MANY YEARS ago, when I was dating my husband, we went to a small town in the Italian Alps for a vacation. One afternoon, we met up with some of his former business colleagues and decided to go for a hike. I dressed appropriately (I thought) for the occasion with jeans, a warm sweater, down jacket and an old pair of hiking boots. No makeup. The three Italian women in our group wore shaggy fur coats, loads of gold jewelry and Moon Boots. Perfect makeup. I couldn’t figure out how they managed the rocks in those boots, but they did. It was my first lesson in bella figura — the art of looking good no matter the circumstances. Although I don’t recommend Moon Boots for slippery, snowy city streets, a new generation of winter-ready ankle boots with an athletic vibe can both master a slush-filled trek to the Metro and and still look fashionable when you arrive for a lunch meeting at a chi-chi restaurant.
We’ve chosen a baker’s dozen of booties that are up to the task.
LEFT: The Ugg Viki Waterproof Boot will keep your tootsies warm with a sheepskin lining. Seamed seals keep water out, plus a serious sole with non-slip rubber makes walking on ice much less treacherous. $220, Ugg. RIGHT: Sorel is a go-to brand for reliable winter footwear, including these sporty-chic Kinetic Waterproof Short Lace-up Boots. This made-for cold-weather hiking boot is waterproof and has a cozy fleece lining. $160, Nordstrom.
Just looking at these Ugg’s Y/Project Sheepskin Layered Boots make my feet feel warm. Still, with their Abominable Snowman vibe and breadbox shape, best for those who are very tall, very slim and will wear them with cashmere leggings. Right, Nancy McKeon? Lined in faux shearling with a light-treaded rubber outsole. Only a few sizes left. $925, Totokaelo.
LEFT: This Quinney Waterproof Bootie with waterproof suede upper, shearling trim and fleece lining from Cole Haan works well for nimbly navigating slushy streets. And zippers are a bonus for easy in and out. $219.95, Shopspring. RIGHT: A red, white and blue heel boosts the fun factor for this rugged-lace-up Regan Waterproof Boot from Blondo. A cushy cuff and serious treads up the comfort ante. $149.95, Nordstrom.
LEFT: Less bulky and heavy than most snow boots, these Sorel Phoenix Combat Boots in water-resistant nubuck leather are sleek enough to wear all day. And the black and white combo is a refreshing look for a boot. $190, Neiman Marcus. RIGHT: No, these Loeffler Randall Kassidy Stretch Kitten Heel Booties with bow aren’t made for snow days, but we just thought they were so damn cute. $395, Saks Fifth Avenue .
LEFT: Stay upright on icy streets with Cougar’s slip-resistant Dresden Waterproof Sneaker Boot. You heard that right—a sneaker boot. It’s temperature rated to 11° Fahrenheit. Plush faux fur trim is the topper. $149.95, Nordstrom. RIGHT: Triple-stitched seams add zip to the classic silhouette of a waterproof boot that’s temperature rated to -11º Fahrenheit. The Dallas Waterproof Chelsea Bootie by Cougar is $179.95 at Nordstrom.
LEFT: Italeau Foliana Waterproof Suede Ankle Booties, outfitted with crepe rubber soles and zippers on each side, are $395 at Neiman Marcus. RIGHT: Sorel’s Ainsley Conquest Waterproof Boot with quilted collar keeps cold air out of this waterproof winter boot with major tread power. $170, Nordstrom.
LEFT: The fashion flock love the Ganni brand with its cool, colorful designs. Case in point: these Sarai Boots. Though not exactly snow boots, how adorable for a hike. Shopbop, $475. RIGHT: Jimmy Choo’s new smart-tech Voyager boots in water-resistant shiny leather with a black shearling lining feature heated insoles that can be temperature controlled through an app on your phone. Oh, how sweet to have always-warm feet. $1,795, Jimmy Choo.