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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 – especially when you’re willing to invest a bit more for a higher quality pair. 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

Photographed: Grenson Warren ($370)

Our top pick: Grenson Chelsea boots

When choosing Chelsea boots, you can go contemporary or you can go classic. The beauty of these Grenson Warren Chelsea boot is that they seamlessly combine the two, so you’ll be able to wear them with a wider spectrum of looks and ultimately get a lot more wear out of them. The simple, clean design is a big part of this. And although they’re made with luxury suede and designed with a chunkier silhouette, they still feel sleek enough to fit into your smarter wardrobe. 

If you’re not familiar with Grenson as a brand, these boots are a great way to introduce yourself. They’ve been making expertly crafted shoes since 1866, so they know exactly what they’re doing. You can rely on them for top-quality fabrics and durable designs that last and last. And if they do eventually wear out (you’ll want to wear them all the time, after all), Grenson’s in-house repair service will give them a new lease of life. So you won’t have to worry about the expense – or pain – of wearing in a new pair. Consider these a lifetime investment. 

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: Grenson Hadley ($395)

Our top pick: Grenson 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. But if you’re looking for a style that’s versatile and made to last, we’d turn to this pair by Grenson. When you think of the perfect pair of lace-up leather boots, we imagine a pair like this comes to mind.

Excuse us as we go on about Grenson once again. As we mentioned, this is a brand known for a high level of care and attention to detail, so when you invest in a pair of their shoes, it’s for life. The seamless design blends elegance and functionality with a hint of rugged appeal. Need proof of their quality? Just look to the soft, luxury leatherwork, sturdy sole, and classic brass hardware. And once you’ve inevitably worn them down, don’t worry – Grenson boots are made with a Goodyear welted sole, which is designed to be replaced when it wears out. So while it will be a long time until they need their first repair, it won’t be the end of the shoe when you do.

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 sleek leather pair (like the Grenson 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 

Our top pick: Red Wing work 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 Red Wing is neither. They perfectly combine three things you want from a good pair of outdoor boots: style, practicality, and a brand name you can rely on. So it doesn’t hurt that Red Wing is a brand known for top-quality functional footwear, and it shows in the excellent craftsmanship of the design. 

Rooted in American workwear, Red Wing designs its boots with durability in mind. And where lesser imitations may try to modernise the outdoor trend, these don’t need to be stylised to look effortlessly cool. It’s these kinds of details that make all the difference: like Grenson, Red Wing boots feature an easily-repairable Goodyear welted sole as well as a Vibram® outsole, waxed laces, and brass hardware. The sleek leather upper also helps this pair to 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 as easy to fit into your smart wardrobe. 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: Astorflex Greenflex Boot ($189)

Our top pick: Astorflex Greenflex 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 with the right care, you can wear yours year-round. This pair by Astorflex features a traditional crepe-soled that’s often missing in lower quality pairs, and while they take a little more effort to maintain than rubber soles, it’s worth it for the classic Italian craftsmanship. 

Produced entirely in Italy, Astorflex claims these styles have been dubbed “the best desert boots in the world” – and they might be right. The brand prioritises sustainability and never skimps on style. The luxurious Tuscan leather is worth your investment alone. But it’s the finer details, like the subtle stitching and sleek silhouette, that give these boots an overtly luxury edge that can’t be imitated at a lower price point. 

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 brown 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