Know Your Boots – The 11 Most Common Boot Types
Here at Heddels, boot-talk is like a second language to us. But if you’re new to the game – or simply used to religiously wearing one style of boot – you may not completely be up to speed with what exactly makes a Moc Toe, or what separates the Chelsea from the Chukka.
Today, for that very reason, we’re breaking down the eleven core types that grace our corner of the fashion world.
As their name would suggest, Hiker boots are made with hike-ready features that give them a rugged aesthetic. Always wide-fitting to allow extra space for thicker socks, Hiker boots also come with a lace-to-toe closure that utilizes D-ring eyelets to firmly secure the foot.
Cut lower to finish at the ankle, Hikers are typically constructed with a one-piece vamp and quarter, which sits upon a heavy-duty lug or Vibram-style sole.
Some brands that are known for their Hiker boots are:
Duck Boots were invented in the early 20th century for the purpose of – you guessed it – duck hunting. Pioneered by L.L. Bean, Duck Boots feature a full rubber sole and vamp, originally designed to be waterproof whilst creeping through shallow waters during the hunt.
A taller boot with a tough leather upper and industrial stitching throughout, Duck Boots are a purpose-built wet weather shoe that’s transcended into the fashion market, still remaining popular to this day.
Makers of Duck Boots include:
3. Moc Toe
Moc-Toe boots are identified by their pronounced Moccasin-style stitching. Patterns and construction vary from brand to brand, but the most typical feature of a moc-toe boot is the exposed seam at the toe, a hallmark which can be found on the archetypal Red Wing 877 boot.
The uppers of Moc-Toe boots are normally constructed from leather, with the moccasin-style details often being handsewn. And as you can see from the Maine Mountain boots above, Moc Toe’s typically employ a wedge sole, which can be re-crafted once they’ve worn through.
Notable producers of Moc Toe boots include:
Service Boots are inspired by military styles from the first and second world wars. A classic Service Boot will typically have welted construction, a hardwearing sole with a low block heel, and a leather upper with a plain or capped toe. Derby-style lace closures are commonplace, but it’s not unusual to see the addition of metal eyelets and speed hooks to more rugged styles like the Red Wing Iron Ranger.
While the Viberg boots shown above are an example of a typical service boot – the simple, clean upper of a service boot leaves them open to interpretation – and some brands have been known to use wedge or commando soles, which can change the silhouette quite drastically.
Notable makers of Service Boots include:
5. Packer/Logger Boot
The Logger or Packer type boot is one of the oldest types of workboot still in service. The style was originally used by lumberjacks and people driving pack horses in the late 1800s, who also needed to cross rocky terrain on foot. As such, the Packer boot is typified by a high lace up shaft (typically 10″ or greater), thick lugged soles, a tapered Western style heel, and often a Kiltie leather detail on the toe.
Makers of this style of boot include:
Rugged and hardwearing – the Engineer boot is a lace-less, heritage style that’s vastly popular amongst motorcyclists. Originally developed in the thirties, Engineer boots have a higher shaft of eight inches or more, with pull-on style that features adjustable buckles at the mid-foot and upper-shaft.
Built with re-craftable welted construction, Engineer boots typically have a low block or Cuban heel, and a full leather upper with a plain toe.
Brands known for producing Engineer boots include:
7. Roper/Cowboy Boot
A boot that needs no introduction, the roper – or cowboy – boot is an Americana classic. Roper boots are typically made with a plain toed leather upper and have a higher shaft of 8-inches and above. They’re built with pull-on construction – and feature a ‘winged’ shaft – which splits slightly to make them easier to pull on/off.
Sometimes made with snakeskin or adorned with decorative stitching for maximum cowboy points, Roper boots will nearly always have a heeled soled.
Notable makers of Roper/Cowboy boots include:
With a lower shaft of around 4-inches and simple, clean construction the Chukka is arguably the simplest member of the boot family. Chukkas generally have a minimal lace closure or two to three eyelets, and an upper that consists of no more than three panels.
The type of sole varies depending on the brand of Chukka, but the most commonly used are wedge soles or those with a low block heel like the Aldens shown above.
Notable makers of Chukka boots include:
Originating in India, the Jodhpur boot is a heritage style, first worn by polo players in the 1920s. The main characteristics of Jodhpurs are the double-wrap buckle closures around the ankle, and the one-piece vamp which is sewn over the quarter.
A more formal boot, Jodhpurs feature a plain toe, a low block heel, and often have a leather sole.
Some producers of fine Jodhpur boots include:
A true British classic, Chelsea boots are leather boots that are identified by their elasticated closures located either side of the ankle. The upper is commonly made from one single piece of leather, and pull tabs are traditionally included at the very top of the shaft.
Famously worn by The Beatles, Chelsea boots feature a heeled sole which is usually finished with a low block heel.
Notable makers of Chelsea Boots include:
With a history that stretches back to the royalty of Victorian England, Balmoral boots are more occasion-wear rather than everyday boots. A slim cut, plain toe boot with distinctive close throat lacing system, Balmoral boots often feature two-tones of leather – or even two different hides as shown above.
Traditionally finished with decorative pinking on the toe, Balmorals feature a low block heel and usually have a leather sole.
Some makers of Balmoral boots include: