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Four of the best boots for your chosen budget

Four of the best boots for your chosen budget

Stepping into a trusty pair of boots has a certain feel to it, especially when they've reached that perfectly worn-in stage. And you should make sure you wear them in until they reach that point, because the best boots can – and should – stay in your wardrobe rotation for years to come. So how can you guarantee that they do?

It’s not just about picking any old style that fits into your budget, but it means taking into consideration things like design details, material, and craftsmanship in addition to price. To help you do just that, we’ve enlisted Thread stylist Freddie Kemp to seek out the best pair of Chelsea, lace-up, hiking, and desert boots for you based on the unique budget you gave us upon signing up. Walk this way.

Chelsea boots 


Our top pick: Paul Smith Chelsea boots 

When choosing Chelsea boots, you can go chunky and rugged, or sleek and smooth. 

The beauty of these Paul Smith Chelsea boots is how they subtly both sides of the spectrum, embodying the elegance the brand is known for. The silhouette is undeniably smart, but these elevated details bring a rugged, rock-and-roll edge. So it’s win-win, whatever you decide to wear them with. 

And while the simple design may look effortless, it’s only the most meticulous attention to detail that results in such a clean and simple aesthetic. The convenient zip in place of the usual elasticated side panel, the high ankle, and the sleek shape all make this pair feel more elevated than your average Chelsea boots – and we know you’re not looking for average. 

How to get the most out of them 

Short answer: wear them with anything. Chelsea boots work incredibly well with looks on both ends of the smart casual spectrum. Thanks to their equestrian roots, they complement rugged outdoors styles – think a flannel or field jacket. But they’ll also fit seamlessly into smarter outfits, and even formal suiting, due to their sleek, single-panel silhouette. To really show yours off (and you’ll want to), wear them with cuffed jeans – selvedge denim lends a smarter edge for a considered smart casual look.

Lace-up leather boots 

Photographed: Shoe the Bear Brigade Suede Boots ($170.67)

Our top pick: Shoe the Bear lace-up boots

Men have been lacing up leather boots for centuries, so there’s a lot of history behind this style. But they never manage to feel dated, and that’s down to the many ways brands have interpreted the style – from chunky and rugged to sleek and smart. If you’re looking for a style that’s versatile and made to last, we’d turn to these lace-ups by Shoe the Bear. The brand combines the understated quality and style of Scandinavian minimalism with top Portuguese craftsmanship to create perfectly simple boots that look and feel elevated.

Proof of their quality comes in the kind of detail you’ll have come to expect from more premium brands, alongside luxury design details that make them versatile and classic. Just look to the luxurious suede, sleek silhouette, brass hardware, and eye-catching grey-brown suede. The colour feels unexpected but brings the same versatility as a classic tan or black pair, so you don’t have to worry about the colour limiting your outfit options.

How to get the most wear out of them

If you want to wear your lace-up leather boots with both smart and casual looks, pick a textured suede or leather pair (like the Shoe the Bear style above) that feels more elevated than your average. You’ll be able to dress them up with a shirt and blazer for work, but on your days off, you can style them with jeans and a sweater.

Hiking boots 

Photographed: Hoka One One Kaha Gore-Tex ($251)

Our top pick: Hoka One One walking boots

Hiking boots are officially cool. But they’re also incredibly functional (don’t you love when a pair of boots is both?). Whether you’re an outdoors enthusiast or a disciple of footwear trends, they’re a style that will work for your wardrobe. And while trends can often be fleeting and poorly imitated, this pair by Hoka One One is neither. They perfectly combine the three things you want from a good pair of hiking boots: style, practicality, and a brand name you can rely on. Runners may already know Hoka One One as a reputable designer of great quality, high-performance footwear.

Their walking boots are made with support and comfort in mind, featuring a well-cushioned sole unit, added ankle support, and durable GORE-TEX fabric. And like so many other styles that we tout here at Thread, it’s these kinds of details that make all the difference. The sturdy sole, chunky silhouette, and unique olive green colour all help this pair stand out from other contemporary hiking boots, and will make them easier to pair with everyday looks (not just the outdoor kind). 

How to get the most wear out of them

Unlike your leather lace-ups or Chelsea boots, hiking boots aren’t quite so easy to smarten up. But what they lack in versatility, they make up for in function and practicality. Pair them with whatever you usually like to wear when you’re hitting the great outdoors – whether that’s cargo pants and a fleece or jeans and a down jacket – and you’ll be dry, warm, and stylish to boot.

Desert boots 

Photographed: Clarks Desert Boot ($120)

Our top pick: Clarks desert boots

The luxurious suede and light, neutral tones of a typical pair of desert boots lend themselves to warm-weather months (they were created for the desert, after all). But if you choose wisely, you can wear yours year-round. And a chunkier pair, like Clarks desert boot, will ensure you can do just that. The contemporary desert boot is synonymous with Clarks, which means one thing: this is a pair to be seen in. Known for its expert craftsmanship, Clarks is still based at its original Somerset factory where it hand-crafts boots and shoes, and its years of consistency and craftsmanship that really show in the final product. 

Their iconic desert boot, for instance, has been imitated but never matched. Need proof? Just look to the soft, luxurious suede, sturdy sole, and timeless shape. They’re perfectly chunky without feeling bulky, which makes these some of the most versatile and aesthetically pleasing desert boots out there.

How to get the most wear out them

In warm weather, your desert boots will go with anything from linen suits to shorts. But in colder months, the refined sandy tone tends to complement dark-wash jeans for a rugged, smart casual feel. Just make sure you invest in a good suede protector, so you can prepare for whatever the forecast throws at you and ensure they’ll take you even further.

Words: Ella White
Styling: Freddie Kemp