The Hunt: Flat Knee-High Boots

flat knee-high boots for work

2017 Update: Check out our most recent round-up of the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, and beyond!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Even though it may feel like a bootie world right now, flat knee-high boots are still a great look, particularly for commuting and casual days at work. It’s been a while since we last rounded them up (2014, 2013, 2012), so I thought we’d go on the hunt today. Ladies, have you bought any great knee-high flat boots to wear to work lately? Do you still like the look, or have you mostly switched over to booties for work outfits?

Psst: check out our recent round-up of knee-high heeled boots for work.

First, I thought we’d round up some general categories — note that most links (unless noted) go to Nordstrom or Zappos.

Affordable Tall Boot: DexFlex TysenIt’s hard to beat $35 for a pair of boots, and these ones from Payless’s comfort line (who make the reader favorite Karmen pump) look great for work. I like the quilting details along the back, and the memory foam lining sounds nice and comfy. They’re $69 full price, but marked to $35 today, and available in sizes 5-13 with both wide width and extended calf sizes available. DexFlex Tysen Quilted Boot
quilted tall bootsOooh: I like the quilting details on these, as well as the high buckle — and some of the prices are insane.  The boots come in three colors, sizes 5-10, with wide widths available — depending on the size and color, Amazon is offering them for $30-$90.   A2 by Aerosoles Women’s High Riding Boot
tall boot under $150This highly-rated riding boot from Louise et Cie is marked down to under $150 today (down from almost $270 originally).  I like the simple look, and the gold detail at the back of the heel.  It comes in three colors in calf leather, and a lovely olive suede, all for $140.   ‘Zada’ Knee High Riding Boot
comfortable riding bootThese Naturalizer boots are best sellers at Nordstrom, and it’s easy to see why — they look like great basic boots.  They’re available in regular and wide widths, as well as a wide calf version, in sizes 4-12; they come in four different colors.  They were originally $198 but are marked to $149 today. Naturalizer ‘Jennings’ Knee High Boot
weatherproof comfortable bootsWow – Aquatalia has some gorgeous-looking boots out right now.  I actually like the look of this boot better, but the pictured one comes in regular and wide sizes 4-13 as well as a wide calf version (and in 3 colors), so I thought I’d feature it instead. Readers have been singing the praises of Aquatalia for years for comfortable weatherproofed boots, and these boots walk the perfect balance between function and form — just gorgeous.  They’re $495, exclusively at Nordstrom.  Aquatalia ‘Olita’ Weatherproof Riding Boot 
sleek knee high bootsThese sleek Stuart Weitzman boots are best sellers over at Bloomingdale’s (as are these lovely brown boots ) — love.  They were $659, but are now on sale for $460. Stuart Weitzman Nupentagon Tall Boots

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(L-all)

Comments

  1. I bought the Naturalizer Jennings boots in a wide calf this season and they’ve been great. They were a little tight when I first got them, but they’ve stretched to my feet and calves with wear and I love them.

  2. I love my Cole Haan waterproof suede flat boots. I have them in wide calf (mine are weirdly huge) and they fit great and are very comfortable. I also think the suede finish looks more refined than the polished leather, which tends to crease over time.

  3. Anyone with recommendations for a knee high boot with a narrow-ish shaft? I’ve been trying to find something between flat and a 3″ heel that doesn’t look crazy on my calves. I think I have normal-sized legs, but all of the boots I’ve ordered this year have been spacious enough to go over jeans and 2-3 pair of thick, wooly socks.

    • I just bought Cole Haan Indiana tall boots and they have pretty narrow shafts. I’ve always had a hard time finding narrow-shaft boots that do not slouch and these are great. They are also waterproof and on sale at 6pm.c*m.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I am 5’11” and have wear size 11 narrow shoes, but my calf circumference is only 12″. Unfortunately, expensive, European boots work from me (i.e., Ferragamo, Valentino), but this is a huge purchase. I had a pair made by a cobbler and it actually cost less than those brands.

      • I just measured mine at 12.5″, which is irritatingly 0.75″ smaller than when I started looking for new boots. I don’t think I could bring myself to spend that kind of money on boots, but oh my, does the Valentino site have some beauties! My nearest cobbler is a decent drive, so I never think about him even existing. Thanks for the reminder- I should call to see if maybe he can reduce the shaft width if I find a pair I love.

    • I’ve had best luck with Aquitalia and La Canadienne and Stuart Weitzman. But La Canadienne can vary from boot to boot.

      But I order from Nordstrom’s and Zappos for lots and lots of free returns. It took me a few years to find a boot that fit!

      I also choose some styles that are styles that look good when they are still a little large…. like weather proofed suede that scrunches a little bit in the calf.

      http://www.zappos.com/la-canadienne-kara-black-suede

    • I like my Melissa Back-Zip by Frye. They have a 14″ circumference which just lets me get them zipped up over skinny jeans and they look good with just tights too. I also think I have normal-ish legs, and I am not a fan of the “pirate look” on me. I really struggled to find boots that actually fit my legs, and the Frye boots were perfect.

    • http://riding-boots-for-thin-calves.blogspot.com

  4. There are great boots by Kurt Geiger Carvela.

  5. SuziStockbroker :

    I bought gorgeous, very sleek Geox flat knee high boots mid-winter last year (so, on sale!).

    My only complaint is that they are not actually knee high, no boots are on me, as I have super long legs.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      Here is the link to mine: http://www.geox.com/en_en/women/shoes/boots/mendi-black-D3490P00043C9999.html?cgid=women-shoes-boots#start=7

  6. I have extremely narrow calves that madefinding affordable tall boots really hard. Last year I purchased La Canadienne Mazy boots in black suede and they have been great for me. they have about a 3″ heel but are very comfortable. Thinking about splurging on a 2nd pair with a lower heel this year.

  7. Anonymous :

    I’ve given up on tall boots. My calf hits higher on the shaft than many of the boots are designed for (my height is in my legs, so I guess my lower leg is just too long?). This puts my biggest circumference at the boot opening, which means it fits really tight there and baggy/big/slouchy everywhere else. Which is a bummer, because I really like my ankles and the boot never ends up fitted there.

    So I stopped hunting for a unicorn and got on the short boot trend instead..

    • I have a different probelem. I have very fat CALVES (with a wide foot), which make’s it difficult to wear anything knee high, let alone fasheionable. So for the winter, I have a pair of Frye boot’s and a pair of Timberland’s, which are onley 5″ boot’s but made for peeople with fat feet like mine. They are also better abel to negotiate the street’s of NYC, which have YET to get snow, but when they do, look out! No amount of fashion is goeing to prevent me from stepping in SCHLUSH, or worse yet poopie on 77th street, where my neighbor’s have big dogs that are NOT afraid to let loose on the sidewalk’s. FOOEY! I hope the rest of the HIVE knows to do with dog’s like this b/c I sure do NOT! DOUBEL FOOEY!

  8. I’ve tried on a few boots in search of the perfect black tall boot, and this is what I found (ftr, I wear a size 10 and my calf is ~15 inches):

    – Tommy Hilfiger Gallop Riding Boot: Great looking materials, nice substantial leather and a classy lining. Classy looking hardware, and a great deal on Amazon. Unfortunately, the calves on these boots were too wide for me (upwards of 16″ for my size 10 boots), and the whole boot was loose from ankle to knee. I had to return, but these were my favorite pair I’ve tried this fall.

    – Sam Edelman Penny Boot: The calf fit was better on this pair, but the leather was so much thinner and weaker than on the Hilfiger boots that I couldn’t bring myself to pay more for them. The style is nice and simple, but the construction didn’t seem worth the ~$150 price tag. Fit was pretty typical for a Sam Edelman boot.

    – Ivanka Trump Addee Riding Boot: SUCCESS. A classy, simple boot with a nice construction and a calf size closer to 15″. The boot is more fitted throughout the ankle and calf. The leather was more substantial than the Penny boot, but not as high quality as the Tommy Hilfiger boot. It’s a nice simple style. The downside is that IT’s shoes all run so narrow, and this is no exception. However, I found that the leather at the foot has enough give that it’s not uncomfortable. I’m optimistic about these boots.

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  10. Baconpancakes :

    I just bought a pair of Blondo Wide Shaft Vassa, and for my 16.5 inch calves, they’re perfect. They were pretty spendy, but the leather is gorgeous, and they’re waterproof. My main issue with most knee high boots is the low quality of leather, but these are impressively nice.

  11. I’ve had 2 pairs of Guess Lurie boots. The oldest is probably 3 years old and still in great shape. They were worn almost daily the first season and frequently the second. This year hasn’t been as cold so I haven’t worn them as much. I got the second pair at the end of last season. My oldest pair is the cognac color, the newer ones are chocolate and they’re very very dark almost soft black.

  12. i have a pair of flat Born riding boots from their Crown Collection that are 7 years old and going strong. I take them to a cobbler every fall and have had them resolved once and each zipper replaced. Still love the classic almond toe.

  13. What are people’s feelings about leather vs. man-made material? About how many years can I expect to get out of each?

    • Depends on your commute and local weather. I had man-made heeled boots that I kept for 3 years (NYC/Philly, outdoor walking but didn’t wear in snow). I wore them a lot and they might have lasted longer if I had a cobbler replace the heel cap. For me, the man-made can give a more stretchy/close fit for wearing with tights, which I liked. My current flat leather boots are 4 years old and I just had the heel replaced but probably should have done it a year ago. I find the real leather shows more wear in the toe area (I wear them outdoors in all weather) and could probably stand to be polished or something every now and then. But I love them and they look great over skinny jeans though I wear them with tights, too.

  14. I’ve had several pairs of flat leather boots for more than 10 years now. I originally bought them at J.Crew.

  15. Although I’m getting by with boots for my narrow, short legs that I’ve picked up at places like consignment shops, I’ve returned a dozen pairs (including some of the above) to Nordstrom and Zappos this year. I wear dresses every day, so a knee-high boot with tights is my preference for commuting warmth, although I switch into black pumps or wedges when I get to the office.

  16. “Narrow widths: (come in sizes like AA, N, etc): (stay tuned, still hunting!)” (from the original version, before this edit) – story of my life.

    The trick with narrow widths is you’ll mostly only find them in late summer; they all sell out instantly and at full price. Cole Haan usually has a style or two each year in AA. And…wait, actually, that’s the only pair of flat knee-high boots I’ve ever owned, and I need to get them repaired.

    Sometimes overstock.com is helpful for when you have narrow feet and you need to buy boots and it isn’t September.

    If you need actual honest-to-goodness winter boots and you don’t care what you look like as long as your feet are warm and dry, the LL Bean’s duck boots actually come in AA too.

  17. I love my La Canadienne Passion boots (and I’m not petite). I thought the calves were way too tight when I got them but they were a gift so I kept them and the leather has broken in wonderfully. Plus, I love the waterproofing–so much so that I bought another pair of La Canadienne ankle boots with a really comfortable wedge heel.

  18. I just ordered the Stuart Weitzman boots from Bloomingdale’s and the Louise et Cie’s from Nordstrom. I hope that the LeC ones fit and look better because they are a third of the price, but we shall see. I intend to keep them for several years, so I’m OK with splurging on such a wardrobe workhorse.

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