Over the past couple of weeks (sorry for the time away), I have received emails from readers asking questions related to fashion they would like answered. One that stood out to me was about wearing boots with a suit. This is an intriguing question as, dressing mostly for a tropical climate, the only times I consider boots is when I go hiking. However, some research opened up a whole new world to me when it comes to boots – which I am sharing with you here.
Their primary purpose is protection. They usually cover the ankles and are laced up to provide greater stability in rough terrain. Boots tend to be made from material which provide protection from the elements – making them ideal for construction work and trudging through mud, snow, rain and sludge. The high cut and waterproof material prevents water from seeping in and wetting your feet. In construction and the military, boots are also capped with steel to offer protection to the toes.
In this context, it seems laughable that anyone would consider wearing boots with a suit, as they would look ridiculously out of place and draw queer looks. However, in seasonal countries, boots can be a necessity during winter. Even in tropical climates, they have their uses – during monsoonal seasons when puddles tend to be the norm.
One way to overcome elements would be to bring your dress shoes along, and switch out of your boots at the office so you don’t look out of place. However, it came as a surprise that there exists a class of shoes that look dressy while still serving functional needs. Dress boots make life a whole lot easier during the winter (and the rest of the year) as they are great for office wear.
The biggest difference between dress boots and dress shoes besides the higher cut is in the soles. Dress boots come with solid soles that usually have a thick heel and much better traction for foul weather than normal dress shoes.
There are numerous styles of dress boots to choose from, a few of which caught my eye. Chelsea boots are like slip-on loafers, with elastic ankles for better comfort (see image below). There are desert boots – with a more casual suede look or a classic leather look for the office. There are brogue as well as distressed boots that are lace-ups. The only type of dress boots for formal wear consideration I did not quite like were those that you can zip up – mainly because the zip on the boots makes them more casual than formal.
Type of Suits with Dress Boots
I started out answering the question of whether men can wear boots with suits (check out our suit style tips) – which is an undoubted yes. When you decide to don your dress boots though, you also need to consider the type of suit you wear. Boots have a more ‘heavy duty’ feel to them so consider a suit made of thicker material – like flannel, tweed, corduroy. When wearing a suit, the high cut of the boot disappears underneath the pant hem and people may not even realize them. Skinny suits would make this difficult, unless you want to show off the whole boot with your pants bunch up around the top of them or tucked in. This is a more casual look that I would not recommend for the office.
So there you have it – an interesting lesson for me that I hope you found useful too!