The 12 Very Best Ankle Boots for Women (2024)

best in class

Including Docs worn by the Clash (and the glitterati).

By Ambar Pardilla, a writer at the Strategist covering fashion and home organization. She joined the Strategist as a writer in 2021 and before that worked at NBC and HuffPost.

The 12 Very Best Ankle Boots for Women (2)

Photo: Marcus McDonald

The 12 Very Best Ankle Boots for Women (3)

Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

  • Best overall
  • Best chunky
  • Best block-heeled
  • Best lace-up
  • Best square-toe
  • Best pointed-toe
  • Best rugged
  • Best cowboy

I write a lot about shoes, from loafers to sneakers. But if I had to choose only one style of shoe to slip on from the drudges of December through the showers of April — when showing an ankle isn’t ideal — it would be an ankle boot. It’s the shoe that has given me the most mileage when the weather is unpredictable: Some pairs are rugged enough to walk through slush while still nice-looking enough to wear to a dinner party. (You can’t always say the same about a snow boot.) To make this guide to the best ankle boots for women, I took stock of the classics, like Dr. Martens made since the ’70s, and talked to a range of stylists, brand founders, content creators, and other fashionable folks with strong opinions about footwear, asking them to recommend their favorites. I also tested a number of pairs myself, including breaking them in and taking them out (lots of steps were involved). Below, you’ll find iconic Docs, a socklike knit boot with a pedestrian-friendly heel, and an indestructible pair made of recycled rubber. Or if you’re looking for a more specific type of boot, the Strategist has guides to the best women’s winter boots, rain boots, and Chelsea boots, too.

What we’re looking for

Size range

As usual, I looked for a large size range — and mentioned when a boot comes in half-sizes (especially useful if you’re one for a thick sock).


How long a pair lasts comes down to two things: what they’re made of and whether they’re waterproofed. Not all ankle boots can handle precipitation right out of the box (only one pair on this list was obviously branded as water resistant)but fortunately, this is a pretty easy fix with the right waterproofer, which you can spray on yourself (Tarrago is our best overall pick).

Design details

Anything with an ankle-high shaft counts as an ankle boot, no matter the shape of the heel, heel height, or other details like zippers. (That’s why you’ll also see a few Chelsea boots here — they’re a type of ankle boot that traditionally has a lower heel and elastic at the sides.) I looked at the design of every pair of ankle boots that was recommended and highlighted the details, from stitching to the shape of the sole, that make each one special.


We ranked every pick below by affordability — $ for boots under $200, $$ for boots under $300, and $$$ for boots that cost $300 and up.

Best women’s ankle boots overall

Sizes: 5–12 | Material: Leather | Design: ½” platform, lug sole, pull tab, Docs stitching | Price: $

Docs are the gold standard for ankle boots, and the 2976s are its original Chelsea style. Manufactured since the 1970s, they have a following that includes New York Review of Books marketing manager Abigail Dunn; former deputy beauty editor of the Zoe Report Hannah Baxter; and Jenni Lee, founder of sock label Comme Si. But Docs are notoriously stiff at the start — Dunn recommends slathering on the brand’s Wonder Balsam to soften the leather and make it “pretty much indestructible.” After starting to wear the 2976s myself, I suggest layering two crew socks for a while, until the shoes stretch out a bit. It has taken me months to get them there (“breaking in” looks different for everyone, as I learned by reading through the Dr. Martens sub-Reddit), but the trick has worked well. The boots have gotten easier to pull on and take off and have become more comfortable by the day. Mine have seen some rain and puddles and fared well, even though I haven’t waterproofed them yet (I’m planning to do so in the coming months, to see the difference). Lee says she even wears hers as rain boots in the spring. You can tell they’re Docs from the yellow stitching, but because they’re a Chelsea style, they don’t have the same “rebellious teen” vibe as a laced pair.These are the sort of boots you own for years; Baxter credits good ol’ British craftsmanship. And if you like the style but want a little more oomph, you can get them with a faux-fur lining or as a platform.

Best chunky ankle boots

Sizes: 5–11 | Material: Rubber | Design: 1 ½” heel, 1-inch platform, lug sole, toe cap | Price: $$

Ganni — or the “Danish Mansur Gavriel,” as we dubbed the label — makes tactical-looking boots that Taylor Tomasi Hill, creative and fashion director of the Yes, and fashion content creator Tilly Macalister-Smith both love. This recycled-rubber style comes recommended courtesy of Macalister-Smith, who says that though they look high-end, they don’t have a high-end price tag — that’s why she was willing to make an exception to her secondhand-shopping habit for them. Macalister-Smith describes them as undestroyable and capable of handling everything from snowy streets to garden exploits. The shoes are so comfortable they rival sneakers — remarkably, she says she didn’t have to go through a real breaking-in process with them.

Best platform ankle boots

Sizes: 5–12 | Material: Leather | Design: Branded pull tab, 2-inch heel, 1 ½-inch platform| Price: $$

The platformed version of the 2976s above are a favorite of Social Goods co-founder Lisa Sokolov. The height is just right, as the boots’ one-and-a-half-inch platform doesn’t detract from walking around in them all day — once they are broken in, of course. Sokolov has been wearing Docs since middle school; these are her newest pair, purchased in 2020, and she says they only get better with age. Elizabeth Tamkin, content and partnerships manager at Kule, is also a fan.

For another take on the platform, you might shop Docs’ Jadon line of lace-ups — the combat boots are a favorite of three celebrities, each of whom named theirs as one ofthe things they can’t live without. Dove Cameron and YouTuber Emma Chamberlain love the Jadon eight-eye boot — Cameron even wore hers on the set of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D — while Georgia May Jagger recommends the “I mean business” Max version.

Best block-heeled ankle boot

Sizes: 35–41 (equivalent to U.S. 4–10) | Material: Leather | Design: 2 ½-inch block heel, square toe | Price: $$$

The Lazaros are LoQ’s signature block-heeled boot with a square toe and zippered sides. They’re an investment at $395, but they’re well constructed — made in Spain from a supple leather that can take the occasional scrape without scratching easily. These have some texture to them with crinkled leather in the front that’s not as smooth as the leather on the Docs above; it’s a small contrast but one that I thought gave the boot a little edge. The heel, which extends a bit off the back of the boot (see here), adds to that feeling. The boots are practical for their two-and-a-half-inch block heel. I can stand for longer stretches and walk for blocks of uneven sidewalks without issue. Since trying them on for the first time in July, the boots haven’t been as challenging to break in as stiffer boots likeDocs, even as someone with wider calves. But Strategist writer Lauren Ro found that the opening at the ankle is tight at first, even when buying them in her usual size 38 (she found that it stretches after a few wears, and Ouisa founder Bryn Taylor promises that, eventually, the boots will become almost slipperlike). I think what helped my pair break in faster was sizing up, per LoQ’s own instructions — I’m usually a seven and went with a 39, which is an eight/eight and a half in the brand’s European sizing.

Best (less expensive) block-heeled ankle boot

Sizes: 5–11 with half sizes | Material: Leather | Design: 2-inch block heel, almond toe | Price: $$

Everlane’s shoes have often been compared to gloves, and these are no exception. (You might remember Everlane selling an earlier version of the boot under the same name. It has since been redesigned with a taller shaft than the original’s — which one of the Strategist’s resident Everlane experts had owned — with more of a curved silhouette on the side.) When I tried a pair, they were easy to pull on and there was enough room for my toes to wiggle without rubbing against the lining. They are also more than $100 cheaper than the Lazaros, and the differences between the boots are slight. The heel on Everlane’s boots is just about half an inch shorter than the heel on the LoQ boots, and while it’s not as blocked in terms of thickness, it’s comfortable enough that I never felt like I might stumble. Even though the Days are branded as having a square toe, they have more of a rounded, not-so-narrow almond toe compared to the Lazaros, resulting in a roomier toe box. The biggest difference comes down to the leather — I’ve noticed a few creases along the front stitching of the Days since getting them in October. The lines aren’t so noticeable, but I’ll be keeping an eye on them to see if they worsen with more wear.

Best lace-up ankle boots

Sizes: 5–11 | Material: Leather | Design: 1 ¼” heel, 8-eye lace-up, brand’s signature stitching | Price: $

The 1460s were introduced in 1960 — and since then, the lace-up style has earned quite a following, favored by the likes of the Clash and even the glitterati. Hairstylist Cassadi Currier and Catbird chief creative officer Leigh Plessner are other noted devotees. Currier wears hers to work since they’re slip resistant — when there’s water on the floor, she knows that “I’m not gonna fall and die.” The patent-leather 1460s in particular fulfill Plessner’s passion for shiny black shoes, toughening up nightgowns and dressing up sweatsuits. Strategist writer Dominique Pariso is our third devotee — she has been relying on her 1460s every winter since she was a teen. “Pair them with a wool sock and they are guaranteed to keep your feet warm and dry,” she says.

Best square-toed ankle boots

Sizes: 35–44 (equivalent to US 5–13) | Material: Leather | Design: 3” block heel, slim shaft, pointed square-toe | Price: $$

These West boots from Alohas are another one of Hill’s favorites. The square toe straddles the line between fresh and classic, she says. And while the toes on the LoQ Lazaros, above, have a curved edge, the toes on these are sharper with a more western look, contrasting with the sculptural block heel. Hill also shouted out the brand’s “on-demand” production model, with some styles available for preorder at a discount, so the brand knows how many pairs to make. Depending on the size and color you choose and when you order, you can get them for up to 40 percent off — just double-check the expected shipping dates, which can vary depending on which production “phase” the boots are in.

Best pointed-toe ankle boots

Sizes: 35–41 (equivalent to US 5–11) | Material: Leather | Design: 3” block heel, pointed square-toe | Price: $$$

Berlin-based accessories house Aeyde was popular with our panel — Taylor, Sokolov, and Sold Out NYC founder Kiane von Mueffling mentioned it. All three like how Aedye’s pointed toe is ever so slightly squared at the end, giving its shoes a subtle western vibe. Sokolov and von Mueffling specifically directed us to the Leandras. A self-proclaimed Aeyde obsessive, von Mueffling praises the style’s high-quality leather, which is priced fairly and wears well over time, while Sokolov likes how the boots’ glossy finish dresses up the most casual of outfits.

Best (less expensive) pointed-toe ankle boots

Sizes: 5.5–11 with half sizes | Material: Leather | Design: Western-style, 2 ½” stacked block heel | Price: $$

These are a more affordable alternative to the Leandras with a much more dramatic pointed toe. Style coach Kim Hancher likes to wear them with bootcuts and flares so the toe peeks out. She says she gets compliments whenever she steps out in them. For her “ailing feet,” the chunky stacked block heel sits at the right height and offers more stability than a spikier one. These boots come in a number of shades, prints, and textures, including cow and leopard — Hancher went with a beige-and-tan snakeskin that she says makes these look more expensive than they are.

Best sock ankle boots

Sizes: 5-11 with half sizes | Material: Polyester, nylon, elastane | Design: Ribbed detail, 2” heel | Price: $

The Glove Boot comes recommended by both Christel Langué and blogger-TikToker Nana Castro. “These are made from renewed plastic bottles, though you’d never know from the knit look,” says Castro, as the ribbing is especially convincing. They have a just-right stretchiness, while still feeling supportive. Langué turns to them whenever she has a full day of walking ahead — with the pedestrian-friendly heel, they keep her as pain free as possible. Plus they are one of the cheapest pairs of boots on this list.

Best rugged ankle boots

Sizes: 5-11 with half sizes | Material: Water-resistant leather | Design: Double pull tabs, lug sole | Price: $$

There has been much Blundstone praise on the Strategist, but the 500s in particular are a big hit. Jo Zasloff, co-founder of skin-care line Sisters, sums it up best: These are a perfect everyday boot. Emily Vaca, founder of the inflatable-pool purveyor Minnidip, considers her Blunnies (“As the cool kids call them”) a true workhorse. She wears them with Dickies for warehouse work and then out for co*cktails once she’s off the clock. Dancer and consultant Eva Alt relies on them for slippery city walks. And audio producer Amy Pedulla likes how they age, becoming a “smudgy, comfy glove on your feet.”

Best cowboy ankle boots

Sizes: 5-12 | Material: Leather or suede | Design: 2 ½” heel, snipped toe, toe-bug stitching | Price: $$

For a true cowboy-style ankle boot that’s not an Ariat, go with a pair from Tecovas, a favorite of two Strategist staffers. Milliner-Waddell says that with her wider feet, boots are oftentimes hit-or-miss, but the Daisy boots were comfortable from the moment she slipped into them. Pariso was also surprised to find the Tecovas didn’t need much breaking in — a feat considering that, as someone with wider calves, she usually doesn’t have enough space in boots.

Our experts

Eva Alt, dancer and consultant
• Hannah Baxter, former deputy beauty editor of The Zoe Report
• Nana Castro, blogger-TikToker
Cassadi Currier, hairstylist
• Iva Dixit, New York Times Magazine editor
• Abigail Dunn, New York Review Books marketing manager
Kim Hancher, style coach
Freddie Harrel, founder of beauty company RadSwan
Taylor Tomasi Hill, creative and fashion director of the Yes
• Christel Langué, stylist
• Jenni Lee, founder of luxury sock label Comme Si
Tilly Macalister-Smith, fashion content creator
• Jenna Milliner-Waddell, Strategist associate editor
Dominique Pariso, Strategist writer
Amy Pedulla, audio producer
Leigh Plessner, Catbird creative director
• Alisa Richter, head of public relations at the Sill
Lauren Ro, Strategist writer
Nozlee Samadzadeh, New York Times senior software engineer
• Lisa Sokolov, co-founder of Social Goods
• Bryn Taylor, founder of Ouisa
• Emily Vaca, founder of inflatable-pool purveyor Minnidip
• Kiane von Mueffling, Sold Out NYC founder
• Jo Zasloff, co-founder of skin-care line Sisters
• Hannah Zisman, Bathen co-founder

Additional reporting by Hilary Reid and Jenna Milliner-Waddell.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.


  • the strategist
  • shoes
  • ask a cool person
  • best in class

Show Leave a Comment

The 12 Very Best Ankle Boots for Women
The 12 Very Best Ankle Boots for Women (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Last Updated:

Views: 6551

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Birthday: 2001-08-13

Address: 96487 Kris Cliff, Teresiafurt, WI 95201

Phone: +9418513585781

Job: Senior Designer

Hobby: Calligraphy, Rowing, Vacation, Geocaching, Web surfing, Electronics, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Benton Quitzon, I am a comfortable, charming, thankful, happy, adventurous, handsome, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.