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Men's Style Blog

All You Need to Know About Suits and Boots

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There's more to boots than keeping your feet warm and dry in inclement weather or protecting them from harm. Here's some insider tips on how to pair dress boots with your suits and step out in style.

If, when you hear the word boots, your first thoughts are of footy, fishing, or mucking out a stable, then prepare to be dazzled – or at least mildly interested – by what you are about to read. For we are about to introduce you to the spellbinding world of the dress boot. Yes, we really are enthralled by classic formal footwear, and so too should you be, if you want to take your sartorial game to the next level.

What is a dress boot?

You might think it’s just a dress shoe with a higher cut and for the most part, you’d be right. The only other real difference is bootmakers have been known on occasion to add a sturdier and slightly thicker sole to the dress boot. And what, we hear you ask, is the purpose of such an affectation?


Well, it probably goes way back to when boots were made for working (as opposed to walking,) but we rather prefer the idea it’s just in case you fancy a spot of suited lunchtime hillwalking.

Why choose a boot over a shoe?

Besides lunchtime trekking, there are a couple of other benefits to stepping into dress boots each morning.

  • They keep your ankles warm – Okay, if cold ankles are a problem for you then you might want to consider turning up the AC at the office or buying some thicker socks. But if neither of those is a viable option, just consider how toasty your ankles will feel wrapped up in fine Italian leather.
  • They keep your socks dry – Hands up if you’ve ever had the misfortune to step in a puddle en route to work and spent the rest of the day squelching around the office in soggy socks. Accidents happen but with a good pair of dress boots, you can say goodbye to drying your socks under the hand dryer.

Do they all look the same?

Do all fine whiskies taste the same? Once you’ve embraced the notion the dress boot is an essential part of your footwear arsenal, then you’ll wonder how you hadn’t noticed the myriad of choices that are out there. Here are some of the most popular.

  • Chelsea boots – Instantly recognizable, these leather loafer-like boots are the most common dress boots on the market. An elasticated ankle allows you to slip into them with a minimum of effort which is always nice first thing in the morning. But it’s their straightforward style that makes them an easy choice for any suit wearing man.
  • Cap toe lace-ups – The classic cap toe shoe is, was, and always will be an ever-present in the world of formal footwear. It comes as no surprise that those with a fondness for this classic style have made the higher cut version their go-to dress boot, and we can understand why. It’s a slight step up in the style stakes from the Chelsea boot but is still essentially a formal shoe that is perfect for any occasion.
  • Wingtip Brogues – Brogues, like cap toes, are a style that has permanent resident status in the ‘in’ section of any list of current shoe trends. It’s a dress boot that matures with age and with the antiqued style quite popular for many years now, purchasing brogues of any kind is seen as a solid investment.
  • Leather Chukkas – You might also know them as Desert boots, and we would be very surprised if you have never owned a pair in the past. They are the quintessential casual shoe, but if you are looking for an individual style at your next formal gathering, we suggest a thin soled leather pair that will work well with any formal suit.

Can I wear dress boots with any suit?

Once you feel comfortable and are happy your choice of boot adds to your overall look, then the simple answer to this question is yes. From casual suits for a day at the races to custom tailored tuxedos for black tie events, the dress boot can perfectly complement any choice of suit. We would recommend, however, you pay attention to the cut of your pants. Just remember, the slimmer the suit, the sleeker the boot, so if skinny fit suits are your thing, then avoid those chunky Chukkas.

We’ll go right ahead and presume you’re a convert who is now planning his trip to the bootmaker. Just remember to take a photo once you’ve got yours and tag us in it on Instagram. We love a bit of dress boot awesomeness.

Image Credit © Zirconicusso | Dreamstime.com © Stratum | Dreamstime.com


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