The best winter boots for the city girl
Winter is in full swing this week, with temperatures in Chicago dipping into the negative digits, and a blizzard heading towards the East Coast. Appropriate gear is a must to make it through these cold days, particularly if you are a commuter and city-dweller as I am, or if you’re traveling to a cold climate. For those of us who spend a significant amount of times walking outdoors, a solid pair of winter boots is key. But which ones are the best?
The last pair of winter boots I owned were the Columbia Bugaboot, purchased several years ago when I lived in New York. While sturdy and durable, they were incredibly heavy. As in, it was uncomfortable to walk more than a few blocks in them. Because of that, I rarely ended up wearing them, which was a total waste (However, they’d be perfect for shoveling the driveway in, for example, or for a quick walk to and from your car).
Through that experience, I knew that the best winter boot for me would be one that was lightweight, in addition to being warm and waterproof. So, last winter, I ordered several different types and brands of boots in an attempt to find the best ones. My living room was literally covered in boxes and tissue paper; I did all the legwork so you don’t have to!
Going in, I thought the Sorel Joan of Arctic would be the winner; they’re a brand known for their winter gear, and they’re so stylish (love that tuft of fur at the top!). However, at nearly 2 lbs per shoe, I knew instantly upon trying them on that they were too heavy, and wouldn’t be practical for walking in.
The winner of my trial was the Columbia Minx Omni-Heat. Somewhat less trendy than the Sorels, but more sleek and modern in design, this boot won because it is incredibly lightweight – 13 oz each to be exact. This makes such a huge difference for walking long distances, especially while trudging through the snow. Additionally, they are indeed waterproof and warm. This is now the second winter season I’ve used them, and I can vouch for the quality and durability of the materials as well. I highly recommend them!
But what about a warm winter boot for non-snow occasions? This is something I first thought about after moving to Chicago. There were many winter days without any snow, but when the sidewalk was so cold that I could feel it through my shoes. To that end, I was also looking for a boot to keep my feet toasty, but that was still comfortable and fashionable. I settled on the Ugg Mini Bailey Bow Boot. There are tons of styles and colors to choose from, but I thought the mini size worked well for my (short) height, and that the bows added a cute style element. I was a little tempted to get the red-violet, but ended up with the classic chestnut. Now, I’ll be honest; for the longest time, I never thought I’d wear Uggs myself (anyone remember the early 2000s trend of girls wearing uggs bare-legged with mini skirts?!). But I’ve had mine for about a month now, and I see what the hype is about. They are super warm but breathable, and very comfortable to walk in. In fact, this weekend I walked about a mile in them in one stretch, in 3F/-16C weather, and my feet felt great (unlike my face, which was practically frozen!).
So there you have it! Kavi360’s picks for the best winter boots! Have you tried these brands? Do you have other recommendations?