Living a walking-heavy lifestyle in Seattle has forced me to find the ultimate footwear options for all seasons, so I thought I’d share my favorite ones for winter! I’m going to admit that a couple of the shoes listed below are repeats from my Favorite Autumn Shoes post, but with slight modifications they transition well into the coldest months AND show that the shoes are versatile between seasons. I’ve also added a few items to the list that are in heavy rotation for me during the winter and I seriously don’t think that I would have survived the last winter without one pair in particular (they were ESSENTIAL for my commute to / from work in the “snowstorm” that we experienced in Seattle last February).
All of these options are “investment” shoes for your closet that will last year after year with proper care. I’m personally trying to be more conscious with my purchases and limiting myself to buying only high quality items that I will get a ton of use out of and shoes are a major part of curating a versatile wardrobe (it’s amazing how merely swapping out your shoes can change the look of an entire outfit!). I wouldn’t recommend any shoes that I don’t already own and love… and these are the best!
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots
These are my Ultimate Snow Shoes for braving the winter snow and slush. They’re water / snow-proof and so cute — I love the laces and fur! They make me feel a bit like Julie of the Wolves… and I’m here for it! They’re not quite as tall as my Hunter wellies, but my feet feel warmer in them than they do in my rubber boots. This exact style is no longer available (my mom bought these for me when I moved to Seattle in 2013), but I’ve linked the most recent version. I love the matching laces that they came with, but I recently bought some fun red laces that I plan to use during the holiday months to give them some festive flare! In case you’re wondering, I bought the 63 inch length just to be sure that there was enough to lace all the way up the boot. I also like the way that the same red laces look on my Bean Boots (see below).
L.L.Bean Duck Boots
These shoes that have a cult following and sell out every year… they’re perfect for the rainy days that you don’t want to wear your full-out rain boots and still want to feel like you’re wearing “real shoes”. I have this pair of Duck Boots (in Tan/Brown), without any special liner because I want to be able to wear whatever socks I want with them and not get overheated (I have hyperhidrosis, so this is a concern for me re: thick socks) and to have the ability to add a shearling insole if I want to take them with me to colder climates (see above image). I will warn you that without proper socks or insole, your feet WILL get cold if the temps are low — the soles are just rubber, after all, and not well insulated on their own. (I’ve definitely made this rookie mistake. Get the wool socks, girl – you won’t regret them.) As you read above, I added a pair of festive red shoelaces for the holidays that I will be sharing with my Sorel Joan of Arctic boots. I bought the 63 inch length, but they’re SUPER long for the way that I wear my boots so I ended up wrapping them around my ankles once before tying the bow; I actually really like how it turned out! As far as the boot sizing goes, I recommend following L.L.Bean’s specific guidelines in the details section of the Bean Boot product page.
Hunter Rain Boots
These classic and iconic boots are a mainstay in my wardrobe, ESPECIALLY in the fall and winter months. Because I live the pedestrian lifestyle here in Seattle, having the height of the tall boot makes the most sense for me (for maximum dryness coverage!) when commuting to / from work. I love all of the colors, styles, and finishes that Hunter offers — there are so many to choose from! I personally love the matte finish (which makes them more low-maintenance than the gloss) and the black, navy, or hunter green (as made famous by Princess Diana) colors because they are the most versatile for use in any closet. (Tips on how to clean/care for your Hunters here). Hunter also sells boot socks and shearling insoles to make your shoes even cozier (and more stylish / colorful) as it gets cooler outside.
Blondo ATK Boots
This brand makes the most excellent boots for looking fashionable even though the weather outside is frightful. For the times that I don’t necessarily need (or want!) to wear clunky boots out for a date night or a dressier gathering in inclement weather, I wear my Blondo’s so that I have dry feet and a stylish outfit. As you can see in the photo above I wore them all over the Northeast this past Christmas, tromping through the snow, and my feet / legs stayed nice and dry. Honestly, the Blondo brand is probably my favorite discovery of 2019; I’m totally enamored with them!
UGG Classic Tall II Boots
I know that everyone thinks that UGG boots are “basic” and they have been relegated to association with teenage girls, but OMG they just can’t be beat in the Warm & Cozy Department! You’re definitely doing yourself a disservice by dismissing them. UGG makes a variety of boot heights and styles — I bet you could find a pair that you like! They’re not particularly fashionable shoes, but they’re great for running errands or any casual situation (grabbing coffee with girlfriends, etc.). Occasionally, I like to roll the top of my boots down to show a little bit of the wool to add a textural element to an outfit. I recommend using UGG’s suede weatherproofing spray as well as getting the brush and scuff eraser (and basically everything else in the care kit) because #lifehappens and I can promise that you’ll want them. (I wish I had known this when I bought mine… they’ve had a bowl of tomato soup dropped on them 😭 )
BONUS SHOE MENTION:
UGG Dakota Slippers
This isn’t necessarily an “outdoor” shoe, but in the winter months I can’t wait to slip into these cozy slippers as soon as I get home from work! Please note that these slippers have a treaded sole on the bottom so they CAN be worn outside the house, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing that during inclement weather (or if you plan to wear them around the house and want to keep your floors clean). It looks like the Dakota style that I have (with the Pom Poms) is almost sold out and the only color available on their website is grey “Seal”, but you may still be able to find other colors / sizes on the internet with companies like Nordstrom, Zappos, Poshmark, etc. I love the classic Dakota style too, but I’m just a bit more of a bow or pom pom kinda girl. 😉
I hope that you find this seasonal shoe roundup helpful… it’s taken me seven years of living in Seattle to figure it out – haha! I also shared my favorite warm weather shoes for spring and summer here. Please let me know in the Comments section if you have any additional questions (in regards to sizing, any routine maintenance, etc.)!