Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Black Leather Boots - 2021

Last updated on August 18, 2021
Best Black Leather Boots

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Black Leather Boots

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best All-Purpose Pick

Dr. Martens Leona Black Leather Boots

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Dr. Martens

Leona Black Leather Boots

Overall Take

Confident and CozyThe heightened heel provides style and the leather is plenty durable.

  Classic Style

Steve Madden Troopa Black Leather Boots

Steve Madden

Troopa Black Leather Boots

Overall Take

Breaks In QuicklyThese soft leather boots will become a fast favorite with any outfit.

  We Also Like

Dr. Martens 8-Eye 1460 W Black Nappa Leather Boots

Dr. Martens

8-Eye 1460 W Black Nappa Leather Boots

Overall Take

Sturdy, Classic BootWear these durable Docs for traction in any weather.

  Western Aesthetic

Soto H50021 Genuine Leather Harness Black Leather Boots

Soto

H50021 Genuine Leather Harness Black Leather Boots

Overall Take

Tough Yet TastefulEnliven any outfit with these rough and ready boots.

Avatar
Guide written by Susan Thiemann
Last updated on August 18, 2021

Sneakers can make a statement and slip-ons are cozy, but there may be no more enduring piece of footwear than the classic leather boot. While this sturdy shoe was once only associated with bikers and workmen, today you can find leather boots fitting in at work, on the trail, on the dance floor and everywhere in between.

Fashion versatility aside, there’s a reason why people tend to stick with their favorite brand of boot. Once you find the right one, it can last for years even in the worst of conditions. That’s all due to the durability of leather in general, but a little homework will save you a lot of headaches: Not all leather is created equal.

Leather, as most buyers know, is made from cattle hide. There are many different grades of leather, and for the most part grades have to do with the way that hide is cured and what layer is used. In terms of durability, full grain leather is your best bet. Full grain uses the entire hide, which is treated but typically left with a rougher feel. If that’s the case, you won’t have to polish it, and you won’t have to worry about a lot of other things, either. This kind of leather will likely stay waterproof and be a faithful companion on many hikes, provided the stitching is good.

Of course, the rough-hewn look doesn’t work for all styles of boot. There is also top grain leather, which retains much of that durability since it retains that outermost layer of the hide. It is generally smoothed out to give a more polished look.

Corrected grain is another term that is used to denote a more buffed-out full-grain boot, but you’ll want to avoid genuine leather unless you just need an inexpensive, casual shoe. While “genuine leather” might sound like an elite classification, it’s pieced together from leftover scraps of the hide and therefore doesn’t have the same waterproof properties. It’s also a lot more likely to scuff and wear down with constant use.

Depending on where you do most of your walking, the leather won’t be the only thing you want to consider. Even the cheapest leather boots usually don’t have a leather outsole, and for good reason. Rubber or synthetic soles have a much better grip, and are better suited for hiking. You may also want to check the area where the topsole meets that outsole. Stitching around the edges is generally a good sign. It means the shoes are joined together with more than just glue, which can deteriorate over time and leave your boots less water-resistant.

The Best Black Leather Boots

1
  Best All-Purpose Pick

Dr. Martens Leona Black Leather Boots

Walk in style with this elevated version of the classic Doc Martens boot. Even with the extended heel height, they are plenty comfortable once broken in. The leather requires a bit of care but is very durable and looks great with a range of outfits.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Dr. Martens
Model
2
  Classic Style

Steve Madden Troopa Black Leather Boots

The soft leather on this boot feels as luxurious on the outer covering as it does inside. Thanks to the pliable material, these are boots you won't need to spend weeks breaking in. They're easy to walk around in at work or on the town.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Steve Madden
Model
3
  We Also Like

Dr. Martens 8-Eye 1460 W Black Nappa Leather Boots

This women's version of the standard Doc loses nothing in translation. The leather is durable and the synthetic soles provide just the right amount of bounce.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Dr. Martens
Model
4
  Western Aesthetic

Soto H50021 Genuine Leather Harness Black Leather Boots

The buckle on these black boots gives a touch of swagger to any ensemble, but there's more to them than looks. The leather is designed to hold up well against scuffing, and the break-in period is relatively short for most wearers.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Soto
Model
5
  Best for Work

Timberland White Ledge Black Leather Boots

Casual hikers will find a great companion in these boots. The low profile allows for some flexibility, and the fit allows for insoles if needed. The waterproofing is a lifesaver on the trail.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Timberland
Model

Our Black Leather Boot Buying Guide

Sneakers can make a statement and slip-ons are cozy, but there may be no more enduring piece of footwear than the classic leather boot. While this sturdy shoe was once only associated with bikers and workmen, today you can find leather boots fitting in at work, on the trail, on the dance floor and everywhere in between.

Fashion versatility aside, there’s a reason why people tend to stick with their favorite brand of boot. Once you find the right one, it can last for years even in the worst of conditions. That’s all due to the durability of leather in general, but a little homework will save you a lot of headaches: Not all leather is created equal.

Leather, as most buyers know, is made from cattle hide. There are many different grades of leather, and for the most part grades have to do with the way that hide is cured and what layer is used. In terms of durability, full grain leather is your best bet. Full grain uses the entire hide, which is treated but typically left with a rougher feel. If that’s the case, you won’t have to polish it, and you won’t have to worry about a lot of other things, either. This kind of leather will likely stay waterproof and be a faithful companion on many hikes, provided the stitching is good.

Of course, the rough-hewn look doesn’t work for all styles of boot. There is also top grain leather, which retains much of that durability since it retains that outermost layer of the hide. It is generally smoothed out to give a more polished look.

Corrected grain is another term that is used to denote a more buffed-out full-grain boot, but you’ll want to avoid genuine leather unless you just need an inexpensive, casual shoe. While “genuine leather” might sound like an elite classification, it’s pieced together from leftover scraps of the hide and therefore doesn’t have the same waterproof properties. It’s also a lot more likely to scuff and wear down with constant use.

Depending on where you do most of your walking, the leather won’t be the only thing you want to consider. Even the cheapest leather boots usually don’t have a leather outsole, and for good reason. Rubber or synthetic soles have a much better grip, and are better suited for hiking. You may also want to check the area where the topsole meets that outsole. Stitching around the edges is generally a good sign. It means the shoes are joined together with more than just glue, which can deteriorate over time and leave your boots less water-resistant.

DWYM Fun Fact

Once humans figured out how to tan animal hides to make leather around 1300 B.C., they couldn’t stop finding uses for the stuff. Aside from being fashioned into all kinds of garments, leather was used as the outer covering of golf balls in the 19th century. Some nobles in 17th century Italy even had their walls papered with it.

The Black Leather Boot Tips and Advice

The better grade of leather you have, the more you’ll want to take care of it. A good coat of conditioner goes a long way.

Make sure to clean your boot thoroughly before you condition it, then buff it with some cleaner as directed by the manufacturer. Wait a while for the boot to dry, then apply the conditioner. Your feet will thank you in the long run.

It can take time to break in a pair of leather boots, but you’ll still want to make sure you have a good fit right away.