Kicks Are for Skiers: Vans Sk8-Hi MTE

Vans weather-proofed the classic Sk8-Hi MTE to stand in the snow

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Price: $85

Sizes: 3.5-10 (men) | 5-11.5 (women)

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I’m not a snow boot person. They’re heavy. They’re clunky. And that’s why I’m always the person wearing soggy tennis shoes in sloppy snow. What can I say? I love my Vans. Thankfully, Vans had mercy on my cold, sneaker-loving feet and treated their Sk8-Hi’s with premium Scotchgard to make them water resistant. And thus was born the Sk8-Hi MTE, and they work. I mean, I wouldn’t go jumping into frigid slush pools, or take them out in the middle of a Pineapple Express, but for 90 percent of snow days, the Sk8-Hi MTE qualifies as a winter shoe.

To truly appreciate the Sk8-Hi MTE, let’s step back to 1978, when the high top was first introduced as “Style 38.” Vans had already made waves as a skate shoe in Southern California, thanks to their rubber, sticky soles. The high top added more function for skaters—because God knows an empty swimming pool scrapes up an ankle. Turns out, a high top isn’t just functional for skaters. They also are good for protecting feet from the elements, like in the parking lot of a ski area, or walking down a snowy street to après, or shoveling out your car.

In addition to the Scotchgard, Vans also beefed up the linings, padded the collar for support, and added more guts to the sole—like a heat-retention layer and a vulcanized lug outsole. The sole is definitely stiffer and thicker than a normal pair of Vans, and that helps insulate my feet. But importantly, they still feel like a pair of sneakers.

If the Sk8-Hi isn’t quite hitting the mark, and you want to err one step closer to a snow boot, try the duck-boot inspired Vans Sk8-Hi Del Pato MTE.