The Hunt: Knee-High Boots Under 3″

low-heeled tall boots

2017 Update: We still like a lot of these low-heeled tall boots, but you may also want to check out our most recent discussion on what boots to wear with tights to work

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.

I always hesitate to do a Hunt for knee-high boots for the office because, while they’ve come a long way in the working world, they are still a heavily “know your office” kind of issue.  Still, I feel like every woman has at least one pair of knee high boots — for today’s Hunt I decided to focus on the “under 3 inch” category of heeled boots.  Readers, have you bought a pair of low-heeled boots recently?  Do you wear them to the office?

Update: check out our 2015 roundup of heeled, stylish knee-high boots here

Donald J Pliner Yazi Black Crepe BootI’ll admit: I found a cheaper boot from a reader-recommended brand — but the pictures on the site were horrible, so I didn’t include (here’s the link if you’re on a budget though). Which means that our Hunt starts today at $159 with these lovely Donald J Pliner crepe boots. I like the oval toe, the 2″ heel, the stretchy fabric, and the sale — the boots were $298, but are now marked to $159 at 6pm. Donald J Pliner Yazi Black Crepe Boot
Sofft Annora BootI love these wedge boots from Sofft — they look modern and sleek while somehow also looking comfortable.  They’re $219 (and they also come in “tan.”) Sofft Annora Boot
Rockport Seven to 7 Tall BootThere’s a lot to like about these Rockport boots — not only do they come in regular and wide calf sizes, but they also have a 2.5″ heel (with a .5″ platform) and they feature “adiPRENE® and adiPRENE+® by adidas® sport technology in the heel and forefoot to absorb shock with every step.”  Nice. They’re $240. Rockport Seven to 7 Tall Boot
Tsubo Faline BootI’ve never owned a pair of Tsubo boots, but I’ve heard wonderful things about their comfort over the years (and I know that Sally at Already Pretty is a big fan).  This pair has a 2.5″ heel, and I like the slightly pointy toe.  They’re $275, and also come in a “charcoal” suede. Tsubo Faline Boot
Taryn Rose Dodie BootA thicker, more walkable heel may be on your wish list for a pair of comfortable boots, and these Taryn Rose boots with a 2.25″ heel fit the bill.  They are on the pricier side, though: they’re $499. Taryn Rose Dodie Boot
Kate Spade New York Tanie Black NappaThese Kate Spade boots also have a wider, more walkable heel, with an even lower height — 2″ heel with a .25″ platform.  They’re $498. Kate Spade New York Tanie Black Nappa

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  1. The Donald J. Pliners are on sale for a reason. I have tried them on and the positioning of the heel makes just standing still extremely difficult. I felt like I had an off center bamboo skewer for a heel.

  2. hoola hoopa :

    I like my Steven Intyce. Reasonable quality for the price point, but I love the simplicity and wedge heel, which makes them comfortable with pencil skirts at the office and skinny jeans chasing kids on the weekends. The 15.5″ circ fits my muscular calves, too.

  3. I love these boot’s, but perfer boots WITHOUT alot of tred on the bottom b/c I inevetibely step into alot of poop and do NOT like to have to soak my shoe’s or rub them off in a department store. FOOEY!

    Myrna again brought up Sam b/c she did NOT think it was right for Willem to try and come up last week. She think’s Willem is realy interested in procreateing and wants me to get with him quickley b/f some other guy step’s in. I still can NOT get over Sam exposeing himself to us when he was weareing those short short’s. DOUBEL FOOEY! But that onley leave’s me with Roberta’s son and now the manageing partner’s nephew is makeing another play. I saw him yesterday at Shake Shack with his skateboard. I can NOT date a skater. I need to take some time away to regroup. YAY!!!!!

    • Is there really that much sh!t lying around NYC or is she just obsessed? Seems like we get at least one sh!t reference/week from her.

  4. I’m so happy I don’t like the Kate Spade pair! They’re out of my budget (and I normally think most Kate Spade stuff is cute). :)

    • I agree on all counts. I think those look rather dated. I expected them to be on sale.

    • All of these are outside of my budget, sadly. My last pair of boots were $50 from Talbots end of season sale.

  5. Killer Kitten Heels :

    Love, love, love the Rockports – I got the low-heeled version about a month ago, and wear them far more frequently than I thought I would because they are *so* comfy. (I’ve actually purchased 2 more pairs of Rockports since, I love the adidas adiprene insole so much.)

  6. For all the wide-calf ladies out there, I just bought two pairs from Lane Bryant for less than $160. Links to follow. They actually zipped around my pants (which were just random khakis I had on) and my chunky calves (I usually need 18″ + for them to fit.)

    • Black riding boots:

      Brown “clean” riding boots that nearly went over my knees:

      • ExcelNinja :

        These links don’t seem to be working for me – can you re-post? I’m in the market for wide-calf low-heeled boots!

      • HippieLawyer :

        Liz, did the quality off those Lane Bryant boots seem OK? I worry about that, since they are a clothing place not a shoe store.

  7. What do you guys think of this one? It’s in the clearance section of my local DSW for $95 (and I have a $10 off coupon) – I want a real leather, black knee high boot with a heel for wearing over skinny jeans (this meets all those criteria) but for versatility might like it to be sleek enough to wear with skirts and I’m not sure this would work for that.

    • My $.02: I think these would look nice with a skirt.

    • I think they look a little on the casual side, have some western-ish details. I would totally wear these in my casual office, but I don’t feel like they are dressy enough for wearing with suits or pencil skirts. Not sure exactly what you are looking for, but that’s just my take. I do LOVE b.o.c.’s for comfort though, I have a million shoes from them. ;o)

      • They come across as casual to me too because of the pebbled leather and buckle. I guess what I want is someone to tell me it’s okay to spend close to $100 on shoes I wouldn’t wear to work. :p
        I wouldn’t wear a tall boot with a suit or pencil skirt, but thought it would be nice if my boots could multi-purpose and be worn to work with a wrap dress.

        • I guess it depends on how formal your office is? I think they would kind of ‘dress-down’ a wrap dress. Which might be fine, they would definitely look great! also, i am happy to just enable you and tell you you can totally buy a pair of boots you can’t wear to work! They’re on Clearance!! That totally makes up for it ;o)

  8. I don’t understand why these are considered “knee high” they hit me like upper shin. but i’m also taller

    • Anonymous :

      I think you answered your own question there.

    • Because knee-high doesn’t mean “comes up to the knee” it means they hit towards the top of the calf, as opposed to mid shin or at the ankle.

      Also, its the same reason a “knee length” skirt doesn’t hit at the knees on everyone. It gives you an idea of the length – you know it’s not midi or mini, but it’s not designed to give you a specific measurement.

  9. Miz Swizz :

    Has anyone consigned shoes before? I have two pairs of Ann Taylor knee-high boots that I can no longer wear because I can no longer wear heels. They’re size 11 extended-calf so I’m not sure if I’d have any luck consigning them or if I need to try to find a sell it on eBay store because I wore them about 5 times each and would like to recoup some money.

    • I have successfully consigned several pairs of boots. I think the condition they’re in is more important than size, in terms of whether a store will take them. Give it a shot.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’ve never consigned, but I’ve had luck selling on ebay. Name brand stuff seems to do ok if it’s in good condition. Be warned though, if you are planning to ship in the box, account for that in the shipping cost. The size of a knee high boot box puts the shipping cost with the USPS up into some kind of “oversized” box range and it’s a fortune.

    • I am exactly that size! Do you have pictures? I would certainly consider buying them from you!

    • National_Anthem :

      I initially misread this as co-signed. I was like, if you are buying shoes that require a loan (especially one you need a co signer for!), there’s a problem.

      But good luck with the consignment. :)

  10. Threadjack - Clutter :

    Threadjack –

    What recommendations do you ladies have for dealing with clutter in your home life? I’m not just talking about a pencil organizer – I’m finding myself feeling overwhelmed and discouraged the moment I walk in the door from the piles of stuff that seem to accumulate. I’ve taken a few steps – moving from paper to electronic and whiteboard-based calendars and systems; having a daily list of chores, putting as much on automatic as possible. I’m still feeling like our house is dirty and cluttery all the time, and when I get home I just look around and get stressed out and want to set in to organizing, but 2-3 days later it’s all the same.

    What’s your best de-clutter system? Any books or helpful resources? (I’ve tried fly-lady and hate it with a burning passion.) Really, I don’t want to have a system for dusting – I want to own nothing that dust will accumulate on. I feel like we have too much stuff and knick-knacks. How do you get rid of excess stuff?

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Stuff and knick-knacks: can you totally clear off a ton of stuff, put it in a storage box or something, and evaluate? I hate throwing stuff away sometimes, so hiding it from myself gives me a chance to see if I miss it. If I don’t, I toss it next time I do a goodwill run.

    • I have a few friends who are doing the minimalist game right now – theminimalists dot com slash game – where you get rid of items each day. The number corresponds to the date on the calendar (for example, today you would get rid of 21 things). It’s otherwise unstructured, but looks interesting.

    • springtime :

      I think your last sentence is your answer there- get rid of knick-knacks. does it serve a purpose? if not get rid of it (obviously sentimental items are different). It might be hard at first but after awhile it’s liberating to get rid of excess ‘stuff’. if you want to keep it but not display it organize your drawers and put it in there.

    • Diana Barry :

      Piles of stuff are an issue for me too. We have kids so there is kid clutter all over too.

      Some stuff that helps: having a landing place for the incoming stuff (a desk or table). Filing all mail etc. that needs to be kept in a file box, and then we have file cabinets in the basement for older things (taxes etc.). Putting everything away in its place RIGHT AWAY, because otherwise it doesn’t get done. Putting the kid stuff on the calendar RIGHT AWAY and then throwing away the piece of paper announcing it >>> this means you have to check your electronic calendar! Having a magazine rack and actually keeping the magazines in it.

      Having enough storage also helps – we have a colonial house with super tiny closets, and so we have some built in bookshelves and desks and drawers, which helps somewhat.

      The cleaning person is also helpful, because you have to put everything away before they come.

    • We just went through a fall clean out of our house. Start small! For example, we did one closet a night after work, making piles for trash, donation, and to sell on craigslist or similar. Then when we got a carload, we took it immediately to a donation site. We were brutal with considering what we actually used or needed. Once the storage spaces were de-cluttered, the rest of the house followed suit because we could properly store away things in closets/drawers that had been full of junk. As far as paper, some of that clutter is hard to avoid, but I keep a small basket on an entryway table and all bills, mail, and junk paper goes in there until we have time to sort or shred. It doesn’t bother me, because it’s contained somewhat.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I used to subscribe to FlyLady many years ago and got into a few good habits that I still do to this day:

      Setting the timer for 15 minutes and just picking up/cleaning until it goes off
      Going through the house with a trash bag and tossing stuff (she calls it the 27-Fling Boogie because she tosses until she’s tossed 27 items)
      Having a routine for what gets cleaned when

      Some people find it overwhelming and/or condescending and/or just not your style, but you might want to check it out:

    • TO Lawyer :

      You need to be ruthless with your clutter. Unless you have a really good reason for keeping it, throw it out (or recycle). Maybe this is easy for me because I’m not sentimental but I don’t keep anything unless I need it, and then I get rid of it once I’m done.

      Put things away as soon as you’re done with them, including filing bills etc. Throw out old magazines and newspapers. Throw out the knick-knacks. I have a few I’ve picked up from my travels but nothing that doesn’t actually mean something to me.

      If you need a two-step process, get rid of everything but don’t throw it out. Put it in a bag in the bottom of a closet. If you don’t miss it for a month, throw it out.

    • I feel your pain. My house feels similarly cluttered, no matter what I do. Every now and then I walk from room to room, eyeing items and asking them, “what have you done for me lately?” If the item can’t answer the question satisfactorily (i.e. it is not useful, beautiful, or otherwise add to my life in a meaningful way), off it goes to the Salvation Army box. Of course, I am not as ruthless as I might be, and I am very sentimental with respect to family stuff that has been handed down from my grandparents or whatever. But you might be better at this than I am.

      The other thing I’ve done is to internalize the concept that people with messy houses have interesting lives. It makes me feel better.

    • Moving helped us clear a ton of clutter. Could you start a box for donations? Anything that is in your house that you come across and aren’t using, into the box it goes. Then once every few months, review the contents and out the door with them. I also think you have to be realistic about what you will keep. Am I going to rotate out the daily art work that comes home from pre-school in some sort of Pinterest-inspired frame? Nope. So I have no qualms about tossing 99% of it. Am I going drive these old magazines over to the nursing home? No, but I can recycle them so that counts for something. We are really bad about piling papers and mail everywhere so my new goal is to have a small bin for all of that. Once the bin is full, the content goes into filing cabinets, shredding or recycling. We also found that we were less cluttered when we have someone cleaning our house. At least once every two weeks, we knew we had to straighten up for the cleaning crew. Regular entertaining accomplishes a similar result too.

      • When I was growing up, we moved really often. I ask myself, “would I want to pack & move this item?” whenever I’m trying to de-clutter. So often, I’ll keep something only until I move, and if that’s going to be the case, why let it clutter my home now? Easier said than done, obviously.

        • ExcelNinja :

          +1 to preg3L’s comment…I’ve never lived anywhere longer than 2 years, with the exception of a house where I lived from the age of 6 to 12. I am ruthless with stuff. I just got rid of all my books except one shelf of favourites!

      • Wildkitten :

        +1 I keep a donation box.

    • I am a banana. :

      Buy cute wastebaskets and put them everywhere paper accumulates. Then it’s easy to throw away mail/magazines/etc. you don’t really need. An extra one in the bedroom and one in the living room have really helped me.

      • Lady Harriet :

        Also, sort though mail as soon as you walk in the door with it. If all the junk mail goes straight from the mail box to the recycling bin it doesn’t have a chance to clog up your house.

        • I take this one step further and sort the mail over the recycling bin OUTSIDE.

    • Silvercurls :

      This is the story of my life (well, one of them)!
      1) For inspiration, and a compassionate explanation of why it’s good to declutter, and how to do it:
      brooks-palmer (dot) blogspot (com) Note: he’s not posting regularly at present, but you can read his archives. This is currently my favorite source, because he’s so kind and so concise.
      2) For humor: Don Aslett’s books. I think it’s “Clutter’s Last Stand” that has a hilarious list of the peculiar objects people hang onto. You know, stuffed moose heads, old shoes, bushels of outmoded office supplies (e.g. Rolodex cards, telephone/address books with looseleaf pages, carbon paper), dead houseplants, hideous knicknacks given as gifts by important relatives, and so forth.
      3) I know Flylady is not for everyone, but if you need additional comic relief, look online for the pages, about 6-8 years ago, where she invited her members to contribute to lists of “weirdest things flung.” (Flylady encourages her followers to participate in 27-Fling Boogies.) Memorable discarded items included aforementioned moose heads, decades-old canned goods, ancient and unusable appliances, and the umbilical cords of now-adult children. If nothing else, you can take comfort in having merely ordinary junk.
      4) For more compassion: Organizing From the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern; she also has books about time management and life management
      5) Recommended by another reader of C *** t t e, for motivation (and impressive profanity–be warned): Unf*ckyourhabitat (dot) tumblr (dot) com
      The slogan of this site is “Terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes.” It’s a bit brutal, but you can browse and then depart.
      6) I used to read unclutterer (dot) com. They had lots of detailed discussions of how best to handle cutlery, makeup, hair dryers, etc. It can be helpful but I got overwhelmed. Your reaction may be different.
      Good luck! After a while you start to enjoy both the decluttering experience and the benefits of living with more order than disorder.

    • I schedule pickups by the Purple Heart Foundation. Since I commit to giving up X bags of stuff, I roam through the house and throw them in the bag. It makes me feel better that the sale of the items will go to a good cause and I get a less cluttered house.

  11. For all the narrow-calf ladies out there, I started a blog to help women find boots that work for their skinny calves. My calves have a 12″ circumference and for a long time, it was a struggle to find boots that fit. But now, I’m happy to say that I have a couple of narrow-calf options that are sufficiently professional for the office and are comfortable too! My blog ( features promising boots, reviews, and pictures.

  12. Are you reading my mind? I just ordered a bazillion boots to try on. (Im livin overseas and zappos is a godsend).

    Whats the rule for boots with skirts? I see women do it all the time in my business casual office (usually sith black tights) but they are all short and curvy. I feel so..hooker-ish being tall and trying it. Its just tood arn cold here to try to salvage my skirts with tights and heels now.

    • I think it depends on the length of your skirt, the height of your boot shaft, and the height of your boot heel. We could probably all agree that miniskirt (more than 3 in above the knee by my definition, at least for work) plus 4 inch stiletto heel plus over the knee is probably not appropriate even in a business casual office. For me, at 5’5”, my max is about 5 inches of clearance between the top of my boot and the hem of my skirt, and then only with tights and a low (less than 2 in) heel. Longer skirt, IMO, means you could do a higher heel. All boots that I consider appropriate for work in my office end just below my knee.

    • I am 6′ tall and love wearing “knee-high” boots to the office. (They really aren’t knee-high due to my height.) At work, I always wear tall boots with black or brown tights, depending on the color of boot I am wearing. My boots have a 3 inch heel and my skirts/dresses are never more than an inch or so above my knee. I don’t feel this is unprofessional or “hooker-ish” at all. In fact, I get a lot of compliments.

  13. Kat, can you please start incorporating at least one flat shoe when you do these round-ups? I get that lots of people wear heels to work (and consider flats inappropriate, but don’t get me started on that!), but I feel like we’ve had so many conversations on here about how so many of us can’t/choose not to wear heels at the office. Even the “commuting shoes” round up was mostly heeled shoes! Some options in flats would help those of us who can’t wear heels because of foot issues! Thanks!

    • But this was specifically for heeled boots ;)

      • Well, not to get all technical, but it says knee-high boots under 3″. :) Still, I don’t think it’d be crazy to add one or two pairs of flats in here!

    • Diana Barry :


    • Miz Swizz :

      I have some flat boots from Naturalizer that I absolutely love. I had to switch to flat and low/heeled (I’m talking less than 1 inch) shoes a few years ago because of plantar fasciitis so I feel your pain.

    • Adding to the request for at least one flat option with every shoe roundup! Thanks Batgirl, I totally agree!

  14. I have these from Aerosoles in both black and brown. I’m in the vegan-shoes camp so these are synthetic. They’re extremely comfortable and look good with skirts and dresses. They’re not particularly warm but I’ve worn them with socks and tights and been comfortable when having to cross slushy parking lots and the like, no leaks. I like them so much that last year when they were on sale I bought an extra pair in black, for when mine wear out.

  15. I have three pairs of knee-high boots from the brand Impo, which I got from DSW. The are 2.5 inches and moderatly priced – around $50-$70 I believe. They are extremely comfortable an I wear them all the time in the fall and winder. They fit my narrow calves, but I believe they also sell wide calf versions.

  16. nice cube :

    threadjack – i am on the hunt for food storage containers to bring my lunch (usually a salad) to work everyday. any recommendations? i am looking for bpa-free or non-plastic containers and am finding myself overwhelmed by the options on amazon.

    • We have the Snapware Glasslock that we got at Costco a few years back They have been great and haven’t exploded or shattered which seems to be all the rage in the amazon reviews.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I have the Rubbermaid LunchBlox Salad Kit system and love it. There’s a big container for greens, a lid with a separate dressing tub and two other spots for other salad mixings. There’s a removable freezer pack that slides on if you want that. They’re BPA free and dishwasher safe. They’re really light, which is nice for hauling to the office (I love pyrex, but wow, does that stuff get heavy!)

      DH uses it for non-salad things as well.

      • +1 These are great. We also use one of the different kits in the same line for our boys’ lunches. They fit together really well, and I love how the freezer pack fits in too.

      • Anonymous :

        Have this as well and I love it for salads! Unfortunately I’m on a “no salad kick” for the last few months…

        • I’m intrigued. Were you eating too much salad? Can one eat too much salad? If it was something like pasta or chips or cupcakes I’d understand, but I’m baffled here.

    • Darjeeling :

      You can’t go wrong with Lock and Lock. They are the best- you can fill one up with soup and throw it in your purse with zero worries. They’re plastic but bps free and DW safe.

    • My faves are Weck containers – they’re glass, but unbreakable as far as i can tell, and you can use them in the microwave without worry.

  17. I have the Ecco Hope boot from last season, a 2 1/2″ heel, and they are insanely comfortable, and perfect for my long foot with a narrow heel, but still have room in the toebox. It looks like they have discontinued the Hope for these with a different heel shape But I would bet you they are still as comfortable. I also still see the Hope boot on ebay, etc if you know that Eccos work for you and are looking for a boot. I love mine.

  18. I got the Born Mallory Heeled Boots in black from Garnet Hill last year and I love them. If they weren’t $198 (I think I lucked into a good coupon/sale last year), I’d get them in brown as well. They’re very walkable, 2 1/4 inch heel, and nice and simple. My calves are on the smaller side so I don’t know that they’d work for people who need wider widths, but they’re very nice boots. Garnet Hill actually has a decent selection of Born boots.

  19. +1 for Impo boots! Affordable and comfortable.
    If you’re on a budget and looking for trendier boots, shoe is great and has a ton of boot styles, quite a few with a 1.5″ or flat heel.

  20. Sigh, as someone who is only 5′ tall, I really wish we could go back to mid-shin boots. Knee highs are SO tall on me and I feel like they both stumpify and look a little, um, risque (i.e, Julia-Roberts-in-Pretty-Woman-ish) for the office.

  21. Can anyone explain “shaft height” to me? Where is that measured from on a boot, and where would you measure from on your leg if you wanted to figure out what shaft height would work for you? I’m super tall and “knee-high” boots are always mid-calf on me.

    • I hope someone answers this even though it’s Wednesday already, because I’ve always wondered this as well.

  22. Love the Kate Spades! I want!

    I used to have a great pair of 3” heeled boots I wore to the office several years ago, that have just worn out and I never wore boots last winter.

    A co-worker in my office had a pair of these Kate Spades and I was just eyeing them greedily. She let me try them on since we wear the same size shoe, and even though I was barefoot, they fit wonderfully, almost like a glove. In fact, they fit me so much like a glove, I’ll probably wear them without socks whenever I get my hands on a pair of my own, it was so comfortable! Saving $ with a new goal in my sights!

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