Reader Request: Functional AND Cute Snow Boots

Charlotte wrote:

I live in Virginia, but my in-laws live in Vermont. Whenever I go to visit, I am sadly ill-equipped! I was hoping you could do a roundup of FUNCTIONAL snow boots that keep your feet warm and dry, but that also are cute. I want to look cute, and not fall over. Is that so much to ask?

It is not! It is not too much to ask for your warm, dry winter snow boots to look less like clodhoppers and more like fun, fashionable footwear. Here are a few of my current faves:

Sorel Joan Of Arctic , $129.00 – $139.95

Yes, I’m biased. These are my babies, purchased a few weeks ago, and I ADORE them. After five years of wearing short, stiff, uncomfortable, and downright weird-looking North Face boots, I sprung for these. And they’re comfy and warm and flexible and, as you can see from the photo above, cute enough to wear as part of a regular outfit. Albeit a casual one.

These are the only snow boots I currently own, so the following picks are based on design, reviews I’ve read, photos I’ve seen, and other anecdotal evidence!

Timberland Earthkeepers Grandby, $119.90 – $170.00

They’re waterproof! Really! And since they’re lace-ups, they’ll accommodate many calf widths. Love that little wedge heel, the cozy fleece lining, and the contrast stitching.

Baffin Tantra, $109.95

Whew, these are ROCKIN’. Basically a motorcycle boot that’s been bulked up and waterproofed for winter wear. Since these have a zipper, they’re fixed width. Make sure they’ll fit before buying.

Sorel Cate The Great, $159.99 – $200.00

These boots are TALL, so watch out. They’re borderline over-the-knee depending on your leg length, which is fantastic if you live in a truly snowy clime … but since they’re chunky and thick, they have the tendency to hide both ankle and knee curves which results in tree-trunk leg. But worn with pants or leggings, they are so, so, so cute. These were my runner-up boots. Maybe in a few years …

Bogs Rider , $64.38 – $115.95 on sale

If you prefer a sleeker, more Wellington-like design, these Bogs are a good bet. Reviewers say they’ll keep your toes unfroze in subzero temps, and I’ve had dozens of Already Pretty readers tell me that their Bogs are the best.

KEEN Kaci, $160

We all know KEENs are comfy, right? I mean, I love my Sorels, but I can only imagine how fabulous it would be to stalk around Minneapolis up to my knees in waterproof, KEEN comfort. Plus that strap detail? Too cute.

Columbia Bugaice, $114.30 on sale

Since my experience with short snow boots was nothing but frustrating, I was loathe to include a pair. One ornery snowbank or false step, and you’ve got a boot full of wetness. But I realize the rest of my selections are pretty darned tall, so these Columbias get my vote if you insist on a lower profile. They’ve got a hint of hiking boot to them, but such chic details. And get a load of those contrast laces.

These are all expensive, I hear you saying? Why, yes they are. Since the person writing this post has lived most of her life in places that get MASSIVE snow dumps (Chicago, upstate New York, Minnesota), she firmly believes that quality snow boots are worth the dough. If you’re looking for warmth, comfort, waterproof-ness, AND style in a snow boot, you’re gonna have to shell out. If you skimp and buy a $40 pair, you’re most likely going to get a stylish, warm pair that isn’t quite waterproof and lacks in the comfort department. I’m just sayin’.

Now, if your current pair can tide you over for the rest of this winter, here’s my advice: Start roaming around Amazon and in late February and early March. I’d bet my bottom dollar that ALL of these styles will be on sale for deep discounts, since the fashion world will be all about sandals by then.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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70 Responses to “Reader Request: Functional AND Cute Snow Boots”

  1. Frankincensy

    You’re quite right about the short snow boots; on shallow or packed-down snow they’re fine, but it doesn’t take much to get your ankles soaked. I can speak for the quality of my Hawkshead pair, though. I got them in 2002 and they’re still in great shape; I don’t think they’ve needed a single repair in that time.

  2. Katharine

    Awesome post! I have been using my Wellies with warm socks and they just aren’t warm enough! I will definitely be online in February looking for next Winter. They said this was going to be a mild winter in the Southeast..HA!

  3. Casey

    Where was this post back when I lived in a place where it actually snowed?! rofl. I’m loving those Bogs–they look sleek and yet warm. I always somehow got stuck with the most ugly boots ever. It’s a revelation to know that there are good options that don’t look like they ate my ankle for lunch. Must keep in mind for the future!

    β™₯ Casey | blog

  4. Rad

    I am drooling over those Keens. Sadly, it doesn’t get so wintry ’round these parts, although I do own a pair of shorter Merrells. You’re right about shorter boots being bad for snow (but the Merrells are great for keeping my feet warm in below zero Minnesota winters, as they lift me 2 inches off the ground).

  5. poodletail

    I love my Steger Mukluks and have them in several styles. If they keep the mushers warm you know they’ll keep you warm!

    • GlamaRuth

      Thanks for this review! I was vacillating on the Helen or Cate Sorels, but feared they’d be too big – every review says they run big so size down, but I am already a 4.5 or 5, so that is never an available option for me. Then I saw the NF Adrianne – come in a 5, knee-high, warm, waterproof, and seemignly don’t run big! Your review put me over the top, and I just ordered them – on sale, since it is already February. Thanks!

  6. Nique

    I just bought a pair of Pajar Laverne boots–very cute, kind of biker style, warm (reportedly warm to -25 degrees,) and waterproof. Got them on Amazon.

  7. Doreen

    I can not begin to extol the virtues of the Sorel Joan of Arctic boots. I ordered them on line, and could not be happier. Up here in New Hampshire we, like you, need to keep warm in ALL THIS SNOW. It helps to be both warm and cute.

  8. Nancy

    Wow – great selections. I researched for days last year trying to find a very warm and great looking boot to wear at the ice rinks. Wish these had been around. Got a pair of Spyders that are adequately warm but not as stylish. May be time for a new pair. Love those Baffins.

  9. Annasaurus

    I am completely in love with my Earth Origins Skyler boots:

    They are shorter, but a) pull on so you don’t have to mess with lacing up tall boots if, say, you just need to go out into the snow to take the trash out, and b) are the right height to look cute over leggings or under pants. Plus: WARM! I wear them daily in and out of work during the winter to keep my feet from freezing in the car & keep my work shoes out of the slush.

  10. Grace - Stripes & Sequins

    I agree with your pick – the Sorels are amazing. Comfy, warm, and most importantly, water-proof! Makes puddles a breeze. I have the same pair (but with the red soles,) and am obsessed. I don’t know what I would have done without them as this winter has been so mucky here in NYC!

    xx grace

  11. Margarita Tartakovsky

    Love your photo! πŸ™‚ I live in Florida so I don’t need snow boots, but I visit my family in NYC pretty often. I finally took the plunge and bought Uggs a few months ago. I’m really happy I did, because even though they’re so not attractive, they keep my feet so warm and happy. But unfortunately, they aren’t good for the snow at all.

    I really like all the boots you featured. If I needed snow boots, I’d get the Timberlands. They look pretty, comfy and warm. Thanks for the list!

  12. Jen

    I have returned to the days of elementary school where we would tote our cute maryjane shoes to school in backpacks while wearing our snowboots to the bus stop (mostly so we could kick snow back at the boys, but that’s a whole other post!). I’ve never been happier with my trek to and from my car in the school parking lot, grocery store, and other various walks outdoors now that I’ve made the change. Yesterday we received a generous dump of fluffy white snow, and while my female co-workers were tiptoeing to their cars, trying to brush the snow off without getting their pretty shoes wet, I was happily trudging through it with adorable Uggs on, and cleaning my car like a champ. There is something to be said for good snow boots, and I do plan on hitting up the sales in about a month to get some that aren’t suede all over. For now though, I’ll keep my toes toasty in sheepskin warmth. Great post today!

    • Sal

      I do the same thing, Jen. Some of my more durable fashion-y boots will take the snow, but most days I haul on my Sorels and pack my work shoes in my tote!

  13. Melissa de la Fuente

    These are great picks! I love the Keens…that strap IS too cute! And your comment on my blog this morning CRACKED me up…I know, RIGHT?! argh, that bag will haunt my dreams! πŸ™‚

  14. Mrs.M in MI

    I muddled through two Michigan winters with closed-back clogs and the ruin of nice boots before I finally broke down and bought a pair of snow boots. My husband was still in law school at the time, so they had to be less than $50.

    I found the line Itasca somewhere online and bought a pair for about $35-40 and they have been great for the past three years. They are warm and waterproof. I wouldn’t say that they are the cutest or most comfortable pair of boots, and the style I picked is pretty laborious to lace up. But they were in my price range and I wear them to walk a snow-loving dog every day so I have definitely gotten my money’s worth.

    I would also like to recommend that everyone get a pair of Stabilicers or Yaktraxs. My husband broke his leg last winter when he slipped on ice and since then we don’t go out without a pair strapped on our boots!

  15. Heather

    My mom works at a ski resort and wears Sorels, everyone does. She is outside 10+ hours a day and her feet stay warm.

    New to the site and love it!

  16. Kate

    My current snow boots are short, from LLBean. They’re comfywarm and really easy to zip on and off, but I do wish that they were taller. They have snowflake-shaped tread, though, so I <3 them anyway.

    When they finally kick the bucket, I'll be buying these:

    And with those on (and with handknitted wool socks!) I'll be able to say "Winter? HA! DO YOUR WORST." πŸ™‚

  17. Heather

    I just got my first pair of Sorel’s this weekend–just in time for a snowy night last night where I had to park outside my neighborhood when my little car couldn’t make it up the hill. I am in LOVE! The big thing for me is that I have size 12 (well, 11.5 Wide, but that doesn’t exist) feet, so finding something warm and dry that is actually pretty and designed for a woman is so rare in winter wear. My roommate found them for me, knowing my current apprehension about winter. I LOVE them!

  18. Cynthia

    Ooh, I love those Timberlands. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about snow) we only have 1-2 weeks of the year in which I might need anything warmer than regular leather boots with thick socks. When I was growing up in WI, there seemed to be a pretty good selection of reasonably attractive boots in our local department stores. I remember a brand called Mondl that made great boots, including a pair of bone-colored ones that I wore until they had holes.

  19. Linda

    I bought a pair of Kamik Women’s Hillcrest Winter Boot on Amazon a few months ago. They were on sale for $25 but I see their regular price is $75. I live in the Seattle area and we don’t get too much snow but these boots have been working well. I don’t fall in them and they keep my feet very warm.

  20. sk

    I wore my mother’s Vietnam-era Navy-issue combat boots as winter boots for years, until I wore them out. As a present for finishing a chapter of my dissertation, and in preparation for a Chicago winter, I bought myself a pair of tall, gorgeous Doc Martens, like the kind I’ve wanted since I was sixteen. This pair though has a rounded shape on the top that slopes down your calf and satin laces, for a little bit of a feminine touch. Tough Docs tread keeps it steady, and flannel on the inside keeps my feet warm (and I can fold the boot down when it gets a bit warmer)! They take more care than some other winter boots, but for feeling like Tank Girl, prepared for whatever the city throws my way, totally worth it.

  21. Julia

    I’ve heard “Blondo” boots are great. My cousin’s wife has a pair and raved about them to me. I saw she was wearing them a while back and they were adorable. The pair she was wearing had great traction and she said walked to/from work in them in the snow daily.

  22. Sox

    I have a pair of the Keen Kacis and they are great. I bought them a little big, as I have perpetually cold feet, and I wanted to be able to put on a thick pair of wool socks. They have a nice footbed and they are great for deep snow. And even though our snow is usually dry, it still gets your feet wet when it melts inside your boots.
    I even wear them with a dress coat and skirts, even tho’ they are a little ‘thud’ to be dainty.

  23. Tab

    I go the poor girl, not a lot of snow route. I wear my tevo, waterproof hiking boots to my car when there is snow and then put on my cute suede shoes (most of my shoes are suede, or faux suede so getting them wet is a no-no) when I get to a parking lot or something free of snow. They’re cute in an ugly sort of way.

    On that note though, does anyone know how to clean suede shoes?

  24. angie

    Fabulous roundup Sally and you look adorable!

    May I suggest Dr. Marten boots too? That’s what I wear in snowy and slushy weather – 20 eyelets – and my feet are very, very happy. Warm, dry, great grip, non-slip, weatherproof and comfy. That’s why Docs were invented πŸ™‚

  25. Paula

    I have the Joan of Arctic boots. While they are cute, they are not all that warm. I do miss my old Canadian made Sorel boots. They are now made in China, and they just don’t measure up to the older boots.

  26. Cyd

    Such a great selection. The Keen boot are really great looking. I count on Sorel’s here in Washington.

  27. Christina

    i have the sorel cate the greats…and they aren’t as tall as your describe =) i’m only 5’1 and they don’t come close to my knees. they fall around 4 inches below my knee..and don’t feel rescrictive at all. my first pair of sorels were the joan of arctics and i loved them. i love the cate the greats even more!!!!

  28. Kelly

    My Cate the Great boots are a dream come true. I thought I wanted the Joan’s but after reading many reviews, decided on Cate. They slip right on, no fussing with the laces, and they keep my whole body warm by insulating my feet and calves. I have long legs, so they’re a good 4 inches from my knees. I do NOT get “tree-trunk leg”, but I do get compliments! They were a blessing travelling through the snow-laden east coast this winter. I trudged right through (even wearing skirts w/tights) and stayed warm and dry. I’m definitely getting my girls Sorels when they’re a bit older. They’ll last for years and still be fabulous.

  29. Elle

    These are some great cold weather options! I bought my boots in 2009 when I found myself back in the Northeast after a few years in Florida, and settled on a functional warm pair of Merrell boots at DSW for $99… They’re waterproof, and warm but not quite as stylish as the sorel joan of arc boots I’m seeing everywhere this year.

  30. STL Mom

    I think it depends on what you are doing in the snow. For sledding, shoveling, and standing outside the school waiting for my kids, I wear my Bog boots. They keep my feet wonderfully warm and dry, and are great in slush as well as snow.
    But I find my Bog boots way uncomfortably warm when I’m indoors. Even a short trip through the grocery store makes my feet sweaty. So if I’m going to be both inside and outside, I usually wear my waterproof leather Merrell boots (kind of like these – mine are a few years old: They have enough insulation to keep me warm, especially with knee-high wool socks, but don’t make my feet sweat when I’m indoors. It’s one thing to change into shoes at work, but I don’t want to change into shoes at the grocery store or at a restaurant!
    And Charlotte, I agree with Barb above, wool socks are really important with any boot to keep your feet warm and cozy. Smartwool is a good brand, and I’ve gotten nice ones at the Clarks store. I also have some waterproof leather Timberland boots that aren’t insulated, but keep me quite warm with wool socks. Totally comfortable with temps in the 20’s or 30’s.

  31. Marie

    I have the Keen Betty boots and love them!! Got them in lime green and they are cute and warm. Not very tall though.

  32. lisa

    My snowboots are from a Canadian brand called Blondo. They look like normal tall flat black leather boots, but the boots have a decent tread and boast waterproof leather and fleece lining. They’re basically normal streetwear boots with tweaks for snowy weather!

    For people who have Hunter boots, buying the fleece welly socks and wearing the Hunters as snow boots could be another option.

  33. Julie

    I bought the Sorels after seeing you feature them here and I’m in love. I have a condition called Raynaud’s which can cause my fingers and toes to go numb in the cold but these really stand up to the challenge. They also stood up to the last 2 snowfalls we’ve had since I bought them.

    The only downside is the back of the boot, just above the heel, is so stiff and pushes in. Did you do anything to wear them in easier?

    • Sal

      Yay Julie!

      I experienced some rubbing around my ankles initially, but found that the boot shaft softened and became more comfortable after several wearings. Never did have problems with the area near the heel, though. If it doesn’t improve in a few more wearings, I guess you could try stretching them with a shoe stretcher or taking them to the cobbler. Seems extreme, I know, but there’s nothing more aggravating than uncomfortable snow boots!

  34. Cubicle Chic

    Lindsay (the other half of CC) is probably going to be buying those Sorels soon. Clearly, they are functional and would be great in a snowstorm, but they are also stylish and fun with the little faux fur trimming.

    I had never heard of Bogs before, but those look great! My complaint about rainboots is that they usually aren’t warm enough, so these could be a good compromise.

    – Meredith

  35. Andromeda

    I’d like to up the ante on this request a bit: know of any cute, functional winter boots that come in my size? Not one of these (alas) is available in a narrow.

    • Andromeda

      (Which is to say: what I look for in winter boots is “comes in an 8.5 or 8, AA or AAA, and preferably costs under $150”. This is why I don’t own any winter boots. Despite living in Boston.)

  36. Erin

    Dr. Martens or similar are awesome. I have a knockoff from Payless with monster treads and they are very warm. (I live in DC now, but grew up in Michigan, so I know snow boots! They work for me when I go visit.)

  37. Sarah

    I’ll put in another vote for Docs. Wore my 16 eyelet pair with a warm pair of hiking socks to shovel out from our 18″ of snow on Long Island. They never disappoint.

    I also have a great pair of Baretraps that I received as a gift last year. They’re tall enough for most days, cute, warm and waterproof. They’re usually available at DSW for ~ $90.

  38. Aimee

    I just got a pair of Sporto “Kristen” boots. They are so cute! I wanted something warm and fun to wear with skirts and leggings, these totally fit for for that. πŸ™‚ Also, I got them in the after-Xmas sales for $65!

  39. Kat

    I just got a pair of Dr. Marten Jenny boots. Mid calf, fleece lined, available in suede or leather. They’re supposed to be waterproof already but I waterproofed them a bit more just to be safe. They’ve been great for traipsing around NYC, and super cute for anyone who loves their Docs (me)!

  40. c.

    I can utterly and completely vouch for my patagonia boots. Minnesota does a doozie on feet. Unfortunately, the ones I have and love are not for sale anymore. So I’m down to recommending smartwool socks. πŸ˜€

  41. Eliza

    I bought Lobbens a few years ago, which are Norweigan wool felt boots. I was so sick of seeing Uggs, I tried to find something that was really different. Mine are bright red wool, with blue laces and soles, and embroidered trim. Seriously, the most attention-grabbing boot I’ve ever seen, but very practical and warm. They’ve taken a while to break in, since the boots don’t even have left and right feet at first, but they’ve really started to mold to my feet, and they’re only going to get better with use.

  42. Leiah

    I own those exact Columbia boots! Being a Minnesotan, I approve of them for our winters! The feet part isn’t as warm as the ankle/leg part, but they definitely help with keeping your grip on ice, and keep the snow out (even when you’re forced to climb through a 4-foot snow drift to get on to the sidewalk!)

  43. amy

    I have worn my joan of the arctics through two maine winters and they still look and function like new. I use my bogs for cleaning out the chicken coop, snow shoeing, and wet work all year and they work great too, but when I go to town I wear the sorels. They do however make your feet look huge so if you care about that kind of thing you might want to give them a test run first.

  44. Cathy

    I haven’t seen anyone list my winter boot brand, Santana from Canada. I wanted something stylish enough for work and skirts but functional enough for shovelling snow. They are lovely equestrian boots, tall and I have yet to feel a drop of moisture about 3 winters of walking, snow shovelling, trudging back and forth to the car from work, etc near Toronto, Ontario. I find them too warm to wear indoors all day at work but great for in and out errands. They can be a bit chilly when we start out for a walk, but once we get moving they are warm enough. Mine are very similar to this, I think I got them for $100 or $120CDN on sale:; I’d buy that brand again, they have been good to me.

    For ladies with larger or wider feet, it looks like most styles go up to an 11 and many have wide widths.

  45. Alli (One Pearl Button)

    I have to put in a (late) word for L.L. Bean. I have the knee-high (14 eyelet) Bean boots, and they are amazing! They keep my feet so warm and completely dry, no matter how much snow I have to clomp through. Plus, they are cute enough to wear even when it’s not snowing – I can’t wear them anywhere without people asking about them.

    They aren’t cheap, but I’m sure they’ll last forever – definitely worth the investment!

  46. Marie

    Snow boots–one of my very favorite topics! I have a pair of Kamik snow boots that are very warm and cozy. Not too chic–they are that moon boot type but in black not so bad. I mainly wear them for sledding and waiting at the bus stop with my children.

    I bought a pair of St. John’s Bay by JC Penney boots this year that, unbelievably, rock. They are similar to the Timberland boots shown in your post.Never would have expected quality from this brand, but they are cute, warm and cozy with cushioning and arch support. A tall order for my very picky feet. And I got them on sale for less than $40!

    I also have two pairs of La Canadienne boots. One is short black suede and the other short brown suede with a higher heel. For dressier outfits. The Canadians REALLY know how to make warm boots! These are waterproof, warm, and they are treated to resist salt staining.

    I love the Sorrel boots shown. I tried to buy a pair of fur-trimmed black Sorrels once, but couldn’t get a good fit. Might have to try again!

  47. Haley
    These Keens have been perfect during my first Chicago winter. They’re cozy, comfortable, and are attractive enough I’ve worn them when I didn’t need really warm boots.
    That being said, I’ve also been happy with thick SmartWool socks and nice leather boots on days that the sidewalks were clear but it was still cold.

  48. Laura.

    OH! my parents bought me my sorels (the caribous, as the joan of arctic was sadly out of my size/color preference) for my birthday, and i LOVE them. they are warm and waterproof, and i have not had cold feet since i started wearing them, and i do a LOT of walking and waiting at bus stops here in good ol’ mpls.

  49. Laura.

    (i forgot!) a friend has the helen of tundra sorel style, and those are the ones i’ll keep my eye on when sale time comes. they are HOT.

  50. Sara

    Sally! You should also include boots by La Canadienne. They are really expensive, but so worth it and so cute! Some of their styles are completely non-snow boot looking altogether yet still waterproof and warm! I got the Cynthis boots back in 2005 (not longer offered, so sad) and they are still going strongly and look barely used. I am debating whether to upgrade to the Tabitha style just for a different look while maintaining dry and toasty toes, but my Cynthias are still going strong so it’s hard to justify.

  51. Julia Slike

    Great post! I just purchased a pair of “Cate the Greats” but I must say my ALL TIME FAVORITE WINTER BOOT is the Timberland you featured, I have in that color and black — got them for ~$110 on the Timberland website at the end of the season last year — resisted buying the brown (should not have)! They are so warm and look like a fashion boot but function like a snow boot and are SOOOO COMPFY!!!!
    Julia Slike