Combat boots have been on everyone’s lips for a few years now (Charlize Theron’s outfit in Mad Max: Fury Road surely helped the trend blossom its way to the catwalk and streets), and we doubt they will ever go out of style. And why should they, when they are so cool and comfy, ready to create jaw-dropping everyday looks as long as you know how to wear combat boots right? But what are combat boots? What makes a pair of boots eligible to be called “combat”?
What Are Combat Boots? Military Boots History
Combat boots are lace-up leather military boots, typically coming in black, which have been worn by soldiers during combat training, and which are now fashion classics, capable of granting the wearer comfort and a slightly edgy, statement-making style. Throughout history, combat boots have unapologetically glowed up, evolving into a fashion statement everyone would literally put their feet in.
The history of combat boots traces back to the Assyrians, who were the first soldiers known to have worn combat boots (and that was BC!). Long story short, from the Assyrian times, they evolved all the way up to the runway collections of Valentino, Gucci, Alexander Wang, and many more fashion designers, dazzling with their eclectic embellishments and new shiny materials.
We need to attribute the first mainstream usage and the more modern structure of combat boots to the British Army, as they were the first to replace buckle military shoes with ankle boots during the Napoleonic Wars, and are therefore considered as the “combat boots-trailblazers.”
Before that, combat boots were definitely not comfortable for soldiers, and mostly resembled Hessian boots in their shapes. Since Hessian boots were higher than combat boots, as soon as the first military ankle boots marched the field, each nation began (re)thinking and designing military boots in a way that could combine grip, ankle stability, and foot protection all together. Combat boots ultimately gained their distinctive characteristics at the beginning of the Second World War.
As it often happens with anything that is related to fashion, even if it is military fashion, combat boots received their first blessing from the world’s most renowned couturiers in the late Eighties.
Waterproof yet breathable (which is a footwear’s win-win combo), combat boots then quickly walked their way from the fields to the runway shows, exploding into a huge mainstream fashion phenomenon in the mid-Nineties. The grunge-inspired fashions of those years were, in fact, meant to be completed with combat boots, and everyone from actual grungers to fashionistas seemed to love their coziness and coolness.
Fast forward from the Nineties to the second decade of the ‘00s, combat boots are still one of the most acclaimed footwear options both for men and women, and appear to be more versatile and eclectic than ever before.
How to Wear Combat Boots with Every Outfit Right
Loved by many, worn by few, combat boots are (seemingly) hard to pair with other clothing pieces. Given their rigorous structure and heavy fabrics, especially when refined with a chunky rubber sole, combat boots are often regarded as not suitable for every style. The reality is, as it always happens with fashion, different.
Among all types of shoes, combat boots are probably the most versatile ones, as they go hand in hand with everything, from grunge and punk-inspired aesthetics, to more bon ton-infused looks. Pairing them with contrasting patterns, materials, or colors is always a good idea, as they effortlessly overwhelm every ensemble with a much-needed touch of fierceness and coolness.
Whether you are a combat boot lover and are looking for new ways to wear them, or are new to the “combat boot thing” and do not know where to start, here are a few style tips and tricks on how to wear combat boots with every outfit right!
Combat Boots Are Made for Dresses
Let’s start off with the most fashionable combination of all, i.e. combat boots and dresses. When looking for a dress to combine with your killer military boots, look either for the most conventionally feminine dress you may find, or a simple little black dress with a flared line, as the contrast between the garment and the footwear will instantly give you an it-girl-approved look no one will easily forget.
Ruffled hems, bell-bottom sleeves, cascade of ruches, floral patterns, and polka dot prints are things that are allowed here!
As for the lines, cuts, and lengths, always remember that proportion is key. Try to keep your dress length above the knee, as this is the best style that works with military boots.
If you feel your figure won’t be properly enhanced if you are wearing a dress and a pair of combat boots (we think it will, but we also believe anyone should feel always comfortable in her shoes), we recommend either opting for a little black dress (especially a mini one!) paired with black tights and black combat boots, or a pair of stockings of the same color of the dress (if the dress is multicolored, stockings dipped into the hue close to your boot color are fine, too). This trick will immediately slenderize your figure, and you’ll love it, for sure!
Combat Boots with Shorts
Another good way to look cool, casual, and slenderized, is to wear your combat boots with denim shorts (a denim miniskirt is fine, too). You’ll just need to tuck your shirt in, or, alternatively, tie it up like a true cowgirl. Your silhouette will end up looking perfectly balanced, so that you don’t have to fear any “unflattering effect”.
Sweater Dresses Are Meant to Be With Combat Boots
Not only are sweater dresses one of the biggest hits of any winter season, but also they look great with combat boots. Warm and elegant, sweater dresses give us the option to just go minimalist and have fun with the accessory items all day and winter long – footwear items included, of course.
If you are looking for an everyday glam look, invest in a good, light-colored sweater dress, pair it with black tights (or leggings), and a pair of black combat boots (better if studded), and you’ll end up stocking on a versatile, always appropriate outfit.
Combat Boots, Vinyl Everywhere
We love contrasts, and you probably can tell that by our eclectic fashion tips and tricks. One of the contrasting patterns we love the most is the one involving fabrics and materials. Combat boots are often crafted in fine leather (but you can find them in high-quality faux leather, too!), which is versatile to say the least.
If you are going to invest in a good pair of structured, black leather combat boots, we suggest pairing them either with a vinyl miniskirt or a pair of vinyl leggings/ skinny pants, as you’ll not only get an instant glam-rock look (which is honestly synonymous with combat boots), but also a streamlined figure to kill the night with (and day, and month, and year).
Combat Boots Fashion Dos and Don’ts
When wearing a pair of combat boots, there are only a few things we don’t recommend doing.
• When wearing a total black outfit, especially if you are wearing black, rugged combat boots, break the look with a pastel-toned item, whether it is a scarf, a beanie hat, a belt or a purse. Alternatively, you can also opt for a glittery it-item!
• Don’t overdo the look with too many accessory items, nor with too many contrasting patterns. Combat boots can be quite imposing and heavy on their own, so it is better to tone down the overall outfit with something lighter in order to balance it.
• Do wear a pair of combat boots when travelling! Combat boots are a fantastic way of maintaining a stylish yet comfortable look while travelling, so make sure to take them with you to the airport!
• Don’t opt for a total military look, unless you are doing it for a specific occasion, as a fashion statement. Camouflage pants and jackets, paired with military boots are surely useful in the field, but end up looking quite cheesy on a daily basis.
• Don’t wear your combat boots with flared pants or jeans, including boyfriend ones, as they will visually add weight to the lower part of your body. Only tight, skinny jeans and pants should go with combat boots.
• Never wear your combat boots with classic tailored pants, as you’ll end up creating a ridiculous look.
Last Minute Tip: When in doubt, just pair your combat boots with a flannel shirt!
9 Best Military Boots for Winter 2018
When it comes down to choosing the best combat boots for winter 2018, you’ll hardly ever go wrong with any of the pairs we have picked out for you!
1. Rainbow Combat Boots for Rainbow Fighters
Available at Nordstrom, these Gucci rainbow combat boots are just the halfway mark between cuteness and fierceness, and embody Alessandro Michele’s iconic direction with Gucci. As if the boot’s structure wasn’t perfect enough already, the chunky lug sole makes these combat boots ultra-cozy, too!
2. Pearl-Detail Classic Military Boots
Combat boots are definitely getting wilder and wilder this year, yet finding a classic pair of military boots is still possible! Whether you are new to combat boots or just prefer standard ones, we recommend getting this pair of pearl-detail Altuzarra leather boots, especially considering the latest pearl fashion craze! You can find them at Forward.
3. Unicorn Glitter Dr. Martens Combat Boots
Dr. Martens combat boots are one of those must-have items we will never get tired of, for sure! And if you love collecting them (or are just really into glittery shoes), we suggest having a look at these gorgeous glitter combat boots, as they are one-of-a-kind, indeed, ready to reclaim your unicorn souls! You can find them at Bloomingdales.
4. Wang’s Combat Boots
For a more elegant yet subtly glam-rock pair of combat boots for winter 2018, Alexander Wang’s pair may be the best option. Refined with metallic accents and a warm shearling lining, Wang’s combat boots are available for purchase at Shopbop.
5. Shearling-Trimmed Combat Boots to Combat Winter
If you easily get cold feet during wintertime, try this pair of Moncler combat boots, as their soft shearling lining will keep you warm while at the same time helping you look like a futuristic warrior. Find yours at Net-a-Porter!
6. Rockstud Combat Boots
Valentino’s notorious rockstud footwear line strikes again, this time with one of the best combat boots for winter 2018! Crafted in leather in Italy, Valentino’s rockstud combat boots are the kind of ultra-versatile shoes we have all been looking for, as they will look utterly cute anywhere, at any time, whether you pair them with a vinyl skirt or a pair of glam-rock shredded jeans. You can get yours at Forward!
7. Carrie Bradshaw-Approved Combat Boots
Make your inner Carrie Bradshaw shine with these studded leather military boots, which besides being flawlessly edgy, are also extremely warm and perfect for the upcoming colder months! Find this pair of combat boots at Nordstrom!
8. Minimalist Military Boots
Can combat boots be somehow minimalist, too? Of course, they can! Giuseppe Zanotti’s leather military boots for winter 2018 give minimalism its glam-rock name, and you can add their unique minimalist-glam touch to your wardrobe via Farfetch.
9. Burgundy Dream Combat Boots
If there’s one thing that will never go out of style, besides combat boots, that’s burgundy military boots. Modern yet refined through a vintage lens, these combat boots are one of those fashion investments you will never regret. Find them at ASOS, and pair them with your burgundy nails this winter!
Photos via @mikutas, @aylin_koenig, @carmushka, @annapenello, @styleofeli