Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, January 17, 2022

Everyday Footwear for Snow and Slush?

Photos by Salt Water New England
A reader question:

Quick question… having only lived in NE 4 years now I’m still adapting to everyday footwear on days like today where it’s snow and slush, and the days afterward. Do I need to accept the fact that during this season my day to day is going to be a boot of some kind? I’d look silly in moccasins or loafers right?


30 comments:

  1. Bean boots will be the order of the season for a while!

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  2. You need what are called “pack boots.” These are rubber bottom boots. Sorels were made in Canada. They had it going. LL Bean likely fits the description. Best are those with removable felt liners. Another key feature is the steel shank. They allow walking for hours on end without tiring your foot. Don’t buy a pair without steel shanks. Schnee’s of Bozeman Montana are definitely worth a look, and the money. If you decide to purchase them.

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    1. Can you explain more about the steel shank? I have never heard of this!

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    2. a shank is a flat piece in the midsole of a shoe or boot that gives it some more stiffness. they all used to be steel; many are hard poly material now to save weight.

      Bean boots are good for keeping your feet dry, and you can buy them with insulation for colder weather. The soles, while they retain a 'cool' vibe with their chain treads, don't provide much traction. Fine for around town and rain/slush/snow, not a boot i would want to walk in for extended distances.

      i would be careful about Sorel. the brand's quality has reportedly declined. i have a 20+ year old pair of Sorels that have lasted well, but i wouldn't buy them today.

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    3. You bet. I bought a pair of Sorels - made in China - that wore out after five years. Looked fine, but rubber cracked everywhere.

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  3. 21 years ago, I got KAMIK pack boots with insulated lining for $39.99 at TJ Maxx - they remain sturdy, warm, waterproof, and seemingly indestructible to this day.

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  4. Check out The Muck Boot Company. Very useful, functional footwear for mucky conditions, and not just in stables!

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  5. I like LLBean boots but only for outside, the soles are too slippery for going in and out. For example, I won’t wear them for errands where I need to go in and out of stores.

    After a trip to Alaska, my family is wearing Xtratufs. We all have high and short boots. I also have clogs.

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  6. I have three go-to pairs for the snow:
    Bean Boot mocs, for limited snow/slush, and for errands around the house/town;
    duBarry Cork boots, for more snow/slush, and going into the city;
    and Hunter wellies with very thick socks, for a lot of snow/slush.

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  7. A pair of Danner Mountain Lights will keep you warm and dry, provide superb traction and stability, be your most comfortable shoes, and last you for your life with occasional resoling as needed.

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    1. All true in Colorado, where Goretex rules. I still keep a pair of Bean (type) boots in the car among other heavy items for winter emergencies, but daily wear through snow and subsequent nasty urban slush is a pair of Danners that have been recrafted at least twice and eventually retired from the mountains to gentler slopes in town.

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    2. Agree, living in a mountain town, the Danner Mtn Light is my every day wear in all different weather conditions.

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  8. Bean and DuBarry never fail us! Thanks once again!

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  9. Something between hiking and hunting boots, leather in and out, in the forest or countryside when walking our dog, also when raining/snowing and cold (-20C). For a city walk a pair of leather/shearling classic boots (hand made), sometimes Hermes classic riding boots (only city) and a Gommino suede boots with shearling (Tod's), unfortunately discontinued.

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  10. Yes, boots are the reality of the season. Years ago, when I was a student at Bowdoin, we could always tell who was visiting campus from away because they invariably had on impractical shoes.

    Interestingly, the local "dress up" look at the time was to wear Bean boots with the khaki trouser leg outside the leather boot, so as to show only the rubber foot under the trouser cuff. It seemed to say, "I apologize for wearing boots due to the conditions, and I am going to make them look as much like dress shoes as possible while otherwise turned out in navy blazer and tie." Lower trouser legs over the boots were periodically wet from slush and spattered with mud, but khaki muted the effect, and it always came out in the wash.

    Although I no longer live in New England, I still wear my trouser legs outside my Bean boots in sloppy weather.

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  11. Asking what kind of boots you need for a serious winter (& mud season) is like asking what sort of "club" you need to play golf. Depending on what you are doing, you need multiple pairs. I own almost every sort previously mentioned and they all have their purpose - Sorels, Bogs, Bean Maine Hunting Boots, Xstratuf, Hunter, & Blundstones. I still plan on getting a pair of Dubarrys as well. Just as every boot has their purpose, there is also to what degree you're willing to sacrifice appearances for comfort.

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    1. Very good point! Something that works in Greenwich, CT might not be the best choice in Madawaska, ME.

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  12. LL Beane boot. I have had my pair for 25 years now. Worth every penny.

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  13. my opinions: mucks, bogs and non-insulated bean boots (they sell well-insulated Bean boots that are warmer) look good and will keep your feet dry. Their fit isn't great for walking a lot, and they're so-so for keeping your feet warm, though a thick pair of mountaineering socks helps. Mucks have a good, grippy sole, the others aren't great. Sorels also aren't a great walking boot, but they're warm and have good soles. Not so sure Sorels are built like they used to be- i would go for a comparable pair of Baffin boots instead.

    Though less stylish for everyday wear, snow boots that look like hiking boots will not only keep you warm/dry and good traction but also tend to be more comfortable for walking a lot. i'm thinking about The North Face Chilkats, Baffin's 'sport' boots, Merrell Thermos, LL Bean Storm Chasers. i still wear a pair of Sorels from the 80s for shoveling snow and walking the dog, but the hiking-style boots have been my primary winter boots for a number of years.

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  14. I have a pair of black Timberland 6" boots that I bought back in 1999 or 2000 that work great in snow and slush with their tread and waterproof body here in the snowy wilds of NoVA.

    I don't know what their boots are like nowadays but something basic like that would be a good starting point.

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    1. Like everything else, their boots is not this, what it used to be...

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  15. My experience LL Bean Boots are great for keeping your feet dry but horrible for keeping your feet warm. That said I still wear my pair from the 80's in muck and mud.

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    1. The trick is to wear boots sized large enough to wear a very thick pair of socks with them and without the fit being tight. An additional insole of some sort might help, too, provided it doesn't make the fit too tight. Of course, all of that may make the boots too warm for milder temperatures.

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    2. LL Bean sells shearling insoles for their bean boots and they are lovely when used in conjunction with some warm camp socks.

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    3. Buy boots equipped with removable felt liners, as someone mentioned above. Then you can wear your socks thin or thick. Your feet will always be warm.

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  16. The LL Bean Maine Hunting Boot has always served me well in these conditions. I am still wearing the pair I purchased in 1973 although I did send them to LL Bean for new bottoms about 15 years ago. I agree with one of the comments which noted that they may fall a bit short in the warmth department in very cold conditions. The lambswool insoles offered by Bean many years ago often helped with this aspect. I noted with amusement the comment about the how Bean boots were worn at
    Bowdoin. A number of years ago (a higher number than I admit to) while working in the financial industry in a large eastern city, LL Bean boots could often be seen peeking out from the cuffed pants of business suits on snowy days. Of course, this was when people still wore suits to the office.

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  17. Boggs, the insulated ones. They stand up very well to the freezing slush of Chicago.

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  18. https://www.merrell.com/US/en/boots/

    insulated ones

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  19. I second Kamiks. I buy them for my children and they are very warm, last a good while and are made in Canada (yes, still).
    I personally have a Helly Hansen pair which are excellent for warmth and traction. They replaced a North Face pair which never gripped the snow and ice well.

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