Combat boots are back in style with their combination of timeless style and outstanding utility. A good pair of combat boots will last for years and can get you through rain, snow, or just looking great on a sunny afternoon. But not everyone has an idea how to style combat boots outside of the classic punk styles so closely associated with them. So we're here to break down a few outfits to get you inspired.
Combat boots and the celebrities
Celebrities are really what drove combat boots from a niche punk product to something completely mainstream. Starting in the 90s, mainstream celebrities from Drew Barrymore to Winona Ryder harnessed that edgy feel combat boots lend just about any outfit to show just what these shoes were capable of. These days, it's just a given that male and female celebrities alike will show off a pair of combat boots with all kinds of outfits.
The best combat boots designers
We have to begin by acknowledging the classic Dr. Martens, but it's interesting that they're the only brand that is really synonymous with combat boots. Nowadays most major shoe brands make at least one leather combat boot, but some of the best ones you'll find are from smaller independent designers. Brands like LÄST (Skandanvian inspired shoes made in Portugal), the Italian brand Dear Frances, and the New York based Rag & Bone all make excellent variations of the classics.
The variety you can find means that you can easily find classic black leather combat boots, floral varieties, fur-tipped hiking versions, or even colorful vegan leather options. So before you decide that the classic aesthetic of the combat boot isn't right for you, check out what your favorite designers have done with it. You might be quite surprised by what you find.
How to wear your combat boots
There are a few key principles to effectively style a pair of combat boots. While you'll see them repeated in the examples below, let's first run through them. First, combat boots are big and chunky, so they work best when you make your legs look thinner to contrast with that. Next, most (again there's a huge variety out there) combat boots have punk or military vibes, so they work best when you either embrace those aesthetics or strongly contrast them.
There are other more minor rules but those are the two building blocks of a fantastic combat boots based outfit. Now let's see them in action.
Combat boots and a mini dress
This look absolutely nails both of the rules we just mentioned. Keeping your legs bare or in tights or leggings creates long and narrow shapes above the boots while the dress is a throwback to a classic era. Thus, you get both contrasting shapes and styles in one look, giving you an outfit with some serious edge and more than a little fun.
Suit up with combat boots
Men have been pairing sneakers with their suits for ages and combat boots can work the same way for women. The juxtaposition of the formality of a suit with the rugged rebelliousness of combat boots makes for a memorable look. This is the way to go if you want to create a look that says “I'm ready for anything you can throw at me.”
Combat boots and midi denim skirt
Shorter skirts of all materials are a fantastic match for combat boots for the same reasons a mini dress are. They're femininity clashes with the masculinity of the boots and they help create the tall silhouette that works so well with them. Bringing in denim as a fabric also helps create a rugged and fun vibe for the whole outfit.
Finish your beige outfit
If you're going for a more subtle monochromatic outfit, you need that one accessory to really pop and give it some character. Combat boots can be perfect for this. Whether they're brightly colored or even classic black, they're large enough (both physically and in terms of their ability to make a statement) to stand out and anchor the entire style. So when you're loving an outfit but it needs that one thing to make it work, dig out some combat boots.
This is a look you see plenty of celebrities rocking these days because it's comfortable and practical. The softness and comfort of an oversized sweater contrasts brilliantly with the rugged clean lines of a pair of classic leather combat boots. You end up feeling cozy while also being ready to take on the world.
The leather on leather look of combining a pair of leather pants with combat boots isn't the easiest look on this list to pull off, but when it works it really works. This is the outfit that's most reminiscent of the classic punk era that we so closely associate combat boots with. You can even mix this look with the others on this list. For example, an oversized sweater and leather pants to get a more interesting look that brings together classic style elements from the 80s and 90s with a modern twist.