Leather Shoes Or Ankle Boots: Which Is The Better Choice For Daily Wear?

If you were looking at quality leather footwear for daily wear, you might find yourself torn between leather shoes or ankle boots, meaning a 6-inch boot. Both are fashionable, and both are perfectly appropriate for daily wear including business dress codes. 

But which is the better choice? 

Leather shoes, such as Oxfords or brogues - if there was something wrong with you that is, because you should never wear them - are more or less the standard dress shoe. They go with literally any outfit. If made correctly, they're the perfect blend of durability and comfort. 

Ankle boots are an effective compromise between stylish and functional, as you have some of the ankle support of a traditional boot but can actually wear them indoors without your feet boiling. Tradition dictates they not be worn with formal wear...but that's negotiable! 

Which is better? It somewhat depends on what is going to be a better fit for you. 

Quality Leather Shoes Last For Life And Look Good Doing It

ankle work boots from nicks boots

A great pair of quality leather shoes is unlike almost any other investment you can make in that it can actually last. 

Most people change cars at least once every ten years, and houses. Most people change jobs every three to five years. And so it goes. 

A great pair of leather shoes, if made by a shoe or bootmaker that sticks to tried and tested construction methods, can last for a lifetime with occasional resole and maybe a rebuild or two. 

Just like a great pair of work boots

Leather shoes are also easy to care for as well as polish, as most people purchase them for wear to the office and/or for formal events. There's no boot mouth to worry about as well as the toe and heel, meaning regular maintenance is faster and easier. 

There's nothing like a great pair of shoes that have that high mirror shine. 

The other benefit is that they are more than jacks of all trades. You're just a good polish job away from being ready for black tie events, and you can wear them with your favorite pair of jeans and nobody will notice a difference. 

If you select the right sole, you don't have to worry about seasons; a mini-lug, such as the Vibram 430, provides plenty for walking on snow and ice in most urban environments, and also some rougher terrain so long as serious support isn't needed.

They're comfortable enough to wear in all seasons and to wear indoors. 

If you don't need more from your footwear than that, they're nearly the perfect choice. 

Don't Neglect Ankle Boots, Which Are The Best Of All Worlds

Ankle boots are that perfect middle ground between functional and comfortable. Think of them like a Range Rover SUV; they're tough enough to go just about anywhere, but more comfortable than most living room couches. 

And if made properly, both will make you happy to get in them everyday. 

By adding a few inches of boot shaft, the ankle is just enclosed by a 6-inch boot. You don't get the kind of ankle support that you would from a 8- to 10-inch boot, which is necessary for navigating the toughest terrain, but more than from a shoe. 

Just like a Range Rover, it's perfectly fine taking them to the office, but they're plenty rugged enough if you had to take them off road. The extra ankle support and rigidity well get you over hill and dale without issue. 

In fact, ankle boots were issued in the US armed forces from the Civil War through World War I. While they had problems - lack of waterproofing, uncomfortable due to not being fitted - a boot of less than full size offers plenty of support in the field. 

For those who want a bit more ankle support in general, that makes them a great choice. If you want to wear the same boots in the office and on the trail, you can totally do that. Ankle boots will get a tad warmer indoors during summer months, but not enough to be uncomfortable. 

Just as with a quality pair of leather shoes, proper construction also makes them a lifetime investment if treated properly. Resoles and rebuilds can keep your boots in working order for the rest of your life and possibly beyond. 

You can also get that high mirror shine if you want, or just keep them oiled for a more muted appearance. 

Here's also something of a matter of opinion. 

Some people insist that a pair of ankle boots is too casual for the most formal of occasions or for business-formal dress. If one is a strict traditionalist, that's true. 

However, the truth is that no one is going to be looking at your shoes or at least won't look long enough to notice or care. If you put a good shine on them, ankle boots work as well with a tuxedo as they do with heavy duck work pants. 

While a pair of great leather shoes is a great investment to make, a great pair of ankle boots is too. The best judge of which is best...really is you. Whichever you find fits your lifestyle the best, and that you feel the best in...is the one to get.