I recently moved to the Midwest from the Deep South. Obviously the winters here are colder, and I have to worry about stuff like snow and iced-over sidewalks, roads, etc. I feel like I’ve adjusted to the weather pretty well so far. I can take care of my car, I’ve (slowly) learned to dress in layers and wear a variety of cold-weather gear, but one problem remains.
I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to shoes–I’ve never had to buy warm boots, much less wear them to work or learn the basic social niceties accompanying them. I know I need boots, and I know they need to be waterproof and have good treads to keep me from busting my nether regions, but that’s all I have.
Do you have any super or super-awful boots to recommend?
Is there some unwritten way to deal with boots at work, or am I crazy? Am I supposed to switch over to normal shoes once I’m there? (My workplace has a casual dress code, so my usual sneakers are appropriate.) Are there boot-related pet peeves people have?
I know this sounds silly, and there may be nothing to this, but I’d still like to know what boots are good ones if nothing else. Thanks in advance for your help!
I would switch when at work. I bring regular shoes in a little bag, and take off my boots and socks (stuffing socks into boots) once at work, putting them under my desk.
Look for a fairly high boot. Mid-calf would be a good idea - you want some leeway in case you have to tromp through snow, and snow down in your boot is not a pleasant experience. Some kind of warm liner is good, especially if the liner is constructed so that if there’s a zipper, the zipper does not just open up right onto your leg - in other words, there’s a flap of liner connecting the two parts of the boot leg.
Rubber covering the foot is good; you may have to step through puddles of slush/melted snow and if your boot soaks through the foot it’s not doing you much good. Sure, it’s not fashionable, but that’s not my concern when it comes to outdoor boots.
Remember that your boots will not be invincible against ice, just like decent winter tires will not give you perfect traction on ice. They will help a little but you still must be careful.
Can’t recommend for #1, because everybody will have their own opinion of what is good and what is not. I recommend trying some on before you buy, but would say that high cost does not mean high quality. I got a pair at Farm&Fleet that are great and have I’ve had for several years. Probably about $40-50.
For #2, I just bring a large bag to hold the boots and switch them at work. Never met any resistance from any boot snobs.
1) Do you have any super or super-awful boots to recommend? My very limited experience says go with Sorels. I’ve had my $120 pair for almost 20 years now, with no complaints. The packs have been replaced a couple-three times over the years, but that is expected with heavy use. It’s time to replace them (there is a little stress fracture in the left toe) and I’m going to buy Sorel pair #2, unless a bunch of Dopers post to say Sorels have gone to shit in the last two decades. I’ve lived in cold snowy places for 41 1/2 of my 44 years.
** Is there some unwritten way to deal with boots at work, or am I crazy? Am I supposed to switch over to normal shoes once I’m there? **
I always switch to office shoes once I’m at my desk, and shove the boots in a corner of my cubie/office, or leave them in the employee foyer if possible. Save yesterdays newspaper to set them on, and try to stomp off the worst of the snow just before you go inside. If your office is casual, I suppose wearing them all day would be an option, but they are NOT comfortable, and your feet will be miserably hot all day, and very stinky at night.
BTW – buy the boots a little large. Heavy socks add to the insulative powers of boots. Put the heavy socks on OVER your normal socks if you’re planning on switching to normal shoes later. It’s easier, and warmer.
Something like this. Its like a super-insulated duck boot. There’s a removable footbed in case you have orthotics, the toe box is roomy (you never want your feet to be constricted) and they aren’t so hideous you can’t wear them around. (I wore a very similar boot made by Columbia through 7 Michigan winters).
Do not do this if the lighter sock is cotton. Never, ever, ever, ever (etc) put cotton next to your skin if you want to stay warm. Fine (and a good idea) if the lighter sock is silk, performance synthetic, or wool.
Etiquette aside, I definitely prefer changing out of winter boots once inside whenever possible, because my feet sweat in them in normal inside temperatures. Then they get clammy. Then when I eventually go out again, my toes freeze. Bonus: sweaty winter boots smell like dishrags used to wipe up spoiled milk.
I have it easy because I choose to wear the same shoes everyday at work. I always keep a spare pair of socks and keep my work shoes at work in the winter. I wear my boots to work, with white socks over my work socks, and switch to work shoes there, and put back on my white socks and my boots to go home. The spare socks are for if my socks get wet if I forget to switch back to boots if I step outside.
I got a waterproofed pair of cloth boots, not very high, but as high as I usually need them to be. I got cloth because my boss was vegetarian and had a thing against leather, but they have been great boots and cost less than leather would have.
I have Sorels, too, and they are still kicking! They are about 15 years old. Just bought my daughter a pair, so I hope they are still good!
Always, always bring regular shoes to change into. Those of us who grew up in the frozen North will remember those days at school when you forgot your regular shoes and had to stomp around school in hot, sweaty moon boots all day. Sometimes a teacher would feel sorry for you and let you wear your gym shoes to class.
You’re probably right, but I was thinking of the ickyness of wearing office shoes without socks all freakin’ day long, because I forgot to bring the “normal” pair. If they are on my feet, they don’t get left at home in my drawer, yanno?
Plus, my offices tend toward fussy, so I spend a lot more time bitching about pantyhose than thinking about cotton socks.
Maybe the OP should keep an extra pair of socks in his desk drawer, until he gets in the Snowboot habit?
I usually keep my dress shoes at work in winter and wear my boots in and change at the office - most people do that here. Some people keep multiple pairs of shoes at their desk. I have a pair of Sorels not too different from the linked ones, too - they are awesome winter boots. You don’t need to get really high boots; if you’re concerned with getting snow on your legs, you can always tuck your pants into your boots, but I don’t do that and I don’t get snow on my legs. What you really, really don’t want are fashionable, stiletto heel boots - you’re just asking for a bad fall and/or frozen feet in those boots.
Have you run into people taking their boots and shoes off at the door at house parties yet?
I prefer fleece-lined boots, much warmer in Minnesota winters. But then they are too warm to wear inside, so I need a pair of regular shoes to wear in the office. I just keep a pair there, rather than hauling them back and forth every day.
In the short term, a pair of hiking boots can work very well. That’s what I’ve been doing, and although it’s not perfect, they are comfortable, waterproof, tight enough to avoid snow getting forced down inside, and have good traction.
I use a decent pair of hiking boots. They’re heavy enough where they don’t get cold like sneakers in the 2 miles I go to work each day. It can get pretty cold up here, and after running around all day at work my feet will be damp from sweat. -10 degree weather even when all bundled up will just kill damp feet.
When the sidewalks are REALLY ICY I use Yaktrax. Doesn’t matter how great your tread is. Try moving on super slick ice (especially when it covers at least a third of any route you’d take) and you might as well be wearing sandals covered in cooking spray.
You didn’t talk much about your typical day, which would help. For example: I walk out of my apartment, brush the snow off my car, and walk about 20 feet from my parking place to the office door. I have absolutely no need for a pair of winter boots, but I keep a pair of old snowmobile boots with felt inserts in the trunk of my car along with the rest of my winter kit (you have one of those, right?).
Like some others here I wear hiking boots on snowy days, and I don’t work in an office that requires heels so I can wear them all day at work. Since you indicated your office allows sneakers they’ll allow something like hiking boots.
Good point. I walk 5 blocks to a train station, then after that I typically stand outside for 5-10 minutes (sometimes more) waiting for the shuttle bus to work. So I need a taller boot because of occasional drifts, and warmer because of the time spent outside.
I thought it said Book Etiquette, so I was looking for something about dog-earing pages and all that…
I love my Sorels, too. When they say waterproof, they mean it! But, extra shoes are a must. This year, I think I will end up keeping a pair or 2 at work, because my typical commute involves a mile walk from the train station to work and back again at night, and schlepping extra shoes along with a laptop, my lunch, and a handbag just adds to the strain on my back.