Help me find new boots for winter.
October 5, 2011 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a good pair of women's boots to buy for winter.

Last winter I slipped on the ice and broke my ankle in three places. Now that winter's on the verge, I want to get a pair of solid, but somewhat fashionable boots that I can wear to work (where I have to dress professionally) even in the snowy months. Here's what I need:
no heels, soles with some tread, must zip up the side (can't use pull on boots even though my ankle has healed), not camping or hiking boots.

AND not too ridiculously priced - anything more than $200 would be impossible and even $200 is going to cause some damage - but anything is worth not slipping and sliding (and falling and breaking) all winter.
posted by knolan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered walking to work in boots and then changing once you're there?
posted by k8t at 7:39 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, I feel you. I had a fall early in the winter last year and it kind of ruined me for feeling safe and confident walking down winter sidewalks in anything but fully functional snow boots.

I am crazy about my North Face Janey boots, which look cute even if I am not in a place where I can easily change into shoes. They have functional laces up the back but also a zipper up the inside. You should be able to find them more cheaply than the sticker price (I found mine on Zappos for about 75% of retail last year). The soles are very grippy.
posted by padraigin at 7:41 PM on October 5, 2011

I have no specific suggestions but check L L Bean. They really know snow and ice in Maine, they have great customer service, and lately they are becoming more stylish.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:42 PM on October 5, 2011

I have a pair of Clarks that's lasted for years - something like these or these. Ooh, and Zappos had these under the recommendations, which look a little more rugged but still stylish.
posted by songs about trains at 7:51 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I recommend yaktrax, which can then go on most any shoe you choose. I love them. I used o havr the basic ones, wich worked well, but one eventually fell off in a giant storm-aftermath so I upgraded to the pro's w the strap.
posted by atomicstone at 7:53 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have to get yaktrax again, I unfortunately managed to lose two pairs last winter. And I now have three pairs of Merrell Tetra Launch boots because they are comfortable, stylish, waterproof (though my original pair does need the waterproofing re-done), warm enough for a not-horribly-frigid winter, and I just about wore out my first pair last year.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:06 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've had great luck and many, many compliments on my Merrell Spire Peak boots. I wear them almost daily once the snow starts, and almost every day someone compliments them. They have a textured tread, which makes them look a little more polished than something with a lug sole. The elastic panel means they fit snugly while being the most comfortable pair of knee-high boots I've ever owned.

I loved my first pair so much that when they finally wore out, I splurged and paid retail (~US $175) for a new pair. You might be able to find them for less; there's a similar pair (the Eden Peak boots) on sale at 6pm right now.

How much heel is "no heel"? The Spire Peak have a 1.75 inch heel, but the Eden Peaks have just an inch heel. (I bought the ankle-high version of these last week --- to rotate with my Spire Peaks --- but haven't worn them yet. I think that nubbly sole will will make them even more stable on ice but also make them read as a more casual boot than the Spire Peak.)

I swear I'm not a Merrell shill; like you, I'm nervous about falling in the ice and snow. (I was injured a few years ago, and now one bad fall can put me out of commission for days.) When I find a pair of comfortable, stable boots that work well indoors, too, I become a dedicated customer.
posted by Elsa at 8:08 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

La Canadienne is a fantastic brand that I learned about from Ask Metafilter. I have two pairs of La Canadienne boots and I wear them all winter. They're durable, warm outdoors, not over-warm indoors, comfortable, and great-looking. At full retail, La Canadienne boots are a bit beyond your reach, but they can be found at a discount online. I'm seeing several pairs that meet your criteria on, for example. Check out the Tari or the Maggie for starters.
posted by Orinda at 8:12 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Steger mukluks are awesome. I can walk to work at 40 below and then keep wearing them at work all day and not have my feet overheat.

They don't seem to have any with zips, but there are some shorter ones that might be easier to get on.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:23 PM on October 5, 2011

I just bought these badboys, and they are AWESOME. And, on sale.
posted by fillsthepews at 10:37 PM on October 5, 2011

I love Pajar boots. I have a sporty pair that I think are quite fetching but they might not meet your fashion criterion. Something like this might, though. I love them because they are super warm, grippy and light as air. Seriously, it's like walking outside in your bedroom slippers.

I also recommend Yaktrax or the like for the days that are pure ice. We get a lot of freezing rain where I am and they rock it.
posted by looli at 11:19 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding La Canadienne. They do make some very nice boots! I got mine at Tip Top Shoes in NYC which has always been my go to store for comfy shoes because they carry such a wide selection that you can often find the most stylish shoes that fall into the good-for-your-feet category.
posted by seriousmoonlight at 5:36 AM on October 6, 2011

Response by poster: Geez! What great recommendations. I have a jittery excited feeling in my stomach just looking at them. I think I might end up with boots AND yaxtrax.

RE the heel. I can manage a moderate heel if it is a solid heel, not tapered. I should have said "no heels".

Anyway thanks for the suggestions and keep 'em coming. I'll let you know what I end up with.
posted by knolan at 5:51 AM on October 6, 2011

If you want actual traction just got from some traditional big-ass snowboots & change at work. Then you are ready- Want to walk through ankle deep snow? Works (Had to do this on my way to work a few times in Montreal), walk on sheet ice without falling? You can do it.

I just left a pair of shoes under my desk and changed when I got in. Worked fine.

I've got to say- In my experience 'stylish' and 'good in snow' don't tend to go well together. If they look nice they are just going to get destroyed by salt & water anyway.
posted by Canageek at 6:34 AM on October 6, 2011

Last winter I was in your (leaky, cold, slippy) shoes. I was at a party last January and complaing about my lack-of-boot issues, when I realized that 30 different women had left wet snowy boots by the door, and there was no better time to get ideas of what I should be shopping for. Looking through the pile, I fell madly in love with the ToeWarmers Shelter Boot and now own a pair in black. Their boots are waterproof, insulated, and run a spectrum from seriously practical to fairly fashionable. If I indulge in new brown boots this winter to go with my new black boots from last winter, it will be these, also Toe Warmers.
Note, they run plenty big for thick socks, if you're between sizes, order down.

oh, Amazon, you crack me up sometimes.
posted by aimedwander at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2011

I am currently wearing and loving these babies. Amazon calls them grey leather but mine are natural coloured and smell greeeeat if you love the smell of real leather. The grips (which you can see on the pics below) are so chunky they stir up the carpet if I don't take them off when I come in the door. They're right at the edge of your price range, but... honestly, I love them so much I had to recommend them!

You know those times you go shopping and you don't quite know what you want, but you know you'll recognise if if you see it? That. All my abstract boot dreams came true.
posted by penguin pie at 3:44 PM on October 6, 2011

i have these teva boots -- made it through the wisconsin winter without wiping out once in these!
posted by nanhey at 7:40 PM on October 6, 2011

May I piggyback a question onto yours? I love almost all the boots here (and have a pair of the Merrill Spire Peaks myself), but I"m not sure how to wear the ones with more decoration on the outside. Do you wear them with skirts and tights? Do you tuck them into jeans? Do you tuck jeans into them?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:48 PM on October 7, 2011

I have a terrible time finding flattering pants, so I wear skirts as much as possible.* The pants I do wear are straight leg or bootcut, and my boots are not cuffed, so it works fine. If I have to plow through an accumulation of snow, I damn the dork factor and tuck my pants into my boots while I'm in transit. If I wore skinny jeans, I would tuck them into the boots.

*Two winters ago, I discovered that layering a plain but close-knit pair of thigh-high socks or legwarmers over my tights made outside much more bearable (I was amazed at what a difference just one extra layer over my knees made), and were easy enough to slip off and pop into my bag when I got inside. Last winter, I discovered fleece-lined tights (I went with a footless pair made for runners and skiers, because I am a wimp about the cold), and barely wore pants all winter.
posted by EvaDestruction at 6:12 PM on October 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

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