“Make sure the toe box is wide enough, as a round toe is better than a narrow or pointed toe box,” says Dr. Parthasarthy. “Your toes should be able to wiggle. Check the inner sole of the boot; is it removable, is it thick and cushioned? Those are good signs that they’ll provide a lot of support. A removable insole allows you to use your custom orthotics, or more supportive insoles if needed, and a textured sole is important for traction during inclement weather.”
And wait, there’s more! You want to look at the stitching to make sure it’s tight if you are looking for a waterproof boot. Also look for boots with a deep heel cup, that are slightly higher than ankle height, as they provide more stability. Lace-up boots are also good when it comes to stabilizing.
And if you’re looking to shop IRL, she advises you do a bend check beforehand. “A few things I have my patients check [when looking for] a good winter boot is to make sure that you can’t bend the shoe in half,” says Dr. Parthasarathy. “Bending the toe box upwards is okay, and make sure the heel counter is firm for support.”
If you can’t trudge through the frigid weather to check out boots in person, though (and we get it, it’s also a pandemic), don’t worry. We investigated which winter boots are cute, functional, and meant for walking even in inclement weather.
The best winter boots for stability and warmth
Sorel is pretty much the King of Winter Boots, and all of their offerings are just [Italian Chef’s kiss]. That being said, I’m particularly in love with these boots with shearling on the tongue. It really merges the two big style inspirations: punky dominatrixes and cuddly baby lambs. And the heel, believe it or not, could be stabilizing for you in the long run.
“If looking for a slight heel, a wide chunky heel is better than a narrow, pointy one,” says Dr. Parthasarthy. “A slight heel is also helpful to help elevate the foot out of the snow.”
You’ll never be wanting for warmth when it comes to North Face, which you might already know from 6 am jogs or, you know. college. That’s true from head to toe; look at these Yukiona Mid Boots for proof. Absolutely no one is getting frost bite with these stompers.
Shop now: The North Face Women’s Yukiona Mid Boots, $160
3. Dr Martens
I love Doc Martens, they’ve been my mainstay boot since I was 15, but I’ve also experienced seriously soaked feet taking them through the snow. No more; Docs are getting a fleece-y upgrade, with insulated WarmWair lining and a waterproof exterior. Nothing but cozy soles and cheery walks to the bodega from here on out.
If you want a real investment, look no further than Brother Vellies. The Alp Boots look low-key like the most stylish way to climb Mount Everest (although I don’t recommend it). Sturdy, with tight AF stitching, you definitely can’t avalanche over in these.
Shop now: Brother Vellies Alp Boots, $795
5. TOMS Shoes
While “big and clunky” tend to define most winter boots, Dr. Parthasarthy actually recommends boots that make you kind of light on your feet. For someone who lives in sneakers and can’t stand the oppressive weight of winter shoes, TOMS has some solid offerings.
Shop now: Mesa Boot, $150
Yes, Uggs! They’re not just for lazing around your sorority house! These Uggs in particular mark all the boxes, with a mid-calf length, a lace-up front, consistent stitching, and insulation that can accommodate temperatures of -32 degrees Celsius. You’ll feel as though the shoe has a secret fireplace warming you up…and we won’t tell if you want to keep them on indoors, too.
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