The Best Knee-High Boots for Commuting, Work, and More

The Best Knee-High Boots for Commuting, Work, and Beyond | CorporetteSure, 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. Today’s hunt: the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, or more. 

As work-appropriate booties have surged in popularity, we recognize that knee-high boots aren’t as strong a trend as they once were — still, I see a ton of women still wearing them, and I repeatedly see readers noting that they prefer knee-high boots for their lifestyle (or just for general personal style reasons).  I mostly see women commuting in them and wearing them with skinny jeans on the weekend, so I thought I’d focus this Hunt on flat, low-heeled styles. An important caveat: I see a lot of women swearing by flat over-the-knee boots for commuting, but OTK boots are solidly in “know your office” territory — in our last poll most women didn’t think they were appropriate for their offices. If you are on the hunt for an OTK boot, I’d either go low (very inexpensive, like this $38 pair) or high (do the classic Weitzman OTK boot) and call it a day — or make an actual trip to the store to find a good OTK boot somewhere between those two.

As we’ve noted in our past roundups of flat knee-high boots for work, watch out for slouchy boots, heavy treads, or Western influences — and if you intend to wear them the entire day at the office, make sure your outfit is intentional (and not that “I never got around to changing my commuting boots” look).

First, some specialty styles to include in our roundup of the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, and beyond:

Pictured below: some of our Hall of Fame boots — the best-selling styles that have been around and loved for years!

the best knee high boots for commuting!

Pictured above: one / two / three

Curious about our older roundups? Here are links to 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 — and our last discussion on whether knee-high boots are appropriate for the office. (Do you still think this is a question at all, ladies?)

Today’s featured knee-high boots for commuting or work include:

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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.

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The Hunt: Stylish Knee-High Boots for Work

Stylish Knee High Boots for Work | CorporetteSure, 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.

Which are your favorite knee-high boots for the office? As booties are big this season do you find that you’re wearing them less than in prior years, or do you still prefer the sleek look of knee-high boots with dresses?  On the flip side, are knee-high boots inappropriate at your office?  We haven’t done a round-up in a while (2014, 2013, 2012), so I thought we’d take a look.  As noted in previous years, the sleekest boots for work avoid Western influences like buckles and heavy seams, and while a heel isn’t essential (flat knee-high boots have come a long way!) they do tend to be more flattering with skirts.  (We’ll do a separate roundup of flat knee-high boots for work a bit later this season; stay tuned!)  Fun questions for the gang: do you pretreat your boots or otherwise make changes (e.g., waterproof sprays, adding rubber heel tips) or do you only do that when you take your boots in to the cobbler for their seasonal refresh?  If you love your boots, which brand and style is your favorite for work? 

First, a round-up for some special interests:  — unless noted all links go to Amazon, Nordstrom or Zappos:

As far as general sales go, do note that Cole Haan is on sale today at Nordstrom Rack, 6pm has a ton of Weitzman boots marked 50-70% off (including these gorgeous boots), and Amazon has a ton of Taryn Rose on sale for at least 25% off.

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The Hunt: Black Tall Boots

Loeffler Randall ViolaSure, 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.

We’ve talked about knee high boots before — a lot — but I don’t think we’ve ever done a round-up.  (Update: check out our 2015 roundup here.) To repeat what I’ve said before — wearing tall boots is very much a “know your office” kind of thing, and in very conservative offices people may attach words like “dominatrix” to boots — so proceed with caution!  I do think in general that black tall boots have come a long way, and provided they’re not over your knee (and they’re well taken care of) most women can get away with wearing them, particularly with opaque black tights and modest skirt (not a miniskirt), to the office. For my $.02, I would also avoid a boot with a thick platform (such as these).  Readers, have you recently bought a great pair of black boots?  What do you look for in an ideal pair — and how much are you willing to spend? (Check out the roundup, below…)

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Boots at the Office: THE POLL

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

Can you wear knee-high boots to the office with a skirt? Reader B wonders…

I live in DC and work in the public interest world.  I love wearing boots in the winter and when there is inclement weather.  I have two very nice pairs, one which is ankle-length and has a nice looping strap and buckle and the other that is nearly knee-high and has a four inch heel and some great detailing.  They are both fairly formal looking.  Is it appropriate to wear these types of boots to work?  Would it ever be appropriate to wear the tall ones with a knee-length or slightly shorter skirt or dress (as opposed to wearing work slacks over them), and in that instance would tights or leggings be appropriate?

Regarding the ankle length boots, I’m going to say that while I’ve heard from some readers who think all ankle- and mid-calf-length boots are hideous (I love ’em, so I’m not in that group), I’ve never heard anyone say they’re inappropriate for the office.  Wear ’em with pants all you want; I’ve even seem some women successfully pull them off with skirts and opaque tights that matched their boots exactly.

Regarding the knee-length boots, now… that’s a more interesting question.  It was only a few years ago that the fashion writer for The Washington Post reacted with horror to an outfit Condoleezza Rice wore that involved black knee-high boots, ultimately calling her a dominatrix.  As she wrote:

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Riding Boots … to the Office?

Frye - Dorado Riding (Bordeaux Textured Full Grain) - FootwearReader J wonders:

I have a question I’d love to see addressed on your blog (or maybe you can just give me your $.02): can I wear riding boots to work? If so, how? I am in court every day, but it’s juvie so it’s not like I have to wear a suit every day.

Hmmn. Well. Honestly? My $.02 here is that no, you really should not wear riding boots to court. Certainly not with leggings or skinny pants, and definitely not with miniskirts. The “librarian in the 80s” look of a knee- or calf-length A-line skirt, fitted jacket, and riding boots might work… but something tells me that’s not what you have in mind. You can, of course, wear them beneath trousers. (Pictured above: Frye – Dorado Riding (Bordeaux Textured Full Grain) – Footwear, $458 at Zappos.)

I guess my gut reaction is stemming from the fact that these boots are originally intended for riding horses. Like pants intended for yoga, and leather jackets intended for motorcycle wearers, they may occasionally be acceptable for a very, very casual day at some offices — but court is not one of those places.

I’ll let the commenters weigh in here… ladies? When can and can’t you wear riding boots to the office? Am I wrong to group all “intended for” clothing into one bucket?

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