Winter Meltdown

As you may have ascertained just by reading older posts carefully, I live in Maine. And winters in Maine are cold. And sometimes, for my job I have to spend hours outside in the snow and ice and cold, so it is imperative that my winter footwear be top notch.  When I moved here almost 8 years ago I invested in these awesome boots that I bought, of course, at LL Bean.

I can’t even tell you how much I loved them. They were warm and kept my feet dry, provided great traction, and were really really comfy. Yeah, they weren’t the most stylish boots out there, but I wear them maybe 30 times a year and they served their purpose. However after this past week’s blizzard, I noticed that one of my feet came out soaking wet – because one of the seams had ripped and was letting water in.

LL Bean’s has an AWESOME “if it breaks, whenever, we’ll fix it” policy which is really great – except that most times they will cut you a gift card for the amount of the boots or what their replacement would be in today’s selection. So I got a really big gift card but….the boots they have now do NOTHING for me and were either too girly (the SL actually took my gift card and got a great pair of boots for herself,) not comfy enough or too big (their men’s sizes start at 7.)  It was actually not too fun of a shopping trip day (though I did find an awesome wool shirt/jacket which you’ll see in a few days – I didn’t buy it yet but..maybe soon) for me and due to the fact that more snow is on it’s way I may have a had a small, tiny, teeny, insignificant meltdown on the drive home. Cough.

So I’m on the hunt for new winter boots. So far, the challengers are:

The Columbia Bugaboot:

These look pretty similar to what I had, and trust me, this is the best color combo (for me) but still – not really my style. As sartorial as I like to be, I am willing to forgo the style in order for a warm, dry, supportive, comfy pair of winter boots.

I also really like these Sorel  1964 Pac Graphic boots –

which come in additional graphics as well –

and a similar pair of Sorel’s called Caribou – which has a similar look to the Pac’s but the bottom tread seems to be a little bit more rugged – though that’s not necessarily a deal breaker:

These North Face McMurdo’s are also in the running, and even have a special lip on the back for snowshoe clip in, which is cool as thats something I’d like to get in to this winter:

I think one of the major issues with choosing one, outside of the parameters that I’ve already laid out, is that if you have smallish feet, you HAVE to go with a women’s boot because there won’t be a men’s size to fit you, and typically boy’s sizes in winter boots don’t carry enough support to cover the basic needs for me.

Do you live in a winter wonderland? What do you wear on your feet to work/play outside in??? Which of these choices do you like best??


13 Responses to “Winter Meltdown”

  1. I myself make it through Michigan winters just fine with a pair of Corcoran jump boots, which are military-issue grade and pretty damn stylish as far as I’m concerned. (The only trouble with them is that I have to polish them like twice a week because mine are exceedingly impractical black leather)
    I went looking for them because I was in the market specifically for an authentic, non-girly and non-cheap fashion grade combat boot, though. Corcoran and Matterhorn make some other really great products for more practical wear (IE Waterproof, good insulation, comes in women’s standard sizes…) and although they run pricey they’ll easily last a decade or two.

    • Thanks! I have a pair of Corcoran’s but they’re just not quite warm enough for the amount of time I spend in the snow – and they do take a lot of upkeep effort, mine are black too.

  2. I have Sorel Caribous and they are the BEST. They kept my feet warm and dry for 3 Minneapolis winters… amazing.

  3. Sorel. Without a doubt.
    Stylish AND comfy.

  4. roaring_girl Says:

    I wore Sorels for 15 years. They were exactly what I wanted for the Vermont winters, big, bad-ass, and warm. Now, I’ve grown a bit lazy with the laces, and I like something that goes on and off more easily. So, I opted for Salomon Snow Clogs, which I augment with gators when the snow is high or I’m snowshoeing. So much easier and totally does the same job with less hassle. Plus, the snow clogs can double as work shoes in a biz-casual sort of place.

  5. I don’t really have an opinion, as I’m with you – whatever is the WARMEST, most COMFORTABLE, should win. I’m also looking for some boots myself – I got my girlfriend snowshoes for Christmas and therefore need to get myself some, soon 🙂 I was looking at boots at both Cabela’s, REI, and LL Bean. I’m overwhelmed with the choices. Gahh!

  6. Also, Maine is my dream state!!! We’re going for vacation this summer, again. *sigh* Someday, I’ll live there!

  7. I have the opposite problem as you – I have large feet (women’s 11-12) and don’t like to wear men’s styled shoes. I LOVE Sorels, but they only go up to 11 in women’s, and their 11 is just too short for me. So sad.

    I vote for the North Face boots. Then maybe we can go on snowshoeing double date adventures.

  8. I really really like Keen’s — they keep my feet dry and warm. I normally where mens but I do have larger feet but the woman’s arent that bad looking– take a look.,503

  9. I live in Ottawa ON. Second coldest capital in the world. I feel your pain. Sadly there is no place for fashion here. Warm and Dry. My vote is for the Sorels….always. Some of the ones you have pics of can be pretty heavy so are not great for long walks or snowshoeing. But for standing around freezing your a#* off.Yep. J

  10. I wear LL Bean boots as well. I prefer the rubberized “duck shoes”. The only problem is that the traction isn’t great. I use Yak-Traks for that.

  11. Sorel for sartorial style! But Northface for function. I can’t offer personal recs, as I make it through Chicago winters with a cunning blend of trashing my shoes and not going outside :/ My Merrel ankle-high mocassin style boots are okay for walking, and look good, but not much else.

  12. justanotherdandy Says:

    Ihave the ll bean version of the sorel caribou, the bean version used to be made by sorel and have serve me well. Priced cheaper than sorel, too! try them on, though, they run big. if you liked your old ll bean boots, the North Face may be more to your liking, though. I also have a pair similar to that model and that is what I wore during this past weekend’s storm. I live in the northeast and both pairs keep my feet dry and toasty in the worst Nor ‘easter

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