What is the difference between ankle boots and booties blog graphic

What is the difference between ankle boots and booties? 

Ankle boots versus booties – two names for the same thing? Different shoes? And which is the one that looks like the offspring of a sandal and a boot? 

I’m glad someone asked.

What is the difference between ankle boots and booties?

Ankle Boots versus Booties graphic

Ankle boots and booties are very similar, but the main difference is ankle boots generally end a couple inches higher than the ankle, while booties end right at the ankle.

Another common (though not definitive) difference is ankle boots are generally more boot-like. If it looks like a sandal and a boot had a baby, it’s also (usually) called a bootie. 

You could conceivably wear ankle boots in the snow. (No matter how quickly you’d twist your ankle if you tried). Booties are generally out of place in the snow.

But remember, strict fashion rules are seldom helpful. You’ll see these names used interchangeably, but hopefully that helps clarify the difference.

How to style ankle boots and/or booties

On the whole they can be styled very similarly. (Just keep your eyes alert for those unions of sandals and boots, they can get a little odd.)

How to style them with pants

Style ankle boots with pants graphic

Styled with pants can be super cute. The trick is to keep an eye on where the cuff of your pants meet the top of your shoe. If you’re not paying attention, it can cause some unintended bunching. Be intentional with your cuff bunching.

If you’re new to styling ankle boots with pants, start with cropped or ankle length skinny trousers or jeans (think Audrey Hepburn). Or very skinny jeans that you can tuck inside your boots.

This will help minimize unintentional cuff wackiness.

Alternatively, go with a wider leg pant that will fall over the top of the boot without catching.

When in doubt err on the side of a shorter pant hem. You can always bridge the gap with brightly colored socks (or stockings if that’s more your style).

How to style them with skirts & dresses

Style ankle boots with skirts and dresses graphic

I love a good ankle boot or bootie with a skirt! Again, you want to pay special attention to the top of your boot and hem of your skirt or dress. If you’re styling boots with an ankle length skirt or dress, you want to be very intentional about that. 

So if you’re just getting started styling ankle boots and booties with skirts and dresses, start by styling them with hems mid-calf or shorter.

I talk more about styling dresses with boots here in “BODYCON! Outfit Recipes for Bodycon Dresses” (which you can easily adapt to styling skirts and boots).

With a high heel versus without a high heel

Ankle Boots with and without heels

In general shoes and boots with a heel are going to look fancier than those without a heel. Even if you just style them with jeans and a t-shirt, a boot or bootie with a heel is just going to look a little more formal. 

Without a heel, ankle boots and booties are a fantastic alternative to sneakers or flats. You can usually make a direct style swap. If you want a really easy place to start, start here: put together an outfit and swap sneakers or flats for a pair of boots. 

And there we have it, the difference between ankle boots and booties! Plus how to style both!

I also got a question about what shoes to style with skinny ankle-length pants, so keep an eye out for that answer! (Here it is!) And if you want your question answered, send them here!


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