walk it off: the best winter footwear
tartelettes, just a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in anything even resembling practical winter footwear. My cold-weather strategy was to sport the same ballet flats and heels I wore the rest of the year, in which I would step gingerly down my front walk before dashing into the warmth of my car.
Then, I moved to New York. Bye-bye, car. Hello, hikes across town, capricious weather, and snowboots.
But, because this is the Big Apple — the nation’s capital of the stylish yet practical shoe — a city girl’s winter gear has to protect her from the elements while still looking fabulous. You never know who might be just around the corner, even in a snowstorm.
Over the past few years, I’ve discovered a few cold-weather footwear options that are equal parts cute and practical.
Faux leather boots are possibly the easiest way to maintain a chic aesthetic while staying comfy and warm. You can’t go wrong with classic black or brown. Or, if you want to mix things up a little, opt for a pair of rock-and-roll-esque motorcycle boots. Brands like Diesel and Harley-Davidson offer non-leather boots that’ll add a bit of sass to any look. Find them at a vintage store, and they’ll be all broken in for you. Regardless of the style, layer up with thick socks (bonus points if you try a pair of patterned knee-highs that peek out over the top).
Throw old-school fashion rules out the window by keeping heels high and hemlines short this winter — there’s no need to keep those gorgeous gams covered up. Go for a high-heeled version of your daytime boot. Or stay warm with stockings and some fun, leg-defining booties. If it’s not wet out, sport your favorite peep-toe pumps with black tights. Even Rachel Zoe approves
On those rainy, cold days, rain boots with thick socks are the way to go. These aren’t the clunky rubber monstrosities of your youth; in recent years, shoe designers have begun churning out weather-proofed styles that are adorable and, above all, discreet. The best are those that look like boots you would wear anyways, rain or shine. My favorites are by Hunter, which have a slim shape and are super-durable. Classic black is a chic choice — but red and yellow are fun childhood throwbacks. Just try to resist stomping in puddles in these.
Of course, when it’s sleeting out, there are few other options than those dreaded snowboots. Never fear! Even these can be chic. I’m obsessed with this adorable style by Sorel — made with waxed canvas and detailed with faux fur — which I’d be hard-pressed not to wear, even on a clear day.