Here's the thing - if you're just curious about whether or not women can wear men's shoes from an anatomical perspective - like if there's some difference between our feet that's being accounted for when they are designing men's shoes versus women's shoes - you can rest assured in that regard, you're 100% safe.
There's some differences between men's and women's shoes, yes, even if they are the same size, but that all comes down to aesthetics and how women's shoes are tailored to what shoe stores believe women will prefer to buy.
If the shoe fits - you can wear it. And if you like the way it looks, it doesn't matter if it's marketed as for women or for men, it's totally fine for either gender to wear it from an anatomical perspective.
That being said, if you're a man and you're looking to buy the type of shoe that's made both for men and women, like a Chelsea boot, I don't see why you would ever want to grab a women's version instead of one made for men.
This isn't for any reason besides - women's shoes are just so stinkin' poor quality!!
The options in terms of colours and styles is obviously way more insane in terms of variety than it is for men, but what's out there is rarely ever good quality, so it makes more sense to me to stick to buying men's shoes, whether you're a woman or a man, if you're after quality.
Now, I will say that I used to think some men's styles look so ridiculously masculine that they couldn't possibly be worn by a woman.
But ever since trying on and falling in love with this particular pair of chukka boots, I'm starting to think that how I imagine shoes will look when they're on my feet and how they actually look are two completely different things.
I guess because I online shop for clothes so much, I can typically guess reasonably accurately how well they will suit me aesthetically. With shoes, I honestly think I have no gauge.
It's kind of like how I can imagine what a room will look like when it's painted and when certain pieces of furniture are placed in it, but my husband Thomas can't really "see it" until it's done.
Or like how he knows exactly what miscellaneous products will look like when he sees them online, while when I order them, they typically look bigger, smaller, or even just totally different than I imagined them based on the picture in the listing.
Either way, try things on.
If you're a woman who likes the idea of wearing men's desert boots because they look comfy - try on a pair!
If you love a pair of boots your boyfriend has, steal his for a second to see if they look good on you, too, and grab a pair in your size if you like it!
The upside is you'll probably end up with shoes that are so much higher quality this way, and no it's not just about "better" materials from the perspective of it being rarer or sounding more desirable.
Better materials should mean your shoes won't look hideous over time as you use them.
Heck, if they're high enough quality they may even look better with age and the more you wear them over time like my Hutton Playtime's definitely do; I'm drooling over how they look now in comparison to before! (In case you're curious, click here to see the before and after side by side).
High quality shoes should fall apart and need replacing less, and maybe even able to be repaired rather than needing to be thrown out entirely when they do eventually get worn enough.
I've been wearing my Hutton Playtime chukka boots since I put them on.
To nearly every outing, because there's an added couple bonuses I absolutely didn't realize made such a big difference to me: comfort & support.
I know, what the heck do these even mean to a woman looking for nice shoes to wear, right?
But in all honestly, I cannot explain how much of a difference it makes to your quality of life when you're out and about.
I used to slip and slide whenever there was snow or ice or rain - don't get me started on the combo here in Portugal of fallen autumn leaves + slippery cobblestone + rain. It's actually a nightmare.
I don't anymore because: crepe soles!! I know. What a genius invention. And yet I'd be hard pressed to find any women's shoes with crepe soles.
Oh and, these particular chukkas? They have a flat leather bed at the bottom so - lo and behold - I don't need to wear my orthopaedic insoles anymore??
Your mileage my vary and you may still need insoles, but I legitimately would have looked at you like you were crazy if you told me if I wore non-orthopaedic, high quality men's shoes I stood a chance of never having to wear insoles again.
I used to have to wear, at minimum, Birkenstock half-insoles in every pair of shoe I owned, or I'd get back pain after around 40 minutes of just regular walking.
I can wear these for hours and hours and never regret leaving the insole at home.
I honestly don't think I'm going to go back to wearing women's shoes, except of course for the off chance I want a shoe with a heel.
But these days that's not going to happen because heels + cobblestone don't work (at all!) so I am almost certainly going to stick to men's shoes from here on out.
If you're a women who was thinking about it, I'd urge you to try on a pair.
It might feel a little strange to go into a store and ask to try on a men's pair of shoes, putting you out of your comfort zone, in which case I'd say to at least raid a man in your life's closet to see how, aesthetically, certain styles might suit you if you get these types of shoes in your size.
Give it a try, because if you've thought about it before, you probably don't care about things like labels saying something should be a men's or women's shoe.
And if you're that type and haven't tired a man's shoe before, I guarantee you, you are missing out.
Most women just don't care about quality and comfort partly because they prioritize aesthetics, sure, but also partly (I'm personally convinced) because they have no idea what they're missing out on!
How can you know how great it is to have nice quality shoes when nothing made for women is made to those specifications?
Last repeat, I swear: but you should give them a try!
And in case you're curious about the men's boots I regularly wear (the two styles featured in the pictures of this article), it's the Hutton Playtime chukka boot (my favourite pair ever) and the Hutton Type 01 desert boot.
They pair well with nearly everything in my closet. And yes, I wear them with skinny jeans, leggings, shorts, dresses, skirts, with no problem. I love them to bits.
But you can see my review of the Playtime here if you're curious about my perspective on them in more detail. No need for me to rehash that entire article here ;)