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Boots vs Shoes: When to Choose Women’s Boots

Boots vs Shoes: When to Choose Women’s Boots

With so many boots and shoe options, it can be difficult to know what to wear and when. Worry no more however, we’ve put together a guide comparing your options, so you know exactly when to choose women’s boots.

With our guide there’s no longer a need to waste time catwalking down your hallway trying on mismatched pairs of heels and emptying your wardrobe of all its contents, we’re bringing you the lowdown on what to wear for work, when boot season starts, and which footwear options you should wear for more practical occasions.

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Boots vs Shoes: The Seasons

Boots are traditionally associated with autumn/winter looks. Jeans tucked into boots, thick knitted tights and women's ankle boots, jumper dresses and knee highs; they’re the style staples we rely on every year. But what if boots are actually ok to wear all year round? Sure, you might find summer too warm a season to wear over the knee boots, but ankle boots are proving to be a popular trend for spring/summer. When you think of seasonal styles, many assume it’s trousers and boots for winter and dresses and sandals for summer, but fashion blurs lines and seasonal styles are much broader these days. Boot season is becoming a thing of the past and we’re here to tell you why.


First, let’s start with the practical reasons. Women are not packing their boots away with their winter wardrobes because the ever-changing weather means you never know when you’re going to get a downpour or a chilly day. Boots are waterproof and keep your feet dry, and for that reason alone women are wearing boots all year round. Take festival season for example, muddy fields are a nightmare and women's wellies, while they are convenient, are often limited in options. Ankle boots however have versatile styles and they will keep your feet warm and clean. They’ve particularly become a style staple when teamed with denim shorts so while you may not realise it, boots are appropriate and, in some situations, necessary wardrobe additions for spring and summer.

So now we’ve established boots are ok to wear in summer, let us give you some inspiration. Cowboy style ankle boots look great teamed with denim shorts. It’s a style that never goes out of fashion and you’ll often see your fave celebs sporting this style year after year. You can modernise this trend however by varying your choice of ankle boots. Opt for ankle boots with hardware – studs, zips or buckles. The shorts and boots trend is all about relaxed ankle boots with a chunkier heel as this outfit choice is more associated with daywear and need to be comfortable as well as stylish.

Another popular outfit option is laced boots with floral dresses. Tea dresses or cami dresses with prints are made edgy with a pair of womens lace-up ankle boots. This look pairs perfectly with military boots or you could also team this type of outfit with a pair of Chelsea boots. Sure, tea dresses look completely stunning with open toe sandals also but not everyone has time for a pedicure and on those days, boots are welcomed with open arms. To take this outfit into the evening you could also swap the lace up boots for a smarter ankle boot, similar to ones you might wear of work.

Sock boots feel like they were made for spring/summer. If you’ve ever tried tucking jeans into this type of boot, you will understand this statement quite well. Sock boots are better with bare legs and the spring/summer weather makes them bearable to wear.

Heeled ankle boots will dress up any maxi or ¾ length dress and look stunning on nights out. If you’re going out for dinner or drinks, they give the dress an edgier look turning feminine into chic. There are so any boots and shoe options to choose from but don’t be afraid of the seasons. Sure, practicality often dictates when you can wear shoes, but boots are more versatile wardrobe additions. Team them with a dress, wear with shorts, or pair them with jeans, don’t be afraid to try different looks.

There are so any boots and shoe options to choose from but don’t be afraid of the seasons. Sure, practicality often dictates when you can wear shoes, but boots are more versatile wardrobe additions. Team them with a dress, wear with shorts, or pair them with jeans, don’t be afraid to try different looks.

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Boots vs Shoes for Work

As with seasonal styles, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding suitable footwear for work. Are boots professional, do they count as formal wear; are boots appropriate for business casual; or are your options limited to just smart shoes? Workwear is confusing at the best of times, so we’ve put together some answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Can you wear boots for work? The answer is of course yes. Business wear has come a long way over the years and that white shirt, tie and black trousers uniform you had drilled into your head in school is definitely a thing of the past. You no longer have to wear shirt and trousers to be classed as smart, and the same goes for shoes and boots. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with wearing ballerinas or lace ups but there’s nothing wrong with wearing boots either.

Boots at Work

The versatility of boot options these days also means you have quite a few styles to choose from. Knee-high boots are often associated with nights out but as long as they don’t cover the knee and you wear them with tights and a more formal dress, you shouldn’t have a problem with wearing them for work. Likewise, with ankle boots and a chunkier heel, providing they’re in decent condition they can look smart teamed up with trousers or jeans. There are some types of boots that of course you shouldn’t wear in the office – the fur/fleeced lined ankle boots with a thick tread, while they’re great for comfort and keeping your toes warm, they’re too casual for work purposes. Most other leather and suede boots however will look smart for work. You don’t have to simply opt for black boots either, brown, grey or burgundy boots can look just as professional as they are stylish. Professional attire is often a worry for women as they don’t want to get it wrong, but you don’t need to suffer a lack of colour to look smart.

When it comes to business casual, you need to consider the overall outfit. If you’re wearing a shirt and trousers, you may want to dress down the outfit with loafers or canvas pumps. If you’re pairing smart leather ankle boots with a stiletto heel and a tweed skirt, you can relax your top or blouse. It’s about balancing your outfit out.

Should you wear shoes or boots for work? Well that depends on what you’re doing, how comfortable you want to be and what else you are wearing. In an office environment there’s nothing wrong with shoes or boots, but there are some industries which require you to wear a specific type of work boot, so shoes aren’t an option.

Boots can be more practical and sometimes they’re required. If you work in an office or an environment where uniform is smart-casual or simply smart, then it’s more subjective. Consider your outfit as a whole but know that both boots and shoes are an option. If you work in a manual handling environment or find yourself carrying heavy goods, safety boots would be recommended anyway as they offer more protection for your feet.

Boots can be smart, and they can look professional, if you’re ever in doubt – opt for plain black leather ankle boots with a slight heel. These are the most versatile type of boot and will look professional in most situations.

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Boots vs Shoes for Walking & Hiking

One of the most obvious benefits of boots as opposed to shoes in general is that they are thicker, sturdier, roomier, supportive and more comfortable. Boots have an array of attributes that make them practical and for some activities it makes sense to choose them over their shoe counterparts. As mentioned previously, when working in more practical environments, work boots are more beneficial than shoes. The same applies for activities like walking and hiking.

Hiking Boots

It may seem instinctive if you’re planning on going for a walk or a hike to put on your trainers or tennis shoes. You wear these types of shoes for exercise and walking is classed as exercise, so it seems obvious, right? While a lot of people may opt to do this, trainers can pose a series of problems. They are not designed for diverse climates and trails. Boots on the other hand have been adapted with special characteristics to make your feet more comfortable during these activities.

When hiking or walking, you need the tread on the sole of your footwear to grip to the ground, so you don’t slip or fall. Trainers tend to have a rubber sole with a light tread, whereas walking boots have thicker tread that is suitable for different terrains. With trainers you will probably feel sharp surfaces inside your shoe and you are likely to slip on wet stones. Boots however have the grip needed to keep you on your feet.

Trainers and shoes, while you might find them comfortable enough to wear, they do lack the support needed for long walks and varying terrains. When you’re walking in rocky, uneven areas, it’s not uncommon to knock your ankles and this can lead to injuries such as sprains and broken bones. Walking boots sit higher up the leg, covering your ankles and they help to support your feet against these injuries.

Boots also have better weather protection. They will keep your feet warm and dry when crossing streams or when walking during damp conditions. Trainers are not sturdy enough to keep water out and they tend to get muddy far more easily.

So, should you wear shoes or boots for walking? Boots are the best footwear option for walking and hiking as opposed to shoes, but you should opt for proper walking boot styles.

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Why Choose Boots Over Shoes?

There’s certain occasions when boots make more sense. When it’s raining, cold, you have long distances to cover; sometimes it’s just more practical to choose boots over shoes. Boots contain more room inside for your feet to be comfortable as they are designed to cover your entire foot and ankle, and they will keep your feet warm and dry during colder weather. Likewise, they also offer more protection.

Many people also opt for boots instead of shoes for style reasons. Shoes are delicate, and they are shaped to fit the foot, but boots can be more striking. There are a wide range of different styles that can completely transform an outfit. Over the knee boots can dress up a casual jeans and tee, wedge boots can give you some height and definition without being too uncomfortable, and ankle boots can give a feminine skirt or dress an edgier look. Boots can also be more comfortable. There’s the age-old dilemma about wanting to be taller and wear heels on a night out, but a lot of people find heels uncomfortable. Boots can give the illusion of height without the discomfort

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When it comes to choosing boots or shoes, you need to consider your purpose. Boots are more practical than shoes for a lot of activities and occasions. For example, walking activities, working with heavy goods or during wet weather conditions. Shoes are commonly known for their style elements but with the amount of boot options available these days, you can find boots for all seasons and occasions also. You no longer need to shy away from wearing boots for work or during spring/summer. Boots are perhaps more versatile when compared to shoes, but there’s enough difference between their styles to earn them both a place in your wardrobe.

There's Your Excuse to Buy Those Women's Boots!

Boots always win over shoes come those colder months! All you need to do now is choose which style you want!

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