Seeking women's waterproof winter boots. Difficulty level: NO heel.
February 11, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

I have a bad knee, and have recently discovered that the one-inch heels on my new waterproof Totes boots affect my gait such that my patella goes crazy. Can you recommend me some knee-friendly boots?

The knockoff Uggs I previously wore out had no heel and didn't cause me orthopedic issues, but they weren't waterproof, and their treads left a lot to be desired. I'm looking for a pair of boots with good treads that will keep out snow/slush AND not aggravate my knee problems. I'm a women's 8.5, and live in Chicago in case anyone has brick-and-mortar recs. I don't care how they look, and I'm not willing to pay extra for a brand. But if need be, I am willing pay extra for comfort and safety.

(In case anyone happens to know a lot about knees and wants to make specific recommendations on that basis, the original injury was a full patellar dislocation four years ago. Wearing boots with heels has caused my patella to become loose, track poorly, and cause me pain.)
posted by randomname25 to Shopping (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Merrell Barefoot Frost Glove.

Good tread. Zero drop heel. Genuinely waterproof (I have been wearing them every day since before Christmas in Boston). They do have thinner soles that your typical winter boot, and not a ton of arch support, but don't let the "barefoot" name scare you off, these are not like FiveFingers or anything.
posted by mskyle at 8:17 AM on February 11, 2014

I have Lands End snowboots that are warm, waterproof, affordable, good treads and not too dorky looking. Sears may still have them in the stores but I mostly buy from them online.
posted by maxg94 at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2014

> I don't care how they look

Then you want Bean Boots. I just got a pair in an emergency after resisting them for decades, and they're glorious. Waterproof, warm in slush, good tread, easy to get on and off. I don't consider them to have a heel (and I don't wear heels).
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:37 AM on February 11, 2014

I bought some Bogs similar to these and I'm really happy with them. The fabric-looking stuff on the sides is actually a neoprene-like material, very warm and comfortable and totally waterproof. The treads have worked fine for me, and both my and my preschooler's pairs look like new after using them quite a bit, so I think they wear well. They're on the expensive end, but they feel to me like a quality-expense not a fashion-expense.

The only downside is they don't do half-sizes, but they run a little small so a size 9 should be just about right. The other downside is that the store I got them at was having a hard time keeping them in stock, so it may be late enough in the season for them to be scarce.
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:41 AM on February 11, 2014

I have two different pairs of Danner boots. Acadia for work. I Sno-Sealed my Marine GTXs and they've been amazing in our bout of snowy, slushy weather. The tongue is attached most of the way up the shaft so they keep the water out.

Both pairs are without a doubt the best boots I've ever owned. I have a bum knee, too, and they don't aggravate it at all. They are flat, have sturdy soles, can be re-soled, and have seriously good traction that cleans easily.

And bonus, they are both made in the US!
posted by Beti at 8:50 AM on February 11, 2014

Those Frost Gloves look like an option. The Bean Boots and the Bogs, unfortunately, don't meet my "no heel whatsover" requirement. I agree, it's ridiculous, but even half an inch is going to cause me problems. Thanks!

One more thing: I'm tentatively open to men's boots (I think 8.5 women's converts to 7 men's). Tentatively because I know men's and women's feet are shaped slightly differently, but I think this may be the only way to get something suitable.
posted by randomname25 at 8:50 AM on February 11, 2014

Sorry to threadsit, but I don't want anything with a platform, either.
posted by randomname25 at 8:51 AM on February 11, 2014

Another option you could consider is getting some wool or fleece boot liners and wearing rain boots. A lot of them have heels, but some don't.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:11 AM on February 11, 2014

I love my Muck Boots.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2014

How about vivobarefoot? I switched all my work shoes to them as they have no real sole at all, and they have a pair of ladies boots here.
posted by fizban at 9:25 AM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have these Keen Boots and they are waterproof, very warm, and have no heel. Even better, looks like they are on sale now. They are not nearly as attractive in-person as they look in the picture. However, despite my intentions to return them, I've kept them because of the warmth, waterproofness, good treads, and overall comfiness.
posted by JuliaKM at 9:42 AM on February 11, 2014

I have these bogs in blue and they are flat. I love them. So warm and dry and easy to put on.

(I usually wear docs.)
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:43 AM on February 11, 2014

It looks like some of the Tretorn rain boots have no heel at all.
posted by at 10:01 AM on February 11, 2014

Or, on lack of preview, what TooFewShoes said.
posted by at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also have "bogs", purchased urgently two weeks ago as a result of the East Coast's awful weather trifecta of snow/ice/sleet misery this winter. They are, indeed, warm and very dry, but they are surprisingly heavy, if that's something that would matter to you. They are, however, completly flat. Zappo's has excellent overnight delivery. As a purchaser who somehow has been categorized as a VIP, this was free -- since this is about the third purchase I've made from Zappos, this seems an easy status to gain.
posted by citygirl at 11:19 AM on February 11, 2014

I got these from Amazon for about $70 and they have been a lifesaver in this slushy mess that is Denver. I am from Atlanta and I would have split my face in two if I didn't have these. They are waterproof, rated to -20, actual arch support, and much easier to get on and off than it might seem. I do lots of manuel labor outside in them and the shaft is more flexible than other tall boots so there is no constraint on my movement.

Plus, even though Denver is a ton less openly friendly than Atlanta, I get tons of compliments and inquires from strangers on these!
posted by stormygrey at 11:21 AM on February 11, 2014

Seconding the Tretorns. I have a three-year-old pair that I usually use just for big rains, but I've been wearing them all this winter in Chicago because the traction is kind of awesome. I haven't slipped and fallen yet, and I walk a lot. That, if you ask me, is the gauge of a good boot.

They're also lined, so they keep your feet quite warm with regular socks. They're comfortable, and they're flat, no platform. I found that they run slightly small, so you may want to size up a hair if you try them.
posted by heyho at 3:24 PM on February 11, 2014

The podiatrist I go to (who does orthotics, and sells a small selection of footwear) offers recommendations if he hasn't got things I need/want in stock. Have you got a pod you can ask for guidance? If not, I've found this blog useful. The author, a podiatrist, recommends particular styles for particular conditions. You might email her and see what she says if there's nothing for you. (She also reviews and actively looks for pretty shoes for people with ortho issues, in re spring!)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2014

Thanks, everyone!
posted by randomname25 at 6:12 PM on February 16, 2014

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