Women everywhere face a dilemma when winter rolls around: To wear cute shoes, slush be damned—or to sacrifice style in favor of utilitarian (read: ugly) boots that will keep feet warm and dry. But these days, women don’t have to choose. Looking for waterproof sneaker boots? A classic Chelsea bootie with a rugged outsole? Full-on Stormtrooper boots that don’t look out of place in town? Chances are, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. Trusted footwear brands are increasingly adopting urban design trends and producing winter boots that are both utilitarian and stylish. Here are some of our favorite winter boots for women to get you from shoulder season through deep winter and beyond.
Best for Everyday: Teva Ember Commute WP
We fell back in love with this brand primarily known for its summer sandals when it delivered the Ember Moc and Mid booties last season, and we haven’t looked back since. New for this winter, the Ember Commute WP brings the same level of comfort and style we loved in the Ember Mid bootie, but now with smart design features that make the Ember Commute WP even more versatile than its predecessor.
Featuring a quilted nylon ripstop and waterproof leather outer, cushy EVA midsole, and rugged Durabrasion Rubber sole, the lace-up Ember Commute WP comes ready to tackle any winter adventure with style. Though not warm as some of the other boots on this list, this stylish boot is a great option for everyday winter wear. Like any lace-up boot, however, the Ember Commute may take some time to break in for maximum comfort. [$140; teva.com]
Shop for it online: Backcountry
Best for Dog Walking & Errands: Forsake Lucie Boot
You can’t go wrong with a full grain leather boot with convenient side zip for easy on and off during the winter, and that’s why we love the new Lucie Boot. Forsake has really made a name for itself by perfectly blending street style and function in adventure-ready footwear, and the Lucie Boot is further proof that the brand deserves this street-cred.
A waterproof and breathable membrane, taped seams, and waterproof-grade leather and suede upper keep the elements out, while a dual density footbed and compression EVA midsole ensure a snug and cozy fit. All of this makes the Lucie an ideal winter boot for dog-walking, errand-running, and ski town strolls. Because of the shorter ankle height and a wide opening around the shin, the Lucie isn’t suited to walking in deeper snow, but these features do mean that the Lucie is a cinch to slip on and kick off. [$150, forsake.com]
Best for Ski Town Strolls: Sorel Women’s Harlow Conquest Boot
We fell in love with the vintage hiking boot style of the Harlow Conquest Boot and thought they’d be a stylish après boot for ski vacations. We weren’t wrong. Featuring a waterproof full grain leather outer, stylish felt collar, a molded rubber outsole that provides great traction, and a cushy EVA footbed, the Harlow Conquest is a ski town shoe-in. Is it the warmest winter boot out there? No, but it might be the cutest—and to its credit, it does keep feet dry and cozy during town strolls. [$165, sorel.com]
Find it online: Backcountry
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Best for Deep Winter Adventures: Vasque Laplander UltraDry™
Need a boot to take on arctic conditions? The Vasque Laplander was made for you. With a whopping 400g of Thinsulate Ultra insulation and the brand’s UltraDry waterproof membrane, the Laplander keep cold and moisture at bay without skipping a beat.
The outer is a combo of leather, suede, and knit mesh that looks as at home in urban settings as in the Tundra, and the boot’s ColdHold outsole offers great traction whatever the adventure. The Laplander is the warmest boot on this list, but also one of the beefiest; it’s perfect for winter treks and long days out in frigid temps, but may be a little much for ladies who just need an everyday winter boot. [$160; vasque.com]
Another Great Everyday Option: Bogs Classic Casual Tall Leather
No winter boot list would be complete without a pair of Bogs. The brand’s Classic Casual Tall Leather boot is a classic for a reason—we challenge you to find a more comfortable and versatile pair of winter boots. They’re fully waterproof, feature Neo-Tech waterproof insulation, an unbelievably cushy footbed, and a rugged sole that you can trust on icy surfaces.
But what makes these boots really unique is that they’re made from sustainably sourced materials: that cushy footbed is algae-based and eco-friendly, and the boot’s outer is constructed with leather from a Gold Rated tannery. An everyday winter boot that feels good in more ways than one. [$130; bogsfootwear.com]
Shop for it online: Backcountry
Best for Shoulder Season: Sorel Women’s Lennox Chelsea Boot
It doesn’t matter where you live, a Chelsea boot is a women’s wardrobe staple. It’s hard to beat this classic style that just goes with every outfit and was tailor-made for fall. But the Sorel Women’s Lenox Chelsea Boot is more than just a good-looking fall shoe. Thanks to a waterproof full grain leather upper and outdry waterproof construction, this boot stands up to rain and slush like a champ, and also handles frozen slush and ice with ease courtesy of the rugged sole.
It only boasts a synthetic and canvas lining, so it’s not intended for prolonged outings in deep winter; but ladies looking for a classic boot with a more functional sole and waterproofing need look no further. Like all real-leather boots, the Lennox Chelsea is snug out of the box and takes some breaking in and stretching out; or just go up half a size for a perfect fit right out the box. [$170, sorel.com]
Find it online: REI
Best for Powder Day Après: The North Face Women’s Shellista III Mid
The Shellista III Mid is a happy-medium boot, with a streamlined design and just enough technology to provide great performance in snow and cold temps without bogging you down. They’re made by TNF, so you can trust these to be warm and stand up to the elements, but we’ll give you the nitty gritty anyway: a leather upper meets a women’s-specific, injection-molded, and TPR shell—all waterproof, of course; the liner features 200g of PrimaLoft Insulation Eco; and TNF’s Winter Grip rubber outsole featuring IcePick temperature-sensitive rubber lugs is designed to stick to ice like white on rice. All this to say that the Shellista III Mid is a great option for ladies looking for just one boot to get them through everything winter throws at them. Just one word to the wise: Go up half a size to fit warmer socks. [$140; thenorthface.com]
Shop for it online: Backcountry
Best for Winter Sleigh Rides: Columbia Women’s Minx™ Mid III Boot
You can’t beat Columbia’s prices—or quality—when it comes to outerwear and footwear. The Minx™ Mid III Boot is based on a Columbia classic but now features even more protection from the elements, such as 200 grams of insulation, Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology in the lining, and the brand’s Omni-Grip traction rubber outsole that provides amazing grip on snow and ice. Of course, it’s also waterproof, breathable, and comfortable thanks to a removable contoured PU footbed.
And for all that function, it’s still a good-looking boot with fun design elements like a faux-fur collar and tongue lining, In short, this is one rugged boot that actually looks cute and doesn’t feel like you’re lugging anvils on your feet. It’s one of the warmest options on this list, which makes it ideal for longer days out in the cold. One downside to all the upsides: The insulation in this boot makes for a very snug fit, so you may need to size up a whole size. [$120; columbia.com]
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