During our research to write this article, we came across more than 20 different types of boots. If you say that you are confused, we are not surprised! Most of them have very minute differences between each other but marketed using different names.
Here is a buying guide that will explain the features of the major boot types available for men in India. We will discuss the types that will match your casual wear, formal wear, and attire for special occasions. We have also curated a list of the ten best boots for men in India from top brands like Red Tape, STEVE MADDEN, Columbia, and more.
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Table of Contents
With tons of options online, it may be tough to choose the right pair for your needs. Read the buying guide below to learn about the major types of boots, categorization based on the type of closure, materials used for manufacture, and much more.
Different types of boots not only have unique designs that make them suitable for a particular attire but also built differently to meet various requirements of wearers like comfort, sturdiness, waterproofness, etc. Find out more about various styles of boots from the sections below.
One of the most popular and widely recognizable boot types is Chelsea boots. It comes with elastic side panels that allow you to slip your foot in easily, making it a type of slip-on (lace-less footwear with elastic panels for easy wearing). You will also find a fabric tab at the back that you can use for pulling the boots on and off easily.
Chelsea boots may be made of leather or suede. The leather variant matches formal attire like a suit, full sleeve shirts, and pants (pleated, slim-fit, etc.). Suede is a matte-like, velvety type of leather, and suede Chelsea boots go well with casual wear like denim jeans, jackets, etc.
When it comes to choosing a color, black and brown are excellent choices for formal wear. Having multiple pairs of Chelsea boots of different colors is not uncommon these days, as it gives you the flexibility of matching a pair with any casual wear you like.
Familiarize yourself with the parts of a boot before reading further, so you will understand the terms used easily. Traditionally, chukka boots are made from suede and are available in many colors, but modern companies make regular leather variants of the same too.
It is open-laced, meaning the quarters are sewed on top of the vamp (section of a boot that covers the top of your foot). Keep in mind that closed-laced (quarters stitched under the vamp) shoes/boots are more formal than open-laced ones. Desert boots are a type of chukka, but the names are used interchangeably online.
The sole of chukka boots is traditionally made of leather, while that of desert boots' is rubber. If you want a comfortable pair of boots for wearing to work every day, chukkas are the way to go. Desert boots will match splendidly with your casual wear.
Not the most popular type, but technical boots are built to last. They are usually breathable and waterproof, making them a reliable type to wear to any outdoor working condition. The soles of technical boots are usually made of materials like crepe rubber and thermoplastic rubber.
Technical boots are always open-laced, so the wearer can adjust the expansion of the upper for more comfortability. This type typically rises just above the ankle (called mid-cut boots), thus protecting your ankle from cuts and bruises. Technical boots are close relatives of work boots, which we will discuss in the next section.
Work boots can be of any type if it has features that ensure protection and comfortability. Suppose you work in an environment where sharp tools and heavy machinery are present, and there is a possibility of heavy objects falling. Work boots with sturdy upper and steel toe caps could give you additional protection.
In terms of uniqueness in design, four types of work boots stan out: plain-toe, moc-toe, cap-toe, and steel toe. Plain toe can be designed to look like leather formal boots suitable as office wear or lightweight suede boots fitting for more challenging work environments. The same goes for cap-toe boots. They have an extra piece of material on top of the toe box.
Leather variants can be worn to work or a party, while the more sturdy ones come with reinforced material atop the toe cap. If the toe cap has steel reinforcement, they are called steel-toe shoes. These are meant to protect your toes from heavy falling objects. Moc toe boots with their raised, sewn seam offer protection and comfort. As urban wear, they go well with casual attire.
Dress boots is an umbrella term given to any type of boots that complement formal wear, especially for special occasions like weddings. Brogues, Oxfords, Derbies, and Chelsea are some examples of boot types typically considered as dress boots. Brogue boots have distinguishable multiple-piece stitching with decorative perforations, making them a popular choice for weddings.
Classic dress boots have a leather sole, which is more than just a symbol of luxury. Leather's porous nature increases the breathability of the boots. It adapts to the contour of your foot, which increases comfortability. Unlike plastic and rubber soles, it is easier to replace leather soles. However, leather-soled boots are expensive and difficult to maintain and are not meant to be everyday wear.
Hiking and combat boots are built to provide maximum protection to your feet and ankles and withstand tough terrains and weather conditions. But not all of them have the same features. If you are planning to trek on rainy days or if your adventure involves crossing water bodies, you could use some waterproof hiking boots.
But if you want to go hiking in the snow-covered trails of the Himalayas or Jammu & Kashmir, we recommend buying snow hiking boots. They are waterproof and have a warm lining to protect your feet from sub-zero temperatures. While hiking boots can come mid-cut or high ankle, combat boots mostly rise much above the ankle, providing ankle stability.
The soles are comparatively thicker and sturdier. Combat boots with features like flame resistance and abrasion resistance can also be found online. The materials used for manufacturing determine the characteristics of boots. You will find more about them in the next section.
Synthetic materials make boots affordable and easier to maintain. The most popular type is artificial leather. Since it is non-porous, it is waterproof but could make your feet smell. Synthetic leather gives the luxurious look of leather with better resistance to tough weather conditions. Materials like carbon fiber, kevlar, polyurethane, spandex, nylon, and polyester are also popular materials for making boots.
They can protect your feet from crush and compression injuries. But think before you make a choice. Boots with fabric upper may offer breathability but won't protect your feet from crushing forces. Meanwhile, polyurethane is a good upper for snow hiking boots with its waterproof nature.
For example, green suede chukka boots with beige chinos, red Chelsea boots with white casual pants, tan moc-toe boots with faded denim jeans, etc., are still in trend. Keep in mind that solid colors are formal, while multiple-colored boots tend to go well with casual wear. An exception would be leather mix suede boots where suede and regular leather of different shades or colors are used.
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Suits Casual and Formal Wear Alike
Durable Synthetic Leather Upper
Bond Street by Red Tape
A Modern Variant of Chukka Boots
Brown Patterned Brogues Boots
Goes Well With Formal Wear for Special Occasions Like Weddings
Huntsman Leather Boots
Offers Impact Protection at Weak Points
Joeey Ankle-Length Lace-Up Leather Boots
Casual Moc-Toe Boots for Your Night Out With Friends
CAMEL HIKING BOOTS
Tough Rubber Outsole With Shock Absorbing EVA Midsole
Grand Canyon Hiking Boots
Breathable and Waterproof Hiking Boots
Helps Reduce Foot, Hips, and Lower Back Pain
Steel Toe Boots
Work Boots That Offer Safety and Comfort
If you are looking for a pair of boots that go well with formal and casual wear, go for Red Tape Chelsea boots. The upper made using leather, which gives it a timeless look, and the sole is made of Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR) known for its high grip and wear resistance.
The signature elastic side panels allow you to slip your foot right in easily. There are two color options available: black and tan (with black soles). You can match black with attire of any color, while tan shoes match indigo, navy blue, and white pants wonderfully. Red Tape Chelsea boots are available in UK sizes 6 to 11.
Add more style to your Friday night casual wear with Teakwood navy blue suede Chelsea boots. The best color to match with this pair would be blue itself but go for different shades like light blue, indigo, etc. Light gray, dark gray, tan, beige, white, red, brown, and olive casual pants are also great matches for navy blue suede Chelsea boots.
The suede leather used is actually synthetic, making it waterproof but not breathable. If cared for, it will last longer than bonded leather, but genuine leather is still the most durable. Teakwood makes use of TPR for their suede Chelsea boots outsoles to give them the much-needed durability, grip, and wear resistance.
As you already know, chukka boots are traditionally made of suede leather with leather soles. Bond Street by Red Tape's chukka boots is a modern variant of the same. It has a synthetic upper, which could last longer than regular leather if cared for properly, but is not at all breathable. The sole is made of wear-resistant TPR.
This pair of boots is mid-cut and goes well with casuals (t-shirts, chinos, etc.) and business casuals alike. The dark brown color matches navy blue suits and also slim-fit jeans. Since it is open-laced, those with a wider foot will find it much more comfortable to wear.
Teakwood Brown Patterned Brogues will suit your western formal wear for special occasions extremely well. The classic luxurious look of this pair of boots is reminiscent of the traditionally made brogues, with perforations that extend from the toe box to the quarters and heel counter.
The boots are mid-cut and are open-laced. The eyelets and the laces extend all the way up to the quarter, giving it a unique and clean look when worn with perfect fitting attire. There is a zipper on one side that allows you to pull on and off the brogues easily. You can choose from several color options like black, oxblood, and textured brown. Euro sizes 40 to 44 available on Nykaa Fashion.
Royal Enfield Huntsman Leather Boots comes under the technical/riding boots category. The Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) reinforcement in the toe box not only offers impact protection but also provides comfort while shifting your motorcycle gears. Your heels and ankles are also protected by the same material.
Other features that offer comfort are the padded foam insoles and open-lacing that can ensure a secure fit. To help drivers and riders spot you in low light conditions, there is a reflective loop at the back of the boots. The leather tab at the back adds to the convenience by helping you wear the boots and take them off easily. UK sizes 7 to 11 available at Royal Enfield official store.
STEVE MADDEN Joeey Ankle-Length moc-toe boots combine the features of classic work moc-toe boots with some modern features. The dark brown leather upper matches the ivory-colored TPR soles perfectly. But they are not fit to be used as work boots as the toe box is not raised enough to provide impact protection.
There is a zipper on one side of the boots for easy wearing as this pair extends above the ankle. The leather insoles adjust to the contour of your foot, thus providing you comfort while walking. Pair your STEVE MADDEN moc-toe boots with skin-fit jeans or chinos as your Friday night outfit for parties and hangouts.
WOODLAND CAMEL HIKING BOOTS is built to last. These high ankle boots come with a cushioned collar that provides comfort during your tough mountain treks. It has a nubuck leather upper, which is like suede in appearance but more durable. The material provides breathability too. Your feet and shoes won't smell much as nubuck can absorb and release sweat.
The tough rubber outsoles are highly wear-resistant. But their rigidity won't hurt your feet as the midsoles are made of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) that can absorb impacts and provide cushioning. WOODLAND CAMEL HIKING BOOTS come with rust-resistant eyelets and a tab at the back for pulling these boots on and off easily.
Columbia Grand Canyon Hiking Boots looks like it will allow water to seep in easily. But it won't. The Outdry technology used by Columbia uses a polyester upper that offers breathability while still being waterproof. You can experience comparatively better cushioning and shock absorption while hiking as the midsoles are made of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA).
Its rubber outsoles are manufactured using Columbia's Omni Grip technology that strategically combines lug patterns and rubber to provide a superior grip on gravel, dirt, and rocks. Since the build is lightweight, you will not feel it weighing you down while you carry backpacks. We recommend Columbia Grand Canyon hiking boots to people looking for comfortable and mid-cut trekking boots.
The upper material of Mikaasa Response 8.0 is a combination of abrasion-resistant suede full-grain leather and waterproof Cambrelle membrane (a nylon lining that is commonly used on military boots to make it repel water). This combination makes the boots breathable too. The collar (inside back portion of the boots) and the tongue are padded to offer maximum comfort while walking.
You can use this pair as hiking boots for any terrain, including deserts. Its EVA midsole provides impact resistance as well as cushioning. Even though rubber soles offer high grip and wear resistance, they are sturdy and chance uncomfortable. Mikaasa Response 8.0 uses a combination of phylon and rubber for its outsole, which helps minimize foot, hips, and lower back pain.
The boots come with a side zipper for added convenience. Customer reviews show that the boots are rugged, comfortable to wear and provide good value for money.
You already know that leather adapts to your walking style and the contour of your feet. The padded insoles of bacca bucci steel toe boots are lined with leather, which offers maximum comfort during stressful days at work. Your feet will be protected from heavy falling objects as the toe box has a steel reinforcement inside.
The upper is made of grain leather that is durable due to its water-resistant and abrasion-resistant properties. Customers who bought this product recommend this to people with feet larger than normal. Color choices available are black and brown with UK sizes 11 and 12.
Time shave changed. Sandals and flip-flops are also part of a man's everyday life. You can wear it for a casual stroll in the park, beach times, or as office wear during rainy seasons. Your daily workout routines could use some comfort if you wear the perfect walking shoes.
Below are links to three articles that talk in detail about the factors to consider before buying sandals, flip-flops, and walking shoes for men in India. To make your online shopping experience easier, we also have the top 10 recommendations featuring the best products in the market.
Some factors you can consider before buying boots are the attire you are planning to pair with them, color, safety, and comfort. Boots meant for riding, touring and work comes with reinforcements to protect weak points of your feet, while those meant for formal and casual wear focus more on fitting the part.
Modern boot manufacturers focus on durability too, so traditional practices of using leather for soles are rare. Thermoplastic rubber is the most commonly used outsole material. It offers sturdiness and wear resistance. Those who prefer more cushioning can look for EVA midsoles and phylon outsoles too.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 1: Red Tape | Chelsea Boots | Rte3083
No. 2: Teakwood | Chelsea Boots
No. 3: Bond Street by Red Tape | Chukka Boots
No. 4: Teakwood | Brown Patterned Brogues Boots
No. 5: Royal Enfield | Huntsman Leather Boots
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