If you looked under the table at one of Outside’s morning news meetings, you’d notice a lot of leather boots on the feet of our male editors. Part of it has to do with style. Boots, jeans, and a flannel are sort of the office uniform. (It’s embarrassing how often we look alike.) Part of it also has to do with convenience. We’re a little lazy, and leather boots can be dirty and scuffed up and still look good. No single brand or style is most popular. Instead, everyone has their own favorite pair.
Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots ($320)
These rugged yet sleek leather boots were originally designed for iron miners in northern Minnesota. Which is to say: they’re built to withstand a lot of abuse. My pair, unsurprisingly, took a while to break in, but after a few weeks, the thick Amber Harness leather began to mold to my foot, leaving me with a comfortable and elegant boot that I’ve had for four years and will likely have for many more. My only complaint: the cork soles have no tread, and thus walking on snow or ice is a bit precarious. (Red Wing has since released a model with a grippy Vibram mini-lug outsole.) But I can’t really complain—it forces me to engage my small stabilizing muscles while walking, which is a good thing. Always be working, amirite? —Wes Judd, online fitness editor