Whether you’re a boot aficionado or looking to buy your very first pair, chances are you could use a refresher (or introduction) to the best American-made boot companies on the market today. Why? Because the best boot brands value craftsmanship over passing trends and represent a local way of doing things that just feels a little bit better than buying from a big box department store.
OK, so some of these boot brands have gotten pretty big over the past few decades, but that doesn’t change the fact that their roots run deep and stretch back to the very beginnings of a style craze they helped to define.
Without further ado, then, let’s jump into these American companies and figure out which one could be the perfect one for you.
Danner has been churning fantastic boots out of their Portland, Oregon-based factory since the early 1930s. While the brand’s focus has shifted over the years from work boots to hiking boots to more generalized lifestyle footwear, the principle of “quality over quantity” has remained its guiding principle. You can see this in the company’s now vast collection of boots, which, while different in style and use, all share a no-frills aesthetic that’s more about durability than trendiness. Not to say these kicks aren’t aesthetically appealing; rather, they evoke a timelessness that could be perfect for the guy with vintage sensibilities.
Price range: $$-$$$
Perfect for: Snagging a hand-crafted pair of boots that’s bound to withstand the test of time.
Redwing is another iconic American made boot brand, having gotten its start in the namesake Redwing, Minnesota, at the turn of the century. With such a storied history, it’s no wonder the company has long been a favorite among boot enthusiasts and layfolk alike. While fashion-minded fellas will enjoy the sleek lines of the brand’s heritage chukkas, Chelsea boots, and dress shoes, Redwing is perhaps best known for its large assortment of work boots, which combine premium leather with ultra-durable soles for hardiness you just can’t beat.
Price range: $$$
Perfect for: Buying boots for a rough-and-tumble environment.
While Frye’s assertion that it’s the longest-running American shoe company may be up for debate, there’s no denying the brand has helped to solidify the country’s love affair with leather boots. Versatile and effortlessly stylish, a Frye boot is the perfect accessory for nearly any situation or event, marking it as a unique product in the space. Though there’s a lot to love in the diverse collection, we’re particularly big fans of the brand’s Harness Boot, which brings a dash of edginess to any outfit. Other standouts include the Logan Cap Toe and Heartbreaker boots.
Price range: $$$-$$$$
Perfect for: Adding a bit of class to your boot collection.
For some awesome, custom-made boots, look no further than Nick’s Handmade Boots. As the name aptly suggests, this brand is all about providing its customers with footwear that is 100-percent customized for their unique everyday needs. While the emphasis here is on building professional grade work boots from the ground up with each individual buyer (either remotely online or in person at a Nick’s showroom), the company also sells ready-made boots for those after something a little less specific. This customization does result in a slightly higher price tag than some of the other options on this list but could be a great investment for those who wear their boots day in and day out.
Price range: $$$$
Perfect for: Investing in a pair of boots that’ll fit like gloves and last a lifetime.
Established in 1901, Chippewa is another classic heritage brand that’s managed to stay relevant over the years by adapting to the times with traditional craftsmanship. When it comes to boots, the company breaks down its different offerings into four distinct class categories: Original, Field, Outdoor, and Road. These verticals pay homage to the loggers, engineers, and mountaineers that first inspired the Chippewa aesthetic while allowing modern customers to hone in on the specific kind of boot they need (sleek for the road, rugged for the outdoor). Though prices vary across the categories, the brand does have a very active sales portal.
Price range: $$-$$$
Perfect for: Filling out your wardrobe with boots that look as great outdoors as they do in.
Though the list thus far might suggest otherwise, an American-made boot company doesn’t have to be 100-plus years old to be noteworthy. In fact, a new class of boot purveyors has arrived in the past decade to prove just that. One of the best is Helm, which has been putting a contemporary spin on classic boot silhouettes since 2009. The product line feels both fresh and familiar, with a large assortment of options perfect for nearly every occasion. Of the bunch, I personally enjoy the Muller Teak, a subtly fashion-forward shoe that could be a great chameleon accessory for your closet.
Price range: $$-$$$
Perfect for: Getting old-school style with a modern twist.
When it comes to outdoor gear, there’s arguably no brand more popular than Maine’s own L.L. Bean. Though the company is now well-known for its diverse collection of jackets, tops, bottoms, sweaters, socks, and more, much of its success stems from a single product: the iconic Bean Boot. Built with premium leather and a waterproof, rubber sole, the accessory is as eye-catching as it is functional, garnering admiration from a wide range of customers. Another bonus? The boots are relatively affordable, making them a great closet staple for rainy days.
Price range: $-$$
Perfect for: Weathering the elements while still looking fly.
If you’re after a pair of boots that’s as tough as you are, look no further than Wolverine. This American-made brand has made a name for itself with its selection of ultra-sturdy work boots, many of which are outfitted with weather-resistant and shock-absorbing tech. While these boots may not be winning any beauty contests, there’s a certain charm to the rugged look they achieve. Fashionistos will be happy to know that the brand’s 1000 Mile collection features a bevy of boots that are just as trendy as any on this list along with the option to customize your own.
Price range: $-$$$
Perfect for: Rounding out your footwear arsenal with some excellent essentials.
Truman Boot Co. may be the youngest brand here, but is definitely one to watch. Operating since 2014, Truman is all about honoring the past while developing products that are distinctly of the moment. This marriage between the old and new makes for a striking collection of boots handcrafted in traditional styles out of surprising leather sources. Take, for example, the Cumulus Kudu, a boot built from the leather of Kudu, an antelope native to South Africa. Though this may stray a bit too far from the norm for some folks, other customers could find a lot to love in the brand’s fresh approach to boot design.
Price range: $$$-$$$$
Perfect for: Injecting something unexpected into your boot collection.
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