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Given that I have been reviewing more affordably priced boots lately, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of boots being expensive to get into. I cannot even count how many times I have seen people talk about how many boots cost too much, which is partly why I am now covering more affordable boots. Personally, I think getting a solid pair of boots is more affordable than people think. You just need to know what you want, where to look, and be willing to put a little time and effort in.
This article is meant to be a guide to help you find boots of at least decent quality for under $300 and in many cases, under $200. In an effort to help give people as many options as possible, I am including brands that I do not particularly care for personally, but I will not distinguish which those are. I do believe that all of these boots are at least of better quality than typical mall and fashion brands and are at least resoleable. None of the boots here are even close to end game level in terms of quality, but that’s OK. If this gets people to buy actual goodyear welted or stitchdown boots and experience the joy of owning real boots instead of cemented junk made with ‘genuine leather’, then I will be happy.
In this list, I have compiled brands, stores, and used/resale websites Many people may already know of some, if not all of these and some of you may have more information than I do. If you do, I would appreciate if you reached out to me through my email here or DM me on Instagram so I can add your information to this article. The goal of this article is to help people find affordable boots that they will be happy with and perhaps also to help corrupt them into being boot nerds as well so without further ado, let’s get into it.
In the first place, there are many brands that you can find that are sold for under $300 even brand new on a regular basis. Some of these will be closer to $300 than our $200 target, but in my opinion, they are largely worth the extra price and some are absolutely worth it. In some cases, it is much better to save up for a little longer and buy a better product. However, some of these boots listed can be had for $200 or less.
Domestically Produced Boots (produced in the same country the company is based in):
Red Wing: It wouldn’t be an affordable boot list without Red Wing. I no longer own either of my pairs of Red Wing boots, but I did do a review of one of them here. They aren’t perfect, but I do think they are one of the better boots in this price range. While many of their models are north of $300 and some are more than $400, a fair amount of their boots are actually under $250 even when brand new. Later in this list, I will explain some ways to find them for even more affordable prices. Also, remember that not all Red Wing boots are made in the USA. Their heritage models are, though. You can read my full review of my Red Wing moc toe boots here.
Urban Shepherd: This brand based in and made in Portugal is relatively unknown. I reviewed a pair recently (they were sent to me for free to review) and I actually quite liked them overall. They are not perfect and the aesthetics may not please everyone, but I do think they are worth the price, especially given that they are currently $225 with the $50 coupon they are giving on their website. The fire aging is quite silly to me, but I still like the boots I reviewed for the price. You can read my full review of them here.
Mark Albert: Mark Albert has now been around for a few years and made a name as a solid, affordable boot option with a strong tie to its production factory in the USA. My Mark Albert boots (Sent to me for review) had some serious flaws, but if you get a pair without a couple of the bigger issues mine had, I think they would be worth their price at just under $300 and some are only $260. You can read my full review of these boots here.
These are the boots in this category that I have experience with. There are others including Chippewa from the USA who’s USA made boots are anywhere from $219-$279, Astorflex from Italy which run from $150-$195, Thorogood from the USA which start at around $189, Parkhurst from the USA, and Allen Edmonds from the USA. Many of Allen Edmonds boots are over $300, but as of the publishing of this article, they do have some models for less than $200, $230, $250, and $300.
Also, keep in mind that like Red Wing, not all of Chippewa or Thorogood’s boots are actually made in the USA so definitely be wary of that. However, I know some do not care about outsourcing which is why we are moving onto…
Outsourced Production Boots:
Taft, Beckett Simonon, Grant Stone, Meermin, and Thursday (some of Thursday’s boots are made in the USA). Personally, I do not have experience with most of these brands aside from Thursday and Beckett Simonon, which I just received. Regardless of my thoughts on these brands, they will all be far superior to fashion and mall brands that use cemented construction. If I had to pick one of these, I would say Grant Stone appears to have the highest quality and in fact they appear to be better made than any other brand mentioned previously in this article based on the pictures I have seen (aside from Motor, who are out of this price bracket), but I have yet to handle any in person. There are also probably a lot more brands like these that I have not listed. Also of note is that Meermin products are partly assembled in China and then finished in Spain which is why they are on this list and not the previous one. Also, many of these brands have models above the $300 price point too so you will have to search the site and decide what price you want to spend.
There is one more outsourced production brand that I have experience with and that is Clark’s. These stitchdown desert boots are made in Vietnam and mine have held up very well. They were a much better value when I bought them for $50. However, while overpriced at $130 now, I still think they are better than a lot of boots that cost more. However, my friend @shibooee said he had two pairs that both fell apart where the stitchdown meets the crepe sole, which is pretty terrible. Given both of our different experiences, these are a risk. Perhaps an alternative is RM Williams’ desert boot that is made in Portugal for $250.
Quite a few of the brands listed above are direct-to-consumer brands, but there are a lot of more affordable brands that go through traditional retailers. Some of the larger brands go through major retailers often have sales that make the boots more affordable.
Nordstrom: Almost every mall seems to have one of these and that’s not a bad thing given that they stock Red Wing, Wolverine, Allen Edmonds, and more. They do run sales at times and they also do put items on discount or clearance, even the more expensive ones. A few years ago I was able to get $320 Allen Edmonds shoes for under $200.
Nordstrom Rack: This is like Nordstrom, but everything is on sale. I have a couple of these near me and I have not found any Red Wings that I like yet, but I don’t go there looking for myself and I know friends that have found great deals on Red Wings and Wolverines.
Sierra Trading Post: This seems to be the go to place to find Red Wing factory seconds at extremely low prices. They have physical locations, but most people seem to shop them online. They regularly have Red Wing boots, even the more desirable models for around $200 and sometimes just over $100! They are usually factory seconds, but these flaws are usually pretty minor and make it more than worth it to get these boots at such low prices.
Red Wing stores: These physical locations will sometimes have factory seconds available and may even have minor sales, so if you have a Red Wing store or a few near you, they may be worth checking out in person.
In my opinion, buying used is the best way to find high quality clothing for less money. The great thing about heritage menswear is that it is durable and worth selling rather than throwing away. This means that there are a lot of great gear on the used market. You likely won’t find Lofgrens or Vibergs for under $300, but I have found Whites, Red Wing, Wolverine, Trickers, and more under this mark. Brands like Allen Edmonds can be had for even cheaper, usually around $100. I found a pair of Church’s (made in England) boots once for $80 on Ebay.
Forums such as Superfuture, Denimbro, The Fedora Lounge, and the Iron Heart Forum, are all great ways to find high end and solid quality boots for a discount and many examples are barely worn. Each link above takes you directly to the sale section for each of these forums and I recommend checking all of them regularly for great deals.
Resale sites such as Ebay, Grailed, Yahoo Auctions Japan, and even sometimes Etsy are also excellent options. I have found some fantastic clothing that I still own to this day on Ebay and Grailed. Etsy does sometimes have solid boots too and even places you wouldn’t expect such as Poshmark and Vinted will have men’s footwear for good prices even though they are mainly aimed at women’s clothing. My $400 Flat Head sneakers were purchased on Vinted for under $100.
Thrift stores such as Goodwill are much more hit or miss. I haven’t found too many amazing thrift store deals, but I did buy a Gitman Vintage shirt in basically brand new condition (around $200 new) for $10 out the door at a San Francisco thrift shop a few years ago and I still wear it today. I also know that someone once found a $2250 Himel Bros. jacket that was basically brand new for what I believe was under $100 once, so it is possible to find grails for cheap. If you are looking to save money, I would suggest at least trying this route. You never know what you might find!
The last way to find great deals on boots is to ask people. Ask your friends, ask people you know on forums or on Instagram, and ask people whose opinions you respect. They may be selling something themselves, may know someone who is selling boots in your size, or may know a store that is running a sale currently. Do not be afraid to ask people for help when looking to buy affordable boots. Hopefully this list helps you find some awesome footwear for a good price, though I am sure that it is incomplete and there is much more information to add. If you have anything you think I should include in this article, please let me know as I am sure I did not cover everything.
2 thoughts on “How to Buy Affordable Boots”
As a total noob to leather and boots, I’ve found your site helpful and informative. I went down an internet rabbit hole about two weeks ago, started by a Facebook ad for Thursday boots. I’m so glad I stopped by here on that journey, as it has sent me in a totally different direction.
I now have a pair of Grant Stone boots on the way. I checked them out after reading this post (I had a look at nearly all the boots you mentioned!) and found that for me they seem to have about the right blend of aesthetic, affordability and quality for my first ever pair of boots. Then I noticed that they have a Badalassi veg tan leather option and after seeing how that stuff ages, I was sold.
If you do end up getting your hands on a pair that’d be a post I’d be super interested to read.
Yeah I would really like to try Grant Stone.