person walking in boots

“I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumb-nails, or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace.” –Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Boots are the go-getters of the shoe family. They’re the footwear that is there for you when the going gets tough. Boots were made for traveling, for working until the sun goes down, for climbing where no one has climbed before, and for looking fabulous. Boots offer a sense of comfort, of security. They can protect our feet from harms way, or pair with the perfect outfit to stunning effect. Boots are regional items, and people tie their identity to their boots. When it comes to attachment, there’s no real difference between a pair of beloved cowboy boots, scuffed up work shoes that fit just right, or a pair of high-heeled, knee-high boots made for strutting. No matter their purpose, boots offer us a way to solidify our identity, and to explore the unknown with confidence.

Like any shoes, choosing the right pair of boots can be troublesome. Not only are there countless styles and makes to choose from, but boots are notorious for needing some wearing in. The wrong pair of boots can leave you with blisters and aching feet, and a pair of boots that are too large can make you feel like you’re hiking in flippers. Breaking in a pair of boots can be a real challenge, and sometimes it feels like you’ll never find the right pair of boots with that perfect fit your dream about. That’s why we’re here to help.

You may know the exact cut, color, and design you’re looking for in your boots, or you may have a true tabula rasa of footwear desires. No matter if you’re looking for that perfect pair of hiking boots, wanting to bring a bit of country into your life with a pair of custom cowboy boots, or are just looking for a cute pair of short boots for sweater season, we’ve got you covered. Our articles compare the best options available on the market and use real customer reviews to help give you all the tools you need to choose the right boots for you. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for in a pair of boots, we’re here to help you shop with confidence without becoming bogged down by all the options on the market today. Whether you’re hung up on finding the right cut of boots, or are looking for the perfect pattern to complete the outfit of your dreams, we’ve got everything you need to make a wise investment that will last you for years to come.

But that’s enough about us, let’s look into the fascinating history of boots, and some tips and tricks to help you find the right fitting pair of footwear every time.

A Brief History of Boots

In order to better understand the history of boots, we first need to look into the history of shoes. The first known shoe was a pair of sagebrush bark sandals from between 7000 and 8000 BCE, which gives us a close look into how humans have been protecting their feet for thousands of years. Cave paintings from before this time depict individuals wearing what look like boots or other forms of footwear, and the first known pair of leather shoes were found in Armenia and dated to around 3500 BCE. However, scientists have studied ancient human remains and have determined that shoes have probably been around a lot longer, and looked similar to modern boots, in some senses. Because of how the human foot has evolved over time, scientists hypothesize the earliest humans probably used leather wrappings or bag-like leather shoes to protect their feet from the environment. Some estimate that these wrappings were used up to 40,000 years ago, but because they were made out of perishable materials, no preserved shoes have been found from that era.

Many cultures throughout history developed their own style of boots or full foot and leg coverings to help keep their feet dry and safe on long journeys and in rough terrain, but in areas with more temperate climates, it was more common for people to wear short shoes, sandals, or to go barefoot. Early boots were made out of multiple components, and the leggings, soles, and uppers would all be separated. Boots became joined together into a single item of clothing around 1000 BCE, and many different cultures created their own styles of boots to suit their environment. Ancient Greeks made some boots out of terracotta. Soft leather ankle boots were worn by eastern Asian nomads and brought to surrounding countries around 1200 CE. The Inuit and Aleut people of Alaska developed the forerunners to modern winter boots, and in the 17th century what we consider the “standard” European boot gained popularity, especially for military use. But it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that boots became as varied, and widely available, as they are now.

Before the Industrial Revolution, in many cultures a pair of shoes was a sign of status, as each shoe was handmade by a cobbler or other shoemaker to fit the individual. Most people were lucky to have one pair of shoes, with a secondary pair for more fancy functions. With the start of the Industrial Revolution, shoe making became more automated and standardized. Personalized shoes were soon replaced by standardized sizing, and with an increase in materials available and a decrease in the cost of labor, shoe styles flourished, and soon it became normal for people to own more than one pair of boots or shoes.

Today, there are thousands upon thousands of boot styles on the market, from those that exist solely for fashion purposes to steel-toed work boots for electricians and welders and hiking boots for mountaineering or hunting. Boots are considered a mainstay of the modern wardrobe, and as the colder months start to creep in millions of people reach for their trusty winter or rain boots. But with so many options to choose from, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right boots for you?

How to Choose the Right Boots for You

The first thing to consider when shopping for a pair of boots is what kind of boot you are looking for. While this sounds like basic advice, knowing the general kind of boot you want can make it that much easier to narrow down your search. It can be helpful to come prepared with a list of wants and dislikes when looking for any pair of shoes. Are you a fan of short boots or thigh-highs? Do you want practical footwear or are you a fan of fashionable options? If you have a preference of material, it’s important to narrow your search to fit your needs. While having set shopping goals can make life that much easier for you, you should also allow yourself some flexibility when it comes to overall style. You may just find yourself falling in love with a pair of boots you hadn’t even thought of before.

Another thing to keep in mind is your shoe size. While most companies allow for a wide range of customizability when it comes to half sizes and widths, if you have a unique foot size it’s important to make sure you’re getting a pair of boots that will work for your unique needs. Even the most well-made pair of boots can be undercut by poor sizing. You should also keep in mind the general amount of room you need in your boots. Most companies offer fit guides for each style of boot, but it’s a good idea to know how much wiggle room you need for extra socks compared to how much the shoes will stretch. While it’s important to give yourself time to wear in your new pair of boots, don’t commit to an ill-fitting pair of shoes just because you love the design, you’ll end up causing yourself more frustration in the long run.

The last thing to keep in mind is durability. While you may be tempted to jump at the cheapest pair of boots on the market, quality counts when it comes to footwear. The better made your boots are, the longer they will last, and the more enjoyment you’ll get out of them. This doesn’t mean you need to reach for the top-of-the-line, highest-price-on-the-planet pair of boots out there, but it is a good idea to know how long you expect your new pair of shoes to last before you invest in a subpar pair of shoes. If you are going to be wearing your new boots every day through the worst weather conditions possible, you probably want to invest in shoes that can take a beating. However, if you’re looking for a pair of fashion-forward shoes that will be worn on special occasions, durability may not be the first thing on your shopping list.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

No matter if you’re looking for the next big thing in footwear, or are looking to buy a trusty pair of motorcycle boots, we’ve pulled together the best boots on the market so you can spend less time worrying about what you’re going to wear and more time strutting your stuff. With countless reviews straight from satisfied customers, we pull together everything you need to know about the most popular styles of boots on the market, so you can shop with confidence knowing you’re making an investment in a pair of shoes that will last you for years to come. So what are you waiting for? As the song goes, “boots were made for walking,” so get out there and show the world your fantastic choice in footwear.

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