If you happen to reside in a part of the country where it snows at all, no matter how hard you try, you’re just not going to stop winter’s onslaught. And though you may not be able to control the accumulation of the white stuff or the dropping temps, you can prepare yourself with the right kind of boots that won’t make you look like you’re on an Arctic expedition.
For most of us, it just isn’t practical to have a hulking pair of dedicated winter boots unless you’re shoveling or using sled dogs. Furthermore, you’re not a Yeti (even if you happen to be fairly hairy), so you can’t just amble out unshod, or even worse, in a pair of Uggs.
The good news is that winter boots take many forms that didn’t even exist when we were kids, and there are even ones that are truly stylish, as well as seriously protective against the frozen elements.
We’ve put together a list of quality boots with a range of styles at a variety of prices to help get you through this year’s ice and snow.
Hood Rubber Co. Concord ($184)
We haven’t seen a winter hiking-style boot that’s this uniquely stylish in, well, ever. The Concord is a hybridization of a traditional mountaineering boot and a sneaker, topped off by a very modern light gray padded Italian wool collar. The full grain leather is rubberized and fully waterproof, lined with a breathable but waterproof membrane, bringing the best of modern footwear technology. The thick waxed cotton laces and metal d-ring eyelets provide the old-school tradition.
Hood Rubber Co. Holliston ($165)
One look at the Holliston, and you’d think it’s predominantly about style, but that’s where you’d be wrong. It’s waterproof, breathable, and seriously comfortable since it melds sneaker tech with a bona fide winter boot. It uses full grain and rubberized leather, a full leather sock, a full leather welt, and a breathable footbed with shock absorption. The gorgeous cordovan colored leather with its contrast rear heel stripe and waxed cotton laces are the parts that are for showing off.
Timberland West Haven Moc Boot ($119+)
Tims aren’t just for rappers and hip-hop style mongers, you know. These winter boots take on great moc style with a stunning textured pebble grain leather. It uses premium waterproof leather with a nice waterproof membrane to keep the elements at bay. The beautiful scalloped stitching adds serious refinement not found on boots that cost way more, and the double stitch down welt construction means it’ll hold up even when you’re worn out.
The Turku is easily one of the best looking hybrid sneaker boots we’ve ever seen. With a balance of athleticism and ruggedness, they’re also waterproof and ready for action. The combination of natural and synthetic rubber keep your feet protected in the wet, and the toe bumper keeps you from harm. And unlike a lot of boots out there, its M Select Grip outsole provides great wet surface traction, as well as in the dry.
Cole Haan Grantland Chukka ($112+)
Sometimes you want a boot that looks more refined but has a more pronounced lug sole. You don’t want to commit to a hiking-look, but you want the capability to traverse less friendly ground or conditions. The Grantland tops a beefy lug sole with a slenderized leather upper that comes in both black and brown premium leather uppers. They’re low on adornment except for the suede collar, and they’re seriously purposeful with completely waterproof leather and seam-sealed construction.
Sorel Madson Chukka Waterproof ($129+)
These suckers look comfy from the get-go, but they also employ the profile of a versatile double gore Chelsea boot so that you can wear them with both slacks and jeans for all-winter versatility. Slip the laceless numbers on, and the removable Ortholite footbed will keep your feet ensconced in comfort. Drop them into water, and your feet will remain dry while you remain eminently stylish.
The Sidneys are a pair of seriously handsome vintage-style hikers. They employ the traditional mountaineering look but add on a textured and patterned padded cloth collar and a layered rubber wedge outsole with contrasting colors that add great style. The waterproof full-grain leather will age beautifully, and since you can resole the stitch-down welt, they just may last you longer than you’d expect.
Just looking at the Schazzbergs makes us feel warm and comfy. These taller models promise protection, warmth, and style thanks to durable waterproof leather, Pendleton wool fabric with PrimaLoft insulation, and a beautiful moc style that’s timeless. ClimaPath tech wicks moisture, and the Vibram sole ensures traction when and where you need it. The height means there’s no need to worry about seriously snowy conditions, either.
Blundstone Winter Boots ($115+)
If you’ve ever worn Blundstone’s Chelsea boots, you know how decisively they bring top-notch comfort, toughness, and style. The BL1317s are designed for winter but give up none of the Blundstone style. They’re part of the comfort series and add a leather lining, increased shock protection, and an extra insole for added comfort. You can wear these guys all day and not grow weary, and should extra punishment come your way, the soles can handle 284 degrees of heat, in addition to the great winter protection they deliver. But it’s not all about practicality. The nifty green elastic double gore fabric and green stitching are unique, stylish touches that contrast the dark brown leather perfectly.
Danner Mountain 600 ($200)
Danners have stood the test of time since their inception back in 1932. Their Mountain 600 boots are part of their Performance Heritage line that aptly melds traditional styling with modern lightweight tech. These are full leather that make use of what’s known as the Danner Dry 100% waterproof membrane that keeps water out but allows sweat to escape. The triple layer removable Ortholite footbed keeps your feet well cushioned and supported, and the Vibram Fuga sole provides stellar traction in the wet and dry. The contrast red laces, hook and eye lacing system, and embossed Danner logo bring the heritage home.