Start with quality Goodyear welted leather boots. Be sure the size is right. Brush off debris and keep them in a cedar shoe tree when you aren't wearing them. Don't wear them more than one day in a row. Condition the leather a few times a year. Have a cobbler replace the heel and sole every few years as they wear down. That's your recipe for boots that last forever.

Work-style boots:
Red Wing Heritage
Wolverine 1000 mile
Alden
Oak Street Bootmakers
White's
Danner, esp. Mountain Light
Dayton Service Boot
Viberg
Alt-Berg
Thorogood
Blundstone Boots

Weather boots:
LL Bean
Sorel

Dress Boots:
Allen Edmonds Dalton
Church's
Crockett & Jones
Loake
Meermin
Trickers
Grenson
Frye

Hiking boots:
Vasque Sundowners
Merrell Wilderness
Montrail Moraine

For the ladies:
Hunter rubber rain boots 
Donald J Pliner
Frye

These brands are excellent quality, but they are ultimately fashion boots. Their styling will change over time. The classic black wellington, however, has been in the same cool classic style for decades, thereby defining the Hunter boot a true buy it for life(BIFL).

 

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