Things are bad right now — healthy people are stuck indoors because of Coronavirus, they’re being discouraged from going to restaurants and movies, and the isolation is starting to rear its maddening effects. One option is to socialize online, maybe even being a bit nicer on social media, or turning to tried-and-true gaming. But there’s also a time-tested go-to: retail therapy.
While it’s true that we’re in the midst of a real public health crisis, as far as I can tell, we haven’t gone full apocalypse quite yet. Regardless, it is fun to shop like we’re living in the apocalypse, if only for the aesthetic aspects. For that reason, we’ve put together a list of some of the best boots that would look right at home in a dusty broken world.
But this isn’t all about aesthetics; these boots are high performers. Most of them include some kind of waterproofing, some of them include quick lacing designs, and all of them have what it takes to get you to the next sci-fi outpost on the other side of that mountain range.
I’ve gotta start with the authority. Danner is a go-to brand for military personnel, law enforcement, and anyone else who needs durable and agile footwear. These tall, eight-inch boots are sneaker-like and feature a speed-lacing system and excellent cushioning. Gore-Tex lining keeps it 100 percent waterproof. You can’t go wrong with what the pros wear.
The Bates Strike boot catches your eye right away with its haxagonal mesh, but it's also waterproof and includes a footbed with a memory foam lining for maximum comfort. Also, it's what Ryan Gosling wore in Blade Runner 2049, and even if the movie was a snooze fest, you have to admit the costume design was on point.
If you’re feeling more outdoorsy than ready to join a militia, Georgia Boot’s brown leather Revamp will hit the right notes. The self-proclaimed maker of America’s hardest working boot utilizes a full-grain SPR leather that’s stronger and more scratch-resistant than your regular old leather, good for longevity and keeping up appearances. For all its toughness, you won’t be punished for the sake of protection, thanks to a memory foam insole.
In the mid-height range, Hoka One One has a killer waterproof option. The French-born brand now headquartered in California specializes in steep terrain, whether it’s footwear for running or hiking. Boasting excellent support and cushioning with a sturdy grip provided by Vibram, the lightweight sneaker-boot hybrids also look cool as hell, which is why Opening Ceremony collaborated on a pair.
Want a little more flair? La Sportiva’s black and yellow jawnz have got you covered, with a lacing system that’s as convenient as it is dynamic. A stretchy scree guard upper makes these more comfortable than more structured affairs without giving up protection. They’re made to tackle mud and stones, and a Gore-Tex membrane underneath is completely waterproof, making for footwear that’s as useful in outdoor settings as it looks good on the streets.
Coming in under $100, Rocky’s eight-inch AlphaForces are a no-frills option that look cooler than their price point and source. Nylon and full-grain leather give it a serious, tactical appearance, and the sole is oil- and slip-resistant. This is the type of shoe that garners questions and surprises people with its humble origins.
Undercover’s collaboration with Nike on the React Boot is among the wackier of releases in the past year. With its bulbous lines and massive pull loops, they look straight out of a sci-fi movie. And that’s before you learn about the pressurized system that allows you to pump in air for the optimal snugness. Zip in, pump up, and look like you’ve been dropped into the Alien universe.