What shoes does a minimalist wear in winter?
November 14, 2017 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I am a cis-woman, mid-40s, living in the Bay Area, and I want shoes (brands or specific shoes) to wear to work in a casual environment in the winter that will fit a generally minimalist aesthetic and lifestyle.

In the summer/dry weather I generally wear black canvas slip ons or black ballet flats. These are fine when the weather is dry but I would also like something that I can walk short distances in moderately wet weather but are still appropriate for smart casual office wear.

More particulars:
- I am looking for black leather shoes that are not patent or suede. I am open to loafers, oxfords, booties, whatever. I am not looking for tall boots right now (or rather, I have already narrowed down a search for tall boots). I am open to flats but prefer a low or moderate stacked heel, I don't want a delicate or spiky heel or a tall wedge (low wedge might be ok). I really hate a lot of embellishments, textures, and stuff on my everyday shoes. I don't like a really pointy toe.
- My feet run hot, so I don't need/want really heavy or very warm shoes; I don't have any feet problems.
- My usual outfit is a plain fitted above-the knee dark denim or corduroy skirt, black or dark-colored leggings/tights, a bright-colored tank under a fitted black long- or short-sleeve t-shirt and a cardigan in gray or a bright or jewel color. My accent colors tend to be yellow/mustard, teal, fuchsia/magenta or bright/dark green. I'm attracted to minimalist/capsule wardrobe styles.
- Sometimes I wear jeans, so it would be good to have something that can be for jeans or a skirt, but I do wear skirts most often.
- I have slim calves and ankles, my feet are slightly wide (not enough to need a wide size but enough that some sleek shoes look weird on me); I don't mind/sometimes like a chunkier shoe but am not wanting a heavy, bulbous shoe like a clog. I really really really want to avoid a suburban mom look, but I'm also not a 20 year old fashionista and I'd like to veer arty rather than corporate. I'm open to more casual shoes if they are quite hip, if not hip than I'd like them to be a little more classic/formal, even retro. I am open to femme or menswear inspired looks.
- I'm aiming for $80-$125, but a special deal is attractive and I'll invest more (<$300) if I know the shoe is really good quality and will last and is what I want.
- I can't stress enough how much I don't want to look like a suburban mom going to a country-western bar for out for a night out even though I am aware that my price point is essentially that and some of my other signifiers point to that.
posted by vunder to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I like Aquatalia. Their shoes are water-resistant, stylish and sadly, also expensive. Some styles are on sale at Nordstrom.
posted by shoesietart at 2:47 PM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

These may be too flat and heavy for you, but I like many of the same aesthetics and my winter shoe is the Dr Martens 1461. They are a nightmare to break in, but are now in near-daily rotation for me and (painlessly) covering long distances. Today I wore them with tights, tomorrow they are set out with cuffed jeans.
posted by carbide at 3:03 PM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Black, chisel toed blundstones? I've been wearing mine with many outfits for five years, through all seasons.
posted by elke_wood at 3:13 PM on November 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

Camper? I have a pair similar to these and I think they tick your boxes. Very versatile, not about to be out of style (or off to c/w nite in the burbs) soon. They've also been ridiculously durable and comfortable, too.
posted by kmennie at 3:30 PM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Unless I've missed something, the Chelsea boot is made for you.
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:30 PM on November 14, 2017 [9 favorites]

I like a smooth low wedge loafer like this or this for wearing with pants, jeans and skirts. Here's a bootie version made by... Crocs? Random!
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:31 PM on November 14, 2017

I have a pair of black Ecco loafers that work, look there? Mine are even mostly waterproof, which is great. Also, thanks for letting me know that my "fun״ cowboy boots are probably making me look like a suburban mom on a night out. You are totally right.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 4:10 PM on November 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I wear something like these for your purposes but in black. Confession, I've been a suburban mom for 15 years but I haven't been to a country-western bar for 20 years so I don't really know what that looks like.

posted by RoadScholar at 4:31 PM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

It sounds like Everlane's Modern Loafer might work really well with the outfits and palette you've described. I can vouch for it being extremely popular in my workplace (an art institution). Since you're in the Bay Area, you could even check out the fit and colors in person at their only West Coast retail location (lucky!).
posted by Anita Bath at 4:35 PM on November 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

Chiming in to add that everyone* in Canada wears blundstones for this purpose. With skirts even. But they might be too clunky for you, in which case i'd go with some of the other chelsea boot variants that are recommended.

(Not everyone but nearly.)
posted by stray at 5:27 PM on November 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cole-Haan oxfords. They're in your desired price range when they go on sale.
posted by needled at 5:30 PM on November 14, 2017

I was in SF for work recently and bought a pair of flat heeled ankle boots by Sutro. Shoebiz on Valencia was the spot. Seconding Everlane as something you might want to check out.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 5:56 PM on November 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was coming in to suggest Sutro when I saw you're in SF. I have a pair or two of their men's footwear and they're quite comfortable. Go to Shoe Biz and try some on.
posted by rtha at 6:19 PM on November 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Dr. Scholl’s makes an Everlane knockoff, by the way.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:45 PM on November 14, 2017

These Timberland chelsea boots mesh with workwear a bit better than Blundstones, IMHO (coming from someone who lives in Blundstone land). For some reason they're a huge compliment magnet. I had to size up a half size despite having narrow-ish feet, so YMMV if you have slightly-wide feet.
posted by blerghamot at 6:58 PM on November 14, 2017

If you like canvas slip ons, just trade them for leather ones when it starts to rain. There’s a huge selection since they’re still on-trend, and they’re nicer looking than the canvas ones. I had a pair of black perforated leather Vans and they were plenty waterproof for the Bay Area, they went with everything, and were one of my most-complimented pairs of shoes of all time.
posted by asphericalcow at 7:35 PM on November 14, 2017

I'm a solid chelsea boot girl in the winter. I just bought a pair of these, in black, which are lovely, comfortable and less clunky than a lot of the ankle boots I've tried on this season.
posted by thivaia at 7:36 PM on November 14, 2017

Chelsea boots, girlfriend.
posted by matildaben at 9:47 PM on November 14, 2017

You can never go wrong with 8-hole Doc Martens.
posted by bendy at 12:10 AM on November 15, 2017

Clarks and Sperry are my Chelsea boot go-tos. I've been really happy with Sperry lately, to the extent almost all my shoes come from there now.
posted by dame at 5:49 AM on November 15, 2017

The Dansko Marcelle seems to fit the bill exactly. Note the Cabrio leather instead of the patent, and it's really not that shiny in person. Your requirements and style sound similar to mine and I just wore a pair of these to death and am getting ready to buy another pair.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:14 AM on November 15, 2017

« Older Reviewing/submitting a short personal essay…....   |   dispute with a garage Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.