10 Best Desert Boots 2023, According to Style Experts

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These adventure boots should be your new everyday footwear. OEM Loafer Shoe

10 Best Desert Boots 2023, According to Style Experts

DESERT BOOTS are great because they occupy a unique middle ground between several different shoe styles. Yes, they are technically boots, but their lightweight materials and stripped-down construction make them softer, more flexible, and thus more comfortable, and their crepe or rubber soles and open ankles provide the functionality of a sneaker. Additionally, their low-profile heels and cropped ankles are easy to wear with casual pants like derby shoes. Being light and flexible also means that they pack very easily, something that cannot be said for most other men’s boot styles. With all that versatility wrapped up in a rugged and durable package, it is no wonder that the best desert boots are a favorite of travelers and adventurers around the world.

Of course, you don’t have to travel much further than your favorite restaurant or office to enjoy the benefits that the best desert boots have to offer. Named after the shoes worn by British soldiers in North Africa during WWII, the light material and open ankle of desert boots allow for comfortable wear in all seasons, while the crepe or rubber sole provides traction in all terrain conditions, no matter where you are. Thus, the best desert boots are easy to wear, easier to style, and incredibly comfortable as everyday casual shoes. The best desert boots look great with jeans and chinos, but can also fancy up with dress pants. Another great benefit is that desert boots are often affordable and easy to resole, thanks to a simple welt and the low price of crepe soles.

So if you’re looking for something a little more comfortable than dress shoes and a little more refined than a sneaker, check out the best desert boots available right now. For everyday options, the original Desert Boots by Clarks is a no-brainer.

Huckberry's Ben O'Meara proclaims that "every guy should have at least one chukka boot in their closet, and this is a really good style to start with." We couldn't agree more because Astorflex combines craftsmanship and affordability in a way that is hard to find. These desert boots are hand-crafted in Northern Italy using all-natural materials and techniques that have been passed down for generations. They come out of the box comfy and flexible but hold up for the long haul.

We love the waxy finish of this leather because it provides stain and moisture protection but it also develops a nice patina very quickly. These are kick-around shoes that require minimal maintenance but always look good. With a pair of these Italian beauties in your closet, you don't have to think about what shoes to wear with casual pants. Just throw these on and you're good to go.

Credit for developing the desert boot goes to the British military, but Clarks made them popular for stylish civilians around the world. The English shoemakers produce a ton of different shoes but are still synonymous with desert boots. Little has changed from the design worn during WWII, with a simple three-panel upper and a cushiony crepe sole. Proving that you should never mess with success. The ticket price of $150 is already a great bargain for how durable these boots are, but you can often find them discounted.

Our editors love Clarks desert boots because there are so many colors and textures available. Since the design is so simple, the brand can easily use any kind of leather or suede. The basic tans, browns, grays, and blues are always available but you can find a constantly updated range of colors and materials like furry suede and rough-out leather.

Todd Snyder curates a killer selection of shoes from other brands but the in-house designed Nomad desert boot is a real standout. Elements were borrowed from dress shoes like adding a leather lining to the upper for comfort and a leather midsole for more stability. Crepe is still used for the outsole but it is a much rougher variety than you typically see. The best part has to be the snuff suede finish that makes these boots look luxurious.

We wouldn't typically recommend wearing desert boots with a suit or formalwear but the Nomad Boot is an exception. Since the upper is studier and the sole is chunkier than your standard variety desert boot, you can sub these in for a dress shoe very easily. The dark brown looks especially nice with a navy blue suit.

Desert boots are comfortable, but Cole Haan added a sneaker sole and memory foam insert to ratchet the comfort up another level. But you don't really lose the essential desert boot look at all, thanks to the upper construction: flexible, waxy leather upper that comes with matching leather laces. True to the brand's heritage, these desert boots have a very coastal vibe to them.

With a sneaker grip on the outsole, you can do just about anything in these desert boots that you can do in flat-sole sneakers. This puts them at the casual end of the range for desert boots but provides a whole new range of functionality. Our style editors love these as an alternative to sneakers for the fall and winter. You probably wouldn't wear them to work but they're great for a casual look.

Despite an impeccable reputation, Red Wing is far from the first brand that comes to mind when you think of desert boots. That could change very quickly after scoping the Weekender Chukka. As with any Red Wings, these boots are built to take a beating and look all the better for it. A much thicker boot leather was used and the toe is bigger and more rounded off. The ankle is a bit higher, with six shoelace eyelets instead of the usual four. The crepe was replaced with a thicker rubber that is still lighter than you would find on a standard work boot.

These are the most rugged desert boots that our style editors have come across, which gives them a unique appeal. The thick toes and higher ankle make them extra boot-like, which allows for a whole different range of styling. If you are looking for something a little tougher than a typical desert boot that still offers all the same benefits, this is the boot for you.

Alpine soles are not common on desert boots but after trying the Tyler Chukka from Rhodes, they probably should be. After all, the flat bottom makes an alpine sole easier to walk in than a standard boot heel. The upper is just brilliant, with a full-grain rough-out cowhide leather. Which gives the appearance of suede with a much tougher performance. There is a little more heft to these than your typical desert boots but is reassuring of the quality.

Admittedly, $175 is not cheap for a pair of shoes, but given the level of quality that Rhodes offers, it is an absolute bargain. Desert boots are usually a good bang for your buck thanks to a simple design but the Tyler Chukka maxes that out. Little details like the 360 Goodyear Welt and the reinforced heel are often unnoticed but make a huge difference in the long run.

Clarks made a few tweaks to the old-school desert boot design for the Desert Trek. To begin with, the split-toe stitching runs all the way up the tongue for a unique look. An alpine-style flat-bottomed, angled crepe sole has replaced the crepe heel. The ankle has been cropped down to the height of a dress shoe. Thankfully, none of these changes affect the comfort and performance that Clarks desert boots are known for.

These are some of the most fun desert boots that we've tried out. They both wear and style more like a sneaker. You can rock them with shorts and pretty much any kind of pants. Overall, we found that they look best with a dark pair of chinos.

Propét is on a mission to provide quality footwear for guys with feet of all shapes and sizes. If you have wide feet, it can be especially hard to find good dress shoes and boots. The Finley desert boot comes in wide, x-wide, and xx-wide. It can handle the role of both boot and dress shoes. Although the outsole isn't crepe, it has a super grippy bottom that functions pretty much the same way.

This desert boot comes in a few different colors, and while we really like the tan suede, the desert camel suede is just beautiful. Kahki tan boots are having a moment right now and these are some of the most affordable options that we've found. They look great with jeans, especially a really washed-out pair.

A common flaw amongst most desert boots is that water can leak in through the seam that connects the upper to the sole. Since the boot was originally designed to be breathable in dry climates, this wasn't a problem. Most of us aren't actually wearing them in a desert though, so water resistance would be useful. Which is why Allen Edmonds went ahead and made a desert boot for wet and cold climates. Admittedly, this is more of a standard chukka boot than a desert boot but it is the closest alternative that can handle uncomfortable weather.

Our style editors love the Chandler Chukka as a super functional everyday boot, no matter whether you live in the city, country, or the suburbs. The nut brown color matches just about everything and the tough construction allows you to trudge through pretty much anything. If there is a desert boot that we would recommend for winter in the north, it is definitely this one.

Dessert boots are reputation for being light and simple which makes them comfortable and affordable. Officine Creative answers the question, "What if you made a desert boot with the absolute highest quality materials and craftsmanship?" Sure, the result is still very comfortable, but it is also luxuriously beautiful and built to last a lifetime. Not many desert boots cross into the realm of high-end footwear but these ones certainly do. Rather than being a reliable accessory, the Hopkins Suede Desert Boots are the highlight of your outfit.

Probably our favorite part about these desert boots is the chocolate brown suede. It is so soft and lustrous but it is hefty enough to take a beating. Suede has a reputation for requiring pampering but with this level of quality, all you need is a good brush to clean off any dirt and smooth out any scratches.

Desert boots are a type of chukka boots, but not all chukka boots are desert boots. Chukka boots are defined by a wide opening created by two panels stitched over the tongue. They have low ankles, usually about the same as a high-top basketball sneaker. Lacing is simplified by four eyelets that make for quick and easy tying. While chukka boots can be made from any kind of material and feature any kind of sole, desert boots are defined by lightweight materials and simplified construction. So the uppers are usually made out of soft leather or suede and the soles are usually made from crepe or soft rubber.

Desert boots are defined by soft leather or suede uppers and soft rubber or crepe soles, all of which make for very comfortable wear. The drawback is that soft leathers and soles are less durable than their heavier counterparts. Always look for desert boots that use genuine leather because they will last longer. If you have a chance to get your hands on the boots before buying, give the leather a little fold. If it bounces back quickly and doesn’t leave any creases, it is a good quality leather.

Crepe soles are by far the most popular feature of desert boots, to the point that some enthusiasts don’t consider it a desert boot without crepe soles. This unique material is super bouncy and has incredible grip compared to standard boot soles, especially leather. Which makes walking on them feel more like a sneaker than a leather shoe. There are a couple of drawbacks that you should be aware of if you haven’t owned crepe-soled shoes before. One is that crepe gets very dirty, very quickly because dirt and dust stick to it. The other issue is that crepe is less durable than standard boot soles, which means you could be due for a resole in about half the time. Those are just the trade-offs for extra comfort.

Think of desert boots as a little more casual than dress shoes and a little more formal than a sneaker. These all-purpose boots look best with jeans and chinos. Most office settings allow for desert boots as an alternative to oxfords or derby shoes. If you find yourself wearing sneakers all the time with your casual outfits, try switching to a pair of desert boots for a more elevated look that doesn’t give up any comfort or ease. Since the opening is wide and the simple four-eyelet lace design is easy to tie, putting them on and taking them off isn’t much more difficult than a slip-on shoe.

Brad is a contributing style commerce editor. After a decade working for menswear brands including J.Crew and Ralph Lauren, Brad switched from selling fashion to writing about it. His words have appeared in Huckberry, Heddels, and The Manual.  

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10 Best Desert Boots 2023, According to Style Experts

Business Casual Shoes Brad is a contributing style commerce editor. After a decade working for menswear brands including J.Crew and Ralph Lauren, Brad switched from selling fashion to writing about it. His words have appeared in Huckberry, Heddels, and The Manual.