I briefly touched on shoes in my Winter Wardrobe Essentials, but I want to do more of a deep dive into the essential shoes to have in your winter wardrobe.
Winter weather varies, of course, depending on where you live, but I’m writing this post from the perspective of someone who has spent the majority of her life in the Northeast. Here in Philly, it can be cold from September to May, so I spend a lot of time in winter shoes. From sneakers to the boots, these are the shoes I like to have in my closet for every type of winter weather.
Before we get started, here are some of my other winter and shoe-related posts that you may find helpful:
- What Shoes to Wear with All Types of Jeans
- How to Wear Retro Sneakers Without Looking Frumpy
- 5 Wearable Winter 2023 Fashion Trends to Try
Winter Shoe Essentials for Women
Best Waterproof Dress Boots: Blondo (save) or Aquatalia (splurge)
When I want to dress up but it’s snowy or wet outside, I rely on Blondo and Aquatalia for waterproof suede fashion boots that are both practical and stylish. They’re also very comfortable to walk in, so both brands are great for travel.
Unfortunately, my current favorites are sold out or have low inventory, so I linked to general categories above.
Blondo is more of a mid-range price point, and Aquatalia is higher end, but both offer a variety of stylish and functional fashion boots that hold up well to inclement winter weather.
Best Lug Sole Boots Under $100: Blondo Dagger (or Dahlia)
This is a great pair of fashionable lug sole boots for wearing with a variety of denim styles. I like that they have a bit of a heel, and the buckle is a fun detail. Since the shaft is narrow, you can wear them with skinny jeans or slip them under straight or bootcut silhouettes.
They’re also very warm and comfortable. I walked all over the North Shore of Boston in these one day last fall, and my feet were very happy. They run true to size; I have the 8.
Best Winter Fashion Boots: Sorel Hi Line Chelsea Boots
These are a new addition to my winter shoe wardrobe this year, and I love them for a fashionable and fun winter boot that can also hold up to the elements.
As you can see, I went with the Chalk/Ceramic, which is going to be more prone to marks and stains than the black and brown leather options, but it’s fun for a change and goes great with light wash denim.
These boots run true to size, or size down if in between. They’re also especially good for narrow feet. I have the size 8, for reference.
Best Western Style Boots: Dolce Vita Volli
Western-style boots are trending big time, so I wanted to include this pair because I wear mine a lot, even though I would consider this more of a fall boot.
I like these so much, I have them in all three colors (Well, my black pair is the Vikram, but it’s the same style with a higher shaft.)
These boots are extremely comfortable, and a great way to update your look without breaking the bank because they look great with all denim styles. They run true to size, or size down if in between; I wear the size 8.
Best Knee Boots: Talbots Lilia Suede Wedge Boot
I haven’t found myself reaching for my knee boots much this winter because I haven’t been wearing skinny jeans, but I do like them with tights and dresses.
This pair from Talbots is supremely comfortable, and they’re very good quality.
They aren’t as dressy as some, so they won’t work with all styles of dresses and skirts, but they look especially nice with sweater dresses, which is what I mostly wear in the winter.
Best Snow Boots: UGG Adirondack
You can’t talk about winter shoe essentials without talking about snow boots! I’ve had a lot of snow boots over the years, and most of my favorites have been Sorel, but the UGG Adirondack tops them all.
I first discovered these 5 or 6 years ago when I was visiting my parents in Maine, and I borrowed my mom’s. I even wrote a post about it back then.
I didn’t buy myself any at the time because I had other snow boots, but this year when I was looking for a new pair, I did some internet research that pretty much confirmed that these are the best snow boots for my needs.
For starters, they’re shockingly lightweight and flexible, considering how bulky they appear. Plus, they’re completely waterproof and fully lined with UGGpure™ – a textile made from wool that’s designed to feel and wear like genuine shearling. They’re so cozy and soft inside that I never wear socks with mine.
You can also flip up the top of the shaft and lace them all the way up to make them taller and warmer, but I usually wear mine turned down as pictured above.
Not only do I wear these with jeans when we get snow, I keep them in the mudroom and pull them on to go to and from the gym. They’re super warm and cozy, and I often have to cross wet grass, so they protect my sneakers from getting muddy and keep my feet warm and dry.
Best Sneaker Boots: Sorel Explorer Joan
I love a sneaker boot for casual, sporty looks, and I really wish these boots weren’t selling out almost everywhere! They are so lightweight and cozy and soft and warm… all of the adjectives!
They work great with leggings and skinny jeans, as shown above, or you can slip them underneath straight leg styles. I’ve actually been known to wear these around the house instead of slippers when I’m really cold.
Since these boots are selling out everywhere, I’m wondering if they’re being discontinued, and I went ahead and linked a few other options for Sorel sneaker boots above. If you do manage to snag a pair of these, they’re true to size or size down if in between.
Best Leather Sneakers for Winter: Veja Esplar
Speaking of sneakers… sometimes I don’t want to wear boots in the wintertime. When I want a casual, sporty look that isn’t a boot, I usually wear my Vejas.
Because they’re leather, they protect my feet from the elements, and they have a casual-cool vibe that I love. I’m not wearing socks here, but sometimes I do wear my J.Crew cashmere trouser socks with these.
These sneakers feel stiff at first, but they break in easily and are very comfortable. They run true to size; I am consistently a 39 in this shoe.
Best Winter Flats: Sam Edelman Loafer
Another pair of essential shoes to have in your winter wardrobe is a flat loafer or ballet flat. While I don’t wear my loafers and ballet flats a lot in the dead of winter, we do get mild days here and there, so I keep a few pairs in my closet all year ’round.
The Sam Edelman Loraine Loafer that I linked above is the newer version of the Lior Loafer that I’m wearing here. I just picked up a pair of the Loraine in black because I’ve been wishing I had black loafers in my wardrobe. It’s very comfortable and a good value for the price point. They run true to size; I have the 8.
Best Winter Pumps: Marc Fisher Zala Pumps
Finally, these are my go-to pumps for wintertime. When I want to dress up my jeans, or I need a dress shoe that isn’t a bootie with a dress or business casual outfit, these are my favorites. I also have the beige suede.
The pointy toe elevates the look, but the chunky 2″ heel keeps them walkable. They go with just about every style of pants or jeans, as well as dresses and skirts. They’re also true to size; I wear the 8.
What are your essentials shoes for winter?
As with most wardrobe items, everyone’s list of essentials will look a bit different. I’d love to hear from you!
Which shoes do you consider essential for winter, and are there any you would add to this list?
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