s something to be aware of: a lot of boot companies run large, so if ordering online, try a half size down. If shopping in person, it should be easier, and you’ll get faster fitting results.

Also, try inquiring about the last. They make boots on a foot-shaped model called a Last, and it differs from company to company. The Last can influence the overall fit of the boot. So if you know what Last is used, you have a better idea of how the boot will fit.

Do some research on the last by asking the company or other wearers.

Also consider these factors to know your shoes fits right:

  • Your heel should stay in the boot, without movement or friction.
  • There should be an inch of space in front of your toes.
  • There shouldn’t be pressure on the sides of your feet.
  • Your toes shouldn’t be able to slip forward.
  • Your ankles should be supported.
  • The tongue shouldn’t dig into your foot.
  • Your feet should have no red spots after use.

Boots for hard trips

How Much Does a Good Pair of Boots Cost?

Prices will vary. There’s no one price fits all, and the cost and how “good” boots are, may be subjective to your needs. Expect to pay at least $100 for a good-quality pair of any boots from most brands. It’s a fair price for such items, but you can get bargains.

For example, the price of a sturdy pair of insulated work boots or work boots for roofers is around $100–150. However, there are equally great ones available for closer to $60-80.

You always pay more for a famous name, but if you research a lesser-known but reputable brand, you can save some cash and get the same quality.


Hopefully, this basic information on shopping for boots will help you in your search, from cowboy boots to practical work boots.

Remember, the key things to look for are fit and quality. And function, of course. Once you have those, you can’t go wrong.


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