Here’s everything you need to know on how to style men’s black boots! Read on to get the details.
There’s just something so sleek about nice black boots. They definitely have the potential to level up any outfit. When you swap the
I will say this, though. I don’t actually think black boots are as versatile as brown boots. As we point out in our quick black boots versus brown boots post, brown goes well with a wider range of colors and personal styles. Black goes well with black, white, navy, grey, and (often) minimalist fashions.
As effective and true as that is, you can expand on this top-level approach to black boots and really make them work for you. Here’s how!
How to Style Black Boots for Men
Here are some quick tips and tricks to style black boots before we get into the nuances.
Pair your black boots with greyscales. A white T-shirt and blue jeans sit more naturally with brown boots. But, if you swapped the blue jeans out for charcoal selvage denim, black boots are the way to go.
If you have a more formal or streamlined style. Perhaps you prefer monochromes or less colors in general on your outfits; black boots are perfect for you.
Think about a classic Americana-looking outfit, or even a preppy-leaning one. It might involve plaid flannels, cable-knits, and layers. That’s more conducive to brown boots. A black shirt, dark jeans, and a leather jacket? Black is best.
Other style terms that go well with black boots include street style, fashion-forward, and rebel-inspired (so again, leather jackets, but also combat boots and repurposed German workwear). If you think your personal style aligns with any of these, your outfits might call for black boots more often than they would brown ones.
Black boots also partner naturally with professional or professional-inspired outfits. And I’m not just talking about suits. Of course, suits look more formal with black shoes over brown ones.
However, people in law enforcement often wear black boots, too. Again, it fits in with their more urban, often dark navy, workwear compared to a logger’s workwear.
To get into some nuances, I’m going to talk about styling black Chelsea since they’re the most minimal. Then, I’ll dig into styling combat boots because they’re highly rugged yet worn for fashion as much as for practical reasons.
Other styles of boots, like service boots, dress boots, and hunting boots, can be styled similarly to either of these or fall somewhere in the middle. If it’s dressier or less detailed, it’ll be closer to the Chelsea side of styling. You’ll style it more if it’s clunkier or generally heavier.
How to Style Black Chelsea Boots
Chelsea boots have a clean, streamlined look. This quality is compounded when the boot is in sleek black. As such, a lot of dress boots can be styled just like black Chelsea.
So, the best kinds of outfits to wear black Chelsea with are more formal and smart casual outfits or streamlined, close-to-body ones.
You can wear black Chelsea with a full suit and tie as long as the boots have a tapered silhouette and a proper heel. You can even wear them with a suit jacket, button-up, and well-fitted blue jeans. As I mentioned, black boots look more natural with darker jeans (like black or charcoal), but in this case, the smart casual context balances out the color of the pants.
To match the minimalist look of the Chelsea, you can make your outfit look cleaner in two ways: Through its overall silhouette or your color choices.
An oversized shirt with an unstructured blazer and utility pants isn’t the most formal look. However, if the blazer and pants are black and the pants aren’t baggy, you can wear them with black, squared-toe Chelsea or combat boots.
Meanwhile, you can easily wear a fitted T-shirt and fitted jeans with black Chelsea. Throw a leather moto jacket over it, and you have an intentional aesthetic.
Do you know how to create smart casual looks by taking a formal outfit and swapping separates out for more casual ones?
Chelsea is so moderate that you can do it the other way around. By that, I mean you can take a casual outfit and swap individual separates out for more formal ones to level the whole look up.
Take a T-shirt, a pullover, and jeans. Swap the jeans out for black trousers or charcoal chinos. Or swap the t-shirt for a dress shirt, or keep the dress shirt and throw a blazer over it.
How to Style Black Combat Boots
Black gives the rugged style of combat boots a touch of sophistication. By pairing them with workwear and military-inspired outfits in black, dark navy, and dark greens and olives, you get what I call “authoritative workwear.” It’s the same effect as if a field watch or dive watch had a black carbon coating on it.
If you wore an olive utility shirt with dark forest chinos and finished it off with black combat boots, you’d get a slicked-out version of military style. Now, do that same outfit but in a monochrome dark navy with the shirt tucked in and a leather belt tonal to your boots. That’s more of a law enforcement look.
Let’s make a comparison for effect. Imagine a blue utility overshirt, gray flannel underneath, dark jeans, and brown combat boots. You’d get a pretty straightforward workwear look. Now, swap the brown boots for the black ones. It’s a lot more chic and a lot more urban. You go from the woods to the city with just that one change.
Of course, the “chic-ification” of practical clothes can also lean into street style or high fashion. The Austrian designer Helmut Lang made a name for himself by turning utilitarian pieces into high fashion before they proliferated into everyday wear.
Heck, even if you just did an all black monochrome, one as simple as a t-shirt and chinos, finishing it off with black combat boots would give it a fashion-forward flare.
Since black is so formal, you can definitely still wear combat boots with dressier outfits. Just make sure you add something athletic, utilitarian, or practical-looking to strike a balance with the shoes.
Let’s say you’re wearing a black blazer with a dress shirt. By pairing it with cuffed corduroy pants, the texturing of the corduroy matches the ruggedness of the combat boot, while its clean-lines go with the formality of the top half. It’s like a visual bridge between the blazer and the boots.
Another example could be a dress shirt, tie, dress pants, and combat boots, with an added quilted or pocketed vest over the shirt.
How to Style Black Boots With Skinny Jeans
If you’re the kind of guy who loves skinny jeans, then you probably have a specific kind of style. Maybe it’s a street style aesthetic that involves dynamic silhouettes. Perhaps you just like close-to-body fits in general.
If you like simpler styles, you’ll likely want to stick with greyscales when pairing your black boots with skinny jeans. If you aren’t layering or adding extra weight to your silhouette, then you want your color choices to be likewise simple.
A good example is a fitted gray henley, black skinny jeans, and Chelsea boots.
There’s more room for eye-catching color blocks if you go for a more varied composition. For a fall look, you can do one big color block with an oxblood shirt and oxblood jeans, a charcoal blazer, and black service boots. Pop a black or oxblood scarf on if it gets cold.
Another way to add some texture to your silhouette is by cuffing your skinny jeans. This also helps your boots stand out more, making them a bit of a statement piece depending on how eye-catching they are against the outfit as a whole.
Do you still have questions about styling black boots? Here are some common ones!
What Can Men Wear Black Boots With?
It depends on the style of the boot. Wear clean, streamlined boots (like chelseas and dress boots) with either formal or streamlined outfits. Work boots and other robustly-designed boots can add a sleek look to casual and workwear-inspired outfits.
Do Black Boots Go With Anything?
They go with most outfits. Black adds a level of formality or sleekness, depending on the style of the boot.
What Color Pants Go Best With Black Boots?
Black goes with most colors, but you can optimize your black boots by pairing them with pants in greyscales and dark blues like navy and midnight.
Conclusion: Black Boots Are Good To Have
Honestly, I’m more of a brown boot kind of guy, but I think having at least one pair of black boots in your rotation is important.
You never know when a pair of dark service boots or obsidian-hued Chelsea will come in handy!