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Why Are Boots So Expensive? – The Shocking Truth!

Why Are Boots So Expensive
Written by Benedikt Meyers
Last Update: August 23, 2023

This is because they come with a number of features so you can use them in different environments without any concern for safety. Factors like premium materials, specialized labor, and high demand all add to the cost.

Let’s dive deeper and see how they are made that make them so expensive.

What Makes Boots Expensive

boot structure

Upper Material

Usually premium materials are used for the upper, such as leather, rubber, nylon, recycled leather and recycled rubber.  They help ensure the optimum level of safety, comfort, and durability.

Special features like water-resistance add to the cost. Since they are costly in nature, you’ll have to pay more to tap into these benefits.


1) Rubber

When you are working under 120° Fahrenheit they are ideal for you. They are cheapest but long-lasting among the other work boots.

Price range for rubber boots – $20 to $60 (but the premium ones could be as high as $250)

2) Polyurethane (PU)

Though Polyurethane (PU) is heavier than rubber and TVP (Thermoplastic Vulcanized), they have excellent shock absorbing capacity.

You may use them when your work involves standing and walking all day long.

Price range for PU boots- $50 to $70

3) Thermo-polyurethane(TPU)

Do you need to stand at 265° Fahrenheit? Or at -20°C? Then TPU is your savior. You will get a  better slip-resistance capacity than the nitrile outsoles.

Besides, they are also resistant to oils and chemicals but do not buy old shoes from storage as they have less warehouse longevity.

The TPU sole price– $2.5 to $17 (every pair)

4) Nitrile

They provide durability of rubber at lighter weight. However, they are not ideal for any slippery conditions.  They can tolerate up to 300°C.

Price range for nitrile boots– $40 to $140.

5) Thermoplastic Vulcanized (TPV)

How about an outsole that is Water-resistant, flexible and hard to damage?

Sadly, they are often not available in all sizes and are more costly than the other types.

Toe Protector

1) Steel Toe Cap

They are low priced and mostly used safety shoes for optimum protection when your workplace demands to deal with heavy and sharp equipment on a daily basis.

However, the heavy weight may make you feel a bit uncomfortable.

Price range for boots with Steel toe protector– $100 to $250

2) Composite Toe Cap

You can buy this lighter toe cap boot at a cheaper rate than steel. Use them where safety measurements are not much required.

They are made from components like plastic, fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Price range for boots with composite toe protector– around $200

3) Alloy Toe Cap

Among the three types, now we are going to inform you about the most expensive one.

Though steel and alloy have similar strengths, alloy will provide you more comfort because they are 30% to 50% lighter than steel

Price range for boots with alloy toe protector- $140 to $ 325

Insole Material

Insole Material

1) Gel Insole

Most expensive but less popular, provide more comfort than foam and you will feel less fatigue. But they will make your shoes heavier.

2) Foam Insole

Mostly used insoles among all, they will provide assistance in any kind of pain and discomfort in the feet.

3) EVA insole

You get enough confidence to walk or stand all day long with them. This lightweight insole will balance body weight and aid you to stand all day long.

4) Cork

You may find cork more supportive than gel or foam but one downside of using them is that they wear down quicker than others.

5) Leather

They last longer among all and you may use them in almost all of your shoe types. Note that most of the luxurious and costly shoes are entirely made from leather. But they are not comfortable enough for warm weather.

6) Wool

Wear them to keep your feet warm in winter.If you need more warmth then go for battery powered insoles.

Price range for insole– $3 to $50 (depending on the materials and brands)

National Insurance

You’ve to pay 12% VAT to buy work boots. Additionally you also have to pay your income tax.

Insufficient Workers

Handmade shoes are expensive. They require a ridiculous amount of  time to finish.

Very few workers are capable enough in this job sector. So, there is always a scarcity of labor.

However, handcrafted shoes provide better quality and durability compared to boots that are made in the factories.

Brand Name

Famous brands’ products are trustworthy but expensive.Sometimes they invest a huge amount in marketing that adds an extra penny to the price!

On the other hand, local brands are cheaper ($20 to $60 ) but you will not get any guarantee.

Why Are Cowboy Boots So Expensive?

You can wear these collectable vintage shoes for up to 10 years and you may need to change the insole for twice within the period of time.

Price range– Generally $35 to $500 ( Brands like Jack Armstrong Cosmic go up to $6 million!!!  )

Why are cowboy boots so expensive

Manufacturing location

They are made in three different continents (Asia,Europe and America) in three different ways.

Asian products are the cheapest (Fully Automated) and European products (Fully Handcrafted) are the most expensive one.


Cowhides are less expensive than others because of their availability. On the other hand, ostrich,snake and crocodile leather are rare. The rarest material will cost the most.

Another point is, from upper to sole, few boots are entirely made from leather. Now it is obvious that the price will be higher.

Some boots are taller (11 to 13 inches) than the regular boots while few are even more at 14 to 16 inches.

Machine-made vs Hand-made

Why are Chinese and Indian boots the cheapest?

They manufacture boots on an industrial scale. Labor costs are lower there and they produce hundreds of products within a day.

Mexico, Canada and the USA use both machine and hand crafts for different parts of the boots accordingly.

Why are boots  made in Europe the most expensive?

Europe provides fully handcrafted boots and each pair takes upto 12- 24 hours to complete. Besides, they craft in detail and carefully.

So, they are 6 to 7 times more expensive than the Asian products.

Why Are Leather Boots So Expensive?

Leather grading

Leather grading

Leather has mainly four types of quality.

1. Full-grain leather

The best quality and mostly desired leather is less flawed and durable, so they obviously have a high price for the standard.

2. Top grain leather

Most common component of the leather shoe making industry and has the second best quality.

3. Genuine leather

They are assembled from leftover leather and affordable for most people.

4. Corrected-grain leather

This is the lowest quality of leather but goes through vigorous processing which is costly.  This explains why the least quality full leather is also pricey than other material shoes. If not for being the best quality then for the processing cost.


Construction methods and materials of soles create a huge effect on pricing.


Let’s talk about Blake Stitch .

In this method manufacturers use less glue and layers which gives smooth finishing.

Blake Stitch

Blake stitched shoes are durable. To feel this beautiful work, run your fingers through the sole to upper.

No wonder why Italian shoes are so expensive because most of them use handcrafted stitching methods.  Very few craftsmen around the globe are actually masters at this stitch. However, they’re also being machine-made today.

Another one is goodyear welting stitches. They require specially skilled labor to operate the machine.


As mentioned earlier, sole materials are expensive. For instance, if you use leather made soles then the cost will be higher.

Quality leather shoes demand specialized labor

Most of the money in the boot making industry is going to the laborers of this market. From leather processing to shoe making, specialized and unique labor force is required that is not available in all regions. For instance, you will never find the quality of a cowboy boot made in Europe in any other part of the world!

People need special training to be a worker in this industry and it requires a lot of time and effort.  Even if you’ve specialized workforce, human capacity is limited and it requires more time. And we all know time is money!

The firmness of the inner sole

Designed to last long

You may feel in the beginning that they are expensive but expensive boots are designed to last more than 10 years.

Top class leather and world- class craftsmen manufacture these shoes to last till they pay back every penny you‘ve spent on them

On the other hand, cheap boots are cost-friendly but they won’t last longer.


No wonder that these high-end products are gentle to your feet. They are a true companion whenever your feet need support. They relieve stress and aid in any kind of pain on the feet.

Why Are Engineer Boots So Expensive?

Engineer boots are like wine – with age they become more attractive.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy desirable engineer boots below $350. They got popularity and recognition in the early 2000s.

Why are engineer boots so expensive

Engineer Boots Are Popular

These lace-less boots were popular among motorcycle riders in the beginning but slowly gained attention from others. They will give you a charm that is worth the extra cost.

Niche Product

Engineer boots are the newcomers in the industry and as of now very few brands are in production.

Technically, they are tall pull-on boots which makes them difficult to wear for the beginners.

The design is also more complicated than the other boots so they haven’t  got enough recognition yet!

Why Are Hiking Boots So Expensive?

This is because they are mainly designed for optimum protection of your feet with features that make them expensive e.g. starting from $20, they go up to $500

Why are hiking boots so expensive


Manufacturers create uppers with the most expensive leather called full grain that is always waterproof. Along with safety, these materials add more dollars to the price for you.


It is a unique layer only found in hiking boots between the outsole and insole. It will add extra comfort by absorbing more shocks.


The main purpose of an outsole is to keep your feet gripped enough while hiking.

So they are made from premium quality rubber. The shape is also wider and larger than general boots.

Plates and shanks

Plastic or metal made plates and shanks are placed between outsole and midsole.

Generally Hiker’s backpacks create extra load. Plates and shanks are there to balance that extra load by giving a better clasp on the sole.


Manufacturers use top quality specific materials to make your boot waterproof. You will not find them in regular low priced boots.

Which type of boots should you get?

We suggest that you buy expensive boots when your safety is a concern. Go for leather boots if you want comfort. If you are low on budget get a pair made of rubber.

Tips to buy boots

1) Work boots

Safety comes first while buying them. Consider the environment you work in. Expensive boots use expensive materials for better safety.

Features like the material type and quality, water resistance, temperature tolerance, comfort level and durability will cost you. If you are willing to spend around $200, you may get a good quality.

Also get your perfect size because if they do not fit in properly you will feel discomfort at work.

2) Boots for styling

Vintage cowboy boots will cost you more than $250  but you will buy elegance along with it.

Trendy and reckless engineer boots ($300 will be the minimum price) are worth every penny if you are looking for an outstanding presentation.

3) Hiking Boots

You should consider your safety, good grip, comfort and flexibility while buying them.

They have extra features for extra safety on the mountain. So,It’s better to start your budget from $200 at least!


1. How long do cowboy boots last?

Ans. Depending on the brand, you can use cowboy boots generally for around 10 years. You may need to change the sole once or twice in the process.

About the author

Benedikt Meyers

Benedikt Meyers is an accomplished executive with significant experience in global sales and marketing, product development, and supply chain for the apparel and footwear industries. He’s a skilled relationship builder who has lived in Asia for 10 years and visited the world to develop key alliances with industry partners in order to meet production and supply demands in ever-evolving markets.

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