PHOTO: David Reddick
PHOTO: David Reddick

The Best Boots for Mountain Life

For winter days in town and in the mountains, these boots will keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable

Skiers put their feet through all kinds of hell during ski season. Even the most well-fitting ski boots feel good to take off. For winter days in town and in the mountains, slip into any of these winter boots to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable.

Vasque Pow Pow III Ultradry, $150
Made with waterproof suede leather and 400g of Thinsulate insulation, this utility boot is one of the warmest options on this list. More function than fashion, the Ripstop nylon outer sheds even the wettest snow, while ColdHold tech helps the dense rubber sole grip tightly to the slick, frozen ground. The eyelet lacing system and pull-on heel strap make these Vasque boots easy-on, easy-off even with gloves on. For trekking through deep days, the Vasque boot is a solid choice. Find them here.

Keen The Slater Waterproof, $200
The best part about this boot? It keeps my feet warm, has solid traction for ice and snow, and it's comfortable. The not so good part? It reminds me of cool-guy AC Slater, with his smirk, parachute pants, and hot pink tank tops. But nobody else knows that. They just see a nice-looking boot that worthy of a work boot or a dinner date.

Construction is an ideal blend of waterproof leather with wool, with a non-marking rubber sole and cushy midsole. It's not tall enough for tromping through the deep, but suffices for apres and hoofing it around town. Get a pair here. —Matt Hansen

Sperry Saltwater Misty Duck Boot, $150
Ideal for mild winter days, these insulated leather boots are light enough to travel in and wear to work. The high shaft will keep deep snow out, but this isn't the boot for frigid Wyoming mornings. Thanks to the boat-shoe inspired rubber sole, this Sperry boot has some of the best traction we found. Mid-winter parking lot wipeouts are rarely a part of your Monday anymore. A great fit for a narrow foot, size down if you're between half sizes. Find yours here.

Chaco Sierra Waterproof, $160
If a high top sneaker and a waterproof leather boot casually met at après, got to talking, eventually fell in love, and made a baby boot…it would be the Chaco Sierra. The removable Luvseat footbed is podiatrist certified and makes these boots extremely comfortable and supportive right out of the box. But like a true hiking boot, these need to be broken in. Chaco employed a new tread design optimized for wet conditions and is good enough for winter hiking and not eating shit on ice. Because of the low ankle height, stay out of deep snow. Otherwise, these boots will keep you warm and dry and well-liked on Instagram. Get a pair.

Danner Vertigo 917, $220
Danner markets the new Vertigo 917 as a lifestyle boot. And it looks good as an urban shoe. But it's not exactly frilly. The Vertigo has a 100 percent waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex lining, a lightweight, thick, and comfortable Vibram midsole, a Vibram outsole for good traction, and a full-grain leather upper. They will hold up just fine through wet hikes or splashy lots. Not a lot of people want to spend over $200 on a shoe they only hike in. This is a great hybrid option for someone who lives in the city and wants a shoe they can wear every day, including through their weekend missions. Find them here. —John Clary Davies

The North Face Shellista II Mid Boots, $140
Probably the best hybrid of beauty and brains in this bunch, these incredibly warm insulated winter boots feel like soft, comfortable slippers and are crafted of waterproof leather to guarantee dryness. The soft, oversized knit collar is a strong style point for the Shellista, which are the perfect height for trudging through snow. Heavy-duty boots like these take some breaking in, and these can feel stiff and heavy for the first weeks of wear. ” target=”_blank”>Find yours here.

Blundstones Super 550 Series Boot, $180
I fell in love with Blundstones in the La Guardia airport. I was wearing Clarks that made my feet constantly cold. A man sitting across from as we waited to board a plane to Albuquerque was wearing a pair of understated, thick—but not so thick you can't comfortably wear them indoors—boots. I ordered them on the spot. I haven't regretted the impulse purchase. The Blundstones Super 550 are simple, with a clean, high-quality leather upper and a thick rubber sole that has good traction. They aren't fancy. They're comfortable enough to do yard work and burly enough to walk through slushy parking lots. If it's wet, we highly recommend applying a waterproofing oil, like Nikwax, for further protection. Get some. —John Clary Davies

The North Face Ballard Lace II Boots, $120
A classic leather boot with great grip on ice and rocky trails thanks to temperature-sensitive rubber lugs in the sole, the Ballard can be dressed up enough to wear to an outdoor wedding halfway up a mountain. They’re extremely comfortable out of the box (a good thing if there’s any dancing at that mountain wedding) and wet snow and rain beads off. Stylish and comfortable, they fit true to size. On colder days or in snow, you’ll need a thick wool sock to keep warm. http://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tt=cl&mi=10060&pw=218161&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.backcountry.com%2FGet a pair.