These Are the Best Boots of 2021, According to Our Editors

Your fall shopping list awaits.
Last Updated
Feb 10, 2022

While they may be synonymous with fall and winter, boots are one of our favorite year-round shoe styles. From knee-high silhouettes to ankle skimmer styles and mid-calf cuts, boots are a decidedly versatile wardrobe staple. They can be dressed up or down and are always elegant and party-ready. Whether your goal is to toughen up precious pieces, add interest to a basic fall outfit, or offset a skin-baring silhouette, boots are always up for the job. 

Many boot silhouettes transcend the trend cycle (think classics like riding boots and combat boots), but 2021 brings five key styles that compose our edit of new-decade necessities. The best boots of 2021 include knee-high styles and retro platforms as well as utilitarian lug soles with a modern edge. After surveying the spring-summer 2021 designer runways, we’ve earmarked several outfit ideas for the season ahead which have boots at the crux, from casual-chic choices to after-hours styling.

Ahead, discover the best boots of 2021 and the on-trend boot silhouettes at the top of our editors’ shopping lists. From designer classics by Gucci and Prada to fashion-forward styles from new names like Eytys, Nodaleto, and Peter Do, there’s a pair to suit everyone. These elevated boots are more than worth the investment—they’ll guarantee show-stopping style moments this season and beyond.


Knee-High Boots

It wouldn’t be winter without knee-high boots—and so it's only natural they made our list of the best boots of 2021. Whether worn over tights and styled with a leather or suede skirt or pulled over denim jeans, knee-highs are a tried and tested winter favorite. For a timeless pair of boots you can keep in rotation for years, Celine’s Claude calfskin boots are a luxurious essential for elevated everyday style. Their sleek almond toe and stacked heel (plus the brand’s signature golden Triomphe emblem) ensure myriad styling possibilities.

For a bit of color, opt for a pair in bright white, like these lizard-effect boots by Paris Texas, or go for a casual pair like Gianvito Rossi’s taupe suede boots. Or, invest in the ultimate LBB (little black boot) with The Row’s sophisticated style, which features a sculpted shape and square toe.


Lug-Sole Boots

Stompy lug-sole boots were all over the runway and the streets last fall, and the silhouette is here to stay. The high-end lug sole trend was spearheaded by Prada and Bottega Veneta and quickly became a hit with social media’s stylish set.

Prada’s Monolith boots are one of the most popular styles, frequently selling out in the matte and black patent finishes. Bottega Veneta’s lug-sole Chelsea boots, favored by the likes of Pernille Teisbaek, are one of the best boots of 2021—and are set to retain their cult status well into 2022. 

Many lug-sole options come in practical black, but Gianvito Rossi offers an alternative in a taupe hue. While they’re a bit more unconventional than your average black chelsea boot, we love the way this style goes with almost any winter or fall ensemble.


Combat Boots

With utilitarianism continuing its streak as a key trend through fall and winter 2021, the combat boot was bound to make a comeback. Ann Demeulemeester and Valentino Garavani offer subtle takes on the lace-up style that can instantly blend into any fall wardrobe. However, plenty of other brands are also putting their high-end spin on classic combats.

We love Gucci’s all-black Frances boots, featuring the quilted matelassé finish often reserved for the brand’s Marmont bags. The matte leather upper is complemented by silver-tone hardware and a bulky tread sole, fusing fashion and function. For an even more stylish approach, Balmain’s patent brown Ranger boots with gold-tone hardware add a dressed-up touch to the most casual outfits.


Platform Boots

You may not have expected to see these appearing on our list of the best boots of 2021, but the resurgence of 1970s style means one thing: platform boots are back. Though certainly inspired by the glam rock era (alt girls, listen up), many of these styles are much easier to wear than you might think. 

Our go-to platforms are Chloé’s stretch-fit Platform Leather Boots. With their snug, knee-high shape and trapeze heels, they’re the perfect accompaniment to short or mid-length skirts and dresses. Bottega Veneta’s uniquely shaped BV Bold Platform in off-white leather has a similar appeal and is like a luxury, contemporary rendition of go-go boots—perfect for channeling a 1960s vibe. 

Or, you could opt for a stage-ready look in Dries Van Noten’s statement Leather Zip Platform boots, complete with 2.4-inch block heels and a striking deep red shade.


Square-Toe Boots

Square-toe footwear took over our closets this past spring and summer, and the trend is set to continue well into winter. The Row has one of the most versatile pairs of the season, with a smooth leather upper, squared toe, and a paneled front. For something unexpected, look toward Maison Margiela’s Tabi Split-Toe boots with a split square toe and an edgy cylinder heel in creamy supple leather. 

Khaite’s Davis suede knee-high boots, ideal for those who prefer a taller boot silhouette, pair well with skirts and over denim. If you’re not fully convinced about the comfort square toes, cheat the look with Stuart Weitzman’s square-toe ankle boots. This cleverly designed pair has more of a rounded toe set atop a geometric midsole, which gives the impression of a square silhouette without the risk of discomfort.

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