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Ever since taking off one’s shoes became de rigueur at airports around the world, wearing winter boots on a plane has become less and less appealing. (Also see: squeezing bulky boots into ever-shrinking airplane cabins.) Which is why we love the slimmer profile yet still-sturdy winter kicks offered by more and more brands. The shoes featured below were all flown in the field by the lucky editor who rocks sample size 7, and each received her travel-tested stamp of approval.
Forsake Lucie Mid
It’s sort of a boot, sort of a shoe. Let’s call it a winter high-top—and an ideal option when you want the solid feel of a boot without the bulk of one. The stylish Lucie rocks a funky lace-cinch system that doubles as a design feature, plus a handy tab at the back of the ankle for easy-on/easy-off. The shoes sport Forsake’s Peak to Pavement outsole provides traction and stability on all wintry surfaces. Finally, a moisture-wicking mesh lining helps regulate temps as you go from stuffy airports to ski-town après bars. [MSRP: $140, BUY NOW]
Olu’kai Pehuea Heu
If you’re one of those people who walks the dog in flip-flops and a down jacket on winter mornings, the Pehuea Heu (peh-hoo-ah hay-ooh, which—very loosely—translates to the Fuzziness of Fleece) is for you. These are the fuzzy Crocs of the slip-on sneaker world, without having to actually wear Crocs outside the house. Waterproof nubuck leather encases a super-plush shearling lining that literally wraps your feet in warmth. Bonus: Olu’kai’s Drop-In Heel feature lets you fold the back of the shoe down into a slide. [$130, olukai.com]
Helly Hansen Seraphina Demi
Reach for these adorable mid-rise boots when you need one pair of shoes to get you through an entire ski trip. The Seraphina Demi looks perfect peeking out from under skinny jeans, easily slip under ski pants for the walk to the base lodges, and—thanks to a zipper—slide on and off effortlessly onto the cabin welcome mat or into the airport security bucket. Made from tumbled leather surrounding a Sherpa-style felt lining, the Seraphina boasts HellyGrip rubber outsoles for killer traction, so you can stride confidently through your vacation. [$140, hellyhansen.com]
Build the full kit: Best Women’s Travel Apparel
Bogs Freedom Ankle
Remember the classic ankle bootie of the early 90s? These are so much cooler. The Freedom Ankle is the ideal travel shoe—not too bulky, not too high, and more shoe than boot, but with all the traction and waterproof qualities you need when you’re disembarking into wintry climes. Made with waterproof, seam-sealed leather and lined with Bogs’ Max-Wick technology to keep your dogs dry, the Freedom Ankle is supportive on the inside, rugged on the outside, and stylish all over. [$140, bogsfootwear.com]
Looking for something lighter? Best Women’s Active Sandals
Sorel Out ‘N About Plus Conquest
You probably see Sorel’s super-warm yet bulky tall boots strutting around ski towns all over the country, but the brand’s slimmer, ankle styles are far better suited to travel. The new Out ‘N About Plus Conquest serves up all the traction, warmth, and comfort of the taller boots with more versatility and its own stylish flair in the form of flannel or faux-fur collar. The boot comes in either waterproof suede or full-grain leather and is microfleece lined and fully seal-sealed for snowy conditions to and from the resort and everywhere in between. [$130, sorel.com]