Boot It Up: A Girl’s Guide to Surviving Winter


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. I have visions of a Joe Fresh or Gap ad with gorgeous people in colourful lopi style sweaters, in a climate controlled environment, kicking fake snow and looking so happy. Aaack, what am I saying? I loathe the snow. The only thing I dislike more than cold weather is cold weather and snow. I wish I loved to ski, skate or snowshoe, but I tried them all and I can’t get into it. I know that I’d like these sports a whole lot better in the summer.

One of the many reasons that I don’t like the winter, beyond the fact that I feel cold and miserable from November through March, is the lack of a good selection of warm winter boots. I decided to put my own boots to the ground and do a little research to find the best around town and available online that will both get you through winter and work for your needs.  Let me start by saying that the options for warm, dressy boots are as bleak as the month of November. There is a plethora of cool, casual boots that look amazing with your parka, jeans or leggings and touque (that’s a knit hat to my American friends), including Sorel, Uggs, Bogs and Columbia, and are Park City perfection, but the options for something stylish that mimic a fall fashion boot and keep your piggies as warm as the kind in a blanket, well there is little out there to be desired.

Sorel Boots

I want to tell you that I tried really hard. I searched high and low for something that doesn’t look like a public servant commuter boot. You know what I’m referring to. It’s sensible, it keeps your feet warm and dry in the cold, wet, sleet or hail, and it is oh so dull. Then there is the attempt at a tall, quilted boot that somehow is overly quilted and overly puffy and looks a bit mumsie. So what’s a fashion gal to do?

The closest I’ve come to a great style boot for winter is the waterproof version from La Canadienne or Blondo. However, while the waterproof boot will keep your feet dry, they are really meant for November or March temperatures, or an Italian, Spanish or London winter –  ahem, La Canadienne. These gorgeous riding boots will get you from the house to the car, to the coffee shop no problem at all, but for those waiting for the bus or traipsing through mounds of snow, your feet won’t be warm enough – but you sure will look good coming and going. And I will be fair as they really are meant for no more than the November rain and not for the depths of winter. This isn’t to say that they don’t offer Polar Vortex ready winter boots, but I don’t love them the same way that I do the waterproof variety. Ones that I like best from La Canadienne are the Kia, the Tami, the Veronique and the Alex. What I do love is the made in Canada aspect. You will pay a little more for them, but the quality is there, the styling is there, and isn’t it nice knowing you bought local, or at least national.

Winter Boots

La Canadienne Kia

Sorel Joan of Arctic has a waterproof mid-wedge boot that I love, and I’m crushing on the Medina II short bootie with a high heel and gold plated hardware, but alas, waterproof being the clincher rather than winter deep freeze, nor is a heel really a great idea when it comes to snow and ice. Equally great waterproof options are Bogs Alexandria tall boot or the Dakota that resembles a Frye boot, and Ugg Australia has the Elsa boot. Sadly, all are waterproof options and not winter warm.

Sorel Boots

Sorel Medina II

Other options are Hunter boots, which are as fabulous as the day they were founded in Scotland in 1856, so long as you buy the fleece liner and shearling insole. I can personally vouch for the warmth factor with the addition of the two liners. They keep my feet warm and dry except for on the coldest of days when I switch to my Cate the Great Sorels. Bare Traps, Hush Puppies and if you have some extra money to throw around, Burberry, also have some cute options out there that are winter warm with the faux-shearling or thinsulate liners, but stylish to wear with your work outfits.


Burberry Ferribly Flat

The winner that I’m picking for all around versatility in a boot is the Sorel Slimpack Riding Boot. It’s waterproof, it’s insulated, it has the classic styling of an equestrian boot, it’s comfortable, and has winter warmth. It is perfect for everyday wear and the taller, narrower silhouette is a lot more chic with your work outfits, yet looks equally great with your jeans and weekend wear.

Sorel Slimpack Boot

Sorel Slimpack

All this being said, I am certain boot makers of the world that we can do a better job. That you can make fabulous, fashionable and freeze-resistant that don’t look bulky or overly sensible. We need warmth and we want fabulous!!! I challenge you to create an elegant, stylish boot that combines fashion with function. I know you can make me proud and come up with something that is warm as toast and elegant to boot. The challenge is on!




La Canadienne –

Sorel  –

Bare Traps Kinship Boot (boot 1 in feature image)-

Hush Puppies Rustique (boot 4 in feature image) –

Alain Buckle Boot –


1 Comment

  1. I’m dreading ugly boot season but glad to hear there’s hope in the Sorels. Maybe Santa will bring me some for Christmas.

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