For girls who reside in snowy states, winter provides some unique fashion challenges. One of the biggest dilemmas we face has got to be finding fashionable winter boots that keep us toasty, dry, and slip-free.
Leather and suede styles require some extra TLC for winter conditions and aren’t as durable or practical as other styles. Rain boots and wellingtons are adorable and help to keep you from falling, but generally aren’t particularly warm, even with a thick sock. And, while the fashion-vs-function debate on Ugg boots rages on, even Ugg lovers have to admit that few things are worse than dealing with soggy sheepskin lining on an especially snowy or slushy day.
So what’s a College Fashion girl to do?! Keep reading, of course! We’ve outlined our picks for winter boots that are warm, waterproof, and stylish.
Best for Snow: Sorel ‘Joan of Arctic’ Boots
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots in Hawk Brown, Sorel.
Why We Love Them: Sorel footwear is famous for their durability and excellent performance in cold weather, and their “Joan of Arctic” boots are no different! Sealed and waterproof, the boots boast a washable, removable felt liner and faux fur cuff for added warmth and style. Functional laces provide a custom fit and the rubber outsole works perfectly for walking in all types of snow. Contrasting colors on the boot’s buckles, fun patterns, and the tuft of faux-fur trim make the Joan of Arctic boots a stylish pick for winter. They’re the perfect blend of girly style and heavy duty quality.
A caveat: some online reviews suggest that boots can run large and be heavy and/or clunky, so make sure to try them on before making a purchase!
Best for Slush: Sporto ‘Dylan’ Duck Boots
Sporto Dylan Women’s Ashley Boots in Brown, Amazon.
Why We Love Them: So-ugly-they’re-cute duck boots have become quite popular with the street style set recently! Once a decidedly preppy staple, top designer labels have been coming out with updated versions of the quirky, sought-after boots. Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and Tommy Hilfiger have each put a twist on the LL Bean classic in recent years.
Duck boots are great if you’re dealing with sloppy, wet conditions, making them the ultimate in transitional footwear for early snowfall and the spring thaw. Select a “gumshoe” rise for a short, shoe-like style that ends below the ankle bone, a 6″ rise for high tops, or full 8″-10″ rises for taller, traditional boots. Their rubber sole is easy to clean, super durable, and will lock out any moisture that you may encounter on slushy commutes. An added bonus: with their rise in popularity, the duck boot style is super easy to find at a variety of price points.
Best for Ice: Pajar ‘Anson’ Boots
Pajar Anson Boots in Black, Amazon.
Why We Love Them: If you’re looking for a pair of winter boots that will last for seasons to come, you can’t go wrong by investing in a pair from Pajar. The extra money you spend on these boots will get you a higher rise, extreme insulation to withstand temperatures down to -40 degrees fahrenheit, and waterproof leather to keep your feet and legs warm, dry, and slush free.
Created in an effort to develop a superior alternative to popular sheepskin-lined boots, Pajar’s boots boast a patented multi-layer insulating system that uses a combination of trapped air, aluminum, wool, and felt to keep feet extra warm, even in sub-zero conditions. Though nothing short of spikes will get you through extremely icy conditions, Pajar’s boots offer extra texture and traction on their rubber soles — great for walking around a slippery campus.
Our favorite part about these boots? The extra fashionable touches! We’re loving the motorcycle styling and addition of the buckles on the top – while these boots may be perfect all-weather boots, they certainly don’t LOOK like it. If you have a surplus of cash (from the holiday season perhaps?!) Pajar also makes a variety of super-warm styles that range from “couture” to “sporty,” all of which you can check out online.
Best All-Around: The North Face ‘Shellista III’ Boots
The North Face Shellista III Boots in Frost Grey/Iron Gate Grey, Amazon.
Why We Love Them: We all know The North Face makes warm jackets and quality winter gear, so it’s only natural that their winter boots would be just as functional and well-constructed. Marking the sweet spot between fashion and function, these faux fur-lined, heavily insulated boots are comfortable, warm, lightweight, and sleek — not clunky!
The North Face’s cleat-like “snowflake” rubber provides excellent traction while their waterproof treatment keeps these boots dry and fresh. From a style standpoint, the Shellista III boots come in a variety of colors, including this cool gray, and boast a fashion-forward lace-up style. If you’re looking to invest in a single pair of winter boots for all weather conditions, The North Face’s Shellista III boots might be for you!
Tell us what you think! What boots are you wearing this winter? Have you tried any on this list? Which are your favorites? Share your thoughts with a comment!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2010; it was completely updated and revamped in 2017 with new photos and information.