Plenty of people will tell you that you have to compromise between style and utility when it comes to shoes. But the real sweet spot is finding a pair that gets you both: boots which can be stylish and utilitarian. That’s why we’re such fans of combat boots.
What are combat boots?
It should come as no surprise that combat boots are descended from the military gear worn by soldiers in the field. For that reason, they’re designed to be rugged yet comfortable lace-up leather boots; something that can be walked in all day while surviving rain, snow, cold or heat. But why do us civilians wear them?
It all started when combat boots first entered fashion in the 1960s as films about WWII made them look sexy and appealing on leading men like Steve McQueen. By the 1970s, they had become part of the standard outfit of the emerging punk scene as soldiers returning from Vietnam gave them more of an edgy counter-culture association. Since then, they’ve become mainstream wardrobe staples for people with no connection to punk or the military.
While the original combat boots leaned more to the utilitarian, today they incorporate technologies developed for hiking and can look more like their military ancestors or more modern. All that variety gives you lots of options for styling them.
How can you style them
One of the biggest concerns people have about buying combat boots is worrying about how to wear them. They might fear it will look like they’re “trying too hard” or dressing for a scene they don’t belong to. But the mainstreaming of combat boots means that these worries shouldn’t pose a problem if you wear them right.
Much like with chunky sneakers, leather combat boots tend to be large and so look great when contrasted with thinner legs. So, try some leggings or skinny jeans with them. Or, if you’re wearing them in winter, make sure your jacket or coat ends well above your ankle.
Besides using their dimensions for contrast, you can also make combat boots look great by contrasting their style. You could go for the classic 90s look of distressed jeans or a more traditional sweater and overcoat. One is an homage to a look that’s back in vogue while the other plays with expectations, combining the rugged with the elegant.
Aren’t they too edgy?
One of the biggest misunderstandings about combat boots is the assumption that they all look super edgy. There are combat boots out there that have a strong punk look and those which would look fantastic with a more elegant and classic winter outfit. The best part is that if you buy a simpler pair of black leather combat boots, it’s possible to work them into both styles. This flexibility lets you buy a pair and experiment a bit while being confident you’ll have some go-to outfits to use them.
The perks of owning combat boots
If you’re not sold by the fashion alone, should you still consider investing in a pair of combat boots? We say yes. Their ruggedness, versatility, and long fashion pedigree means they’re an investment that will last both physically and in terms of style.
Water-proof and comfortable
For too many of us, a nasty day full of rain and snow means a day where we simply can’t wear the shoes we want. But even if you don’t like the way they look, you probably still have to turn to some old hiking boots for the task simply because they’re waterproof. But with combat boots, you can walk with confidence through just about any weather conditions in any season.
Of course if your feet are going to be hurting at the end of the day, all that utility isn’t worth much. There’s no denying that civilian combat boots haven’t always been famous for their comfort. That’s why it’s so important that today’s combat boots have adopted many comfort-oriented technologies from sneakers and hiking boots. Today’s hiking boots are as comfortable as they are rugged and we can all be thankful for that.
Utilitarian and fashionable
Ultimately, the benefits of combat boots come down to these two words. In a world where so much of fashion is impractical to say the least, combat boots are a welcome change. So if you want more fashion but aren’t willing to sacrifice practicality, these boots are a great option.
How to choose the best combat boots for you
If you’re convinced to give combat boots a try, how can you pick the pair that’s right for you? First, consider the material. While combat boots have traditionally been leather, there are vegan leather and even wool options out there. If you do go for leather boots, make sure they’re made from quality leather that’s not going to crack or wear out in rough conditions.
Then, check the size and make sure the boots will fit with the socks you’ll wear with them. For example, if you have some thicker socks for winter. Then, consider the style. As mentioned, combat boots can range from very punk to more subtle. They can end at the ankle or go much further up your shin.
If you’re shopping for your first pair, it’s probably best to go with the classic: an ankle length black leather combat boot. You’ll be able to style it all kinds of ways and be confident it’s not going out of style anytime soon.