Best Leather Boots Reviewed & Rated
Summer is over, and the first thing that comes to mind is preparing for fall and transitioning to winter eventually. During these seasons, we see an important change in general dressing; jackets start to come around, scarfs in certain places, jeans and full-length pants, and of course, leather boots.
Leather boots are some of the most warming pieces of footwear out there. It would only be logical to start looking for a decent pair that keeps your feet warm. While it is true that the seasons behave differently throughout the world, leather boots will never be a bad option for fall or winter footwear.
- Chippewa 6-inch Leather
- Vibram Sole
- Goodyear Welt Construction
- Clarks Bushacre 2 Desert
- Metal eyelets
- Leather sole
- Bruno Marc Philly Combat Boot
- Man-made leather
- Substantial outsole
For some people, winter shoes are just enough for their weather. But, in most other cases, low-top footwear just doesn’t cut it for cold environments. This is where leather boots come in. Bigger boots make an excellent combination when paired with any leather, providing you with as much protection for your feet as you can get.
10 Best Leather Boots
1. Clarks Bushacre 2 Desert
The suede or leather nubuck upper build is slim, yet firm. It allows the upper build to expand and adapt to your feet, while still acting as a firm frame. A quality suede lining makes regular wear and walking significantly snugger.
Although their shoes are very good-looking, Clarks isn’t all about the design. The raised heel rubber outsole delivers an efficient traction in every-day environments, also counting with shock absorption.
The Bushacre 2 Desert hold an excellent efficiency-to-cost ratio. This model is just as functional as most boots out there (even better than some) while being considerably cheaper. Rest assured your purchase will last.
- Durable metal eyelets
- Available in multiple widths and dimensions
- Leather lining
- Absorbing sole
- Tight inner build, requires a few uses to break in
- Just two lace eyelets on each side
2. Fergalicious Lexy Western
A synthetic rubber-like compound makes the Lexy Western suitable for walking and moving around for a long while. The slouched shaft works in combination with a spur buckle placed behind a stacked square heel.
The man-made leather used for this shoe is highly comfortable; very soft to the touch and a warming lining delivers even more protection from the elements during cold weathers. The leather is flexible, bending as you walk without any discomfort.
If you know a thing or two about knee-high boots, then you’re aware of how expensive they can be. This is not the case of the Lexy Westerns, which meet the average value of this list, making them a great value.
- Knee-high protection
- Warm lining material
- Flexible and resistant leather
- The sizing of the calf is a problem to some users, make sure to purchase the correct width
3. Chippewa 6-inch Leather
The Italian-made outsole offers great traction, as well as a smart outsole pattern that doesn’t mark or skid the surfaces. The V-Bar sole is highly efficient in terms of durability, flexibility, and grip. It also works as a firm and steady platform.
The Chippewa boots count with double and even triple hand-stitched frame. The Goodyear welt construction, as well as the built-in outsole, prevent some of the most common accidents that would normally damage your shoes or rip your soles.
Chippewa boots are significantly costlier than your average boot – but they’re significantly more efficient and durable, too. If you like top-notch product lines, and you can afford the investment, then you might get a good deal out of this pair.
- Very resistant and durable
- Non-marking sole
- Goodyear welt construction
- The leather is rigid, it’s hard to put these on until you break in
- Costly boots
4. TBC Captain 6
When traditional rubber just isn’t enough, TBC’s Captain has your back with a studded rubber sole that enhances grip as well as traction on a vast variety of surfaces. The sole has a curved design and a stacked heel, ideal to optimize the walking motion.
Aside from the comfy lining and the flexible sole, the 6” Captain design offers a cork footbed, as well as an ethyl vinyl acetate strip that mold to your feet for a comfortable wear throughout the day.
Much costlier than some elements on the list, while still being cheaper than some others. The price tag on these boots is well over the average value of the list. One thing is certain, you won’t ever need a second pair of these.
- Thick, resistant upper build leather
- Water resistant seal
- EVA comfort strip
- Studded rubber soles
- Slightly longer and wider than the average sizing of a boot
5. Bruno Marc Philly
Despite looking thick and heavy, the Philly Combat Boot is very functional. The materials are flexible and comfortable, also leaving space for ankle rotation and smooth mobility. The outsole is flexible, too.
Variety of Models
Bruno Marc offers their Phily Combat Boot in different shades and sizes, making sure you can get the most optimal fit as well as your color and shade of preference. You may now include or remove the lateral zipper as well.
You can’t get a better deal than this; not only is it the best value of this list – but it’s astonishingly cheap for such a quality shoe, especially if we’re talking about full boots. Outstanding performance for a such an accessible price.
- Substantial rubber sole for solid grip
- Flexible and supportive materials
- Suitable for both heavy duties and casual wear
- The curved toe box might be discomfortable for certain feet shapes
6. Wolverine 1000 Mile
Wolverine shoes guarantee a high-quality stitching, tested and revised before packaging. The stitching is done with professional-level quality, just like any other Wolverine product. Because of this, the boots are much more durable and far less likely to break or separate.
Goodyear Welt Construction
By attaching the leather sole and the Vibram heel, the Goodyear welt construction is the cherry on the cake in terms of durability and efficiency. Additionally, the boots include waxed cotton laces, which last longer than traditional ones.
If you can afford to enjoy some of the best materials out there, the Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots might be your thing. First-class materials come with first-class price tags, too, making this shoe the second most costly item in the list.
- Top-notch build
- Leather sole
- Vibram heel
- Very durable and protective
- Considerably expensive
7. Levi's Lex II
The stitching on Levi products is possibly one of the best out there; efficiency is guaranteed and defects are very rare. The quality stitching makes the build more durable, with double and triple layers on key points of the build.
The Lex II counts with a mixture of elements that make up for a very comfortable fit throughout the whole day. A padded tongue and collar provide more support aside from comfort, and a heel tab eases the process of putting the boots on.
Levi’s generally offers a fair price for quality shoes, and this is the case of the Lex II. The value is under the average of this list, and that’s a good thing for such a quality boot.
- Outstanding stitching
- Flexible outsole
- Padded tongue and collar
- Comfortable lining
- The insoles could be much better – we recommend using your own inserts
8. Timberland Heritage Chukka
The appliance of top-notch waterproof leathers gives you even more protection. The durability of the leather is guaranteed thanks to its abrasion-resistant features. Additionally, rustproof hardware makes metal components last considerably longer.
Timberlands are the kind of boots that you can wear throughout the day without any discomfort. A low collar padded with a substantial material not only delivers support to the ankle and comfort, but it also keeps debris and external elements from entering the shoe.
Timberland doesn’t make the most accessible shoes out there, but it could definitely be worse. While it easily surpasses the average value of the list, it easily surpasses user expectations as well.
- Waterproof seamed sealing
- Waterproof leather
- Rustproof hardware
- Anti-fatigue footbed
- Not enough arch support for multiple users – use your own inserts if this is your case
9. Crevo Denham Chelsea
The elastic gore panels on the sides of this Chelsea boot make each fit a custom experience. The elasticity of the shoe allows you to obtain an optimal snugly fit, adequate for the dimensions of your feet.
Synthetic rubber sole
The synthetic sole covers the aspects not present in traditional rubber soles. By being more flexible, the outsole relieves a considerable amount of stress off your feet when walking for long. Furthermore, it counts with a non-slipping design.
Crevo’s Denham Chelsea is slightly over the average value of the list. The shoe counts with slim, yet durable materials that won’t break so easily. Additionally, you might get away with wearing these any time of the year.
- Durable leather build
- Elastic gore panels
- Cushioning memory foam footbed
- Flexible build and sole
- The sizing may run large half a size, please verify the official sizing table for the most optimal fit
10. Allen Edmonds Dalton Lace-Up
Durability, efficiency, and comfort are just three of the many qualities offered by the sole of these boots. Forget about traditional rubber – instead, this outsole provides you with protection against abrasion, walking flexibility, and a firm base.
Premium leather upper
The calfskin leather upper build is assured to be long-lasting, flexible, comfortable, and remarkably fashionable. Premium leather should go through the hands of a premium artisan; which is exactly why the quality of this pair is so good – because that’s exactly what they do.
Allan Edmonds are some of the costliest boots out there, meaning they also have some of the heftiest costs too. Regardless, the quality of the shoe along with its unique materials stand up to every dollar in their price tag.
- Quality calfskin
- Butyl double leather sole
- Comfortable lining
- Very fancy
- Most expensive item on the list
- Takes multiple uses to break in
In conclusion, leather boots deliver the features that are the most important during winter. Something as simple as a waterproof seamed seal can make the difference between warm and comfortable footwear and frozen toes. The leather material itself counts with features much more protective than any traditional material, making it one of the most optimal (if not the most) materials for fall and winter footwear.
One of the best points about leather boots is that they never stop being fashionable. Leather boots, and leather in general, are good-looking throughout the whole year – they might just not be practical for certain occasions.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Leather Boots
The biggest downside of boots is often their weight – especially if we’re talking about a leather boot. Boots are considerably bigger than regular shoes; not just in height, but they’re also larger, denser, and simply require a greater amount of materials in general. This adds up to a considerably heavier build in comparison to a sneaker or just a regular shoe.
Additionally, leather isn’t like any other material. Leather is thicker, tougher, bulkier, and more protective than other materials – which also makes it heavier. At the same time, by being more voluminous and heavier, boots require the incorporation of even more material in order to maintain a firm frame.
For instance, if manufacturers were to build a boot with the same amount of material used to build a standard shoe, they would be able to design it. However, the boot would lack a lot of structure. Although the distribution of the same amount of materials is possible, it will result in a very thin appliance that would fail to act as a firm platform, also affecting the amount of protection.
Luckily for us, the constant development of new technologies and synthesized materials have given place to new materials that offer the same qualities, but at a considerably reduced weight.
Synthetic leathers, for example, are carefully engineered to offer the features of the leathers they resemble. One of the greatest qualities of synthetization is the lighter weight of the materials, which pretty much allows you to enjoy the benefits of thick materials, such as leathers, without its drawbacks (the weight, bulk, etc.).
But it doesn’t stop there; aside from being lighter, synthetic materials are generally denser as well. This means that there’s a greater amount of material per square inch of the shoe. In other words, manufacturers are able to make use of greater amounts of material without making the shoe any bulkier.
At the same time, this brings a variety of benefits. Think of dense materials as if they’re compressed within the same space that normal materials occupy, and by being compressed there’s more of the material. This improves the protective qualities of the boot, as it has more “layers” of material that make the shoe much more resistant.
Keep in mind, though, that boots are generally heavier than any other shoe regardless of the materials that compose it. In fact, a boot built from synthetic lightweight materials will probably still weigh more than a regular sneaker with traditional non-lightweight materials.
Leathers are some of the heaviest shoe materials out there, including synthetic leathers. Even though it’s light in comparison to genuine leather, synthetic leather is still heavier than other lightweight footwear materials. However, there are many other factors that have an influence on the weight of a leather boot aside from the upper build.
The outsole, for example, is often the heaviest element of footwear. In the case of some boots, it might be the second most heavy, after the upper build. Once again, lighter versions of the material that would be normally used for the outsole (rubber in most cases) are much more efficient in terms of performance. Some popular replacements for rubber are high-abrasion rubber, vulcanized rubber, thermoplastic polyurethane, and even synthetic leather.
You can’t talk about a fall or winter boot without talking about protection. However, there’s often multiple misconceptions about what the protection of a shoe (or boot, in this case) really involves. Some users would normally think that the protection of a shoe is limited to physical objects, like branches, debris, rocks, or anything that might penetrate the shoe or harm the feet.
While it is true that physical protection is one of the qualities of a leather boot (and shoes in general), there actually are multiple other factors that determine the protection quality of footwear. When we’re talking about specific seasons, such as fall or winter, the environment and climate are factors that will have a big impact on your feet if not protected adequately.
Just like you should avoid heat retention in hot environments, you should avoid the free flow of air within your shoe in cold weathers. In order to get the most protection from the elements, your leather boots should not be breathable. Furthermore, consistently retaining the air that is already within the shoe is important to keep your feet warm.
When it’s cold, our far extremities (hands and feet) are some of the parts of our body that release the most heat. If a boot is able to retain this heat within the inner build, your feet won’t suffer any damage from cold weather, thus optimizing the boot’s performance. On the other hand, allowing the air to flow freely within the shoe would consistently bring fresh air into the shoe. This not only takes away the warming heat produced by your feet, but it also replaces it with fresh, cold air.
One of the most underestimated features of a shoe is water resistance or waterproof protection. A concerning amount of users disregard the importance of being protected from water, seeing as they don’t plan on going through any water or getting wet at all. This is a poor explanation, as you’re not always aware of when you’ll come across wet environments, rain, ponds, or just being exposed to water in general.
If your leather boots are waterproof, then water is not a threat to your footwear (or feet). You could go ankle-deep and further into the water and not a single drop will get into your shoe (given that the waterproof circumstances are met). On the other hand, if for any reason you expose your boots to water while lacking waterproof protection, you can forget about the rest of the activities you had planned.
Soaked shoes (or boots in this case) are possibly the most annoying incident that can occur in your footwear. There’s simply no way around it; you’ll need to change your shoes right away. Even if your boots don’t get soaked, any water that leaks into the inner side of the shoe will affect every single element within the shoe, and it will have a terrible impact on the performance aspects.
As soon as water leaks into your footwear, you can forget about comfortability right away. The inner grip will become a total mess, regardless of you wearing socks or being sockless. Next up, all non-waterproof materials will start absorbing the water, which will considerably increase the weight of the boots. This also means it’s going to be harder to move around.
It’s really easy to avoid disaster by counting with water protection. Considering that waterproof technologies and seals have drastically reduced their cost, there should be no valid reason for you to lack it.
There’s not much thought behind this; a leather boot can be directly judged based on the quality of its leather – it’s a no-brainer. We understand that some leathers are more expensive than others, but this shouldn’t be a reason to select leather boots made of cheap materials. At the end of the day, if you get the leather wrong the rest of the boot probably won’t even matter, as the boot, in general, won’t be very useful.
In a leather boot, the leather quality means everything. In most cases, the upper build of the boot will consist of the same material, with the exception of boots that apply different leathers. Thus, the majority of the functional aspects of the boot will rely on the quality of the leather, seeing as it’s what mainly composes the build.
But, what exactly makes leather good?
Performance-wise, the leather of your boots should count with certain functionalities. To being with, it should cover each of the basic aspects of all footwear materials; things like flexibility, durability, and a certain amount of protection, amongst other factors. Aesthetically, the texture and softness also have an impact on the quality of the leather.
Leathers are known to be some of the most comfortable materials, and thus it’s expected that a leather boot is comfortable. Like any other shoe material, a leather boot is quickly judged by its softness and comfortability. When the materials a shoe generates discomfort, all of its other features are hindered (or even ignored), as the only thing that really goes through your mind is how uncomfortable they are.
The durability of the leather is also a key factor in determining its quality. Keep in mind that durability doesn’t only involve the natural resistance of the material. It’s not about how long will the material last naturally, it’s about how long it lasts during use. Daily wear doesn’t just involve walking and moving around with the shoe – it often involves contact with other surfaces, tripping, and so on.
An air mesh shoe could last a considerable amount of years with ordinary use. However, this quickly changes if the shoe encounters a sharp object that could potentially penetrate the material or rip the shoe apart. You want to make sure your materials last over time, that’s out of the question. But in order to last over time, footwear materials must be able to endure abrasion, unexpected pressure, physical impact, and exposure to the elements.
Sole & Grip
The sole is one of the principal elements that differentiate a regular shoe from a boot. Midsoles and outsoles may all look the same, but we can guarantee you that there’s a huge variety of sole models that target different goals. Furthermore, these variations are very different from each other (in general), meaning that certain outsoles are terrible for certain environments.
Boots usually have a much thicker sole than normal shoes, allowing them to access terrains and surfaces that wouldn’t be appropriate for regular soles. Something as simple as the pattern on the outsole can enhance or loosen the grip of footwear around certain areas or when performing certain movements.
When looking for leather boots, it’s paramount to include a substantial sole in your search. Performance-wise, the sole of a boot is much more efficient compared to a low-top shoe (although it ultimately depends on what you use the shoes for).
The sole is responsible for many aspects of a boot. For starters, it’s the very base of footwear; it’s basically the platform that you step on with each gait. This should give you an idea of the impact it has on every other element of the shoe. The sole is one of those components that you just can’t get wrong, or else the whole shoe is affected.
The substantial soles of leather boots should act as a firm frame for steady steps. Low-quality soles often wiggle around when walking and offer very poor stability. You want to stay away from these outsoles, especially when we’re talking about boots. Boots are meant to access uneven terrains, surfaces, and environments that are harsher in general – and these are the worst places to lose your balance.
Leather boots are worn mostly in fall and winter not only because of their protection from the weather, but because their sole is suitable for any possible environmental changes, such as snow.
If you’ve ever walked on snow, then you’ll know low-top sneakers don’t get the job done properly. When you lack a thick sole, walking on uneven surfaces becomes considerably harder. On the other hand, when you count with a leather boot equipped with a voluminous sole will firmly dig into the snow.
Yet, at the same time, the sole counts with different elements itself. One of them is the outsole, which is the bottom-most element of a shoe. The outsole is merely the zone of the sole that engages the surfaces; it may count with special patterns, slugs, or other technologies depending on their use. If you’re facing a snowy winter, having slugs on your outsole will make a massive difference while walking on snow.
The midsole (or simply sole) is the element attached right under the upper build. They’re mostly made of rubber, leather, or other compounds. A thick and high sole allows you to walk on rocks, debris, branches, and other obstacles with very little difficulty. However, the higher you are off the ground, the worse your balance gets.
The best leather boots are those that deliver a balanced sole that is thick and high enough to step firmly, yet low enough to still allow you to grasp the surface properly. As you put more material between you and the surface, your feet stop engaging it. While this may protect your feet more, it’s always important to allow your feet to become part of the grip in order to obtain an optimal hold of the surface.
There’s a lot of controversy regarding the meaning of insulation, as well as the technologies that actually deliver insulation, and technologies that don’t. For users that are inexperienced in the area of cold-preventing boots and insulating technologies, it might be hard to tell apart boots that insulate and boots that don’t.
For instance, certain products include technologies such as Gore-Tex that are advertised in a way that makes them look like an insulation product. Let’s clear something out first: Gore-Tex is a membrane that allows water vapor molecules (generated by the perspiration of your feet) to exit the shoe while stopping liquid water molecules to leak into the shoe.
While Gore-Tex technology is an excellent feature to protect footwear (and clothing in general) from water damage, it doesn’t count with any insulating feature nor any similar effect. Its sole purpose is to prevent water from leaking in while still being breathable. That being said, let’s look further into technologies that actually offer insulating qualities.
There’s a large list of insulating technologies, but the most popular and efficient ones are synthetic insulations and shearling (or fine fleece). Synthetic insulations are often the most preferred, as they’re efficient in plenty more activities in comparison to fine fleece, which might not be resistant or durable enough to endure anything aside from normal usage (walking and so on).
Synthetic insulating technologies, such as 3M’s Thinsulate, are highly efficient when it comes to insulating. But, by being synthetic materials, they can deliver the qualities of a normal insulating technology at a considerably lower. This case is exactly the same as the synthetic upper build and sole materials explained previously in the “Materials” section.
Thinsulate is a very resistant and durable technology, capable to endure anything from quotidian usages, such as walking, to more intense and rough activities, such as hiking or climbing. Additionally, these insulating technologies count with extremely useful synthetic qualities, such as the ability to be exposed to water without losing or hindering its insulation. Lastly, these synthetic technologies are considerably slimmer than that of natural insulating downs.
The specific design and characteristics of the different synthetic insulations vary a lot from one manufacturer to another. However, they all follow the very same principle or at least a very similar one. Synthetic insulating technologies, in general, are microfibers that trap molecules of air within the insulation. While the air molecules are trapped in there, the colder air molecules from the exterior aren’t able to pass through the boot and reach your feet. Basically, the trapped molecules block any other fresh molecules from going into the shoe.
At the same time, these trapped air molecules also prevent the internal air molecules from escaping. This would be a terrible feature during any other time of the year, but during winter, you want to make sure those warm air molecules generated by perspiration stay within the shoe, providing warmth to your feet.
Synthetic insulations are much more popular in footwear, headgear, and gloves because they are much lighter. Natural insulation methods, such as goose down, are far more efficient at insulating – but they’re considerably thicker and heavier, making them far more impractical than synthetic ones (when it comes to footwear). At the same time, the fine fleece is not nearly as resistant or durable as synthesized insulations.
The fine fleece is considerably warmer than synthetic solutions, and in some cases, they may even allow you to perform sockless without suffering from cold feet and toes. Unfortunately, shearling insulation has one huge downside; when exposed to water, it becomes even heavier, but most importantly, it loses its insulating qualities.
The insulation of a boot is measured by the total weight and density of its insulating material. This is why you may see a variety of insulating capacities that range from 100g insulation to 1kg insulation and further. Basically, the greater weight per square meter of insulation, the better the insulation and warming qualities will be.
Q: Are these suitable for walking on snow repeatedly?
A: Yes. These boots count with an otusole and a design that are adequate for their performance on snow and irregular surfaces in general.
Q: How long do leathers last?
A: It really depends on the type of leather as well as the use of the boots. In general, and assuming they’re taken good care of, any leather should easily endure a couple of years. In fact, leathers are known to get moer comfortable as they age.
Q: Should I opt for shearling insulation or synthetic insulation?
A: It really depends on what you’ll use the boots for, as well as on your personal preferences. Synthesized insulations are much lighter and durable, but shearling ones are often more warming and comfortable.
Q: Is waterproofing really necessary?
A: Considering that waterproof technologies are fairly accesible, there’s no erason not to have it. Getting your shoes wet will make everything harder, even walking. Additionally, it’ll make your feet extremely cold if you’re exposed to the elements in winter.
Q: How far should I stretch leather boots?
A: First off, we recommend always using a cobbler to stretch your boots, preferrably with experienced assistance. That being said, leather boots shouldn’t be stretched any wider than one size (meaning if you’re D, you shouldn’t go any further than E). Lastly, leather boots can’t be stretched in length, just width.
Q: How should leather boots fit?
A: Leather boots should fit just like any other regular shoe; a comfortable type of tight. Preferrably, you want the collar to slightly compress your shin or ankle, as a loose collar allows air to flow within (and even water).
Q: How often should I treat the leather of my boots?
A: It’s important to treat your leather every once in a while. Depending on what you use them for, you may need to treat them more often than normal. Follow our guide on the subject for further advice and valuable information.
Q: How much do leather boots weigh?
A: This really depends on a lot of things. Factors such as the manufaturer, the type of leather used, and the design will have an impact on the weight of a leather boot. You can expect a leather boot to weigh around 2 pounds normally, but once again, there’s a lot of variation between boots.
Q: Can I weather-proof my leather boots by myself?
A: It is possible, but we don’t really recommend to do so without any experience. Keep in mind that acquiring leather boots that already include weather-proof qualities is the best way to protect your footwear. Leaving it to the manufacturer is often the best option; if the proofing fails, you might even get a replacement.
Q: Does the weather have any impact on the color or shade of the leather?
A: No, or at least it shouldn’t. If your leather boots are adequately protected against the weather and water damage, it should efficiently endure exposure to the elements without fading its color or shades.