If you live where temperatures dip below 50 degrees, you can’t wear strappy sandals and lightweight shoes all year round. You’re going to need a selection of warm yet stylish shoes—unless you’re somehow superhuman and never get frostbitten. I’m one of those people who always has cold feet. It gets even worse in the winter, and the only way to remedy is it to soak up heat from some other source. But since I can’t always do that, I’ve invested in a few pairs of warm shoes over the years.
I’m very excited that stylish winter shoes are becoming easier to find. Gone are the days when Uggs or heavy rubberized boots were your only option. Now you can get shearling lined sneakers, weatherproofed suede boots, and even furry flats to supplement more traditional winter boots. Since keeping my feet warm and comfortable is important to me, I have no qualms about spending a bit more for the perfect pair. My closet holds shearling lined and insulated moto boots from Frye and Aquatalia in addition to more traditional snow boots from Sorel. If you’re like me and like to keep your toes toasty, take a look at the great options below. Warning: some of the prices can get steep—but you don’t want to skimp on winter boots, so they’re all worth it in my opinion!
Moto boots are my go-to shoes for the fall and winter seasons because they’re so versatile. The main reason I like moto boots is because they don’t typically feel as heavy and cumbersome as taller boots do. It’s also much easier to get them on, and they go with pretty much anything. I have a few pairs in my collection—and they’re all very different from each other. These fur cuffed moto boots are both adorable and functional. The fluffy trim will prevent a draft from sneaking in, and the inside of the boot has a soft and warm faux fur lining. They come in black, military green, and khaki.
If you want a pair of great quality leather boots (and are willing to pay a good amount for them) you often don’t need to look further than Frye. They have a lot of options that go beyond the traditional western-inspired styles that they’re known for. Last year, I picked up a pair of the Natalie boots lined with shearling and now they’re my best friends in the winter. The lug sole on these boots is a bit heavy, but totally worth it when the sidewalks get slippery. Word of caution though: this particular style, while simple, can be difficult to pull on and off if you’ve got a higher arch. There’s no zipper to help you get them on, so be sure to try them on or order two sizes to make sure you pick the right fit. And, as with all leather boots worn in the winter, make sure you treat the leather!
If you’re into the minimal look, Vince is your brand. Similar to the boot by Frye, these boots come equipped with a toasty shearling lining throughout the interior and a sturdy lug sole. The silhouette is simple because there is no strap or buckle, but they do have a zipper to help you get in and out. They’re sold out on most sites, but still available in a couple colors on Amazon. The only downside is that the boot is made of suede, so you probably won’t want to wear them in very wet conditions.
Yes, I’m recommending yet another pair of moto style boots for winter. The Zadie from All Saints has a slightly taller shaft than the previous styles, and looks very sleek. From the outside, no one will know that your feet are encased in warm shearling! These fantastic boots are on sale right now, and if I didn’t already have four pairs of moto boots, I’d probably get them.
For those of you who like to keep wearing sneakers all year round, you’re in luck. Many designers are creating winterized versions of favorite styles. I’m quite partial to sneakers, but I haven’t yet added a shearling version to my collection. With all the great sales going on at the end of the year though, a pair might just walk it’s way into my closet.Frye doesn’t just make boots these days, and the Gemma shearling slip on sneakers are a casual alternative to more cumbersome boots. Need to take out the trash or run to the grocery store? Slip into these and you’re all set! They also come in a bootie. This particular Gemma style is from last season (I tried it on before ultimately choosing the Natalie boot), but you can still find them on 6pm and stores like TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack.
Every minimalist shoe lover knows about Common Projects and the classic Achilles. This understated sneaker is a cult favorite—more popular among men than women—and a standard for all other minimal sneakers to measure up against. What started as just one style has now branched out different versions, giving their devoted followers more options. The Tournament differs from the Achilles with a slightly thicker sole and a very subtle cap toe detail. What I love about this sneaker is that it comes in suede with a shearling lining for cold winter days. The Tournament is also available as a high top in black or grey or tan.Tod’s is well known for their high quality loafers, which you can get trimmed with fur or lined in merino. Their sneakers are a little more elusive, but I managed to find this shearling trimmed pair on Net a Porter. The look is a little more utilitarian than the Frye slip on or minimal Tournament, but you can never go wrong with a classic Italian designer like Tod’s.
If you need a dressier winter shoe, look for heeled boots with a rubber sole and fur trim. The fluffy cuff on these heeled boots will keep the draft out while adding a luxurious touch to your evening outfit. They’re also available in grey on Amazon. Most dress boots aren’t very warm though because it’s hard to find a pair lined inside with fur or plush fabric. Adding all that extra stuff would make the boots thicker and less refined as a dress boot. But no worries! I’ve tried a lot of tricks for making shoes fit better or feel warmer, and the easiest thing to do is add a sheepskin insert (a lot of my dress boots have them!).
No post about winter shoes is complete without mentioning Aquatalia. This is a brand that really knows their boots. Let’s start with the fact that all of their shoes are weatherproofed. They’ve got a patented technique that begins with the leather tanning process and ends with special attention to finishing the stitches and entire boot with a sealant. This makes all of their shoes water repellant as well as salt and stain resistant.
I would tell anyone who is serious about footwear and wants winter boots that don’t look like winter boots to check out Aquatalia first. I have three pairs myself. One pair has a shearling lining, another has an insulated fabric layer, and the third is a pair of thigh high dress boots. I’ve worn them all through two winter seasons (snow, salt and rain) and have not had to clean them or treat them for anything yet. That’s how fantastic they are. The styles I have are no longer available, but the leather boots above should get you started. There’s also a great shearling moto boot for those who want a little extra fluff.