Winter Boots that are Fashionable and Practical

Style and functionality don't have to be mutually exclusive. Check out these best-of-both-world boots.

Credit: Sorel

Winter boots to keep you warm and dry when strutting downtown or shoveling out your car in wet and slushy weather

Some collect mid-century modern furnishings or Simpsons memorabilia. I have a passion for boots. It started when my mum read The Three Musketeers aloud when I was five. I enjoyed the swashbuckling adventure, but protagonist d’Artagnan’s boots took centre stage.  

Since then I’ve cycled through pirate boots, vintage riding boots, electro-bright Dr. Martens, toe-pinching cowboy boots, teetering ankle boots—basically every rendition of the boot that isn’t fit for every day use, especially in Vancouver.

Then I grew up. I did my research. I cultivated a boot vocab full of words like skiver, Goodyear welting, last and cord. I shadowed a cobbler at Dayton Boots. And I started investing in boots that not only look good with multiple outfits, but also keep me warm and dry. Well-made winter boots are a little pricier, but they’re more durable and can last years with repairs.

While I still read-up on frivolities (like Dr. Martens’ recent boot collab with Swarovski Crystal, or stiletto hiking boots) I only invest in the real deal. Get the inside scoop on five sturdy winter boot brands below.




Left: Bisset by Kodiak; Right: Trinity by Kodiak. Image: Kodiak.

Founded in Ontario in 1910, Kodiak still outfits the workmen and workwomen of Canada. Luckily for us they also make an attractive, waterproof line of leather lifestyle boots. Kodiak boasts that you can don a pair, stand in a bucket of rainwater and still emerge dry. I own the Trinitys (with stitched soles) and I can attest: it’s true. ($150+)




Left: Kelly Vinter by Tretorn. Right: Highlander by Tretorn. Image: Tretorn.

Tretorn is a Swedish company known best for its adorable, insulate-lined gum boots, which the company has been perfecting since 1891. While these many-hued galoshes are waterproof and sturdy, Tretorn’s highlander winter boot, a hybrid of gumboot and leather sneaker, is a cozy and good-looking alternative.


Tretorn’s boots are gender neutral and include a kids line, so the whole family can be matchy-matchy. ($70+)




Left: Caribou by Sorel. Right: Joan of Arctic by Sorel. Image: Sorel

Sorel is appreciated by style spies and explorers. The brand’s classic Caribou, with leather upper and rubber lower, can withstand even -40C temperatures and it’s waterproof to boot. Sorel also has a decadent range of sophisticated, bright and furry silhouettes for both genders, plus kids. ($130+)




Left: Leather-lined Blundstone. Right: Original Blundstone. Image: Blundstone.

It’s impossible to take a stroll through Whistler without spotting a pair of Blundstones. While I prefer a taller boot, many love this unisex, Australian-made, lace-free option. Blunnies deserve a special shout out for an extra-comfortable molded sole that’s waterproof. Plus they’re warm and they last (but please don’t wear them with a summer dress). ($150+)




Left: Harness by Frye. Right: Brown Beauty by Dayton. Images: Frye; Dayton

Frye, founded in 1863, is the oldest American boot company still in operation. Dayton, founded in 1946, is our Vancouver-grown equivalent. Both feature gorgeous, heritage, welted leather boots originally created for laborers. The most well-known boot shape is the Harness for Frye and the Beauty for Dayton.


These boots take breaking-in, but they’re waterproof and durable with replaceable non-slip rubber soles. I mention both brands because if you’re in a hurry, Dayton Boots are often back-ordered and can take time; Frye boots are immediately available. (Frye $200+; Daytons $370+)