How to Choose Quality Boots


You’ve been saving up your hard earned money to buy a great pair of boots when you finally find an attractive pair. The problem is they’re at a bargain basement price and you’re not sure they are going to last. Plus, they don’t seem to be of the best grade of leather, and the stitching is crooked. Will they fall apart before you can even get your money’s worth out of them?

If you’re looking for a great pair of boots, but you’re not sure what to look for, here are some pointers to help you tell a good boot from a bad one.

  • Look at the stitching. Are the stitches uneven or loose? Do they seem tight or wobbly? Are they centered correctly, or do they look sloppy? Poorly stitched boots aren’t worth the price, whatever you’re paying for them, while well-stitched boots are a work of art. For example, look at the exquisite floral stitching on these Vesuvio Brass boots by Old Gringo — every stitch is perfectly in place, making them a visual feast.

  • A good pair of boots will feature full-grain leather. You can tell by examining the surface; it will feel like real leather and have a depth of color that cheaper, “corrected-grain” leather doesn’t have. Cheaper grades will crease, scuff and tear because they’re not durable, plus they’ve usually been coated by synthetic chemicals. Cheaper leathers also don’t breathe well, so your feet won’t be as comfortable.
  • Speaking of materials, don’t buy boots that aren’t made of leather because other materials, such as vinyls, plastics and canvas-type fabrics, simply won’t last. They can even break and tear while you’re walking and cause accidents. The exceptions are rain boots and some types of work boots that are typically made of rubber.
  • What are the soles made of? Quality boots should have soles made of heavy, durable materials. Likewise, the inner soles should be sufficiently padded and designed for long-term comfort and wear.
  • Check the heels. Are they secure, or do they seem wobbly? Wobbly heels won’t last; they’ll break and can cause accidents.
  • Consider the embellishments. If the boots are studded, are the studs tight and secure, or do they seem loose? Are they messy looking, or do they have a pleasing, appealing pattern that’s uniform on both boots? Look out for crooked, uneven patterns and missing studs. Check out the studs on the Independent Boot Company’s Alyssa Harness:

  • Check out the hardware. Does it seem durable and long-lasting, or is it flimsy and thin? Does it feel cheap? Also, make sure it’s not tarnished. Many a cheap pair of boots has languished on the shelves for so long that the hardware, buckles and zippers have actually become tarnished and corroded.

Do you have ways to tell a good boot from a bad one?