I briefly touched on shoes in my Winter Wardrobe Essentials post last month, but today I’m doing 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.
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.
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.
These are the Blondo Sadie, and I love how they have a memory foam footbed and a chunky heel for ultimate comfort, but they look good too.
Blondo Sadie (8)
When I want to splurge, Aquatalia does a high quality waterproof boot made in Italy with premium materials. I often purchase this brand during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, or late in the season when I can find a good deal.
They’re truly gorgeous boots, and they hold up well over the years. Their styles are a little more fashion-forward than Blondo, but you can also find nice options at the lower price points. Others brands that do good waterproof fashion boots are Cole Haan, Dolce Vita, Naturalizer, and La Canadienne.
Best Lug Sole Boots: Steve Madden (save) or Paul Green (splurge)
Lug sole boots are great for winter because they provide good traction on slippery surfaces, and they have a bit of a platform that keeps your feet up off of the ground, which ultimately keeps them warmer than a flatter sole.
The Steve Madden Leopold is a nice, affordable pair of fashionable lug sole boots for wearing with a variety of denim styles. They aren’t weather-proof, per se, but they’re made of a hard leather that holds up to messy conditions.
Here’s how I wore them with black straight leg jeans, a cozy sweater, and a practical insulated rain coat. I love this cheerful Hickory color!
For a splurge, I discovered Paul Green lug sole boots at the #NSale last summer, and they are truly luxurious. This pair is on sale at Nordstrom Rack and fully stocked!
These boots are so comfortable to walk in, and I love the styling with the roller buckle, chunky lug sole and stacked block heel.
I styled those here with flare leg jeans, a cozy fisherman knit sweater, and a bold green quilted vest.
There are so many other great options for lug sole boots; these are just the ones I currently have in my closet.
Best Winter Fashion Boots: Sorel
When it comes to stylish snow boots, it’s hard to beat Sorel. They’re the perfect marriage of form and function, and they have so many styles to choose from. There’s pretty much something for everyone.
I personally love this Chelsea boot style with the rugged lug sole and large block heel. The color combination is so pretty, although this exact color way is from last season, and I don’t think they carry it anymore. There are a couple sizes left at Nordstrom.
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.
These also run true to size and are very comfortable and practical. I just decided that the Hi Line Chelsea Boots are more my style.
Best Knee Boots: Sam Edelman
I’m a longtime fan of Sam Edelman for knee-high boots. He does such good designs, and the quality is there without totally breaking the bank.
I don’t wear knee boots a lot right now, but I do love this pair that I picked up during the #NSale last summer. The suede makes them a bit tricky for messy winter weather, and I also have the Sylvia but I haven’t had a chance to wear them yet.
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 9 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.
We just won’t talk about the jeans with the busted out knees in sub-freezing Maine winter temperatures… It was 2017, after all! (And oh, how I loved those jeans! I actually have a tag for that in my archives because I wore them so much! But I digress.)
I didn’t buy myself a pair of the UGG Adirondacks at the time because I had other snow boots, but last 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 or snowy grass, so they protect my sneakers from getting muddy and keep my feet warm and dry.
Best Leather Sneakers for Winter: VEJA Esplar or Vince Oasis
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, or my new Vince Oasis low top lace-up sneakers.
I’ve been wearing these VEJA Esplars for years, and I have a couple different color combos. They are a bit stiff at first, but they break in quickly, and they are super versatile and hold up well to wear and tear.
The Vince Oasis is the newest addition to my sneaker wardrobe, which is becoming massive! They’re nice for winter because not only does the leather protect my feet from the elements, they have a gum sole that provides good traction on slippery pavement. Plus, they have that great casual-cool vibe that I love.
Obviously, I would not wear these in the snow, but here in Philly, we don’t get a lot of that.
Vince Oasis (8)
I’m not wearing socks here, but sometimes I do wear my J.Crew cashmere trouser socks with these sneakers when I want extra warmth. If I want the sockless look, I wear my Sheec Active mid-cut no-show no-slip socks.
Of course, there are plenty of other options for leather sneakers; these are just my current favorites. And sneaker boots are another option if you want that same cool-casual vibe with more warmth and protection from the elements. Sorel has a lot of good options for that.
Best Winter Flats: Sam Edelman Loafer
Sam Edelman Lior Loafer – sold out; Loraine is similar (8)
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.
I also have a couple pairs of suede ballet flats, but I really don’t wear them much this time of year.
Best Winter Pumps: Marc Fisher Varla Pumps
at Nordstrom (8)
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 Light Natural.
The sleek almond-shaped toe elevates the look, but the chunky 3″ 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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