Columbia Minx Mid, $120, columbia.com
Surprisingly light given the quilted body and fur trim, these boots warm toes without weighing you down. We thought these were plenty supportive for a regular winter day—with terrific traction for stormy or icy ones—but probably not sturdy enough for hiking. We love the cordovan color, a plummy brown that’s very versatile, but it also comes in winter white, black, purple and bright cobalt blue.
UGG Bellvue III, $250, uggaustralia.com
The idea of two boots in one is great in theory but often in reality doesn’t quite work. Not so with this new offering from UGG—when you fold down the shaft of the motorcycle-style boot into a fur cuff, they genuinely look like a totally different pair! (We found them easier to roll before putting them on, though.) Believe it or not, the suede material is waterproof, making it safe to sport them in the winter elements.
Merrell Captiva High Waterproof, $200; merrell.com
These boots quickly became our tester’s favorite fall wardrobe staple for both comfort and style! The lightweight boots give a comfortable hug to the calves and offer ample arch support and cushioning on the feet and heels. The skid-proof soles ensure safe travels in wet weather, and the weatherproof leather and water-resistant seams keep moisture out making it easy-peasy to step out in any winter weather without compromising one’s fashion judgment.
Cushe Quilt Trip, $160, cushe.com
We loved many of the design touches on this sturdy winter boot, from the quilted fabric with suede accents to the cute basketweave sole and two-tone coloring. Though we appreciated the way they’re made to accommodate larger calves, with two wide elastic bands, we didn’t think they were the most flattering style if you’re self-conscious about your legs. But for comfort and practicality, we give these high marks.
Cushe All Pine Fern, $185, cushe.com
Bust out these boots for the harshest winter weather and they will not disappoint. The supportive rubber sole provides the perfect traction for wet or snowy surfaces. Detail on the zipper adds a chic touch and the faux-fur lining is warm enough for the chilliest climates. We were thrilled with the stretchy sweater-like patches and front laces, which allow these boots to comfortably expand to fit almost any size calf. The only warning—the boots run true-to-size or larger, so if you’re thinking about ordering a size up, think again!
Aetrex Bungee Boots, $149, aetrex.com
You might be fooled into thinking that this boot can’t withstand the dead-of-winter cold, but you’re wrong. Despite the lack of thick lining, the neoprene upper is super-insulating and supremely waterproof—even if you find yourself standing calf-high in a puddle, your feet won’t get wet. The snug-yet-comfortable fit is achieved with the help of four-way stretch in the upper and the springing bungee lace system, plus memory foam in the footbed that molds to your particular needs. An antimicrobial lining helps keep feet fungus-free and smelling sweet.
Rockport truWALK Zero Tall Boot, $140, rockport.com
There’s nothing necessarily innovative about the look of these all-weather boots, and they’re not the most stylish we tried. Yet they scored off the charts when it came to comfort. Our tester was so infatuated with the feel of these boots—“like walking on tiny pillows”—that she didn’t even want to take them off at the end of the day. Luckily, the lack of overly “wintry” fabric or details mean these will transition well into rainy spring, too.
Propet Alta Tall Lace, $79.95, amazon.com
This is classified as a walking boot and it definitely does its job! We tested it on a 2-mile walk to work on a brisk morning, and it kept feet toasty but not overly warm, thanks to impressive breathability. The lace-up style allows for adjusting based on calf size or even sock thickness, and looks cute with leggings and jeans. We love a boot that can do double duty— from a 2-mile walk to walking around fashionably!
Keen Laken High Top Boot, $190, keen.com
Aside from the sturdy sole (a bonus during the slippery season), these boots look nearly identical to the sleek leather riding boots all over the runway lately—so there’s no sacrificing style on snowy days! After testing a lot of pull-on or lace-up boots, we appreciated the ease of the zipper on these, as well as the outstanding arch support. Available in black and brown, and a midcalf version.
Sorel Cozy Joan, $130, sorel.com
We gave these a true fall test—wearing them to a misty, windy Friday night football game—and they passed with flying colors, keeping feet warm and dry. The fit posed a few challenges, though: the foot part ran big enough that we had to size down, but that made the opening too tight to tuck anything but leggings/tights into. That said, they didn’t feel uncomfortably snug, and the comfort benefits outweighed any limitations.