The Hunt: Flat Knee-High Boots

flat knee-high boots

2017 Update: We still like a lot of these flat knee-high boots, but you may also want to check out our most recent discussion on what boots to wear with tights to work as well as 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.

Although knee-high boots are always a “know your office” situation, I think they’re gaining more and more acceptance, and can be a comfortable, casual look with dark tights and skirts, to very casual days with skinny jeans. As we mentioned in last year’s flat-boot roundup, I think you want your outfit to look intentional (and not “never got around to changing out of my commuting shoes”), and go for a sleek look, avoiding slouchy boots, heavy treads, or Western influences.  As I would when looking for any classic, doesn’t-change-too-much shoe, I started my search in the bargain bins. Readers, how often do you wear flat knee-high boots to the office?  Which brands and styles are your favorites (and have you seen any good deals lately)?

(Looking for boots with a bit of a heel?  Check out our recent roundup of low-heeled tall boots (all with heels under 3″!)

Natural Soul Vanity Black SmoothI’m not that familiar with Natural Soul, but it is a Naturalizer brand, and the price is hard to beat.  I like the thinness of the straps, too, as well as the cushioned foodbed. These were $99, but are now marked to $69 at today; they’re available in black and brown. Natural Soul Vanity Black Smooth
DKNY Polyana BootThese Polyana boots from DKNY look sleek and minimalist, and I like that the shaft dips lower in the back.  The boots are 55% off today at 6pm — were $198, now $89.  (Available in black and brown.) DKNY Polyana Boot
Nine West PartayThese Nine West boots are highly reviewed over at Zappos, where they’re $100-$135 (down from $169). The plain leather ones are technically less expensive at 6pm ($92), but if you’re like me and love free shipping and free returns (plus a long return policy), I’d prefer to buy from Zappos. Nine West Partay
Cole Haan Jodhpur BootFirst: these boots also come in black (pictured at the very top of the post).  That said, they also come in red (pictured here) and nice lighter brown.  I am not a red-knee-high-boot person at all (at least, I didn’t think I was), but if I were, these look amazing.  The low heel and dark suede color … love. Again, Zappos has higher prices (both the black and tan are marked from $348 to $229), but free shipping and free returns; 6pm is the only one with the oxblood red, though (limited sizes!) for $226. Cole Haan Jodhpur Boot
Blondo Jeane Waterproof BootThis highly reviewed boot at Nordstrom looks great — and I love the fact that it’s waterproof, with sealed seams.  It looks sleek and comfortable (and, interestingly, comes in sizes 5-12) in brown and black.  It’s $265. Blondo Jeane Waterproof Boot
Attilio Giusti Leombruni Tall BootReaders have sung the praises of Attilio Giusti Leombruni in our guide to comfortable heels, so this sale — even with limited sizes — is still fairly noteworthy. I love the lizard-embossed leather on the trim, and the general shape of the boot; the rubber sole looks like it’ll really grip slick subway stairs.  The boot was $580, but is now marked to $290. Attilio Giusti Leombruni Tall Boot

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!



  1. Has anyone gotten the waterproof boots from La Canadienne? Are they actually waterproof (like I can go out in snow) or am I risking ruining them if I do that?

    • Cornellian :

      I have a pair from last year that appear to be waterproof. I haven’t gone slushing through mud puddles, but I’ve worn them through a NYC winter with a week in Minneapolis and they seem fine.

    • Yes, I have a pair. It’s the black suede Mazy, I believe. Mine appear to be waterproof – I am from Wisconsin and have worn them in snowy winter conditions with no wet feet. They are very comfortable and warm, too, IMO.

    • Yay! Thanks everyone! Totally going to pull the trigger on some from Zappos later today.

      • Nancy Blackett :

        I’ve gotten some good deals on them from Amazon so make sure to price compare the two! I have the flat black leather Stefanie and the black suede Mazy and I really like them.

    • The La Canadienne boots hold up extremely well, and are my New England boot of choice from December through April. I have several pairs of them, though some are not in rotation because the toe is too wide and round for current fashion. When they say waterproof, they are (though I notice the company now only claims 6 months of waterproof-ness.) When they say warm, they are. I wear mine a lot, and the heels get more beat up than anything. I wish the company offered more trendy styles. Another good choice for winter wear is Aquatalia / Marvin K.

  2. I have a pair of Natural Sole tall boots with a chunky heel. Price point is good, but the synthetic leather is pretty squeaky whenever I move. Adding some padding to the insole helps them to be more comfortable for longer wear. They also offer several styles in wide calf, which was a bonus for me.

  3. Anon in NYC :

    Piperlime is running a sale right now – 20% off boots, 40% off pumps/flats. Coupon code is SHOES. I’m drooling over the Kate Spade Orlena knee high flat boots.

  4. These are mine:

    • Are they true to size?

      • Yes

        I would also say I have “average” calves (neither skinny nor wide) if that helps.

        With the 20% off code and free shipping, they are $206 right now.

  5. Jane says :

    I know a few people here manage chronic illnesses and work. I’m struggling with post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome and am back at work on reduced hours, slowly working up to full time again. This has meant of course that I’ve missed working on more interesting projects and opportunities to act in more senior roles. I love my job and am serious about my career but might never be able to work the kind of hours I used to again. Does anyone have any advice on how to be seen as a committed professional, even though I can’t be in the office all the time? I need a place where I can escape being ‘the invalid’ for a while.

    • Anonymous :

      No specific thoughts, but my sympathy – this is a tough situation.

      • Silvercurls :

        Ditto, but with encouragement to keep looking for solutions. It _should_ be possible for you to continue to make a positive contribution to the world, even if you have to shift your professional field or focus. In other words, anticipate a detour but not defeat. (And at the risk of sounding like your mother, good for you for not pushing too hard too soon; your health is also important.)

    • NGL, this really sucks. Especially when you’re considered “young”. It can be really hard sometimes. There are good days, mediocre days and downright terrible days. There were honestly times when I thought that I would never be able to work again.

      There are different types of work you can do. My office was particularly great in that they supported me through my illness and recovery. When I eventually came back part time to full time, they explained that they wanted me to take a more managerial role. At first I was taken aback – I wanted to be out there doing everything. But it was a natural progression of my career to manage more people and develop a workload that wasn’t so taxing.

      Give it time. You’ll figure out what works for you.

    • oil in houston :

      I’ve gone through this in my earlier days; I came back too fast to full time and had to be off again… so be gentle with yourself
      When I came back the 2nd time, I was part time for a while, building up to full time again. I felt at first like I would never be ‘normal’ again. It took a year, and a 2-week holiday on a beach doing absolutely doing at the end of that, but I eventually came back to my normal self.

      One problem I faced was that even though my boss was supportive, he had never told my colleagues that I was working part time, so they started being rather difficult with me, and I had to ask my boss to tell them (why he didn’t before, I’ll never know).
      So my advice would be to ensure everyone is aware of your hours, to avoid misunderstanding. Be realistic, and stick to your plan. In my case, I was working 9am-3pm, to avoid rush hour traffic and travelling during the night (it happened in the winter). I had no energy left after that for the first 6months, so offering to do things from home was not possible.

      good luck, it will get better

      • Jane says :

        Thank you Ru, Silvercurls, oil in Houston and anonymous for your thoughts. Good advice about thinking less about ‘my job’ and looking more broadly for solutions.
        It is tough and it is taking a long time, it was a year where I could only work 8 hours a week from home, and it does take energy to work on recovery.
        I appreciate your kind, honest comments.

  6. NYC question :

    I want to order a Christmas gift from a small store I browsed in on a recent visit to NYC. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name. It was in Soho (or that general area), had a French name (maybe starting with “A”…Amour something?), and sold peacoats, wool slippers, breton striped shirts, a few leather goods, etc, for men and women. It was very small. Ring any bells?

    • Do you happen to remember which street in Soho you were on? Might help narrow it down. :)

    • Are you possibly thinking of Aritzia (which is a Canadian chain but the first that came to mind with the A name)?

      • The Aritzia in soho is a huge store…

        Could it be Agnes b. or A.P.C.?

        • NYC question :

          No, I’m familiar with all those brands. And I don’t remember the street. Sadly, I wasn’t paying much attention and only later realized something would make a perfect gift for my husband.

          Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Was it Armor Lux?

  7. lucy stone :

    I have two pairs of Fitzwell boots from Zappos and love them. I have huge calves and these fit with room to spare. I wear them to work several days a week in the winter.

  8. I’ve had several pairs of Nine West leather boots over the years; they are priced reasonably and hold up well.

  9. I just bought the Cole Haan Wesley knee-high flat boot in Fatigue. It is GREAT. Very comfortable, fit me true to size, and quite attractive. Love the color, too.

  10. Miss Behaved :

    I bought these flat boots in the Nordstrom sale last month:

    They’re wide calf and well-priced

  11. I’ve had good luck with Coconuts by Matisse boots that have held up well, and Born boots (of course). For anyone looking for lower price-points, I just stalk the DSW website for months, and usually find at least one really good deal per season.

  12. Up until recently, I was always confused by the term “knee high”.. thinking that meant over the knee boots.. But I guess this is just because I’m 5’11” and over the knee boots usually stop mid knee cap and these “knee high” boots are like 3″ below my knee cap. Nah I still don’t agree with the terminology.

    Anyways, being 5’11” I’ve done my fair share of research on flat boots. I’m salivating over the La Canadienne boots mentioned above. Wow they’re gorgeous.

    I own a pair of Enzo Anglioni flat black boots which are amazing, but I haven’t had as much luck with other styles from that brand. They really slouch around the ankles. I own a pair of the Sam Edelman “Penny” boot, which comes in cognac and black. I think the black looks dressier.. the cognac is more “western”. Ladies! I can’t say enough about that boot! They are so amazing I’ve lived in them all fall so far. They are incredibly sturdy and supportive. The leather is gorgeous. The zipper is quality. They apparently come in wide calf. I can’t say enough about them. I’m only bummed piperlime tricked me into paying full price for them when they went on sale right after I bought them but I was too enamored with them and it was too late to get a price adjustment.

    • TO Lawyer :

      ooo thanks for posting about the sam edelman boots. I saw them on sale last week but didn’t try them on – maybe i’ll do so this week!

      • Equity's Darling :

        Oh, where did you see them on sale?! I’ve been looking here, and I haven’t been able to find them in person, and I’m hesitant to pay $70 on shipping/duties from nordstrom…

        • TO Lawyer :

          At the bay – if you’re coming home for the holidays, I suggest you check out the shoe department at the bay downtown. it’s like heaven on earth ;)

  13. My favorite black boots just kicked the can this weekend (after less than a year!) so this couldn’t be better timed for me! AND I’m the one always complaining that all of the shoe posts are always heels — so thanks, Kat! Yay!

  14. I have to put in a plug for these beloved AK Anne Klein boots I got from Amazon:
    They have a stretchy back panel and are so comfy! I also get compliments on them all the time. I have them in black, they have brown too.

  15. LOL! I wrote about flat boots a little while ago.

    I can’t wear any heels right now due to ACL surgery. Sigh! Shopping therapy to the rescue!

  16. I have the Donald J. Pliner Bixbi, and I love it. I got mine on Last Call for under $200, and they still have the brown but I don’t see the black. Here they are on Amazon. Love them for both comfort & appearance.

  17. Oh, i have a question, too if anyone is still reading. Does anyone here have 10.5 size, narrow heel/wide calf and have a boot recommendation? My sister has that extremely uncommon size, and is always looking for recommendations. TIA!!

  18. kjoirishlastname :

    I have a pair of Guess Lurie boots in their medium brown (kind of rich ambery/cognac color) and I wear them religiously. At the office at least once a week. I wear them over skinny jeans/cords, under trousers & jeans, and with tights/skirts. They’re probably the most versatile shoes that I own, come to think of it.

    I also have a pair of Franco Fortini black boots that are a little lower shaft than the Lurie. They’re also not as comfortable in the foot, so I don’t wear them as often, but with the purchase of 3 new black/gray wool skirts, they’ll be getting more use too.

    Both are full-leather, and I nabbed them on sale last year for about $100 each (at different times)

  19. Here’s my splurge for this year. These make me very happy:

  20. Polished Pinstripes :

    I work in the London office of my BigLaw firm and the women wear flat knee-high boots quite a bit in winter here, particularly if they are really busy at the moment. It seems to be perfectly acceptable, and we are traditionally quite a conservatively-dressed firm. However, my office is 70%+ male and I am pretty sure that I could wear almost anything as long as it was black and not jeans and they wouldn’t even notice.

  21. Frye boots, definitely. I have a pair of Melissa Buttons that I love.