I always procrastinate when winter-boot buying time comes. It's so hard to find a pair that isn't, well, hideous. And I'm the type who'll just wear extra socks, hope for the best, and just shiver through it. The alternative when I lived in a smaller town with less options was to schlep around in those weird, Napoleon Dynamite-esque boots. Or, more recently, Ugg boots or their less-expensive knockoff cousins, which are all... well, ugg-ly as sin.
I have a goth streak about three miles wide, so I've generally been able to make do with Army Surplus combat boots, when I can actually find them small enough to get on my feet. Many a poor style maven out there, though, is probably not willing to rock anything you might see at a Siouxsie and the Banshees tribute show. (Pity, they're missing out on some great styles and music, but I digress.)
The search for acceptable alternatives has gone on for years.
This year, finally, some luck! If you've shared in my struggle, amazingness is nigh. I searched all over stores, both physical and online, and found a handful of winners. These selections are all both decently cozy, and decent to look at. And we just had our first snow today. So you'd better get serious if you haven't already picked up something to keep those feet of yours safe from the nasty mood-swings of a Midwest winter. Best part? Most of these can be picked up in-person at such humble stores as Sears and PayLess. So, both procrastinators and the broke, rejoice! It ain't Louboutin, but you're not going to look like you're suiting up for a moon landing.
First, here's the one I ended up buying. The Norda boot by Bearpaw. Awww, Norda. Such a practical, traction-keeping sole on a boot so pretty, suede-y and soft. (TREAT THAT SUEDE before you hit the snowbanks) So fuzzy and foot-pampering, with a sheepskin trim around the top, and full sheepy-fleece lining inside. They feel so nice, it's tempting to not wear socks. But please do. You don't want to smell up these darlings.
For about half the price, you can get a similar boot at Payless.
Meet the also-ran. This is the Cubby boot, by Demonia. She is the closest thing to a goth snow-boot I have ever seen. I love her. She is composed of vegan-friendly faux suede and faux fur. I pined over this shoe, but practicality won out. What was I going to do, wearing platforms in a snowstorm? They're beautiful, but I'm clumsy enough on solid, dry ground. Take these beauties out for a spin if you're more sure-footed, or if your winters are --SO not like in Indy-- cold but relatively dry.
Really furry boots are right on-trend this season. They're a far cry better than their Uggly cousins, but I have also seen some that make your feet look unfortunately similar to those of a Wookiee. Step up into something a little more subtle there, Chewy. This is another Bearpaw boot, the Sonjo. (Can you tell I'm a really big Bearpaw fan now?) Pictured is the sand color, but they also come in black and brown. They're less fashion-victim-y than some fur boots I've seen this season, and I can tell they'd be versatile for inclusion in a range of warm but stylish outfits.
The Rex by Airwalk is, again, suede-y. Quite the trend going on there. If you don't want anything furry, bauble-y, quilted, or un-streamlined in any other way, this is a decent and affordable option. With a tiny bit of slouch and an unobtrusive buckle, this boot is extra-versatile. It's faux-fur lined inside for extra warmth. A similar offering, a bit cheaper and in black, is the Dylan by Canyon River Blues.
The Alpine boot by Martino is a pricier option at about $170, but a versatile and high-quality one. You can wear it at mid-calf as a sleek leather boot, or cuff it to show off some shearling. It's lined in soft, warm, awesome sheepskin. The leather cross-ties help adjust for fit, and they look pretty cool, too.
This is the Ketchup boot by Jellypop. I think it's a little weird-looking, but I like it anyway. It's a nice change from all that suede and faux leather. It's made of the same nylon stuff as the Napoleon Dynamite crap, but it's a pleasant, non-bulky and quilted texture, with some furry trim, and those little furry pom-poms I've seen on quite a few boots this season. The nylon means water resistance, which is nice. They come in black and in white.
I'm not including those boots you're seeing everywhere that are basically made out of sweater-fabric. They're incredibly comfortable, and they are ADORABLE for sure. But I opted out, because they're so very impractical. You remember the way wind will blow right through a sweater unless you layer the right stuff both under *and* over it? And then there's the fact that if you have to walk through wet conditions, the knitted sweater-boots will protect your feet from the elements about as well as a pair of flip-flops. I know, I know, fashion isn't about being practical, it's about looking drop-dead fabulous. But the theme of this post is style *and* function. OK, OK, fine. Wear these cute creations proudly and often, but keep the clemency of the weather in mind. Otherwise, you'll look about as sexy as those women who line up outside bars in 15-degree weather, wearing nothing but spaghetti-strap minidresses. Yum, hypothermia. How attractive.
May your winter be beautiful, and your feet be happy!