9 Retail Brands That Sell the Best Quality Boots
These boots are made for walking... and they stand the test of time, according to experts.
One silver lining to chilly weather: Boots! Though we actually wear them year-round, they do their job best when we're head-to-toe dressed for the weather. Boots are also a good excuse to wear heels and trendy styles and still be comfortable. And today's retail landscape means you can find great quality boots without spending a fortune. We consulted fashion stylists and retail experts about the best brands and stores to score quality boots. Read on for their top picks.
READ THIS NEXT: 7 Clothing Chains That Sell the Best Quality Denim.
For designer-looking quality boots that are wallet-friendly, fashion stylist, lifestyle blogger, and podcast co-host Tara West turns to Sam Edelman. "With 13 flagship stores across the U.S. and a robust e-commerce platform, you can shop a wide range of knee-high boots and ankle boots all within the $200 range or less."
She also notes that many Sam Edelman boots can be found on Zappos. "They have a vast selection, fast shipping (24-48 hours!), and free returns, so you can order a few options to try them out first."
West is partial to the brand's Chelsea boot, as she says it can be worn with everything from denim and leggings to skirts and tights. "This design is beautifully executed with the chunky lug sole and brown pinstripe."
For dressier occasions, she recommends the Ursula knee-high suede boots. "Style these with skinny jeans, a maxi dress, or a skirt—any time of year."
Another high-style but affordable brand is Marc Fisher, which Dianne Boyer, Detroit-based fashion blogger and co-founder of The Harper Girls, calls "the unicorn of boots for both style and comfort." You can find this brand through their own website, but they're also sold at DSW, Nordstrom, and Nordstrom Rack.
"What I love the most about them is how well they fit. I have worn my pair of pointy-toe boots with 3.5-inch heels for several hours without experiencing any pain on multiple occasions," shares Boyer.
West is a fan of the Ulani pointy-toe bootie, too. She says it's a step up from the Chelsea boot in terms of dressiness, but is just as versatile. "Wear these with denim, trousers, or skirts throughout the year, and you can score a leather pair for less than $150." (At the time of publication, they were on sale for $99.99.)
"Between their tiered collections Madden Girl, Steve Madden, and Steven you are certain to find something for you in every price point," says Nina Vargas, global business/celebrity strategist and connector for beauty, wellness, and fashion brands. "The other win with Steve Madden is that they bring new styles to market ridiculously quickly. I see it as fast fashion that allows consumers to wear the style/trend in their own way and within their means."
Vargas loves this brand's Chelsea boots. "Upper leather material, comfortable yet trendy, and a variety of selections to find the style that fits ME."
READ THIS NEXT: 8 Retail Brands That Sell the Best Quality Walking Shoes.
When it comes to comfort, Naturalizer is one of the most well-known brands out there. They're designed specifically for a woman's foot and come in sizes 5M to 12W.
Vargas says she "swears by" this brand and shares how she found a pair of Naturalizer Knee High Combat Boots for just $75 on Amazon (they were originally marked at $240). In addition to being both stylish and comfortable, she notes that these boots have a 100 percent leather upper and a synthetic rubber sole to help with traction.
The now-ubiquitous Dr. Martens (perhaps better known as "docs") began life as British workwear and then became a style icon during the '80s punk-rock scene. Today, the company makes a variety of boots that goes far beyond their humble roots, with styles from dainty florals to sky-high platforms in a range of colors and materials.
"You can typically find these boots in a number of styles at a variety of chain stores," notes Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "This means you'll be able to take advantage of sales that may be going on at a store like Nordstrom or Urban Outfitters if that's more convenient for you rather than shopping the brand directly."
The Frye Company made its very first pair of boots in 1888 in Marlboro, Massachusetts, complete with their now-famous "precision stitching and quality leather."
"Frye has a broad selection of boot styles with top-notch quality across the board," says Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling. "Look for engineer, lace-up combat and equestrian styles, though my personal faves are their iconic Campus and Harness boots. Anything from Frye will last you a lifetime."
One way to score a discount is through The Frye Exchange, a portal to sell and buy pre-owned boots. "You can sell your pre-loved Fryes directly to new owners and receive credit towards your next Frye purchase," they explain on the website. And at the time of publication, Frye was offering a promotion for $50 off $250 when you sign up for their email list.
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Before the internet, Nordstrom was known as the first place—and often the last—to look for any top-quality, stylish shoe on the planet. With the rise of online shopping, their status has only grown.
"The store has a ton of boot options, so you can easily find something to fit every budget," says Ramhold. "When I looked, there were 72 pages of boot options as well as another 41 pages of bootie options. This makes it easy to choose from well-known and quality-made brands like TOMS, Vince Camuto, Steve Madden, UGG, and tons more."
If you're looking to splurge (prices average between $500 and $800), Stuart Weitzman was often the first brand mentioned by experts. Their boots are available at department stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus as well as brand boutiques and most online fashion outlets.
"If you don't already know about Stuart Weitzman's 5050 iconic, top-rated classic, you should. Business in the front (leather), party in the back (microstretch), they are sleek, chic, and low making them a daily miracle worker for urban women," shares Kosich.
Fiorentini + Baker
Another splurge brand is Fiorentini + Baker. They're known for their classic silhouettes with fun biker and bohemian accents. "It doesn't get more classic than F+B's Eternity boot," says Kosich, which retails for $645. "These handcrafted beauties are made in Italy by skilled artisans with premium materials and, trust me, your feet will feel the quality." The brand also has knee-high boots, ankle booties, and loafers.