Features: -Side zipper for easy on and off
-Barrel tie lacing
-Rust-proof eyelets for secure fit
-Non-marking rubber sole
PHOTO: Maggie Kaiserman
Seeing that I don't own a yacht (yet) and am still waiting for my invite to play golf at the local country club, I never expected to be a Sperry-wearer. That is until I discovered that the best parts of Sperry's boat shoes—comfort and traction—are also featured their winter-ready duckboots.
Playing to the brand's nautical heritage, the Sperry Saltwater Duckboots are designed for wet weather. The waterproof rubber outsoles keep my ski socks dry when I'm trudging through parking lot puddles, and spilled beer from a quaffing mug also runs right off. Serious traction on the bottom originally designed for slippery boat decks also makes them eat-shit-on-ice-proof.
These low profile boots are casual and stylish enough to wear straight on to the plane, and are functional in the mountains, so I only need to pack one pair of shoes (10 points for Gryffindor!). The side zipper makes them easy to slip on and off when you're dancing with TSA, or changing footwear in a muddy parking lot. I tied the laces the first time I put them on, and haven't touched them since.
Details like rawhide lacing with rustproof eyelets will hold up through deep, wet winters while the quilted top and fleece lining keeps me warm without overheating. If you're going to be on frozen ground for several hours, however, double down on warm socks, or upgrade to the Saltwater Misty ($150)—a beefier take on the original with a higher top and leather outer.