Nine months out of the year, knee-high boots are your best friend. They keep you warm and protected from the elements in the coldest months, and when spring and fall roll around, they help you transition between seasons as you pair them with lighter pieces. No matter what you wear, the structure of a knee-high boot gives your outfit an instant edge.
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“My favorite way to style knee-high boots are either with a skirt or with a dress," says Madison Kahn, an associate buyer at the westside. "I think that tall boots balance out short skirts nicely, As it gets colder, you can start to layer these looks with heavy sweaters, layering shirts, stockings, and jackets to adjust to the colder weather.”
And yet, with all the different styles and trends at play today, finding the perfect pair can seem overwhelming since the options for toe shapes, heel heights, and materials are so wide-ranging. That's why we compiled a list of the best knee-high boots, along with tips from our experts—Kahn, Petite Dressing boutique founder Chi Li, and bloggers Josiane Konaté and Alexis Lopez—to help guide your search.
Meet the Expert
- Josiane Konaté is the founder of the fashion and lifestyle blog Petite and Bold.
- Madison Kahn is an associate buyer at the westside and a co-host of the podcast Haute Takes. She was previously an assistant buyer at Macy’s.
- Alexis Lopez is a Canadian fashion content creator and YouTuber.
- Chi Li is the founder of Petite Dressing and author of "The Petite Style Bible."
From round-toes to leather fabrics, below are the best knee-high boots to shop for.
Stuart Weitzman Reserve Knee High Boot
If there’s a name in fashion that’s synonymous with knee-high boots, it’s Stuart Weitzman. The brand shot to fame with its tall, form-fitting boots, with celebrities like Kate Moss and Gigi Hadid flocking to their styles. Boasting an array of simple colors and shapes, it’s no surprise the brand has become part of models’ off-duty uniforms. Case in point: the Reserve knee-high boot. The black leather goes with everything, and the block heel that’s just shy of two inches gives you a little lift without seeming extreme. With so many ways to wear them (from jeans to dresses and miniskirts), you'll treasure them for years to come.
Price at time of publish: $750
Material: Leather or suede, elastic calf panel | Heel Height: 1.75 inches | Colors: Black | Size Range: 3.5-13, Narrow to Extra Wide
ASOS Design Carla Chunky Flat Boots
Embrace the lug sole trend with this affordable pick from ASOS Design. It has a zipper on the side, so you don’t have to struggle with slipping these tall boots on or off. On top of that, the thick sole with lugged tread will give you plenty of grip to minimize slipping on snow or ice in the winter.
For Konaté, lug-soled boots are a must for surviving Montreal’s freezing weather. “My go-to style is to pair lug-soled knee-high boots with thermal leggings, a classic white shirt, and a vest on top,” she says. “I feel like it never fails. You're protected from the cold and you look chic.”
Price at time of publish: $72
Material: Faux leather | Heel Height: Not listed | Colors: Black | Size Range: 4-13
Totême The Riding Boot
Given their quality and wearability, Totême's slim riding boots are so investment-worthy, They're made in Italy from calfskin leather and shaped with a pointed square toe and a low stacked heel. The style is finished with a decorative strap and a silver-tone metal monogram. It could look great with your bare legs as you rock a short dress or with straight denim pants to show off the shape of your legs.
Price at time of publish: $1,000
Material: 100% calfskin leather | Heel Height: Less than 1 inch | Colors: Black | Size Range: EU 35-41
Runner Up, Best Designer
Givenchy Shark Lock Boots
Wear these wedge boots on your next night out, and you'll surely stun in them, but without the same pain and agony of matchstick-slim stiletto boots. The style has a structured, flared neck that's decorated with lock hardware and looks like it's been folded over. Not to mention, it's a classic, having come back on the scene as a re-edition from the early twenty-tens. For modern styling inspiration, you can look to the likes of Doja Cat, Leonie Hanne, and Chriselle Lim, among others.
Price at time of publish: $2,395
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 3.5 inches | Colors: Black, | Size Range: EU 35-44
Best Low Heel
Frye Melissa Button 2 Boots
Frye boots are so well-made that they could last you years upon years, perhaps even a decade depending on how often you wear them and how well you maintain them. They also boast a sensible, 1-inch heel to help you withstand a day on your feet. Though, you should be warned that the style does not have a zipper, so you’ll have to pull them on and off.
Price at time of publish: $298
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 1 inch | Colors: Black, Cognac, Redwood, Mahogany +more | Size Range: 5.5-11
Best Rain Boots
HUNTER Women’s Original Tall Rain Boot
Say "rain boot" and Hunter’s Original Tall Rainboot will come to the minds of many. The classic silhouette comes in both glossy and matte finishes and all shades of the rainbow. Whether you like to add a pop of color on a dreary day or stick to black, you can find your ideal pair. The brand’s signature tread will prevent you from slipping on slick streets, so you can power through your commute. The brand offers a two-year warranty, but some reviewers say the boot has lasted them as long as 10 years. You’ll want to wear these boots even when it’s not raining.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: Vulcanized rubber | Heel Height: Approximately 1 inch | Colors: Black, Navy, Military Red, Yellow, Hunter Green +more | Size Range: 5-11
Best for Winter
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot
For those times when you need something heavy-duty to navigate the snow, turn to the classic snow boot from Sorel. Seam-sealed waterproof construction keeps moisture out while vulcanized rubber with herringbone outsole will help you keep your footing on the icy ground. Plus, the faux fur cuff adds extra warmth and a cute factor. As one reviewer writes, “I wish I lived in the Arctic, so I could wear these every day.”
Price at time of publish: $210
Material: Waterproof suede upper with faux fur cuff | Heel Height: 1.5 inches | Colors: Black, Quarry, Camel Brown, Khaki II +more | Size Range: 5-12
Best Block Heel
Chelsea Paris The Bo Patent Snake-Embossed Knee Boots
Block heels are known to be very comfortable, especially when compared to sharp stiletto shapes. (It all has to do with weight distribution and how much strain is being put on your feet as a result.) Wear these to work or for a weekend stroll in the city.
Price at time of publish: $595
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 3 inches | Colors: Cognac, Navy +more | Size Range: IT 36-42
Best On Amazon
Dream Pairs Women's Knee High Pull On Fall Weather Winter Boots
When shopping for boots, comfort and quality are of utmost importance. And yet, they can be hard to come by in budget-friendly styles. The DREAM PAIRS Knee-High Pull On Boots defies the odds, having received top marks from nearly 10,000 Amazon customers for their great fit, comfort, and design (namely, their interior pockets, which can hold cards and cash). Channel Serena van der Woodsen and wear them tucked into jeans or with a miniskirt.
Price at time of publish: $57
Material: Faux suede | Heel Height: 0.5 inches | Colors: Black, Brown, Camel, Grey, Khaki +more | Size Range: 5-12
Best High Heel
Hanifa Zoe Boot
The Zoe Boot from Hanifa is like art for your soles. Although they might look too pretty to wear, their flared heels will help to keep you steady and discreet zippers at the back of the calves will allow you to take them on and off with ease. They’re the perfect boot for a night on the town, but they’d also look chic in the daytime with a flowing midi dress.
Price at time of publish: $679
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 4 inches | Colors: Black, Bone, Chrome | Size Range: 36-42
Dolce Vita Solei Boot
Kahn says cowboy boots are one trend she has seen galloping from summer into the fall. If you want to embrace the trend without looking like Jessie from Toystory, try this suede style from Dolce Vita. The pointed toe, slanted heel, and contrast-stitching offer a healthy dose of western style. Lopez suggests pairing them with straight jeans, a dress or skirt, and a blazer. You can find additional outfit suggestions in her YouTube video about knee-high boots.
Price at time of publish: $260
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 2 inches | Colors: White, Whiskey, Dune | Size Range: 5-11
Schutz Maryana Block Boot
Snakeskin has been cropping up on many Fall/Winter 2022 runways, including everyone from Saks Potts to By Malene Birger. An easy way to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe is with a pair of snakeskin boots. The stacked heel adds a bit of height, and the almond toe is a nice middle-ground between soft and pointy.
Price at time of publish: $238
Material: Snake-embossed leather | Heel Height: 3.3 inches | Colors: Natural Snake, Black, Red Brown +more | Size Range: 5-11
Best Wide Calf
Franco Sarto Meyer Wide Calf Boot
If you’re on the hunt for a boot with a wider shaft, the Franco Sarto Meyer Wide Calf Boot is worth a look. It’s made from glossy leather, and it features a zipper that’s virtually as long as the length of the boot so that you can wear and remove them with ease. It’s available in several finishes and even comes in wide foot sizing to suit a variety of wearers.
Price at time of publish: $250
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 1 inch | Colors: Black, Dark Brown, Light Brown, Burgundy | Size Range: 5-11
Jeffrey Campbell Cattle Boot
Another way to add a taste of the wild west to your look is with some fringe, as seen on this pair of knee-high boots by Jeffrey Campbell. They also have an upturned toe and slanted heel to give you even more cowboy-inspired swagger.
Price at time of publish: $335
Material: Suede | Heel Height: 4 inches | Colors: Beige | Size Range: 5.5-10
Ganni Country Boot
These chunky, lug-sole boots aren’t waterproof, but they still make for a utilitarian look. Pair them with a femme skirt or dress for a high-contrast look, and feel good about wearing them given their eco-conscious composition that includes a 50-percent makeup of recycled rubber.
Price at time of publish: $295
Material: New and recycled rubber | Heel Height: 1.5-inch heel, 1-inch platform | Colors: Black, Kalamata (Olive) | Size Range: 5-14
Brother Vellies Ronstadt Boot
Tired of a simple knee-high boot? You can quite literally level up your game in this over-the-knee style from Brooklyn-based shoe label Brother Vellies. They're made from suede and feature a manageable kitten heel, so you can wear them from day to night with ease. Paired with tights or with jeans, these boots will be the center of attention.
Price at time of publish: $995
Material: Suede | Heel Height: 2 inches | Colors: Cognac, Midnight, Flamingo +more | Size Range: 5-12
Paris Texas Embellished Suede Knee-High Boots
Paris Texas is bringing a whole new meaning to statement shoes with these crystal-encrusted stiletto boots, which will draw attention to your legs and add sparkle to your getup. The boots practically beg to be worn out on the town, so be sure to do them justice.
Price at time of publish: $1,795
Material: Leather embellished with crystals | Heel Height: 4.25 inches | Colors: Neutral, Black | Size Range: IT 35-42
Brother Vellies Eve Doodle Cowboy Boot
Tired of plain brown boots? Try Brother Vellies' Eve Doodle Cowboy Boots. They've been handmade by artisans in Mexico and hand-painted with mermaid and garden motifs that are so cute and fun, albeit a bit of an investment. However, some may say that their mood-boosting appeal is well worth the price tag.
Price at time of publish: $1,295
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 4 inches | Colors: Brown | Size Range: 5-12
STAUD Palamino Tall Chelsea Boot
You’re probably used to seeing elastic gussets on a pair of ankle boots, but kudos to STAUD for taking things to the next level with this knee-high iteration. STAUD’s Palamino Tall Chelsea Boot is made from soft leather and grounded by a thick rubber sole that reads simple but edgy. Wear them with everything from jeans to dresses.
Price at time of publish: $495
Material: Leather, rubber | Heel Height: 1.6 inches | Colors: Black | Size Range: EU 35-42
Anne Klein Frida Boot
Aesthetically, these fitted boots are a perfect finishing touch to a jeans and sweater outfit in the winter. But perhaps what's better is that they're practical, too. You needn't worry that they’ll be marred by rain, snow, and salt, as their weatherproof coating will keep them well intact.
Price at time of publish: $159
Material: Leather, rubber | Heel Height: 2.75 inches | Colors: Black | Size Range: 6-11
Larroudé The Kate Suede Boot
When compared to other cloth fabrics, suede is very durable and an overall nice material to mix into your footwear lineup, should you be looking for something other than leather to round out your smart-casual looks. (For a more elevated look, however, you should stick to polish leather.) These knee-high boots in suede, for instance, would look so chic tucked into jeans and worn with a sweater to the office.
Price at time of publish: $485
Material: Leather, kid suede | Heel Height: 3.8 inches | Colors: Brown, Black, Lipstick Red +more | Size Range: 5-10
Tony Bianco Kortez Boot
You can't go wrong with a sleek pointed-toe. Enter: these boots by Tony Bianco, which, given their slim silhouette, will draw attention to your legs by making them appear elongated, especially against bare legs when worn with a mini hemline.
Price at time of publish: $390
Material: Leather | Heel Height: 3.75 inches | Colors: Black, Cherry +more | Size Range: 5-10
What to Look for in Knee-High Boots
These days, boots can be made from a variety of materials, ranging from leather to vegan leather to rubber. Choosing the right material depends on your personal preference as well as functional needs.
Smooth leather is a go-to choice for its versatile look and durability, but you can also find similar, vegan leather options that look and feel similar and that better align with your ethos. Suede offers a softer look, but it can be harder to keep clean, especially when in lighter colors. For a fiercer look, opt for croc or snakeskin-embossed (vegan) leather.
If you are looking for a boot that can withstand rain or snow, consider rubber options or leather that has been treated to be waterproof.
Heel and Shaft Height
A lot of people (myself included) love boots because they give a few extra inches of height without the pain of wearing high heels. Some boots can be as low as 1 inch while others can be more than 4 inches tall.
Deciding on a heel height should come down to when and where you will wear the boot. Stiletto styles are great for dressy occasions where you won’t have to be standing and walking a ton. On the other hand, a lower, thicker heel makes for a better everyday boot that won’t give you blisters as you stroll the town.
“I gravitate towards a short and chunky heel. I can't walk in high heels, so shorter is always better for me,” says Kahn. “I also tend to look for chunky platforms, since this gives you additional height without making it harder to walk.”
Shaft height is the length from the top of the foot to the top of the boot. For knee-high boots, this length can range anywhere from 12 to 18 inches. However, those who are petite (under 5’4”) should seek out a boot with a shaft under 15.5 inches, Li says. Otherwise, the shaft may go up too high and hit your knee at an awkward spot.
Square, round, almond, pointed—oh my! Today’s toe shape options are endless. Almond—slightly rounded—and round are the most common and versatile toe shapes. Square toe offers a vintage look and is quite trendy this fall. Pointed-toe boots create a sexy look and are great for going out. For petite individuals, Li recommends the pointed toe. “For petites, the toe shape is key. I always go with pointy-toe boots, because they are the best to elongate [the] legs. The second best is a rounded toe. These can be more comfortable for those of us who are not used to a pointy toe,” she says.
In theory, boots are made for colder months, but not all of them can handle the elements equally. Besides checking for waterproof materials and insulation, you should look at the bottom of the shoe for the tread. Most dressy or stiletto styles have slick bottoms that don’t provide any grip when walking in the rain or snow. While this might be fine for a fancy dinner, even commuting to work on a wintery day may become dangerous.
Thankfully, it's trendy to wear boots with chunky, textured rubber soles that are naturally anti-slip. If you are truly venturing out in the tundra, choose a pair with waterproof rubber soles because widely spaced lugs shed mud more easily.
How do I style knee-high boots for different seasons?
Knee-high boots aren’t just reserved for the winter. Living in New York City, Kahn likes to pair tall boots with shorts or mini skirts on warmer fall days. However, when the temperatures dip, knee-high boots can provide extra warmth while still staying chic. Throw on some thermal leggings and thick, knee-high socks to keep your legs toasty. Tall boots also are a lifesaver when it comes to wearing dresses or skirts in the winter. Simply layer your thickest socks over thermal tights and hide it all inside the boot. Oversized sweaters and sweater dresses look great with tall boots and simple bottoms tucked inside. Top it all off with a cute puffer jacket, wool coat, or parka, and you are good to go.
How do I dress up or down knee-high boots?
The beauty of knee-high boots is that they often make you look instantly put together. So when you are feeling especially lazy, you can simply throw on a pair of leggings and an oversized sweater or hoodie plus the tall boots for a cozy-chic look. This is especially a good way to dress down stiletto boots if you want to wear them during the day.
“A ‘cool girl’ way of wearing your stiletto boots more casually is to wear a hoodie, with an oversized motto leather jacket, a pair of jeans, and some chunky sunglasses with a side body bag,” Lopez says.
When going out at night, knee-high boots pair perfectly with shorter skirts and dresses. Tights are optional, depending on the weather.
“Different ways you can style your knee-high boots during a fall day is by pairing either your brown, white, or cream suede boots under a midi skirt. This midi skirt can have a floral print to it and you can top it off with a chunky knit sweater,” says Lopez. “To spice things up for a night look, I would opt for a pair of patent leather boots, a mini black skirt, or a pair of dark high-waisted denim shorts and a cute blouse or a basic top underneath with a gray suede moto jacket over top. When it comes to styling day versus night looks, you want to keep your day looks more light and fresh whereas your night looks can be darker and edgier.”
Can I wear knee-high boots if I'm petite?
Just because you are short and the boot is tall doesn’t mean you can’t wear the shoe. When styled correctly, a pair of knee-high boots can make you look taller. Like Li says, it’s best to go with a pointed-toe style to elongate the legs, and don’t shy away from a higher heel. While slouchy and wide-leg boots are currently in, they can overwhelm the petite frame, so a sleek, tight shaft might be a better fit. Also, remember to check the shaft height and aim for a style with one under 15.5 inches.
When choosing what to pair them with, go with similar colors to create one long line. For instance, wearing black boots with black leggings or jeans doesn’t break up your leg, so it looks like they are stretching for days. Leaving a space between the top of the boots and the bottom hem of a dress or skirt similarly creates an illusion of height.
How do I keep knee-high boots up?
Depending on the boot and your outfit, you might find the shaft slipping down as you wear it throughout the day. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to keep your boots up.
“To prevent my knee-high boots from falling or slouching, I usually will wear them with thick socks underneath or ankle warmers. I find this to be the best method to keep my boots in place if I find that they are a bit wide around my legs,” says Lopez. “If you are wearing a pair of suede boots, you can glue a piece of velcro to the inside of the boot and then tie an elastic band around your leg where the velcro will attach to it to ensure it doesn't fall throughout the day.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Jessie Quinn graduated from Academy of Art University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journalism. At Byrdie, she covers everything from fashion to accessories, meticulously researching and sourcing the best options for Byrdie readers. When researching the best knee-high boots, she considered everything from the material quality, fit, structure, and versatility to find the top styles. As a result, she curated a list of the best knee-high boots, including a functional wide calf option and a stylish craftcore pick.
Emily Cieslak is a Byrdie contributor and has written about fashion for other publications like The Knot, Real Simple, and Red Carpet Fashion Awards. While living in London and New York City, knee-high boots were her footwear of choice, keeping her warm and stylish while she explored the cities on foot.