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If You Buy One Pair of Combat Boots in Your Life, Make It These

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They’re under $100.

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Steve Madden Troopa Combat Boots ($79.95)
Steve Madden Troopa Combat Boots ($79.95)

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I got my first pair of combat boots from the clearance section of the shoe aisle at Target for $9. I wore them until there were holes in them, even though they really didn’t fit. I was 18 and dumb.

After wearing the bad boots out, I upgraded to Steve Madden’s Troopa Combat Boots, which, being on my fifth pair, I contend are the best combat boots for an urbanite like myself. (These are not hiking boots, y’all.)

The Troopa boots have carried me all over this country, like when I was lonely and sad in New Orleans and trying every activity (including horseback riding) to not to be either of those things. When I was a college student in the Arizona desert, they always seemed to go with sundresses and were perfect for protecting my feet from the gross floors of college bars. In New York, I wear them instead of duck boots for our seemingly never-ending winters.

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The laces are sturdy and the zipper is strong. They have a Henry Ford appeal to them: You can get any color you want as long as it’s black. (Seriously, the other color offerings are ugly.) They wouldn’t cut it in actual combat (like, what in our closets fucking would?), but they’re sturdy enough for life. Oh, and they go with everything — even the fancy cocktail dress I wore to the theater last month. Plus, they’re comfortable.

I end up buying the same pair in the same size every 12 to 18 months, which I think is decent for $100 shoes that are frequently on sale. I also love that I can get them seemingly anywhere “luxury brands” are available, and thus anywhere in the country — the pair I’m wearing right now is from the Nordstrom in Dallas.

The next pair, which probably won’t be purchased until early 2018 because the soles are still in excellent shape and a shoe shining is cheap, will be purchased online, because, you know, malls are dying.