When I moved up to these mountains to experience 4 actual seasons, winter quickly became my favorite. The snowy months are just magical… until the power goes out and you have no heat and you have to shovel snow for hours and you’re freezing but also dripping wet with sweat under your clothes and then you slip on an ice patch you didn’t see and almost kill yourself. Living day to day life in the snow is much more challenging than it seems, but when the sky is bright blue and there is a blanket of white snow glistening in the sun, it’s worth it… mostly.
This is all to say that having the right equipment in the winter is key to making your life a little bit easier. So beyond the little things you learn like shoveling the snow before it ices over and pulling up your windshield wipers on your car before it snows (so they don’t freeze to your windshield) and not pouring water over your windshield in an attempt to melt the ice (because A. it just freezes more or B. it can crack your window if you use hot water), having the right snow BOOTS makes a huge difference too.
In late 2012 (when I moved up here) I had been working with Crocs for a few years and had a great pair of their snow boots, but I also had nothing really to compare them to. Though they were a little bulky, I loved the classic design, but the soles were so slick I could only wear them in deep snow (before it ices over). After telling a neighbor I slipped and fell hard, she recommended boot chains, which just like tire chains for your car, slip over the bottoms of your boots and prevent you from slipping on icy patches that may be invisible to the eye. These little boot chains have made life in the snow a breeze. You can pull them over ANY shoes (see them on the toes of my crocs) and they become totally slip resistant (and you can’t see them at all when I wear them over my black boots). And really, no matter how chunky your snow boot soles are, none will keep you from slipping on ice (they’re not necessary in deep snow). I recommend the coil option boot chains (which I mentioned in my last post) since the studded option isn’t AS slip-resistant AND will also tear up your wood flooring inside your house if you forget to take them off. The coils occasionally get caught in carpet but don’t do damage, you just get stuck. Your best bet is to take them off when indoors.
I still have my crocs snow boots and wear them now almost as worker boots in the snow; to shovel and hike and do things of that nature, but when it comes to actually getting dressed and going out, I prefer a little more of a low-profile snow boot.
As each winter passes, I learn more little tricks to make living in the snow easier. But snow boots are important. I happen to LOVE short snow boots mostly because they’re easier to pull on and off than the tall ones. Tall snow boots have some bonuses though; they keep you warmer than the short ones and also, if you’re walking in DEEP snow, they prevent snow from getting inside your boots, unlike the shorties. I still find the short boots easier to wear (and drive in), lighter on my feet, easier to get into and out of and a little more low-profile with outfits than the tall ones. You can kind of style them like regular boots vs the tall ones which always give you that I’M GOING OUT IN THE SNOW look. Which is cute, yes, for once in a while, but for everyday winter living, I’m 100% for the shorties.
A few years ago I bought this short pair of all black Sorel’s (with white trim) and I’ve been obsessed ever since. The style is called Tivoli and I haven’t seen them available for a while. Recently though they came out with an updated version, which I may even like a little better since they have less white detailing – though mine have black faux fur along the inside and top, which I like BETTER than the newer white fur variety. My boots (shown in all the photos below) are still technically good (waterproof, warm, comfy = check!) but they are starting to wear out a bit since I’ve worn them for the last 4 winters.
Sorel winter snow boots worn 4 ways make them an easy style to pair with any winter looks.
I’m not a huge fan of boots with any colors other than neutrals like black, brown and/or grey. I generally look for a style that will work seamlessly with much of my winter wardrobe, which is why black is my favorite choice…
Also, before buying (unless I’m in store and can try on) I always read the reviews for sizing purposes. Many run large or small, and a good reviewer (or 5) helps to get the best fit.
Below are links for three similar but different styles in the shorter boots category; classic snow boots (like my Sorel Tivoli’s), hiking style boots (often a little shorter yet even lower-profile) and a sneaker style. I’ve linked to each in separate categories below and then included all the categories in the shopping widgets so you can see the styles visually. Many of the styles I’ve linked to specifically come in black (because that’s what I’m searching for) but many also are available in a few other color options as well.
Classic Short Snow Boots…
The classic short snow boots are the style I lean towards the most for everyday winter snow-wear. When the snow subsides I’m usually in my Dr. Martins or Uggs, though I’d love to get a hiker-style boot as well… just not entirely sure they’re my style. I also love the puffer moon boot styles that are popping up more and more… there are also tons of wedge styles, though I would NOT recommend wedges in the snow to prevent ankle breaking.
* SOREL Tivoli Snow Boots IV (THIS is the newer version of my boots, which I’ll most likely buy again) $129.95
* SOREL Whistler $199 (I think these are brand new! They didn’t make my shopping widget because I JUST found them now) I LOVE this all black style! But they’re more expensive than the new version of mine.
* RYKA Briella short snow boots $84.95 (these are really cute and lower in price! I may order the brown option for neutral looks)
* LAUREN Ralph Lauren Dabney $90 (which are surprisingly stylish for snow boots!)
* UGG Butte II Waterproof Winter Boot $129
* adidas Outdoor Terrex Choleah Padded boots $94.99
* Ryka Brae short snow boots $80 (this style is really cute too, more affordable and comes in 4 cute colors) Can’t vouch for comfort or warmth, but I may try this pair or the other style.
* Sorel Classic Caribou Boots $160 (love this classic style but they tend to be really heavy. They’re also a little taller and not AS easy to get into and out of – though still not the tall Sorel Joan of Arc snow boot, that admittedly are adorable, but not for me for everyday wear. I’d opt for these if I didn’t live in the snow but took vacations in the snow, lol) If you’re looking for a similar tall style snow boot, these are about half the price of the Sorel version)
* Sperry Maritime Winter Boots $119
* Sorel Explorer Carnival Boots $130 – similar to my short Tivoli style but a bit of a moon boot puff to them. They’re almost cuter in the grey color combo.
Hiking Boot Styles…
Slightly more expensive, but also have a bit more of a “look” than regular snow boots. I can’t vouch for warmth in long-term chilly temps, but they’re probably fine for walking in and out of snowy conditions and great for winter days without snow and maybe actual hiking…?… doubtful. And honestly, they’re so cute I wouldn’t want to ruin them in muddy hiking conditions, lol.
* Cole Haan GrandExpløre Genuine Shearling Trim Waterproof Hiker Boot $200
* Dr. Scholl’s So Cozy Waterproof Bootie $74.95
* Samuel Hubbard Alpine Water Resistant Genuine Shearling Lined Boot $334.95
* Cambridge Waterproof Snow Boot with Genuine Shearling Cuff $219
* Tommy Hilfiger Icee 2 – winter hiking boots $33.99
* Tommy Hilfiger Icee winter hiking boots with faux fur $43
* FRYE AND CO. Anise Hiker boot $93.29
* Sorel Harlow Genuine Shearling Bootie $169.95
Sneaker boot Styles…
The sneaker styles are pretty cute especially if you have a generally sportier winter style (and maybe better as a fitness snow boot option).
* UGG Turlock Waterproof Snow Boot $99
* Adirondack III Waterproof Boot (a little heftier and sportier than my taste but probably really functional) but the black and grey options are a little more stylish $249
* SOREL Whitney Short Lace sneaker boots $119.95
* Tundra Boots Guarda $69.95
* Backsie Amphibiox Waterproof Faux Fur Trim Sneaker Boot $140
* Tretorn Lily 3 winter Sneakers $130
* Sorel Explorer 1964 Boots $140.00
Obviously there are TONS of styles of snow boots for winter on various sites (zappos has the biggest selection) and in stores and at a variety of price points. These are just some of my favorite “everyday” winter snow boots for functional and stylish looks on the snowiest days of the year. Hope it helps you choose your next pair of winter boots!