7 Types of Boots to Keep in Your Closet At All Times

Marina Liao
Photo credit: Melodie Jeng - Getty Images

From Marie Claire

Just like you can never own enough white tees, you can never own enough boots. Before you refresh your fall/winter wardrobe with new footwear, though, check your styles. Do you have all the classic silhouettes, or at least one pair of classics? By this, we mean the kind of boot that stands the test of time. Black Chelsea boots meet this criteria, as do your rain boots, and even your new designer stiletto ankle bootie.

It doesn't matter if these boots have been given a makeover in trendy colors or different textures—you can still tell they're classics by the shape and overall fit. Not sure what types of boots you need, or are even out there? We have a short, digestible list of ones to own (or try—no peer pressure here) ahead.

Chelsea Boots

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This classic boot comes in all heel heights and toe shapes, but the most distinguishable feature of a Chelsea boot are the black elastic side panels. The shoes often have a tab on the back of the boot, making it easier for you to pull on. Fun fact: The first of this style was made by J. Sparkes-Hall for Queen Victoria in 1851 because she wanted a pair of non lace-up boots, though the Chelsea boots as we know them today didn't become popular until the '50s and '60s. They were considered trendy and "mod" in the United Kingdom when they first came out, and over time these became a timeless wardrobe staple for both men and women.

Combat Boots

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The army combat boot was initially designed to be worn by soldiers in combat, as the name suggests. While the style is still worn by members of the military today (soldiers are getting upgrades in the designs), civilians tend to look for more fashion than function (I, personally, mostly wear my combat boots to and from the office). Fashionable combat boots still have the same original army elements, such as a rounded toecap, laces, a chunky sole, and a high collar. But the designs are more flexible, coming in various textures, from faux croc to snakeskin, and in every color imaginable. Some styles even have a four-inch heel for a height boost, which are definitely not appropriate for military drills.

Weather Boots (Rain/Snow)

Photo credit: Christian Vierig - Getty Images

Speaking of functional shoes, you'll always need a pair of waterproof boots, whether that be snow boots or rain boots, to carry you through the winter storms. Waterproof footwear, thankfully, has come a long way in terms of stylish designs, with many companies like Hunter giving the shoe a more fashun look. (Just check out the Chanel rain boots in the street style photo above.) You no longer need to choose between an ugly rain boot that leaves your feet dry or a boot that leaves you with soaked socks—you can cover all your bases with the weather-appropriate options below.

Thigh-High Boots

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Unlike ankle boots, which sometimes leave parts of your skin exposed to the nippy winter elements, thigh-high boots has you covered—literally. The classic style features a shaft that hits mid-thigh and is often fitted to your legs, leaving no weird ripples and bumps. Thigh-high boots can be worn with tights, jeans, skirts, dresses, and more as you've seen on your favorite fashion bloggers and celebrities. Not completely sure how to rock them? Good news: I've come up with foolproof outfits for this season here.

Stiletto Heel Boots

Photo credit: Christian Vierig - Getty Images

A stiletto heeled boot will never be out of date, even though the kitten heel style has made a comeback in recent seasons. The skinny heel can be included on any shoe style from the Chelsea boot to thigh-high options and look best when worn with tailored pieces. Think of the stiletto heel boot as an alternative to pumps at the office for fall/winter. You still retain that confidence you get from your normal heels as well as the height boost. Be right back, trading in my slingback pumps for one of these picks, below.

Riding Boots

Photo credit: Edward Berthelot - Getty Images

You don't need to be an equestrian to pull off a pair of riding boots. This knee-high with a flat or low heel style comes in many colors and finishes, but typically brands will offer them in standard shades like brown, black, navy, or grey. Some riding boots come in suede, others in leather, and overall give off a very posh vibe. For a more classic look, go with an option like Coach below. For a more vintage meets modern minimalism feel, BY FAR's "Edie" butter-soft leather boot hits the spot.


Cowboy Boots

Photo credit: Christian Vierig - Getty Images

The further we move from the past, the more designers are looking back to the archives for shoe silhouette inspiration. One of them is the cowboy boot, which has been continuously remade every season. Cowboy boots now come in all prints, colors, and textures outside of cowhide leather. For this season specifically, you'll find everything from a kitten heel option to a pointy-toe shape metallic design. Here's to channeling the Wild Wild West the 2019/2020 way with the Western-inspired footwear picks ahead.

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